BY MATT TUCK
Grab your Namor keys because the hot gossip is that a casting announcement is imminent. While those Golden and Silver Age keys may be out of reach, there are still some undervalued Submariner comics that could take off.
THE BIG IDEA
Submariner fans, you may finally get your wish. The rumors of Namor and Atlantis invading Wakanda have resurfaced, which seems to happen every few months. This time around, the word is that Tenoch Huerta will bring Marvel’s first mutant to life in the Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever.
Huerta is hardly a household name, but Marvel is known for making stars as they did with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. For that matter, Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans didn’t rise to full A-list, superstar status until Marvel Studios came calling, so hiring a lesser-known actor to play Namor is not out of the norm for the MCU.
YE OLDE RUMORE MILLE
As promising as this rumor sounds, it could all be simply speculation and theory that goes nowhere. After all, Submariner fans have had their hearts broken before. Even before 2008’s Iron Man was in production, Universal Pictures reportedly considered making a Submariner film back in 2001.
Then there was Okoye’s comment about the oceans taking care of themselves in Endgame that churned the rumor mill. Within the past couple of years, there was gossip galore that Black Panther 2 would see the war between Atlantis and Wakanda straight from the comics.
Inevitably, it all came to nothing, and Kevin Feige chalked it up to complicated film and television rights for the Submariner. However, he indicated that Namor would eventually make it into the MCU. With the latest rumors, could that mean that Marvel Studios and Disney found a way to traverse the complex Namor maze? Considering this is the company that made a cross-studio deal with Sony Pictures, nothing is out of the question.
THE OTHER KEYS
The Submariner is Marvel’s oldest character. He was first introduced in 1939’s Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, which predated the original Human Torch by seven months. His debut and origin were reprinted in the holy grail of holy grails, Marvel Comics #1. Since he is a famous face that is just a year younger than Superman and a month older than Batman, that makes his Golden Age keys out of reach for the vast majority of collectors.
That is why most enthusiasts head toward his Silver Age keys. With the MCU setting the collecting world on fire, all those classic Marvel issues from the ‘60s have become vastly inflated. Before you think all the Submariner keys are too overpriced, check out these.
This is one of the more overlooked Namor keys that could turn out to be a diamond in the rough. Here you have the Submariner’s first meeting with the Avengers, and he just so happens to be teaming with the Hulk to wage war on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. That scenario could play out in the MCU, especially if Hulk returns to his more savage form.
Since this is an early Avengers issue, you can expect to pay over $1k for anything approaching the upper-mid grades and into the near-mint range. The real value is in the mid and lower grades. In April, a 6.0 sold for less than $700. However, the rumor mill is causing prices to surge because a 3.5 traded hands for a record $745 on June 9.
Namor was making the rounds in the early 1960s. Not only was he taking on the FF and the Avengers and teaming with Doctor Doom, but he even joined Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. What makes this a big deal is that it was the first time that Marvel confirmed that the Submariner was, in fact, a mutant. Not only that, he would be the oldest Marvel mutant, forever tying him to the X-Men.
Because of Namor’s ties to the X-Men, the Submariner, if he is indeed officially confirmed for Wakanda Forever, could introduce mutants to the MCU. That would cause this issue to skyrocket.
At the moment, you can still get it for a reasonable price. Just this month, a 4.5 sold for $460, which is a fraction of the cost for those FF keys. Whereas $1k will keep you in the low grades for the bigger issues, you can go all the way to a 7.0 for this gem.
MARVEL FEATURE #1
Bringing Namor into the MCU presents quite a few fun scenarios with the X-Men, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers. One of the most underrated possibilities could be the original Defenders, who debuted in Marvel Feature #1. Since Doctor Strange and Hulk are firmly established in the MCU, who’s to say we won’t see this super-team on a movie screen?
The values for all grades of Marvel Feature #1 have been on the rise. Last month, a 4.0 sold for a record-breaking $200. However, prices for MF #1 are still much lower than those Silver Age keys, and you can still get as high as a 9.2 for about $1k.
Assuming that Namor is the antagonist for the Black Panther sequel, then this will be a huge key to get your hands on. In these pages from 1980, you will find the first meeting between the Submariner and Black Panther. The two would go on to have one of the most celebrated rivalries in all of Marvel Comics.
The gossip is sending prices soaring for Defenders #84. A 9.8 sold for a record $1,000 on June 8, shattering the previous high of $297. Fortunately, the FMVs have not gone completely insane...yet. A 7.5 is still earning under $100 at the moment, though that could change overnight with a BP 2 confirmation from Marvel.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
It all sounds so wonderful at this point. Of course, this is where I have to incite the Feige Rule: until Kevin Feige confirms things, it doesn’t mean much. The fact that an actor’s name - and not just random fan casting, either - is being attached to the rumor adds some credence to this.
In the end, it’s hard to get too excited until Feige makes a statement. Still, the idea of Namor joining the MCU presents so many intriguing possibilities that it is hard not to get my hopes up. Here’s to the rumors pan out this time. Imperious rex, everyone.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.