Public Domain Super Heroes


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The Sub-Mariner

Real Name

Namor McKenzie

First Appearance

Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (April, 1939)

Original Publisher

First Funnies, Inc.

Created by

Bill Everett


Namor, the "Avenging Son," was the hybrid son of an air-breathing human and a water-breathing sub-mariner. He ran afoul of some surface-dwellers and, after killing them and taking their bodies to his home kingdom, was commended for his deed by his mother, Fen, who had the bodies displayed in the royal chamber to be seen as the beginning of the revenge the sub-mariners would soon have over surface-dwellers.


In his first appearance, the character was introduced as "An ultra-man of the deep... Lives on land and in the sea... Flies in the air... Has the strength of a thousand men... Is a youth of dynamic personality... Quick thought and fast action... From whence does he come and what is his mission?"

Public Domain Appearances

  • Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1
  • Marvel Comics #1


  • Neither of the appearances listed above (which are both the same story, one in black and white, the other in color) were renewed in their 28th year which, per copyright law at the time, caused them to enter the public domain.
  • Namor was not an Atlantean in these appearances, nor was he from the kingdom of Atlantis! His people were known as "sub-mariners" and the kingdom went nameless. The Atlantis connection was made by Marvel decades later.
  • Also missing in these appearances, is any claim of Namor being royalty! In one panel, his mother does order the bodies of the dead humans taken to "the royal chamber" however, she is never stated to be a member of the royal family. She could, just as easily, simply have been their head maid!
  • Having said that, Bill Everett has stated that he chose the name "Namor" because he wanted something unique yet, regal sounding so chose "Roman" backwards... strongly suggesting he must have had a "royal" status in mind for the character at the time of creation.
  • Although the Sub-Mariner meeting the Human Torch in Marvel Mystery Comics #8 (June 1940) is commonly believed to be the first crossover in American comic books, MLJ's teaming up of the Wizard and the Shield in Top-Notch Comics #5 came out the month prior (May 1940).

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