Real Name: Morton Erg
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Occupation: Leader of the "New Society" town; Prophet; Nuclear Power proponent;
Group Membership: The townsfolk of the "New Society" town
Affiliations: Mr. Phage
Enemies: Ceci Ryder; Howard The Duck
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Profit of Doom; Destroyer of Gardens
Base of Operations: The "New Society" town, Rocky Mountains
First Appearance: Howard The Duck I#32 (January 1986)
Powers/Abilities: The Gopher is extremely strong, powerful enough to stop an oncoming semi truck with trailer, running at high speeds. Gopher's main ability, however, appears to be the ability to rapidly burrow/tunnel through solid dirt and rock using his teeth and claws.
History: (Howard The Duck I#32 - BTS) - Morton Erg, trying to prove the safeness of nuclear energy, entered an atomic power plant during a meltdown. Sometime after, he took a bubble bath using radioactive water.
(Howard The Duck I#32) - While exploring a section of forest composed of synthetic products, Howard the Duck and his then-companion Ceci Ryder came across a series of caves and tunnels that led to a small town under the ground. The entire town was designed to resemble 1910 era American towns. Finding the two strangers, the locals chased them to town hall, where Mr. Phage and two policemen took them to meet Morton Erg.
Erg accused Howard and Ceci of being sent by his enemies. He then explained how he advocated nuclear power and planned to turn all of the world's natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon into things like condominiums. When Howard mocked his plans, Erg attacked him, only to have Ceci knock him out, and the two escaped.
Upset, Erg changed into his alter ego, the giant Gopher. The Gopher tunneled his way up to the surface and into the path of Ceci's semi, which she and Howard were using to get away. The Gopher's strength stopped the truck and attacked the two. Trying to think of a plan, Howard took off running, and the Gopher began to tunnel in the ground after him. Spotting a lake, Howard jumped into it, knowing the Gopher was trailing him. The creature emerged, only to have his hole flooded by the water, apparently drowning him.
Comments: Created by Steven Grant and Paul Smith
Erg/Gopher was an obvious product of the mid-80s, when yuppies and condominiums were all the rage.
I am using the name "New Society" Town as the designation of Erg's construction, as it's never actually named. Given its retro style, I wonder if the same people who built this place for him also helped out Turner D. Century.
Clarifications: The Gopher should not be confused with:
Morton Erg's assistant. Mr. Phage caught Howard and Ceci and brought them to Erg, and later witnessed Erg's transformation into the Gopher. After Erg's apparent drowning, Phage visited the local park commissioner, and paid him off for "not believing" Howard and Ceci's story of an underground town. (Howard The Duck I#32)
Howard the Duck I#32; cover; page 10, panel 4; page 13, panel 2
Howard the Duck I#32 (January, 1986) - Steven Grant (writer), Paul Smith (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks)
Last updated: 02/07/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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