Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Secret Origins of the Headmen

Three of the four criminals who would later form the Headmen first appeared in tales published in science-fiction and suspense anthologies. Those cerebral stories ran as reprints in Weird Wonder Tales #7 (December 1974).

Dr. Arthur Nagan led a group of aging men on a jungle expedition in the story titled "It Walks Erect!" Building on his prior research, Nagan exchanged internal organs from each of the men with those of a captured gorilla. The procedure made the men feel young and vigorous while greatly weakening the ape. As a form of retaliation, a group of gorillas attacked Nagan and placed his head on the body of an ape, turning him into a Gorilla-Man.

Before ever becoming Shrunken Bones, Jerry Morgan was a scientist with big ambitions. But when not even his step-brother believed in him, Jerry threw out the experimental vapor he'd been developing. In irony of ironies, step-brother Sam happened to walk through the cloud of Cellular Shrinkage Vapor. Inadvertently reduced to a few inches in height, Sam Morgan was a "Prisoner of the Fantastic Fog."

The mysterious Chondu attracted his share of critics early on when speaking of the powers of the mind. But he proved the nay-sayers wrong, and even acted heroically, in his debut adventure titled "The Wrath of Chondu!" When an escaped convict threatened to murder Chondu on the street, the mentalist made the criminal's gun vanish—then mystically banished the crook to limbo.

"It Walks Erect!" originally appeared in Mystery Tales #21 (Sept. 1954).
"Prisoner of the Fantastic Fog" first appeared in World of Fantasy #11 (April 1958).
"The Wrath of Chondu!" originally ran in Tales of Suspense #9 (May 1960).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trivia- there was some letter pages fun with this one: readers were asked to guess which comics in the year before had printed adventures of the Headmen, individually. At least twenty-two fans, as I recall, came up with the whole list!

Eventually the Headmen would return to plague She Hulk in her second series, as would their partner, Ruby Thursday.

Nagan returned before then in the pages of Power Man and Iron Fist---a rematch with Cage from Defenders Annual One!

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