The marauding maestros at modern Marvel may want us all to believe that now (as in NOW) is the niftiest time to be a tireless turner of the publisher’s pulchritudinous pages. But the truest of the true believers know that the sixties and seventies stood as the swingin’est span to acquiesce to the amazing adventures of the monthly mags. The beauteous boasts on the Mighty Marvel Checklist tantalizingly told us so. Why, Sub-Mariner #36 (a tale told by writer Roy Thomas, penciller Sal Buscema and–holy smokes!–inker Berni Wrightson(!)) promised no less than, “The wedding you thought would never happen! Namor marries lady Dorma — or does he? You’ll gasp in amazement when you read the final panel!” Gasp in amazement? Can this be true? Only one way to find out, True Believer.
As the illustrious issue opens, Namor, the cantankerous king of Atlantis, is indeed intended to enter into merry matrimony with his longtime lady love, Lady Dorma. She too is charging towards the ceremony with bated breath.
This is but one sliver of a saga, however, and the title must take notice of other tumultuous turns taking place among the supporting cast, including a visit to the United Nations by the amphibious inhuman Triton and the worrisome woe of Rhonda Morris. The latter leans over the deceased form of her darling by devious daughter, the loathsome Llyra, who memorably mixed it up with the titular titan a few issues earlier. Mom may know that her offspring was officiously out-of-line, but that can’t quell her caring. Or prevent her from trying out a perilous procedure.
Meanwhile, Sub-Mariner’s submerged sovereign state comes under assault from a familiar foe, a taste of turmoil that practically preeminent praxis in the monumental Marvel universe.
In this instance, it’s Attuma, Namor’s number one nemesis, bounding forth to deliver something borrowed, something black-and-blue to the bridegroom. Surely this must be the serious setback the Checklist cautioned about. Think again, thrifty theorizer! Namor the Sub-Mariner scuttles this scoundrel and makes it to the church on time.
All seems well, but there’s that pesky last panel to ponder, the one sure to make us “gasp in amazement.” The ceremony saunters on swimmingly, until Namor is pronounced bound to his bride. Suddenly a shocker!
The shady schemer who was static and still a few pages earlier has manifested a magnificent masquerade and is now the malevolent monarch of the waterlogged wonderland of Atlantis. Go ahead and gasp, gallant ones. They’ve earned it.
— Captain America #136
— Thor #186
— The Incredible Hulk #138
— The Amazing Spider-Man #91
— Fantastic Four #104
— Thor #183
— Avengers #44
— The Amazing Spider-Man #53
—Captain America #131
—Captain America #132
—Fantastic Four #132
—Amazing Spider-Man #100
—Fantastic Four #75
—Tales of Suspense #93