NAMOR THE SUB-MARINER
Real Name: Namor
Identity/Class: Extradimensional/alternate reality (Earth-??) human/Atlantean hybrid (see comments)
Group Membership: None
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Unrevealed
First Appearance: (intended) Sub-Mariner TV show
(publicly mentioned) Comic Book Artist#2 (1998)
Powers/Abilities: The Sub-Mariner was amphibious, able to survive equally well in both air and water. He was presumably superhumanly strong and durable, and may have been able to fly.
Height: 6'2" (see comments)
(Alter Ego#46) - Namor the Sub-Mariner was an amphibious adventurer and crimefighter.
Comments: Created by Frank Saverstein (or perhaps Saperstein) and Bill Everett, based on the character created by Bill Everett.
Getting the elephant in the room out the way
immediately - the image used above right is not an actual official or
even semi-official picture, but it is nevertheless the best and only
available one of the character for this profile. Let me explain:
In 1952 the TV adaptation of The Adventures of Superman was launched to great success, marking (afaik) the first U.S. comic book superhero to transition from the comics to the television, having previously only been adapted for cinematic serials or cartoons. In the comics superheroes had been in sharp decline, but this success in turn prompted Timely/Atlas Comics to revive in 1954 their three most popular superhero characters, Captain America, the Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner, initially in the title Young Men and then in their own titles once more. None of the revivals proved big sellers, so both Cap and the Torch's titles were swiftly retired after only three and four issues respectively of their relaunched series. Namor on the other hand held out for a respectable ten issues and a whole year longer than his compatriots, but it wasn't because his title was selling better than theirs. So what, you might ask, was the real reason?
In either 1969 or 1970 Roy Thomas interviewed Namor's creator Bill Everett for his magazine Alter Ego, and asked him that very question. Everett confirmed that at the time there had been interest in licensing the character out for a prospective Hollywood TV series, and that while the possibility of this coming to fruition remained on the table, the Sub-Mariner Comic got a reprieve from cancellation. For a variety of reasons transcribing the interview got put on the back burner, literally for decades, with the possibility of the TV series first getting mentioned by Roy when he interviewed Stan Lee for Comic Book Artist#2 in 1998, asking Stan if he knew any details about it (Stan didn't). Finally, in 2005, Roy published the long postponed Everett interview in TwoMorrows' Alter Ego#46, and that's where we finally got such details as we now have.
Everett recalled that the success of The
Adventures of Superman had prompted young TV producer Frank Saverstein
(Roy thinks Everett might have slightly misrecalled this detail, and
this might actually be Saperstein) to look for other superhero
properties that could be turned into rival series. A long time fan of
Namor, Frank had convinced fellow Sub-Mariner fan and successful Hoovier
comedian Herb Shriner to join him in trying to get a Namor series going.
They got financial backing from the highly successful broadcaster Arthur
Godfrey, and opened negotiations with Timely Comics' owner Martin
Goodman. Everett noted that in the comics Namor had lost many of his
powers, notably his ankle-wings, power of flight and super-strength, but
since the two Hollywood men were fans of the "original Sub-Mariner, as
he was before the war" and needed him to be able to compete with
Superman's TV show, suddenly the comics' version of Namor was restored
to full power. Everett was included in discussion about the proposed
direction of the show and was to be a story consultant, but was not
privy to the business negotiations. He recalled that despite the deal
not being completed with Goodman, the producers were so determined to
make the pilot that they had already bought a PT boat and "all kinds of
underwater equipment" in preparation for filming, and they informed him
that Richard Egan, then a successful actor mostly relegated to secondary
roles, had agreed to play Namor for the pilot. However, despite things
initially going well with all parties eager to proceed, at some point
during one of the negotiations that Everett was not present for
something went wrong, and the entire deal abruptly died.
Normally when it comes to covering characters or series who fall through, I'll only do so if we've got solid stuff to work off - character designs, concept art, publicity photos, or script information, for example. Without them, there's often not enough available to fill out a profile - for example, there was another proposal in the 1970s to make a Sub-Mariner TV show, but apart from it allegedly falling through because it was deemed too similar to The Man from Atlantis we don't know anything else about it. We similarly don't have any actual visuals or scripts for this series, since the 1970s production never got that far to the best of our knowledge. However, since the 1950s production did start purchasing equipment to film the show, and especially since the negotiations impacted back on the comic version, keeping his title in publication and boosting his abilities back to the higher levels they have maintained to this day, I figured it was worth making the exception here.
In terms of details above - Namor wasn't considered a mutant until his encounters with Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men, so this version would have simply been a human/Atlantean hybrid, ASSuming they kept that aspect of his backstory intact. I've used Richard Egan's physical statistics for Namor, since Egan was intended to portray him. And that image? After the Alter Ego interview was published, someone took a publicity shot of Egan and modified it, only very slightly, to show how Egan might have looked in the role, but I have no idea who, since it has been floating around the internet for a number of years now. For comparison, the original image is on the left; as you can see, all that was changed were the ear tips and design on the trunks; Egan looks very close to the character. I'll gladly attribute the photoshopper if anyone knows who it was; I've seen some mentions online suggesting it actually first showed up in Alter Ego, but if so it wasn't the same issue as the interview, and I've yet to track the correct issue down.
This profile was completed 08/20/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.
Profile by Loki.
Sub-Mariner is an alternate reality counterpart to :
images: (without ads)
photoshopped Richard Egan publicity shot (main image)
Richard Egan publicity shot (second image, for comparison)
First Posted: 09/21/2021
Last updated: 09/20/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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