Posted by: waterworks | February 2, 2008

18. Sub-Mariner versus Aquaman

Again and again, water has provided inspiration of the first order for fantasy writers.  One of the most enduring myths is that of Atlantis, from which two successful superhero franchises sprang during the first half of the Twentieth Century.  First came Sub-Mariner (pronounced “sub-mareener” by successive generations of school-children).  Also known as Prince Namor, the character is one of Marvel Comics’ oldest intellectual properties, pre-dating icons like Spiderman and Hulk by over twenty years.  Created way back in 1939 by writer and artist Bill Everett, Sub-Mariner is very strong and can breathe underwater. The offspring of a human and an Atlantean Princess, he is ruler of the submerged kingdom of Atlantis.  Distinguishing features include tiny wings on his ankles, while pointed ears give Sub-Mariner more than a passing resemblance to Star Trek’s Spock.  

Not to be out-done by Marvel, arch-rival DC Comics promptly unveiled its own Atlantean superhero shortly after Sub-Mariner’s first appearance.  In 1941, a character christened Aquaman joined the same fictional universe that is home to Batman and Superman.  Like Sub-Mariner, Aquaman is a half-human, half-Atlantean hybrid.  Unlike Sub-Mariner, he wears bright green trousers (they look a little like giant wading boots) and can communicate with marine wildlife.  He has also starred in Smallville (DC’s re-branded Superman vehicle for TV).  So who would win in a fight between Aquaman and the Sun-Mariner?  This remains – for now – one of the great un-answered questions of our age, along with: “Will climate change be the downfall or civilisation – or its making?” and “Explain the success of the bottled water industry in those nations where tap water in perfectly acceptable to drink.”    

        What if…. exams were like this?



  1. Whose side would the Stargate Atlantis team be on? That might effect the result.

  2. To quibble semantics, debated might be more accurate a term than, unanswered. [RE: Namor vs Aquaman]

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