A thought from a former comic-book editor:
Namor, Marvel Comics’ Sub-Mariner, rules the world, even if the world doesn’t know it. His ocean domain covers more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. It surrounds the land masses and reaches into them via rivers.
But the ocean hides secrets beneath its surface, and so does Namor.
For years, he’s been quietly gaining political power. He started by befriending, threatening, and otherwise influencing small island and coastal nations that the world usually ignores. He gradually moved inland to larger countries, gaining leverage and forging alliances.
And he’s done it as secretly as possible. He has no reason to notify anyone who could stop him.
But the bigger Namor’s web grows, the harder it is to hide. When the world sees how much power he’s amassed –– enough to win a war with any nation, pound its economy to subsistence levels, and conquer its natural resources –– the world’s largest nations object.
Namor says that he’s not out to hurt anyone. He’s amassed power just to ensure the safety of his undersea domain and its people. But his previous attacks against the surface world make everyone from Nick Fury to Doctor Doom distrust him and plan to take him down.
And thus we have a conflict that could drive a new NAMOR series. He deserves it. He’s been a pillar of Marvel since 1939, but he hasn’t been a consistently top seller for decades.
I enjoy exercises like this. They let me use my editorial muscles, which flex not exactly in terms of specific stories but in setting up circumstances in which writers and artists can create great stories of their own.
Sometimes, I do miss being a comics editor.