Real Name: Banjo. Yup, his Mama named him that even before he was a mutant freak.
Identity/Class: 10 year-old human mutant
Occupation: Hmm... I wonder if "Hillbilly" counts as an occupation.
Known Relatives: His twin brother, Bugeye, his Mama and her relatives, who all live in the same Appalachian mountain village as him.
Base of Operations: A village in the Appalachian Mountains, near the Susquehanna River, in southern Pennsylvania
Appearances: Spectacular Spider-Man I#156 (November 1989)
Powers: He's big and strong enough to tear Spidey's webbing with ease (2-3 ton range), and his feet seem to be mildly fire-resistant. His powers result from his mutation.
Weaknesses: He has the mind of a ten year-old child, and not a particularly smart one, at that. Also, he's hideously ugly.
Physical Description: I think Spider-Man put it best when he described Banjo as "over eight feet tall with the world's worst case of post-adolescent acne." He's missing several teeth, drools a lot, has no hair but only acne on top of his head, and a ring of ragged brown hair just above his ears. He's hunchbacked, eight feet tall and about four feet across, and his enormous tree-trunks-would-be-jealous arms almost scrape the ground. Man, tough life for a ten-year old kid.
His Mama was living with her cousins and working in their garden near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania when one day the air around her started sparkling and she fainted. She was several months pregnant at the time. It was the day of the Three Mile Island disaster in 1978 (probably topical in the Marvel U) and despite what those "gov'ment" men told her, apparent she received a hefty dose of radiation from airborne fallout. Banjo was born disfigured and a mutant, as a baby Banjo had giant claw-like arms and the beginnings of a hunchback.
Banjo was taunted as a child for being ugly and dumb and having a hunchback. His twin brother Abner (also called Bugeye) also developed an early mutation, and would stick up for brother by using his "brain bubbles" on the other kindergarteners. His Mama decided to move Banjo and Bugeye back to her old home village, deep in the mountains of SE Pennsylvania.
Spider-Man stumbles upon their village while looking for the missing Robbie Robertson. They mistake him for a government agent, because he's all funny looking, and Banjo attacks the tree Spidey is sitting in. Spidey tries to web Banjo up, he easily breaks free, and starts throwing things at Spidey. Bugeye knocks him out with some of his brain bubbles. When Spidey wakes up, Mama has decided to teach the "gov'ment" a lesson by letting Banjo hunt down Spidey, who is forced to participate or Abner will just cause him great pain or knock him out again. Spidey runs into the woods while Mama screams, "Kill Him!" and Banjo follows.
They run near a patch of underground coal fires, and Spidey surprises Banjo. But Banjo throws him into a stone outcropping above the burning coal ground, which doesn't seem to bother Banjo at all. He grabs Spidey and tries to squeeze the life out of him. Spidey smashes him in the head, Banjo falls into a mineshaft while disoriented, and Spidey saves him with a webline and brings the unconscious Banjo back to the village.
Bugeye is all set to knock Spidey out again, when Banjo stops his brother and tells him that Spidey saved his life. Mama reconsiders her position on hating all strangers and stuff. (Implied moral - Gee, maybe you're just as bad as the kids who taunted your son.) Spidey leaves peacefully.
"Mama": The poor single, uneducated mother of Banjo and Bugeye, she tried to get out of her mountain village when she was in her teens and go to the big city of Harrisburg. She never had a home of her own, and never married, and the father of her children died soon after she got pregnant. Her children were born mutant freaks and she didn't help this any by naming them Banjo and Abner. She moved back to her mountain village after she saw how her boys were being treated. She now dislikes all strangers and is very suspicious. She got pretty haggardly-looking, too.
"Small hill-country town": Where Mama was born and eventually moved Banjo and Bugeye back to. Population seems to be about thirty or so, and they have shacks with no modern amenities, they make bonfires or burn coal for heat. And I'm sure it's all a coincidence that everyone looks closely related. Yup, pure coincidence.
Comments: Created by Gerry Conway and Sal Buscema.
From the next issue box of Spectacular Spider-Man I#155: "What do you get when you cross a city-bred webslinger with a scene from Deliverance? Find out next month." I think that pretty much says it all right there.
My favorite line describing Banjo is when Spider-Man says: "He's big enough to qualify for a home equity loan all by himself!" I don't know why, just is. Something about Banjo trying to understand what a "home equity loan" is.
Clarifications: Banjo has no known connection to:
Mango, the irresitable male dancer of numerous Saturday Night live sketches, though I'm not ruling out a connection.
Last updated: 08/02/02
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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