Which comic was Namor’s first appearance?



In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, we attempt to resolve the surprising controversy over Namor’s comic book first appearance in

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and seventy-fourth episode where we take a look at three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions. Future FEW installments will all center on Namor, honoring the historic Marvel character making his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

NOTE: If my twitter page reached 5,000 subscribers, I’ll be doing a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Good deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


Namor first appeared in Marvel Comics #1, which was to be REPRINTED in Movie Funnies Weekly #1.


I go with false

As promised in a recent Comic Book Legends Revealed, let’s finally dive into the quagmire of the great “Did Movie Funnies Weekly #1 REALLY get out first Marvel Comics #1?” Debate, a debate for which we don’t have a DEFINITIVE answer, but at least I have my answer. So here we go!

RELATED: How Marvel Kept Namor’s Creator Involved in His Series During the Last Months of His Life


Alright, let’s quickly recap the basic backstory of Namor’s early days. As I’ve noted a few times, the early days of most comic book companies usually involved what were called comic book “packers”. A comic book packaging studio would write and draw an entire comic book for you. You owned the characters, but they wrote and drew them, and you just had to publish the comics and collect the money. Of course, you had to pay them in advance. Obviously, if you wanted to start your own comic book business quickly, hiring a comic book packaging studio was by far the easiest way to do it.

One of the most popular comic book packaging studios was Lloyd Jacquet’s Funnies, Inc., which he built through a number of freelancers for Centaur Publishing, one of the first comic book companies (and l “one of the few that existed before the comic book packaging system had taken hold. Obviously, National Comics, which is now DC, was the most famous comic book company that existed before the comic book packaging studios drawn).

Comic book giveaways were big back in the day (in fact, as I noted in the above link Comic Book Legends Revealed, comic book giveaways basically CREATED the modern comic book industry ), and so Jacquet had the idea of ​​making a gift comic called Movie Funnies Weekly for movie theaters (a full 36-page comic, rather than the short pamphlets like most other comic book giveaways).


In this issue, there was a Sub-Mariner story by Bill Everett (in black and white)…


The comic was not taken over to go into a real series (hence my recent caption where I noted that Namor’s first appearance was never published in Movie Funnies Weekly #1, because this comic was never published).

Then, as the story progressed, Jacquet took that comic book idea and used it for Marvel Comics #1, instead…

That’s the generally accepted story…but is there a DRAMATIC TWIST?!?! Did Namor actually appear in Marvel Comics #1 FIRST?!?!

RELATED: How Namor’s Accidental Red Suit Almost Returned to the 1990s


This theory is usually credited to the excellent comic book historian/collector, Warren Reece, and here’s the gist of it. First, Jacquet PAID Everett for Marvel Comics #1, not Movie Funnies Weekly #1. Second, we don’t know with absolute CERTAINTY when Movie Funnies Weekly was produced, because, again, it was never published, so there’s no date for the book’s release, and so there’s anecdotal evidence that people remember seeing Marvel Comics #1 on the FRONT bleachers Movie Funnies Weekly #1 is out. To finish, Movie Funnies Weekly #1 was done in black and white, and the kind of special effect Everett came up with for the water in that first issue wouldn’t have made as much sense if the comic had been done in black and white and not in color, like Marvel Comics #1 was…


Reece’s theory is that Movie Funnies Weeklyas some sort of comic book mockup designed to make people pay to make a real comic out of it, would have made more sense if it was filled with reprints of other material, and since we don’t know for sure when Movie Funnies Weekly #1 was around, it’s true that it’s possible that Marvel Comics #1 came out first.

Now what do I think? Matt Nelson has written an excellent column on the subject, and I find myself generally agreeing with Nelson, especially on the one major piece of evidence that Movie Funnies Weekly came first, namely the end of page 8. In Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, it said “Continued to next issue”, but in Marvel Comics #1, it’s blacked out…


then the story continues on four pages…


It basically makes no sense for the 12-page story to be reduced to 8 pages this way, because the 8-page is clearly a separate story unto itself.

Also, George Kapitan wrote a letter to Overstreet years ago by stating that Everett specifically told him that WAS precisely what happened (that he did the 8 pages first, then added the other four pages later). Seems like stronger evidence than people who just remember seeing marvel comics #1 first decades after the fact, right?

The coloring effect is intriguing, but I think you could easily argue that with a comic book packaging studio, Everett wouldn’t have known if the art he was making was going to be released in color or not. As for payment, it could easily be that he didn’t get paid for the story until it sold, because Jacquet would know he could sell it to someone else if Movie Funnies Weekly didn’t work out, and the way his deals worked out, once he sold it to someone else, they had exclusive rights to the character, so it makes more sense to buy the story elsewhere BEFORE, rather than AFTER it was published in another comic.

This stuff is admittedly a bit more speculative, but the 8 pages/4 pages is not. I think this situation is quite self-explanatory. Why would a comic end with a “Next Issue Continued” on page 8 if it was done AFTER the 12-page version? It does not mean anything.

Thanks to Matt Nelson for his work, and thanks also to Warren Reece, for introducing such an interesting theory, even though I tend to oppose it.


Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Which famous talk show host wouldn’t appear on The Simpsons if they made fun of him?

2. Was the famous Star Trek interracial kiss originally supposed to take place between Uhura and SPOCK?

3. Were the sets for Little House on the Prairie destroyed so no one else could use them?

4. Was the song “Hey Man, Nice Shot” inspired by Kurt Cobain’s Suicide?


Check back soon for part 2 of the legends of this episode!

Feel free to send me suggestions for future comic legends at [email protected] or [email protected]

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