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Sub-Mariner: Celebrating 70

Writer Roy Thomas dives into Namor's past in the SUB-MARINER COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

By Jim Beard

When Marvel Comics wants to celebrate their 70th anniversary with a shocking new Sub-Mariner saga, there's only one creator to completely submerge himself in the task: legendary writer Roy Thomas.

On April 15, Thomas spins a Namor yarn in the SUB-MARINER COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, a birthday bash so breathtaking you may need an aqua-lung. A young Avenging Son plies the waters of 1940, a lone figure standing between the Allies and the Axis during World War II—but can he be tempted to take a side? Therein lies the tale.

"In looking for a story idea, I found myself thinking about the fact that there was nothing inevitable, from a dramatic viewpoint, in Namor's winding up fighting for the Americans—et alone the British, before Pearl Harbor—against the Nazis," explains Thomas. "So I have him toying, at least momentarily, with the notion of helping the Germans instead."

When Namor the Sub-Mariner debuted in 1939 within the pages of MOTION PICTURE FUNNIES WEEKLY—reprinted later that year in the seminal MARVEL COMICS #1—he

proved more a menace to human society than one of its saviors. Only after witnessing the heroics of the Human Torch and others did the deep sea hybrid turn to the job of fighting injustice.

In 1975, Thomas helmed the classic INVADERS series, a look back to Marvel's Golden Age champions in new stories that wove in and out of the real-life events of World War II. The title kicked off a wave of retro-fitted 1940's adventures that still echoes today.

"It was a real thrill to be asked by [editor] Tom Brevoort to write a Sub-Mariner story set in the 1939-41 period when the character was new and fresh from the hand and mind of my old friend Bill Everett," says Thomas. "It's the closest I've come in a couple of years now to being able to script a new INVADERS series, which is a fervent desire of mine.

"Sub-Mariner was one of the greatest and most original of Golden Age heroes, and Bill one of the best of the early artists and writers in the field."

Cover art by
Mitch Breitweiser

Alongside Thomas' writing on this titanic tale one can find the lush artwork of Mitch Breitweiser, known for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE CHOSEN, DRAX THE DESTROYER and HULK: RAGING THUNDER. The 48-page one-shot also contains another Namor story by Mark Schultz and Al Williamson plus a bonus reprinting of Subby's very first 1939 adventure.

Celebrate 70 years of Marvel on April 15 with the SUB-MARINER COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL. While you're waiting, check out Marvel's official 70th Anniversary site, plus Namor on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!

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