Real Name: Otto von Schmittsder

Identity/Class: Preserved human head

Occupation: Nazi war criminal, head on the lamb

Group Membership: None;
Nazi Party (formerly)

Affiliations: Fritz Ganz, Larry Siodmak, Gilda Spears

Enemies: Steve Manners

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Gehirn (German translation)

Base of Operations: Mobile in the United States; formerly, Germany

First Appearance: Adventures into Terror#4/1 (June, 1951)


Powers: The Brain was able to survive without any apparent need for food, water or oxygen. He could also mentally dominate the minds of others. He moved by hopping around on the base of his head.

Height: 11"
Weight: 11 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Bald, formerly blond

History: (Adventures into Terror#4/1) - A notorious Nazi war criminal, Otto von Schmittsder prepared for his eventual capture by informing his aide Fritz that he had designed a device which would restore his brain to life should he die, and left instructions that it be used within 24 hours of his death.



After being captured, found guilty, and hanged, Otto was dug up by Fritz, and returned to his castle in Germany, where he was brought back to life by the faithful Fritz. Otto then ordered Fritz to depart, and began to scheme how he might obtain a new body.

His answer came in the form of Larry, an American sergeant sent to examine Otto's castle to determine if any of his equipment could be recovered. Appealing to Larry's quest for knowledge, Otto contacted Larry, and promised to show him all of his secrets. With a cache of stolen jewels, he convinced Larry to begin operating from a secret lab in the castle, and as time wore on, Larry slowly began to think more and more like Otto.

The two put their heads together and developed a germ bomb, which could kill whole populations. After testing the bomb, Larry and the Brain planned to raise an army to conquer the world -- but at that moment, one of Larry's friends from the army appeared, wondering what had become of him. The Brain commanded Larry to kill his friend, but ultimately, Larry's decency overrode the Brain, and he turned the gun on himself. With his dying breath, he told his friend to destroy the Brain, but Otto had already escaped.

(Adventures into Terror#6/1) - Deciding that Europe was sick and corrupt, Otto made headway for America, to find new minds to conquer. Stealing aboard a plane, he travelled across the ocean, then rode from the back of a chemical truck to the laboratory of Gilda Spears, one of America's most brilliant female scientists. Taking his place on her shelf next to wax dummy heads, the Brain put into motion his plot to conquer the world through her.

After weeks of projecting his thoughts into Gilda's head, he was finally able to break her will. He then had her destroy her own work and sell secrets to the Russians. He also made her denounce fellow scientists as traitors.

The Brain's plans were derailed by Gilda's fiance, Steve Manners of the FBI, who had intercepted her letters to Russia. The Brain ordered Gilda to kill him, but Mr. Manners overheard his voice. A fight ensued as Gilda attempted to kill Steve with a scalpel, and the Brain tried to burn down the lab with a bunsen burner. Steve carried Gilda out of the fire to safety, believing the Brain to have perished. But once again, the Brain had escaped.


Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Russ Heath.

What hath Donovan's Brain wrought? There's a veritable sub-genre of disembodied brains that dominate others, to say nothing of disembodied Nazi brains! Marvel Comics alone has the Brain, Brain Drain, and the Hate-Monger!

One day, we'll have to see the Brain return, and battle Brain Drain. And the Eternal Brain. With the Headmen.

I've done my best to relate all of this with a straight face. Really, I'm sure it was much more frightening in 1951.

They're Larry and the Brain, yes Larry and the Brain; their twilight campaign, is easy to explain...

I'm only human...

The Brain's stories are reprinted in the Curse of the Weird limited series#1 and 3--Snood.

As his head was severed from his neck above his vocal chords, the Brain must have used mental telepathy to "speak", and perhaps he also used low-level telekinetic "jumps" to move himself (this would explain his "head hops").
--John Kaminski

Other disemboed heads in the Marvel Universe: the Head, Chondu the Mystic, Cameron Hodge, Frost and Doctor Mynde

This appears to be another disembodied head (he has hypnotic ability) story, "Good Morning,Mr. Smith!" (Mystic#26 (January, 1954) 3rd story).

The Brain has an entry in Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Other Monstrosities. The last names of Fritz and Larry were revealed in Brain's updated profile in OHotMU A-Z HC#2.

Profile by Prime Eternal

The Brain should not be confused with:




Fritz Ganz was Otto's good and faithful servant, and restored Otto's brain to life. He then departed, and his fate is unknown.










Larry Siodmak was an army sergeant who intended to become a scientist. He became Otto's first victim, and nearly conquered the United States with Otto's germ bomb, but when he was forced to kill his best friend, he turned the gun upon himself.







Gilda Spears was an intelligent American scientist who became Otto's second victim. He made her ally herself to the Communists and denounce other great scientists with false accusations. When Otto was forced by her fiance Steve into departing, Gilda lost all memory of her time under Otto's domination.







Steve Manners was an FBI agent engaged to Gilda Spears. He tried, unsucessfully to kill the Brain, and finally believed it to have been killed in a fire.
--Check out the Brain in this picture!--Snood








Adventures into Terror#4 (June, 1951) - Russ Heath (artist), Stan Lee (editor)

Last updated: 04/21/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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