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Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was a character created by Bill Everett in the late 1930s for a giveaway called Motion Picture Funnies Weekly that was printed in black and white and was intended to be handed out in movie theatres. When that idea fell through, Everett turned to a fledgling Atlas Comics Group, later to become Marvel Comics, and pitched his idea.

The character he gave them was a troubled half-breed, both Human and Atlantean, fighting to save his fabled underwater kingdom from the misguided but dangerous surface-dwellers. Namor had a short fuse, a naturally untrusting way, and a terrible strength which he unleashed on humans on a whim.

Namor had been born of the pairing of the Atlantean Emperor Thakorr's daughter, Fen, and an American sea captain, Leonard McKenzie, of the icebreaker Oracle. When Fen did not return, Thakorr sent soldiers to attack the Oracle, thinking her captured. In truth, McKenzie had taken her as his bride. In the ensuing attack, McKenzie was believed killed, and Fen returned to her Antarctic kingdom. Nine months later, a pink-skinned child was born among the blue-skinned Atlanteans.

Namor was to be Atlas's first "hero". Everett's creation would, in time, go up against his friend Carl Burgos's android Human Torch, and eventually, as the US entered the war, against Hitler and the Axis powers.

Over the years, Namor has remained a constant for Atlas, now Marvel Comics. Never really a hero or villain, he has matched himself against the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Doctor Doom, and many others, protecting his kingdom and seeking revenge on the surface world whenever it is threatened.