Marvel's 5 next superheroes

Disney said its purchase of Marvel Entertainment will allow it to bring many lesser-known comic characters to the forefront.

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Sub Mariner
Sub Mariner
If its bid for comic book company Marvel Entertainment goes through, Disney will inherit about 5,000 comic book characters for the media giant's movies, television, action figures and amusement parks. When the deal was announced Monday, Disney said it was particularly interested in bringing some of the lesser-known characters to the forefront.

"The Marvel name gives movies quick credibility," said Stephen Fishler, owner of Metropolis Collectibles in New York. "If you introduce a lesser-known character to a mass market, as long as there's an interesting story and it translates to the big screen, it doesn't necessarily matter if anyone has heard of it."

One character that fits the bill has been patiently waiting for his cinematic debut for a long, long time. Sub Mariner, Marvel's first comic book hero, originally appeared in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly in 1939.

Sub Mariner, a.k.a. Namor McKenzie, is the half-human, half-merman prince of Atlantis. Blaming humans for the near- (though accidental) destruction of Atlantis, the short-tempered prince was at first a villain, launching preemptive attacks against American cities.

But a losing battle with the humans made Sub Mariner realize that his anger was resulting in the destruction of his own subjects, and he soon began to use his powers for good.
NEXT: Luke Cage
Last updated August 31 2009: 4:55 PM ET
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