Bristling with hubris, superiority and snark, Namor the Sub-Mariner is not only one of Marvel's most heavy-hitting titans, but also one of its first. He was one of the original supermen; the first superhero to fly; and one of the first comic book anti-heroes, waging war on the human world even from his earliest appearances.

Though he first appeared in an unpublished giveaway comic, Motion Picture Funnies, Namor's earliest published appearance occurred on this day in 1939, in what was effectively the first "Marvel" comic, Marvel Comics #1, published by Marvel's predecessor Timely. Created by writer/artist Bill Everett, Namor made his debut alongside the first appearance of the Human Torch, and stories featuring early incarnations of Ka-Zar and Angel.

Namor was initially an enemy of America, and fast became a nemesis of the Human Torch when he tried to sink Manhattan. But when the US entered the war, Namor fought alongside the Allies against the Axis Powers, establishing early on that he could be both hero and villain. The arrival of the Fantastic Four in 1962 allowed him to play these roles again, sometimes saving the world, and sometimes working alongside Doctor Doom to conquer it. He also gained a new role through his attempted seduction of Sue Storm; super-playboy. Flaunting his scanty ensembles, regal charm, and imperial ego, Namor became a superhero sex symbol.

To celebrate all the different sides of the character across more than 75 years of comic book history, and perhaps to help quench your thirst for much more Namor, we've compiled a gallery of some of our favorite Sub-Mariner art.


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