He Watched It Sober.

Trust us. We won't let this happen to you.


The Marvel Super-Heroes

Show Presents:

The Sub-Mariner 

in Atlantis Under Attack

and Dr. Doom's Day

     "I'm being attacked by a giant man-eating clam!"

-- The Mighty Sub-Mariner   









Mouse Over Image:

The Iceman Danceth!


Watch it!



Best Bet:

Sights &
 Original Airdate:
  September 1, 1966
 Episodes :: 13
 Animation /
 Marvel Enterprises

More Mighty
Marvel Animated

The Mighty Thor

Invincible Iron Man

The Sub-Mariner

The Incredible Hulk


Okay, sing it with me:

"Stronger than a whale! He can swim anywhere! 

He can breathe underwater, and go flying through the air! 

The noble Sub-Mariner! Prince of the Deep!

Something! Something! Something! Something! Something!

Lord Namor of Atlantis is the Prince of the Deep!"

Sorry, but, try as a might, I could not decipher that last part of the chorus. To me, it's sounds something like "He's a hairy-knuckled demon" but I don't believe that's quite right. Several people have e-mailed in, and according to them, the actual lyrics go "So beware any demons!" Sounds good to me. So, one more time, with feeling!

"Stronger than a whale! He can swim anywhere! 

He can breathe underwater and go flying through the air! 

The noble Sub-Mariner! Prince of the Deep!

 So beware any Demons!

Lord Namor of Atlantis is the Prince of the Deep!"

For those who aren't hep to the comic scene, the Sub-Mariner was one of Marvel Comic's flagship characters. He fought alongside Captain America and the first Human Torch against the Nazis and Japs in World War II. He also successfully made the transition to the newer continuity, along with Cap, after The Fantastic Four started Marvel's innovative silver age in the 1960's. Once revived, he alternated almost weekly from being a hero or a villain. In his own title, he was fighting treachery in Atlantis. In other mags, he was a troublemaker, invader of the surface world, and a frequent tormentor of the Fantastic Four because he had a thing for the Invisible Girl. However, the character could never carry a solo title for very long. He's had three failed attempts at his own series and shared a title with the Hulk, but was eventually dumped. Since then, he's served as a member in several team books, including The Defenders and The Avengers and, now apparently, Marvel is touting him as the first Mutant, which puts him squarely in the X category. Regardless, with all those other characters available for adapting for animation, old Namor seems like a odd choice. But there it is and here we are...

Okay, so, our first episode, Atlantis Under Attack, begins in that fabled underwater city, where, the Sacred Trident of Neptune -- the symbol of royalty and leadership, has just been stolen, and Prince Namor, the fabled Sub-Mariner, must face the fact that Vashti, his trusted grand vizier, is the prime suspect because he, too, is missing. (And that's an awful lot of commas one sentence.) Unable to believe that his trusted advisor would betray him so, along with his beloved Lady Dorma (Peg Dixon), Namor (John Vernon) searches for clues to exonerate their friend. But all they can find in the chamber where the Trident (-- a diamond studded pitchfork --) was kept is a chunk of amethyst from the Dreaded Caverns. Believing Vashti has been caught up in some kind of plot to overthrow her King, Dorma thinks the rock was planted there just to lure Namor away into a trap. Namor doesn't disagree, but he must help Vashti. When Dorma offers to go with him Namor tells her to stay put and keep an eye on things while he's gone because there be treachery afoot.

He's right. For as Namor swims off, he's under the watchful eyes of the Warlord Attuma -- the one who really stole the Trident. He also kidnapped Vashti and secluded him in the Dreaded Caverns, under the guard of the hideous Man-Monster. Confident that Namor won't survive the encounter, Attuma still hedged his bet because to even get to the Dreaded Caverns his hated enemy must cross the Sea Forest, with all the carnivorous plants, first. Inevitably, then, Namor is attacked by some killer vines and a giant, man-eating clam. And while he fights off the vicious flora and fauna, Vashti is trapped in the Dreaded Caverns between the Man-Monster and The Bottomless Pit of Perdition. Meanwhile, without it's protector, Atlantis is quickly overrun by the rebels and Attuma proclaims himself the new Emperor.

Back in the depths of the Sea Forest, our ill-tempered hero escapes both the plant and the clam but now must confront the Man-Monster. Not to far away, Lady Dorma, who managed to sneak out of Atlantis to warn Namor of Attuma's treachery, gets stuck and starts sinking into the Quagmire of Doom! Never fear! For after a brief skirmish, Namor knocks the Man Monster into The Bottomless Pit of Perdition, rescues Vashti, and while swimming back to Atlantis they are intercepted by a school of fish. Recognizing their Lassie act, Namor deduces that Dorma is in trouble. Sending Vashti on ahead, he peels off and rescues Dorma in the nick of time. As for Vashti, he blunders on into Atlantis, is quickly recaptured, but won't reveal Namor's whereabouts. Told he will regret that decision, Vashti must face the torture of the Iron Idol of Infamy (-- a fancy name for an iron maiden --) that must be brought over from Attuma's old hideout. 

Meanwhile, Dorma fills Namor in on Atlantis' fall into enemy hands. Spotting Attuma's men hauling the huge Idol into the city, Namor recognizes it and, in an amazing leap of deduction, realizes it's meant for Vashti and attacks ... A short while later, the Iron Idol of Infamy is rolled into the palace. Using it as a Trojan Horse, Namor reveals himself and quickly dispatches Attuma. Their leader fallen, Attuma's men quickly surrender.

After a rousing second dose of the Sub-Mariners theme song, the second episode, Dr. Doom's Day, begins in Latveria, the vile villain's country of origin. Outraged because Earth's Allies for Peace are opening up a brand new headquarters, Doom (Paul Kligman) plans to counter this Alliance with an Army of Evil. And by cranking up his High Frequency Emotional Charger, Doom manipulates Earth's super-villains into attacking all at once with a promise to turn this Peace Day into Final Destruction Day. 

Meanwhile, the grand opening of the Peace Building gets off to a rocky start when Charles Xavier, the mutant telepath, and leader of the X-Men, senses they're about to be attacked. Suddenly, the floor erupts and out spills the Mole Man and his mindless subterraneans. Professor X counters by summoning his X-Men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel and Iceman, who quickly rout the Mole Man's minions by forcing them back down into their hole before the Iceman plugs it up.

I'm sure this appearance by the original X-Men will be a severe disappointment to some because the video box garishly claims a guest cameo by the X-Men that prominently features Wolverine on both the front and back covers!

But the Mole Man is only the tip of the iceberg as the bad guys come from everywhere: The Mandarin and his deadly rings, and the electrically charged Electro! The Grey Gargoyle, Kang, the Unicorn, the Black Knight, the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android, and countless more. Luckily, the X-Men aren't the only heroes at the ceremony. When the Mighty Thor shows up, with his trusty hammer, he dispatches the slimy Super-Skrull. This battle is soon joined by Iron Man and the Avengers: Captain America, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and the famed archer -- and terminal wiseass, Hawkeye to even those odds. But the balance is soon tipped the other way again when Attuma (-- who appears to have recovered from his earlier shellacking --) surfaces with his rebel army, ready to conquer the surface world. Next comes the fascists agents of Hydra, carrying a deadly Vortex bomb, on a speeding truck. All seems lost until the high-flying Angel commandeers the truck, redirects it, and crashes it into the ocean where the vortex bomb explodes, sucking Attuma's army back into the murky depths from whence it came!

While the gathered heroes mop up what's left of his routed Army of Evil, Dr. Doom heads to Atlantis, where he dupes Namor, the Sub-Mariner (-- this is his cartoon remember), into becoming allies, convincing him that, together, they can conquer the world. (For the record: Namor has been narrating this story and he prefaces it by saying it took place back when he was at odds with the surface world.) When Namor agrees, Doom gives him a magnetic doohickey called the Grabber, which is to be planted in the Peace Building. Once that's done, Doom assures he'll take it from there.

Bluffing his way into the Peace Building, Namor says he's come to seek the hero's trust. But Professor X doesn't trust him, and with good reason. For after Namor plants the device, the building shakes violently. Too late the heroes realize that the entire building has been seized in a magnetic field and is slowly being towed into space! 

Yes -- the whole building is being towed into space by Dr. Doom's rocket plane. Damn. That's one fine piece of structural engineering!

Realizing that Dr. Doom has double crossed him, Namor sides with the heroes. Meanwhile, Dr. Doom gloats that soon they'll all be dead because there's no oxygen in outer space, and, just to be sure, he's going to send the building on a crash-course with the sun! With time running out, Namor, using a handy meteor shower, leap-frogs up to Doom's rocket and easily tears through his defenses. Doom's last device is an immense electrical charge, but Namor just conducts it, like an eel, and redirects back toward Doom -- shorting out his power suit. Alas, Doom manages to escape and hitches a ride on one of those meteors to parts unknown. 

Letting him go, Namor has more pressing matters to attend to; like getting the Peace Building back down to a more breathable altitude. He succeeds, and the episode ends with him pledging with the other heroes that someday, hopefully, they can all live in peace.

The End

Back in 1966 Martin Goodman, Marvel Comics publisher-n-chief, negotiated a deal with Grantray-Lawrence Animation Studios to bring his new, and immensely popular super-heroes to the small screen. Grantray-Lawrence was the brainchild of a trio of Canadian based entrepreneurs, Grant Simmons, Ray Patterson and Robert Lawrence, who specialized in developing animated programs for syndication. It was Lawrence who decided which characters would be adapted, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Sub-Mariner, and the Hulk. The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man already had their own animated series at the time, with Spidey being another Grantray-Lawrence product. Unlike today, back then, the X-Men, Daredevil and Dr. Strange were strictly second bananas and left out.

Their series, The Marvel Super-Heroes Show, debuted in September of '66 to the rollicking chords of "The Merry Marching Marvel Society" song, with each character allotted 13 episodes consisting of three seven minute vignettes. They even negotiated to have Stan Lee adapt these old pulps into passable serialized adventures. But it appears he didn't have to work very hard because the plots are lifted straight from the comics almost verbatim. Lee's stories may play out great on the comic book panels but are extremely corny on the screen. I mean -- the Bottomless Pit of Perdition? The Iron Idol of Infamy? C'mon. And the scripts are very repetitive as the characters constantly remind you where they're going and spell out exactly what they're doing.

Here, the first episode is gleaned from the pages of Tales to Astonish -- a comic where Ant-Man and the Wasp originated but was later shared by Subby and the Hulk. Subby was eventually dropped and the title officially changed to The Incredible Hulk around issue #100 (-- and I've been reading old green skin ever since!) The second is kind of a bastardized version of the classic Fantastic Four Annual #3, where, instead of congregating for the opening of the Peace Building, all of Marvel's heroes were headed to the Baxter Building for the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm -- a/k/a Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl of the fabled Fantastic Four -- that Dr. Doom was bound and determined to derail. The epic tale was Marvel's first company wide crossover and Battle Royale! The latter part of the episode is taken from earlier issues of The Fantastic Four, where Namor was duped by Dr. Doom into planting the magnetic device in the Baxter Building. Beyond that, it's a fairly faithful adaptation of the comics.

The voice talents never get a screen credit but there are plenty of familiar regulars voicing the characters. One voice is unmistakable: John Vernon is clearly recognizable as several characters -- including Sub-Mariner and Iron Man. I also recognized the very familiar roar of Ted Cassidy in several spots. But what everyone really remembers about these old cartoons are the loopy theme songs and the minimal animation involved. In fact, all the animation consists of is taking old drawings by Marvel greats like Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Lew Ayres, and Joe Sinott, and panning the camera over them; a technique known as xerography. You'd occasionally get a moving body-part -- often with unintentionally hilarious results. (See the Iceman illustration in the sidebar.) Couple that with a bombastic musical score and the hilariously gonging sound-effects -- that are spelled out on the screen like the old Batman TV show -- makes it a real trip and really depressing that the series only lasted one meager season as Grantray-Lawrence went bankrupt the very next year.

Admittedly, as animated adventures go, these old static cartoons fail pretty miserably. But as time capsules, they're beautiful and important. I love Marvel Comics and it's rich and storied history, which is why you usually find me eschewing the newer output for their Essential Collections -- the black and white phone-books sized reprints. And I hold out hope that someone out there will eventually get this series the proper DVD box-set treatment it deserves. There are plenty of comic-book nuts like myself that are -- despite the technical shortcomings -- completely gonzo for this kind of stuff. 

The Sub-Mariner (1966) Grantray-Lawrence Animation :: Famous Studios :: Marvel Enterprises / P: Grant Simmons / D: Grant Simmons, Doug Wildey / W: Doug Wildey, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Joe Simon / S: Arthur Pierce, Paul Kligman, Paul Soles, Bernard Cowan, Peg Dixon, Gillie Fenwick, John Vernon, Chris Wiggins
Originally Posted: 05/29/02 :: Rehashed: 06/10/11

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.

How our Rating System works. Our Philosophy.