Real Name: Dr. Orson Kasloff
Identity/Class: Human technology user
scientist (mostly retired);
formerly employed as an analytical chemist
Group Membership: None
Brogin, Doris Evans, Marcia Hardesty, Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Porcupine
formerly partnered with Blackie Barker
Enemies: Great Lakes Avengers (Big Bertha/Ashley Crawford,
Doorman/DeMarr Davis, Flatman/"Val Ventura," Mr. Immortal/Craig Hollis);
formerly Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
Known Relatives: None
of Operations: A retirement home in Glenville, Long Island, New
formerly an old castle just outside of New York City, New York, USA
First Appearance: Strange Tales I#111 (August, 1963)
Powers/Abilities: The Asbestos Man wore a suit and carried a shield that were composed of "Super-Asbestos," chemically made from his own exclusive formula of chrysotile, calcium, and iron; this protected him from flame attack, and was thick enough to be bullet-proof as well. He also used a net fashioned from "skin-covered nitrogen strands", which could catch fireballs and hurl them back with explosive force. He wore something akin to a gas mask, but alas, had no internal oxygen supply.
Weight: 160 lbs.
Hair: White (formerly black)
History: (Strange Tales I#111) - Professor Orson Kasloff was originally one of the foremost analytical chemists in the world. He resented the fact that he was unable to achieve the wealth he felt he deserved, so he turned to crime. His initial plan was to use his inventions (such as a steel-melting liquid solvent or an electronic magnet able to open lock catches) to gain wealth; however, when he set off an alarm and narrowly escaped the police, he realized that he had no criminal experience. He attempted to employ other criminals, but lacked the experience on how to do so, and was laughed away.
Kasloff then decided that he needed to gain the respect of the underworld, and that he could do so by defeating the one they feared most, the Human Torch. He then purchased on an old castle in a secluded rural area close to the city. He set up his laboratory there, designed his costume, and embarked on his career.
Kasloff sent a letter to the Human Torch, challenging him to combat at his castle. Not wanting to appear to be afraid, Johnny faced the challenge. Kasloff managed to stun him with explosions from his net, and then dropped him through the ever-predictable trap door into a moat. Kasloff mocked the Human Torch, telling him to escape, but to remember that he could always beat him again with ease.
The defeat of the Human Torch, which Kasloff publicized, gained him respect with the criminal element. He became the partner of a crime boss, and was soon enjoying a successful career, supplying the technology to improve their success at bank-robbery, etc. After a pep talk by his sister, however, Johnny Storm got a clue and came back for round two. He melted the steel handle on Kasloff's net, rendering it useless, and then used his flame to consume all of the oxygen in the room. Kasloff surrendered and was subsequently arrested. The Human Torch ended the story with some clever words of wisdom, "He'll team up with lots of criminals...Behind Bars! Remember Professor, you can never play with fire without...Getting Burned!"
(Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshots#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in his career, Kasloff befriended other super villains including the Porcupine and Bull Brogin.
(Fear Itself: The Home Front#6/4 (fb) - BTS) - Kasloff contracted cancer (Duh!). He survived but due to the damage to his lungs, he needed to carry around an oxygen tank all the time afterward.
(Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshots#1 (fb) - BTS) - Kasloff moved to a run-down retirement community in Glenville. When the Human Torch heard of his condition, he sent him a check.
(Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshots#1) - When reporter Marcia Hardesty came to Glenville for a story on the community's relationship to the Human Torch, Doris Evans arranged a meeting with Kasloff and Bull. At first, Kasloff boasted about his genius in wielding asbestos against the Human Torch. When Marcia asked why he targeted the Human Torch, he replied that he had come to believe it was jealousy at being cast aside as a scientist due to the rise of super heroes. However, he was now somewhat remorseful for his actions, realizing he had been fighting with a 16-year old boy. Kasloff insisted that he had never tried to kill the Human Torch and only wanted to prove his own accomplishments. He also asked that people stop confusing him with the Absorbing Man.
Later that night, Kasloff and Bull were invited to a special private party on the nearby beach, hosted by Johnny Storm's former classmates. Kasloff thanked the Human Torch for his generosity and the Torch promised that he would see Bull set him up in a better retirement home.
(Fear Itself: The Home Front#6/4) - Asbestos Man tried to rob a supermarket in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but the cashier was more scared of his asbestos costume than his criminal genius or his hammer. Disappointed he left and tried to find some validation as a super-villain somewhere else. He soon ran across the Great Lakes Avengers. Neither they nor Asbestos Man had ever heard of each other, but when the Great Lakes Avengers learned his armor was made of super-asbestos none of them wanted to attack him. Kasloff sat down, took off his mask and told them that with the Human Torch's death he never had an enemy to get revenge on nor anyone to remember him. Mr. Immortal promised they would remember him and Asbestos Man would automatically be among their top five bad guys if he just surrendered. Asbestos Man offered his helmet for their trophy hall, but Mr. Immortal tried to stay away from the asbestos mask and told him to keep it. An ambulance in quarantine suits arrived to take Kasloff to a hospital and clean up the area from the super-asbestos left behind by Kasloff.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Ernie Hart (as H.Huntley), Dick Ayers and Jack Kirby (Kirby drew his cover appearance, which was produced before the interiors).
The original Asbestos Man story was written back when asbestos was the Kryptonite to the flame-powered community. Kasloff most likely tried to make a return, but ended up in an iron lung from pulmonary carcinoma. If not, maybe he could team up with Vickie Murdock, the Asbestos Lady, to have the Asbestos Kids, and Besty, the Asbestos Dog...or not.
Asbestos Man has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook.
Although published in 2020, Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshots I#1 is set circa 2003 continuity (the death of Jumbo Carnation in X-Men II#134, debut of el Guapo in X-Statix I#9 and other stories are contemporary to its events).
Profile by Snood. Fear Itself update by Markus Raymond. Marvels Snapshots updated by Prime Eternal
Asbestos Man has known connection to
Strange Tales I#111, Cover (Asbestos Man main image)
Strange Tales I#111, p2, pan1 (Asbestos Man without costume)
Fear Itself: The Home Front#6/4, p4, pan4 (Asbestos Man with oxygen tank)
Strange Tales I#111 (August, 1963) - Stan Lee (plot/editor), Ernie Hart (script), Dick Ayers (artist)
Fear Itself: The Home Front#6 (November, 2011) - Elliot Kalan (writer), Ty Templeton (artist), Lauren Sankovitch (editor)
Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshots#1 (May, 2020) - Evan Dorkin (writer), Sarah Dyer (writer), Benjamin Dewey (artist), Darren Shan (editor)
Last updated: 05/01/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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