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June 11, 2009


Pat Curley

The top of his head in those last few pictures reminds me of that ridiculous Spiderman villain, Hammerhead. It also seems like a very poor evolutionary adaptation for a race of swimmers.

One of Marvel's interesting qualities was that they did things by the seat of their pants (referring here more to the Silver Age than the Golden), and thus Stan was willing to change things if the fan reaction indicated a need to do so, whereas DC's characters were fully realized the moment they stepped onto the stage, but they then stagnated.

David Morefield

I'm glad you posted something about this. One of the things that always kept me from getting into Namor was his inconsistent nature, visual and otherwise. I don't think I'll ever understand how it could seem like a good idea to make the hero of a book look like a carnival freak, especially when you have to deliberately evolve him in that direction from a fairly normal beginning.

Considering the lengths Roy Thomas went to to explain much more trivial inconsistencies in old comics, I'm surprised he never offered an explanation for Namor's transformations (exposure to radiation? Genetic instability due to his mixed heritage? Skrull imposter?). Or did he?

Mark Engblom

"One of the things that always kept me from getting into Namor was his inconsistent nature, visual and otherwise. "

I recall John Byrne exploring the Sub-Mariner's erratic behavior in his 1990's Namor series.

Byrne attributed the crazy mood swings to Namor's status as a genetic hybrid. In other words, due to his half-human, half-Atlantean blood chemistry, Namor wasn't fully suited to life underwater or the surface world. If he spent too much time in either environment, it would result in a severe oxygen imbalance... which would then trigger one of his fabled hissy-fits and/or bouts of villainous behavior.

An interesting theory, and one that works for me. As for the visual changes, I don't think anyone (not even Roy Thomas) has addressed those. Essentially, it can just be chalked up to "artistic license", but considering the extremes Namor's head was subjected to, maybe a few of those licenses needed to be revoked!

Dan Lietha

He looks pretty "Vulcanish" to me. Could Namor be the original Vulcan? Could HE be Spock's real father? Hmmmmmm. Can Spock swim?


Great pictures and test, Mark--LMAO!

Have you seen Alex Maleev's take on Namor, in the revent Secret Invasion: Dark Reign? Namor looks like a cross between kevin Pollak and David Paymer--middle-aged, balding, with less than regal features. Unrecogizable--well, except for the costume.

May I post a link so you can see for yourself?



Oh--I meant "text", obviously--not "test"!

Mark Engblom

LOL! That is HORRIBLE, Shar! Good LORD! How can they publish that garbage! He looks more like Pete Townsend than Namor! Geez....I'd prefer the alien-head Namor over that. Thanks for the link...which just proves that Marvel STILL doesn't have a visual handle on the Sub-Mariner.


IIRC, when that comic first came out, people figured out that the Namor visual was based on photos of actor Jean Reno.


LOL. I visited this topic a few times myself:


and my favorite, http://booksteveslibrary.blogspot.com/2007/10/namor-is-that-you.html


Wasn't his hair brown during WWII because they didn't want to make him look Japanese? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember reading that somewhere.

Ice Saber

The problem here is that everyone insists that the Sub-Mariner act as if he were an American super hero. Namor is not American, nor is he human. His "fits of rage" are completely understandable from his people's viewpoint- if some nation was dumping toxic waste on your shores, and depth-charge bombing your people, wouldnt you be enraged? And if you had the power of the Sub-Mariner wouldnt you retaliate? Namor is not erratic. As for his different appearances, different artists are going to draw him in different ways. Some of them just get sloppy.

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