OK, a gap opened up in the Sourcewall, see, and out dropped disks of the old 60's Marvel Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner cartoon. It's been close to forty-five since I've seen them last, and I never even knew they was Thor and Sub-Mariner ones when I was a kid. So, anyway, let's see what I see.
I haven't watched any of the Sub-Mariner cartoons since they originally were aired. It had crossed my mind that his TTA stories started late. Maybe they integrated artwork featuring Namor (like they did with the FF and Avengers stories) with monsters from old Atlas comics, villains with tweaked artwork or some new characters they had drawn in Marvel style.
Since Sub-Mariner had so little new material to draw from maybe they shouldn't have chosen him as a protagonist.
Seems there should be some 40s or 50s stories in there somewhere. Most of the non-Astonish stories they could use were FF stories, although since they used the wedding of Reed and Sue (despite not using Reed and Sue!) it looks like anything goes. I'd guess Avengers#3 doesn't turn up because they don't want two of their five stars being the bad guys. It would have made a great episode.
Watching Captain America I briefly saw a few scenes for a few seconds that looked like John Romita. Since at that time I don't think he'd handled Cap outside of the three 1954 issues, they might have been tossing in brief pre-Silver Age passages. Anything in any of Namor's shows that looks like it might be Bill Everett, even for just a few seconds?
Why did they choose him? Why did Filmation choose Aquaman? Was Atlantic really popular in the late 60s? Seems Daredevil would have been a much better choice. Or could someone have objected to a blind superhero back then? Maybe if the show had come out a year earlier Giant-Man would have gotten the series and maybe not gotten kicked out of Tales to Astonish. Would Doctor Strange have been rejected for pushing the occult? (Which would have been odd since Thor and Loki were going around saying they were gods.)
I think Namor was chosen for several reasons:
1. Once upon a time, he was a really big deal. If you think about it, National/American had many popular legacy characters to pull from in terms of it's history, but Timely only had three: the Human Torch, Captain America and Namor. It's entirely likely that Marvel/Grantray wanted to cash in on nostalgia.
2. At the time, there were very, very few really good Daredevil stories to work with. I doubt there would be much excitement over DD taking on the likes of the Purple Man, the Matador or the Gladiator. Giant-Man and the Wasp had even worse villains. Even if they had to overuse Attuma, he was much more imposing than anything Daredevil had to offer.
3. There will always be a fascination with some over the idea that someone rules Earth's water, whether or not it's executed well. Tehre's tons of potential there, but it's rarely been realized.
4. In many ways, Namor is a great character in that he works either as a protagonist or an antagonist, and quite frankly, no matter which role he's filling, he's a good fit.
"The Start of the Quest!"
Krang overthrew Namor while Namor was visiting his grandma. Namor must go in pursuit of the Trident of Neptune in order to get his throne back. He fights a giant squid and seaweed monster. I suddenly realize that Namor (alternately pronounced "Nay-mer" and "Nay-more" here) is also voiced by John Vernon.
Yet when both Sub-Mariner and John Vernon appeared in an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Vernon played Dr. Strange instead of Namor. Did they not know he'd been Namor before or just didn't care?
Odd they'd go with his grandmother (who I never heard of in the comics) instead of using his mother, who used to turn up all the time in the 40s.
“I'm sorry I wrote the above, as it's probably nonsense.”
Not necessarily, Luke. I agree it does have a “comic book art look” about it. No story I recognize, but perhaps some of those images could have been lifted from one of Marvel’s romance titles…? Just a thought.
I think all of the Grantray-Lawrence cartoons were released in 1966 (which kind of limits the source choice). All of the stories you mention (Attuma, Byrrah, Krang, space robot) are from Tales to Astonish. Byrrrah was a character Everett had introduced in the ‘50s, and I’m certain it was Everett who decided to bring him back. (I have no authentication for this assertion; it just makes sense.)
Also plots could have been drawn from older Namor stories and matched to new art, and I'd never be able to spot those. I've not read enough 40s/50s Namor stories.
I gave up looking for sources when I couldn't find any matches between the Attuma episodes and his stories to that point. I've not read the Iron Man and Avengers ones, but their plots didn't seem to match.
I don't think Byrrah had appeared in TTA at that point. He did in 1967.
Come to think of it, I do have authentication that it was Everett's idea to bring back Byrrah; Roy Thomas said so in one of his MMW intrdoctions. The Secret Empire was also closely modeled after a (non-Subby) Everett tale from the '50s. (I assert that myself from one of two BE archives published by Fantagraphics.) I'm fairly certain that no 1950s artwork was used for any of the cartoons. That technique they used made it easy to produce cartoons with minimal new artwork, but that doesn't mean they didn't use any.
I think I did GCD searches for the titles of all the unidentified episodes as given at Wikipedia, as many of the other episodes use the original titles, and couldn't find anything. "Not All My Power Can Save Me!", which I took be after the story from TTA #73, has its title from #75's Hulk story.
The Baron said:
Luke Blanchard said:
The origin episode has a comic book art look, so think it must have had a source. It looks too modern to be based on a Golden Age story, so my guess is it's based on a written-off instalment done for Tales of Suspense or a try-out story.
We just watched "Peril in the Surface World" on Youtube using my Roku device on my actual TV. Since she isn't familiar with the Sub-Mariner I pointed out to my wife that even though he looks like Mr Spock, Namor had been around since 1939. I was also struck by the Atlantean look of his grandmother.
Something just occurred to me. When Hulk took over Tales to Astonish and Captain America took over Tales of Suspense there was a one-shot comic called Iron Man & Sub-Mariner #1 (APR68). This immediately preceded Iron Man #1 and Sub-Mariner #1. I no longer have it, but according to GCD, Iron Man & Sub-Mariner #1 contains an origin story for Namor. I wonder if this is the source for the cartoon's origin story?
No, it is not.