Namor the Sub-Mariner is a fiction comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe, and one of the first superhero, debuting in Spring 1939. The character was created by writer-artist Bill Everett for Funnies Inc., one of the first "packagers" in the early days of comic books that supplied comics on demand to publishers looking to enter the new medium. Initially created for the unreleased comic Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, the Sub-Mariner first appeared publicly in Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939) — the first comic book from Timely Comics, the 1930s-1940s predecessor of the company Marvel Comics. During that period, known to historians and fans as the Golden Age of Comic Books, the Sub-Mariner was one of Timely's top three characters, along with Captain America and the original Human Torch. Everett said the character's name was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".
The mutant son of a human sea captain and of a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis, Namor possesses the super-strength and aquatic abilities of the "Homo mermanus" race, as well as the mutant ability of flight, along with other superhuman powers. Through the years, he has been alternately portrayed as a good-natured but short-fused superhero, or a hostile invader seeking vengeance for perceived wrongs that misguided surface-dwellers committed against his kingdom.
The first known comic book antihero, the Sub-Mariner has remained a historically important and relatively popular Marvel character. He has served directly with the Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Invaders, and the X-Men as well as serving as a foil to all of them on occasion.
Namor the Sub-Mariner first appeared in April 1939 in the prototype for a planned giveaway comic titled Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, produced by the comic book packager Funnies Inc. The only eight known samples among those created to send to theater owners were discovered in the estate of the deceased publisher in 1974. When the giveaway idea fell through, creator Everett used the character for Marvel Comics #1, the first comic book by Funnies, Inc. client Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel. The final panel of the earlier, unpublished eight-page Sub-Mariner story had included a "Continued Next Week" box that reappeared, sans lettering, in an expanded 12-page story. The series Marvel Comics was retitled Marvel Mystery Comics with issue #2 (Dec. 1939).
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