Real Name: None
Identity/Class: Mystical creature; possibly demon
Occupation: Professional Wrestler
Group Membership: Federation of Women's Wrestling (FMW);
formerly: Cain's Clan
Affiliations: Dark Elves of Asgard, Mordecai Boggs (agent);
freed/summoned by Merlin Demonspawn
Enemies: Aeschere, Beowulf (see comments), Hrothgar, Merlin Demonspawn, Marlo Jones
Known Relatives: Grendel (son)
Aliases: Bane of Beowulf, Grendell's Mother, Hell-bride, Hell-dam, Mother of the Monster, Tarn-hag
Base of Operations: Los Angeles; formerly a floating prison, formerly ancient Scandinavia
First Appearance: Captain Marvel V#20 (August, 2001)
Powers/Abilities: Big Mother's physical attributes have never been fully explored. However, as a magical creature, she likely has superhuman strength and resistance to injury, as well as immunity to aging, disease, and is beyond mortal needs such as food, water, and air.
Big Mother can change her appearance somewhat to adapt to her surroundings, but she always appears with magenta skin and a white patch on her head that serves as her facial features. She may also have some sorcerous abilities. Big Mother apparently enjoys eating human beings.
She purposefully does not have a name, as knowledge of one's true name can be used as a source of weakness in magical spells.
Height: 16' (variable)
Weight: 1600 lbs. (variable)
Tentacles: Light maroon
History: The origins of Grendel and his mother are uncertain (see comments).
(Historical): In 500 AD, in Denmark, the monster Grendel came to plague Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar, King of the Danes. Beowulf came to oppose Grendel and, when he returned to the king's hall, tore off one of his arms, apparently killing him.
Grendel's mother, enraged by the death of her son, emerged from her swamp and traveled to Heorot, dragging off and slaying Aeschere, a trusted advisor (and possibly the chief warrior) of Hrothgar. Beowulf tracked the mother back to her swamp, dove into her lair, and seemingly slew her using a god-forged sword.
(Captain Marvel V#21 (fb) - BTS) - It is revealed that the mother of Grendel was not actually slain, but rather magically imprisoned in the ground below Denmark. Over the centuries, her prison migrated across the planet, until, in the modern era, it existed below Los Angeles, California.
(Captain Marvel V#20) Big Mother was freed from her imprisonment when Merlin Demonspawn spilled the blood of 100 virgins in his comic book store.
(Captain Marvel V#21). Marlo Jones managed to talk Big Mother out of eating her employee Al. She then bought more time by starting a quarrel between Big Mother and Merlin. The wizard wanted her to lead him to the Holy Grail which had been guarded by a dragon who was yet another of Beowulf's foes. However, Big Mother refused to be used by Merlin. The two were about to fight when Merlin was attacked by Al wearing the armor of the Red Raven (see comments). Al was downed saving Marlo, but Captain Marvel arrived in time to engage Merlin.
Big Mother wandered out during the battle and briefly encountered Moondragon without incident. She then encountered Rick Jones' former agent Mordecai Boggs. Boggs, apparently oblivious to her monstrous nature, talked her into taking him on as her agent. Big Mother was last seen on a promotion for FWW wrestling, vowing to eat her opponents alive.
(Journey Into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Big Mother attended the Devil's Advocacy to talk about the Serpent (Cul)'s actions on Earth.
Comments: Created by Peter David and Chrisscross.
According to the Captain Marvel story, the "god-forged" sword was actually Excalibre, the sword later used by King Arthur. Setting the battle in 500 AD puts it right smack dab in the middle of the age of Camelot, though Beowulf may have had the sword before Arthur. The Lady of the Lake could have been mystically transported from one spot to another, or perhaps event through time if necessary.
Well, no one gave me info when I asked for it, so I gathered info on the historical, literary past as best I could. Presumably, by posting this, I get the needed info...which would have been more useful BEFORE posting it, ya lazy bastiches!!!!!!
Beowulf (prince of the Geats) has not actually been seen in the Marvel
Universe, although both Ulysses Bloodstone and the Eternal known as Gilgamesh
(the Forgotten One) have claimed to have used that name in the past. It remains
to be seen whether these guys were just mistaken for the historical a character,
or if one of them used the name and actually performed the acts attributed to
Following the apparent deaths of Grendell and his mother, Beowulf battled a fire-breathing dragon, and was apparently mortally wounded as a result. This dragon was guarding a treasure which had been stolen. I'm not sure if this is meant to represent the same dragon referenced by Merlin Demonspawn, which guarded the Holy Grail.
Geatland was a region in what is now southern Sweden.
The Captain Marvel story named king Hrothgar as Beowulf's brother, but I couldn't find anything else for or against that.
Shedding some new light on the whole Beowulf/Saint George/Perseus situation, Supernatural Thrillers#3 did a story which indicated that the adventures of these three were actually all racial memories of a battle between a worm-like monster and an Aesir (as in the Hyborian Age Aesir) named Niord. At the link above you can see a great image of those three superimposed above the action of the story, Valley of the Worm. (It was reprinted in Kull and the Barbarians#1.)
Grendel (or Grendell) showed up--complete with ripped off
arm--associated with the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim (those associated with
Malekith), in Thor I#377. This would presumably tie-in his mother in with them
According to the above resources: A demon descended from Cain, Grendel preys on Hrothgar's warriors in the king's mead-hall, Heorot. Because his ruthless and miserable existence is part of the retribution exacted by God for Cain's murder of Abel, Grendel fits solidly within the ethos of vengeance that governs the world of the poem.
This would indicate that Grendel's mother might also be descended from Cain, unless that is his father's lineage. It might well be that the monster that is his mother mated with a human in order to give rise to Grendel.
Big Mother got an entry in OHotMU Horror 2005 where she was confirmed as an affiliate of the Dark Elves of Asgard and a member of Cain's Clan.
The Holy Grail: The chalice from which Christ drank at the last supper, I believe. This was utilized and seemingly destroyed by the vampire Baroness in the Union Jack limited series. Merlin Demonspawn sought the Holy Grail, but did not get it, nor was it actually shown. So it's possible that it was destroyed and he just didn't know it, but it's equally possible that as an object of magic, it could have reformed on its own, or with the help of another source.
RED RAVEN: A guy in crimson, winged armor attacked Merlin
Demonspawn, blaming him for affecting his mind and turning his thoughts of
heroism into villainy, turning him against the world. Demonspawn transformed him
into a red bird and took his armor. It had been suggested to
me that this was the Red Raven, and I dismissed it a few times, but on re-reading his tirade on the first
page of Captain Marvel V#16, I'm starting to become a believer.
Also, per Dermie: Actually, I'm pretty sure that Peter David confirmed that this was a Red Raven character at some point.
Any other thoughts?
The character's final panel is the classic one where, returned to normal and lacking his armor, he wanders out, naked except for a few comics covering his naughty bits. The title of these comics: Giant-Size Man-Thing! - Chris adds this, explaining the origin of this joke: "(This was derived from) Stan Lee's centerfold shot in the Marvel Fumatti Book: according to a post by Peter David (I think) on his Usenet group, the original idea for that pic was to have Stan in the same pose, but dressed only in a body stocking and with a strategically placed copy of Giant-Sized Man-Thing on him, but Stan (or someone else connected with the book) chicked out and decided to go with the Hulk bodysuit instead. (And here you thought PAD thought that Captain Marvel joke up all by himself! :D ) Just an interesting tidbit I heard that I thought you guys would enjoy."
Profile by: Chuck D and Snood.
Big Mother is not to be confused with:
Captain Marvel V#20-21 (August-September, 2001) - Peter David (writer), Chris Cross (pencils), Anibal Rodriguez (inks), Marc Sumerak (editor)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)
Last updated: 08/16/12
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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