The First Subbie Story

KID KOMICS was a bit of a hybrid production of Timely Comics, at least at the start. Launched in 1943, it split its focus between super hero adventure strips like the cover-spotlighted Captain Wonder and comedy series such as the unfortunate Whitewash and Knuckles, starring two of the Young Allies. Eventually, within a few issues, it would be turned into a vehicle for the Young Allies as a group. But one of the characters introduced in its pages wouldn’t ever get to join Bucky and Toro as a member of that organization. And in fact, he’d only make two appearances in total during the Golden Age. This was the long-forgotten junior Sub-Mariner called Subbie.

SUBBIE, THE SEA-GOING LAD was rolled out in his first story by write Otto Binder and Sub-Mariner artist Carl Pfeufer. And it was a weird thing. The hype copy makes constant references and allusions to Namor the Sub-Mariner, but the story itself never directly touches upon any of them. While he’s occasionally been written up as Namor’s sidekick in different histories, Subbie never got to share a panel with his progenitor.

That said, under Pfeufer’s pen, there’s a definite visual similarity between the Sub-Mariner and Subbie, even if the latter didn’t sport anything close to Pfeufer’s absurdly triangular interpretation of Namor’s head. Instead, Subbie swiftly adopts and wears a full-on sailor’s uniform. The Sea-Going Lad only had two adventures, in the first two issues of KID KOMICS.

Stan Lee is listed as the editor and art director on this first issue, and if he did work on it, it would have had to have been relatively late in his civilian life, as he’d soon hereafter join the war effort.

One thought on “The First Subbie Story

  1. I must confess, I’d never even heard of Subbie prior to this post. If he’d turned up in a current issue of, say, Avengers, referred to as being an old ’40s character, I’d have assumed he was a continuity implant on the order of several of the Golden Age sidekicks introduced in Geoff Johns’ recent Stargirl miniseries at DC.


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