When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I liked Harvey, Disney, and sometimes Archie comics, but I usually skipped Marvel. Who had the time or money to keep track of story lines that extended over a hundred issues and crossed over into a dozen titles?
But I made an exception for Sub-Mariner. Who could pass up a physique like this?
Namor the Sub-Mariner actually premiered in 1939 in Timely Comics, the predecessor of Marvel, as a villain, a prince of Atlantis seeking revenge on the upper world by trying to sink th island of Manhattan.
For some reason, Namor never got a teen sidekick. Instead, he gets a girlfriend, intrepid police officer Betty Dean. But his interactions with the Torch provided enough gay subtexts.
After the War, he disappeared. He returned in Fantastic Four #4 (May 1962), when the new Human Torch finds him living in the Bowery, a homeless derelict.
Namor discovers that his homeland of Atlantis has been destroyed, and returns to being a villain for a few guest spots. When he got his own title, from 1968 to 1973, he was back to being a hero again.
The 1960s-1970s Namor was not a popular character -- he was cold, even cruel, so he didn't team up well with other superheroes. Besides, he kept falling in love with women. What boy wanted to read about hetero-romance?
But I never really paid much attention to the stories-- they were incomprehensible anyway, full of references to plotlines and characters from a dozen years ago and other titles. You needed a chart to keep track of it all. I was mostly in it for the beefcake.
And there was a lot of it.