By Any Other Name: Sub-Mariner

Longbox Graveyard #91

How do YOU pronounce, “Sub-Mariner?”

Sub-Mariner #1, John Buscema

My inaugural “By Any Other Name” post about Darkseid drew record traffic to Longbox Graveyard last month, so I figured I’d go back to the well.

This time I’m asking about Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

How do YOU pronounce the name of Bill Everett‘s signature comic book creation?

Bill Everett, Sub-Mariner

“Revenge is his motive and evil is his intent!” Cool! But confusion is also on Namor’s agenda.

He’s another one of those characters … the kind where you’re not quite sure how to say his name out loud.


I guess the above panel tells us what Roy Thomas thinks … but what do you call him? Sub-MARINE-er, or Sub-MAREIN-er?

at your service!

I’m not terribly concerned about rules or pronunciation or how Bill Everett said it (though both those things would be worth learning) — I’m more interested in how you’ve always heard the name of this character in your head while reading comics.

How do YOU pronounce this legendary anti-hero’s name? Take the poll!

Defend your choice in comments, below!

NEXT WEDNESDAY: #92 Top Ten Spider-Man Battles, Pt. 1


About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at!

Posted on March 13, 2013, in By Any Other Name and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. sub-mare-iner. as a small lad I spake like a child, and pronounced it sub-mareener. but when one becomes a man one must put aside childish thigs


    • A timeless sentiment … but if I put aside childish things, then there would be no Longbox Graveyard, and if there was no Longbox Graveyard, then you could not have made this reply, and if you had not made this reply, then I could not have typed this comment.

      And we can’t have that!


  2. I pronounce it Sub-MARINE-er. The other prnounciation sounds like how you’d pronounce it if you’re trying to be funny.


    • More like it sounds like how you’d pronounce it if you’ve ever heard the word “mariner” in your life.


      • The poll is running pretty firmly in the direction of “Mariner,” which I will admit is the way I always said it. I suspect that Roy Thomas was offering the alternate pronunciation in that panel from Subby #8 as the last shriek on the retreat.


  3. as said, when I was a wee tyke, I of course pronounced it as submarine-r because I knew the word submarine, so that was the obvious pronunciation. Then, as i got a little older and began reading books dealing with the sea, as well as becoming aware of “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” I began to realize what the actual pronunciation should be.

    then, I began to notice that in some of the stories, there’d be background characters who’d say something like “That’s the Sub-Mareeen-er,” and the implication was that it was a sign of their ignorance, that that pronunciation was supposed to be humorous. That sealed the deal as far as I was concerned, and I taught myself to pronounce it out loud as “Sub-mar-in-er,” even though my brain still tends to pronounce it like the submarine when i skim across the name.


  4. I’d be more interested in knowing how people pronounce Namor. “Nay-more”, “Nah-more”, “Nam-ore”, etc.


  5. Definitely Sub-“mare-in”er for me. And the last panel of the bottom strip is sublime. Not just for the jacket/ascot that matches his speedo, but why in the world would a guy who mostly lives underwater start smoking? Imperius Rex? Imperius Sex(yBack) is more like it!


    • Subby is a pimp in that sequence, I love it. Grabbed it from the first Fantastic Four Annual, where Sub-Mariner is doing the old “supervillain secretly runs a movie studio to lure heroes to their doom” routine, which I think Marvel did at least twice more with other characters.


  6. Queez undh beerry!!!


  7. This is a spirited debate, and I would once more like to join the fray. As Mr. Kosmicki has said, I too know it’s pronounced Sub Mare-in-er but I can’t help thinking in my head Sub-Mareener. I have never been corrected for my pronunciation because it has never come up in polite conversation. And take my advice, don’t bring it up on a first date! Anyway, Namor will always be the Sub-Mareener to me ever since Super-Villian Team-Up #7 .That was my first introduction to Namor and some other guy named Dr. Doom. whatever happened to him?


  8. (1) sub-MARE-in-er.
    (2) As I mentioned when I guested on episode 34 of the Fantasticast (ding), discussing Doctor Doom’s origin, Stan seemed to like this idea of a leader of a people as a villain, with Namor and Doom being the lead examples. Adding Black Panther, Marvel then did the same thing with a hero.


  9. Dileno Bertossi

    Pronounced it Submareener when I was a kid, until it was an answer on the game show “Joker’s Wild” and the host pronounced it Sub-Mare-iner and I thought, “Oh, I’ve been pronouncing it wrong all this time”. Then of course the Seattle Mariners came into Major League Baseball and it all made sense.


  10. Er… I pronounce it Sub-MA-riner. Which doesn’t seem to be an option. Both semi-phonetic spellings seem to lend towards different pronunciations. Basically, as the word Mariner (one who aids in the navigation of a ship) with the word sub in front of it.

    Yeah, that doesn’t help, does it… Check out the Fantasticast (which Professor Alan so very kindly plugged up above) for my pronunciation!


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