Beauology 101: Sub-Mariner and Aquaman: Two Many Fish In The Sea

Beau Smith-King Of The Frozen Sea

Beau Smith-King Of The Frozen Sea


by Beau Smith

Growing up as a kid, two of my favorite mainstream, Marvel/DC Comic superheroes were The Sub-Mariner and Aquaman. They were favorites for various reasons. My family spent every Summer at the beach in North Carolina. I dreamed of one day surfing in the Pacific Ocean that The Beach Boys always sang about (I got to check that off in the ’90s). I found it intriguing that both Namor McKenzie and Arthur Curry were “Hybrids” or “Mutants”, your choice. Like a riptide, I was always drawn to the ocean. That was the core of liking these two characters.

I liked that they didn’t wear masks. In the Silver Age, when I grew up reading comic books, almost every character wore a mask. I always figured that these two guys were tough enough to saw, “Forget that. I am who I am… Deal with it or with my fist.” I liked that.

Aquaman In My Head.

Aquaman In My Head.


Aquaman and The Sub-Mariner looked different from each other. Namor had the black hair and dark looks, where Arthur was big, blonde and looked like a lifeguard. I thought since they were published by different companies, that really fit.

I was never crazy about either one of them being able to talk to or control ocean life. As a kid, I thought they should take more of a Tarzan route of if you’re gonna be king of the jungle, you should have to fight for it. Treat a shark like a lion, eat or beat it, before it eats or beats you. Be the King Of The Sea, don’t just claim it.

Sub-Mariner In My Head.

Sub-Mariner In My Head.


Speaking of Kings of the Sea, one thing I never liked about either character was Atlantis. Atlantis was nothing but an anchor to both of those characters. I felt the same about Asgard with Thor. It just pulls you down. All those togas everyone wore didn’t help either.

Every issue that dealt with Namor or Arthur being in Atlantis was a drag for me. It was like watching a bad Shakespearean play underwater. All of the “Thee and Thou” lingo left me cold and bored. Atlantis was a LOST city for a reason. It should stay that way. Aquaman and The Sub-Mariner were much more interesting above water than below. They were the original Fish Out of Water stories.

I liked the way Aquaman got along with the surface world. Sometimes Marvel took Namor’s hatred for the surface world too far. It’s okay if he doesn’t trust it 100%, but too much anger made him too one note. I always figured Namor to be smarter, and THAT was one of his powers in his ability quiver. I figured Namor really knew the history of both underwater and topside of the Earth. That came in handy during WWII, why not now?

Namor and Betty Out For A Fun Time.

Namor and Betty Out For A Fun Time.


Aquaman was a standup guy when it came to romance. He and Mera have always been a true marriage and partners. I like that. Namor, through history, was a rake, a playboy. He liked what he saw and he went after it. Ask Sue and Reed Richards. In the ’50s, Namor was not only a great dresser while on the surface, but he was always dating different women…and knew how to treat them…with respect. The 1950s were a very good storytelling time for The Sub-Mariner. You should check them out. Pay attention to the details and enjoy the stories more.

Arthur Curry and Mera.

Arthur Curry and Mera.


Aquaman was more of a family guy and he made it work. With Mera he had a partner that was a strong in intellect and abilities as he. In fact, if you read through older issues you’ll find that she was also a better driver of various underwater vehicles than Artie.

I liked it when John Byrne was writing Namor. I liked that he had him as somewhat of a Tycoon/Business Man on the surface. It made sense. It fit. It was refreshing.

I have never cared much for the black S&M looking costume and long hair that Namor has been shoved in as of late. That’s just Marvel dating themselves by trying to make him look “cool and relevant” to any “kids” they may think are reading comics. Wrong. DC Comics is stuck between trying to mimic the current film Aquaman and also trying to be seen as a cool kid. My suggestion, take the challenge of making the original look work. These are two characters that would scoff at being slaves to fashion.

The Invaders as drawn by John Byrne.

The Invaders as drawn by John Byrne.


I have always liked the core friendship that Namor has had with his partners in The Invaders and to a certain extent, The Defenders. To me, Captain America, Bucky Barnes, and the original Torch, are Namor’s best friends. I always read and saw Namor and Bucky’s relationship as nephew and “bad” Uncle. If memory serves me right, I belive it was Namor, not Steve Rogers, that taught Bucky, as a youth, how to drive/fly non-government issue vehicles. That was brought up in the last few years in an issue of The Invaders…or Captain America, written by possibly Ed Brubaker. My memory is sketchy.

Then we have the crossover question of who would win in a fight between the two Kings Of The Sea. That has never really been addressed…. Kinda like who would win between Yeti and Bigfoot? (A movie we all wanna see)

Personally, I don’t want to see them duking it out… Why? Because I don’t think there is anyone I would trust to do it right and without cliché. So, I’d rather not see it at all.

Call it conceit, but I call it love for the characters. I would want to see them truly be smart enough to put ocean turf wars aside, bond against a common enemy, not the surface world, and show everyone how you work as a team, as Warrior Kings defending a whole planet. I’m not gonna say more, because in my insane head, my chance may come one day and I’m not giving anything away for free. The odds of it happening are very slim, but like Namor and Arthur, I don’t back down and I don’t give up.

I just wanted to share my thoughts on these two Marvel and DC Comic characters that I feel have never been used to their complete potential. And as always, It’s just my opinion.

Swimmingly Yours,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

Follow me on Twitter ad Instagram at @BeauSmithRanch

 

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