Sub-Mariner #1: Profitable or Fishy?

by Norman Robinson III

Sub-1-198x300 Sub-Mariner #1: Profitable or Fishy?Sub-Mariner had his time in the spotlight then disappeared until the 60s. He eventually returned to the superhero ranks, though. This begs the question we will see him in a movie? Back in 2016, there was a catalyst for a potential movie, but so far just rumors. I am pretty sure his development will be released at some point, hopefully, this year. Is this aquatic Imperius Rex worthy of a King’s ransom in speculative gold, or does this investment simply smell a little fishy?

History of Sub-Mariner

He is one of the oldest superheroes in Marvel. Originally he appeared in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939. He is the son of Princess Fen of Atlantis and a human sea captain. Namor a.k.a. the Sub-Mariner was born with superpowers, of flight, strength, invulnerability, speed, aquatic telepathy, and even Hydrokinesis. Later in his saga, he is described as the first mutant. His early comics had him fighting the Axis powers during WWII, alongside the Human Torch and even Captain America.

Eventually like most of the Golden Age superheroes; he fades from popularity and doesn’t appear again until the ’60s. Johnny Storm of the FF discovers a bum with superpowers and is shocked that it is actually Namor with amnesia. He throws Namor into the sea and that causes his memories to flood back. Unfortunately, Namor blames humanity for his present condition and the harm done to his people with nuclear testing in the oceans of the world. Thus Namor the villain is born. He fights the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and a multitude of others.

Marvel-Comics-209x300 Sub-Mariner #1: Profitable or Fishy?Marvel Comics #1

Though not the first appearance of Sub-Mariner in comics it has been known and sold at that for many years. This is prior to the issue with Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 showing up on the scene. “The Origin of the Sub-Mariner by Bill Everett (first newsstand appearance); First 8 pages were produced for Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1; Introduction of Human Torch by Carl Burgos, Kazar the Great (First Tarzan clone) & Jungle Terror (only appearance)” (GoCollect).





Tidbit of Sub-Mariner Trivia

This comic (Marvel Comics #1) has had two printings. This is something surely upsetting to any Golden Age collector if they weren’t in the know. After all who wants to pay top dollar for one of these books and only have it be the second print!

“The final repetition of the volume/issue/title number with the Nov. date is present only on the 2nd printing. Some but not all issues of the second printing reportedly had the October information at least partially blacked out.] According to Rip at the boards, the print runs were 80,000 on the October edition and 800,000 on the November edition.” That said, it is nice to know the true origin and this makes Namor one of the earliest of the superheroes. Bill Everett gets the primary billing as creator and the pencils had an entire team of artists.


Fantastic-Four-4-203x300 Sub-Mariner #1: Profitable or Fishy?Fantastic Four #4

Sub-Mariner appeared in the Silver Age in Fantastic Four #4 as a villain. He was recreated by Stan Lee and Kirby who tagged him as a villain and love interest to Sue Storm. Makes us all want to scream “Biff (Namor) get your damn hands off her!” He eventually becomes a superhero again but not before taking on most of that day’s superhero teams. Finally, Namor also appears in his second self-titled book in the late ’60s, Sub-Mariner #1.






Sub-Mariner #1

The Sub-Mariner’s second self-titled comic book series and 1st in the Silver Age was Sub-Mariner #1. It was created in 1968 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema two creators who gave us some of the best Conan comics. Also, this book has the first Silver Age origin story. So it is a multilevel key book but is it profitable? How does it stack up to the larger primary keys?


Title Grade Last Sale CGC Census Trend Return
Sub-Mariner #1 9.8 $6000 70 +112.6%
Fantastic Four #4 9.6 $81000 7 +44%
Marvel Comics #1 9.4 $1,260,000 recently paid on Heritage on 11/21/19 3 N/A


subby-torpedo-300x169 Sub-Mariner #1: Profitable or Fishy?Conclusion

Are we seeing a pattern above that might be familiar and at the same time obvious? I am talking about a limited number in CGC Census or put simply rarity. The rarity of the book is a stark example of the correlated price for that comic book.

Sub-Mariner #1 is the guppy of the group with 70 outstanding 9.8’s per CGC Census and the last sale was $6000. His first appearance in Marvel Comics #1 (notwithstanding the Funnies Comic true first) brings in a whopping $1.2 million dollars!

If you can afford a copy of Sub-Mariner #1; then try to go as high a grade as you can as Imperius Rex is worthy of it. The long-term results are solid, the short term is almost completely positive throughout the strata of grading.  With the potential appearance in a movie, these investment results could smell like freshly pan-seared salmon, and not day-old sardines. All hail to Imperius Rex; he is here to stay!


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