Namor the Sub-Mariner is about to appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time even though he is the very first Marvel’s published superhero. Fans less familiar with Namor might draw some parallels between him and DC’s iconic aquatic superhero, Aquaman. The similarities between Aquaman and Namor cannot be ignored so a lot of the fans are asking themselves the same question, is Aquaman a copy of Namor or is it vice versa? Who appeared first?
Aquaman is a copy of Namor, but only in a technical sense since DC first published him 2 years after Marvel published Namor. They have the same origin, and almost the same superpowers and Aquaman was inspired by Namor in every way. But besides having the archetype and origin in common this is where similarities end since Aquaman is way more developed and popular than Namor.
I get this is a touchy subject and might stoke another Marvel-DC fandom war, so I would recommend you read the rest of the article for the full story and objective analysis of the subject.
Similarities between Namor and Aquaman
As we’ve mentioned before. Back in 1939, Namor appeared in Timely Comics’ Marvel Comics #1. Two years after that, in 1941 Aquaman appeared in his own comic book. Both were water-based superheroes with almost the same powers, sons of an Atlantean princess, fathered by a human man. It sounds like a complete and unapologetic rip-off. But it might not be that way.
Both Namor and Aquaman were created in an era where Atlantis was the big thing in literature and fiction stories, and as we know, Atlantis is not a brainchild of either Marvel or DC. Loads of other works of fiction and characters were inspired by the same concept of an underwater long forgotten kingdom and its denizens. It wasn’t a unique concept from the start.
Their powers and weaknesses are also very similar, but that is to be expected from water-based superheroes, and superheroes in general. What is not expected is that both of them can fly (Namor with his wings, and Aquaman with his trident) and they can both communicate with other marine life telepathically. Aquaman’s powers might seem more pronounced and developed, but that’s just because he is the more developed character of the two. In the comics, they both have almost the same powers.
The flying power is weird since it’s not your typical way of traversing underwater surfaces. Underwater breathing and onset of weakness while away from water for a long time is to be expected. And Speaking of Trident, they both have it. But it’s not an original concept either since it was associated with aquatic gods long before either Namor or Aquaman were created. Both heroes we’re part of other superhero groups, like Justice Leagues, Fantastic Four, Avengers
Other similarities are more social in nature. They are both Atlantean aristocracy. They share a bit of distrust of surface dwellers. Both of them were at one point in time harassed because of their half-human origins and sometimes seem out of place among their own people.
But again it is not an original concept, a lot of superheroes share the “not fitting in” theme in their character development. It’s a pretty common starting point for a hero to either turn against humanity or decides to prove them wrong. And that brings us to the differences between Namor and Aquaman.
The differences between Namor and Aquaman
The most pronounced difference between Namor and Aquaman is the fact that Namor is more often than not featured as an anti hero or straight-up villain, while Aquaman was always consistently a superhero on the side of humanity. This difference stems from their upbringing. Namor was raised by his mother and aquatic brethren.
Aquaman was raised by his human father and learned the motivations behind human behavior early. He was more in touch with his human nature than Namor, there was no love lost between Namor and the surface world of men.
The other differences boil down to the fact that Aquaman is more famous among the general audience than Namor is. When you think of a water-breathing superhero from Atlantis who talks to fish, you think of Aquaman.
He subjectively has better storylines, villains, and has been featured in various media and movies more than Namor. It’s important to remember that Aquaman has been the butt of many jokes and superhero parodies over the years too.
Is Aquaman a copy of Namor?
Aquaman was absolutely DC’s try to have a competing superhero with water-related superpowers. And both are copies of various mythological deities. Aquaman appeared later, yes but whether he is a copy in a true sense of the word, maybe in the beginning he was.
Eventually down the road, DC did far better things with Aquaman than Marvel did with Namor.
In the future that might change though, Namor is about to be a part of MCU in the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie. The trailer heavily insinuates that Namor is going to be a villain. It’s also obvious that the whole concept of Atlanteans and Namor is going to take a different direction and be inspired by mesoamerican cultures.
They even change the name of the Atlantis to Talocan, that new direction is probably an effort to separate Namor from Aquaman. The execution is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain, we’re definitely excited to see him in the new Black Panther.