Sub-Mariner #54 (second story)
Issue(s): Sub-Mariner #54 (second story and reprint only)
The Friedrich/Weiss story has Namor encountering a mermaid.
He follows her, and she leads him into a trap where he's attacked by a group of mutant fish people.
The octopus-man on the cover is pretty awesome, but the break-out character in the story is this frog guy.
After taking care of the fish people, he gets the story from the mermaid.
They are all a group of mutants that are forced to engage in subterfuge to survive. Namor decides to invite them back to his kingdom.
Meanwhile, a group of Atlantean troops led by the eye-patched Lorvex are out looking for Namor.
And their attitude upon seeing the mutant fish is enough to convince them to leave.
The way the words "mutant" and "mutie" are thrown around in this story, i had to double check to make sure this comic wasn't published in the 90s.
The Golden Age reprint is from Sub-Mariner Comics #39 (Apr 55), and shows Sub-Mariner's first meeting with Namora (since they were babies, anyway).
Note that this wasn't Namora's first appearance; it's part of a feature that was running in the Sub-Mariner Comics at the time showing scenes from his childhood, nominally in the form of diary entries.
The Sub-Mariner is not so interested in playing with girls.
Namora teaches him a lesson by trapping him in a sunken sub-marine. But when his dumb friends, including Byrrah, abandon him, it's Namora who helps him out.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Friedrich/Weiss back-up takes place in the "recent past" (relative to the main story in issue #54), before Namor renounced the throne of Atlantis and before Dorma was killed (Namor fleetingly thinks of her while chasing the mermaid). The Golden Age reprint is presented as a perusal of Namor's private diary. It was a continuity insert even when originally published, and takes place prior to Marvel Comics #1, which puts it outside the scope of my project. But since it's a diary, we can read it at any time, so i'm keeping it here with the other back-up from this issue for simplicity. The MCP place the first back-up between Sub-Mariner #35-36.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
IMHO this is the best Sub-Mariner issue I've seen so far in this series, mainly due to the vintage Bill Everett pencils & inks, but I also have to give much respect to the Alan Weiss pencils & inks. Weiss seems to be channeling Everett's inking style, & doing it very well, better than most of his contemporaneous inkers. I like these two artists' inks much better than 'most all of the Marvel house style inkers. Sad to see that this issue isn't presently available digitally at marvel.com. My eye is very enamored of the fine feathering brush style, and rich detail in the backgrounds, esp. in Everett's scans, but I also see some of it in Weiss' scans, particularly in his 1st page splash panel, which resembles the Everett vintage work better than his other scans shown here.
Everett stands far & above any other comics artist I've seen at creating the illusion that we are truly underwater. Plenty of darkness, and I love his lines that look like swirling patterns of water between the camera and characters and backgrounds. Everett's characters are rarely if ever seen standing on the ocean bottom-- have you ever tried standing on the bottom of a deep pool without floating upwards?
One thing that always breaks the illusion is when characters talk without bubbles coming out of their mouths. That's how it would be, I suppose, if one could actually breathe water through gills, and for comics it seems a fair enough convention to use, but it would be nice to see some explanation for it.
Posted by: Holt | October 11, 2017 12:00 AM
I agree that Everett's art is very well done at presenting Namor and others as actually being underwater. Most artists draw underwater scenes as if they are on the surface. Not only do we not see things as if they were underwater, everything is depicted as if life was on the surface with no thought given as to how homes, cities, etc. would be like underwater. Writers have similar problems when it comes to their plots. I understand why people are lazy like that, but it would be nice to have more creators do some real thinking in this regard. I think Byrne made some real effort during his NAMOR run, but he actually had relatively little depictions of life under water. But when he did, he definitely put work into it.
Posted by: Chris | April 29, 2018 2:48 PM
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