It’s time for us to answer another fan letter about the wonderful world of comics and pop culture!
Dear Marvelous Movies,
I recently watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Wow–what a great movie! But I do have to ask. The villain, Namor, seems just pretty much like Marvel’s version of Aquaman. So is he just another cheap rip-off of a DC character, or what?
Everett Williams of Cambridge, Massachusetts
Thanks for writing in, Everett! Wasn’t it cool to see the Wakandans come to your home turf in that movie? And yes, we do have an answer for you!
Is Namor a rip-off of Aquaman? I can sea why you might think something fishy is going on there. And it’s true that, for many famous characters who seem to be similar between Marvel and DC, DC created the original version but then Marvel made them way better version. For example, this applies with Deathstroke and Deadpool, Doom Patrol and the X-Men, Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel, and more!
But in this case, it’s actually not true–because Namor came first in the comics! He’s actually one of Marvel’s oldest superheroes, right up there with Captain America and the Human Torch! The three of them formed a team called the Invaders who fought in World War II. And, now that we think of it, we’re really surprised that they didn’t get Chris Evans to play Namor!
Another important thing to consider is that Namor and Aquaman didn’t make their first live-action appearances until 2016 and 2022, respectively. But that was decades after DIsney released The Phantom Menace (1999) or The Little Mermaid (1989). So yes, you guessed it–these two undersea monarchs who are suspicious of the surface world are actually both just rip-offs of Boss Nass, who is in turn a rip-off of King Triton!
I mean, just think about it. Namor is the “boss” of his people, just like Boss Nass! And both of their names begin with “Na”! We were half-expecting Namor to say “Wesa no like the surface world” at some point during the film.
So as you can see, the “undersea monarch” character type is nothing new, and studios still seem to think it holds water. At this rate, we fully expect Black Panther 3 will feature Wakanda and Talokan uniting their forces to fight off the Trade Federation. And then, after at least a decade has gone by and all the hype has completely subsided, we’ll finally get to see Namor: The Way of Water.
So, there you have it, Everett! No, Marvel did not rip-off DC in this case. And for all the times when they did, it looks like it’s just water under the bridge now!