Namora has no time to argue the point. Artist: Bill Everett.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1947
Creator: Ken Bald
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The first American comic books were sustained by superheroes, such as The Crimson Avenger, The Blue Beetle and The Black Terror. After a few years, tho, publishers …

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… were struggling to keep interest in their characters alive. At Marvel Comics, one of the ploys was to partner up each hero with a female counterpart. Thus, Captain America traded Bucky for Golden Girl, The Human Torch took on Sun Girl, and, in Marvel Mystery Comics #82 (May, 1947), The Sub-Mariner met Namora.

Namora was Subbie's cousin, but that's not why she bore a female version of his given name (Namor, which means "Avenging Son" in the Atlantean language both had grown up with). She chose her name over "Aquaria Nautica Neptunia", as she'd originally been called, because she decided "Avenging Daughter" better described her new outlook on life after criminals wiped out her underwater community, leaving her the sole survivor. Her first major story involved achieving that vengeance.

The name wasn't her only similarity with Namor. She too was a human/Atlantean hybrid, and she too had little wings on her heels that didn't come from either side of the family. (After a little while, they were dropped without comment.) And she too wound up superheroing on a regular basis in the surface world.

Namora's creation is generally ascribed to Bill Everett, who had created that earlier Atlantean superhero. Actually, her first appearance was done by artist Ken Bald (Venus) and an unknown scripter. But Everett (who later co-created Daredevil) drew many of the adventures she had without her cousin, and is the artist most associated with her.

Namora got her own series in Marvel Mystery, had stories in the back pages of a couple of other heroes' comics, and even had her own comic. It ran three issues, all published in 1948. But in '49, Marvel finally gave up on superheroes altogether (at least for a while), and dropped all it had.

Marvel conducted a brief revival of them in the '50s, and Namora was there alongside Subbie. This was scarcely noticed by the comics reading public at the time, but establishing she was active in that decade enabled writer Don Glut (Dagar the Invincible, Tragg & the Sky Gods) to include her in a story that gathered several '50s characters into an incunabular version of The Avengers.

It was in the '60s and beyond that the superheroes were really revived. But Namora didn't fare well in the new environment — in fact, she was killed off before she had a chance to catch on. She did, tho have a clone daughter, Namorita ("Little Avenging Daughter", perhaps?), who also served as Subbie's sidekick for a little while. More recently, she became a member of The New Warriors and got romantically involved with the successor of her elder cousin's ancient rival, The Human Torch.

While comic book deaths aren't always permanent, Namora's, which involves a character without much of a fan following, might be.


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Text ©2004-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.