Real Name: Heathrow Vance (see comments)

Identity/Class: Human mutate (1950s era)

Occupation: Scientist, showman, criminal

Group Membership: Leader of the "Wonder Gang"

Affiliations: Mrs. O'Brien, his unidentified dog

Enemies: Marvel Boy (Bob Grayson)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The radium-eyed madman" (as called by Marvel Boy)

Base of Operations: Mobile

First Appearance: Marvel Boy I#1/3 (December, 1950)

Powers/Abilities: Vance was highly knowledgeable in the field of chemistry and radium compounds. As a result of unstable chemicals exploding into his eyes, he was endowed with "X-ray vision" -- with his enhanced vision, he could see the skeletons of living persons and the contents of opaque containers, and he could also gaze through walls and floors. Additionally, he later discovered he had "death-vision" (see comments), which gave him the power to kill with a prolonged stare -- if he gazed at a living being for too long, the radiation from his eyes would cause it to faint into unconsciousness or die.

Distinguishing Features: Following the chemical explosion, Vance was left with dark circles around his eyes -- these were likely burn scars; as the Great Video, he wore a domino mask to conceal them.

Height: Unrevealed (5'10"; by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed (170 lbs.; by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

(Marvel Boy I#1/3 (fb) - BTS) - In his home-laboratory, Professor Vance was conducting a chemical experiment involving advanced X-ray research. Exhausted from his work, he took a break and went to his living room, where he settled in a chair to take a nap.

(Marvel Boy I#1/3) - Vance was abruptly awakened by the ringing of his doorbell (see comments); while his housekeeper answered the door, Vance glanced at his wristwatch and was alarmed when he realized that he was ten minutes late for a crucial part of his experiment, so he rushed back to his lab. But the unstable chemicals exploded, blasting him in his eyes. Initially, Vance feared that he was blinded, but to his amazement, he found that he had obtained "X-ray vision" from the chemicals, and he could now see through anything! He began to rave that his newfound power would make him the richest man in the world.

   Weeks later, Vance adopted the guise of the "Great Video" and became an entertainer at a theatre, where he performed a "mind-reading" act -- he actually used his optic power to see what members of the audience carried in their pockets and purses, and seemingly "read" their minds; however, this was but a front to learn what valuables they had, so that his thugs could corner and rob them afterwards -- one such robbery was broken up by the hero Marvel Boy.

   After his performance, while the Great Video was in his dressing room and awaiting the return of his thugs, he was shocked to find that his dog he had been petting was now dead due to radiation burns -- it seemed that if he stared at any living thing for too long, his gaze would kill it. Just then, Marvel Boy entered and confronted the Great Video; but Vance used this newly-discovered power to weaken the hero to unconsciousness. After Marvel Boy collapsed to the floor, Vance decided that he was through with vaudeville shows and trifling hold-ups, and he would instead use his unique talent for more lucrative robberies.

   A week later, Vance set out to become a major crime-lord by forming a new gang -- he impressed them by demonstrating how he could kill a zoo elephant within seconds by merely staring at it. He further impressed them with his ability to see beforehand where burglar alarms and valuables were hidden inside houses and buildings, so they could flawlessly break-in and rob the places; he was also able to render watchmen and security guards unconscious. And so the Great Video and his gang began an extensive robbery spree.

   But Marvel Boy had deduced that the Great Video was the guiding force behind the crime-wave; with the cooperation of the police, Marvel Boy circulated a rumor in the criminal underworld that a certain bank was holding a million dollars cash in its vault, all to lure the Great Video and his gang into a trap.

(Marvel Boy I#1/3 - BTS) - That afternoon, after hearing the rumor, the Great Video used his power to look into the vault; he confirmed that the rumor was true, so he and his men prepared to commit the greatest robbery in history.

(Marvel Boy I#1/3) - That night, the Great Video and his gang embarked upon the bank heist. As his men were cutting through the vault door with an acetylene torch, the Great Video used his power to act as their lookout; then he warned them when he saw Marvel Boy in the next room, about to open the door. But before he could employ his "death-vision," Marvel Boy leaped into the room and blasted the Great Video in his eyes with a burst of light from his wristbands, and punched him out. Seconds later, the police entered and arrested the gang members, and took the Great Video into custody; Vance could only wonder why the police officers weren't fainting, because he was staring right at them. Marvel Boy theorized that the combination of the light-burst and his punch must have destroyed Vance's X-ray vision, and that his powers were gone.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Russ Heath.

Although it was never mentioned in the story, Vance's first name was revealed in the Electro (Ivan Kronov) entry in Captain America: America's Avenger#1 (August, 2011).

The term "death-vision" was never actually used in the original story, but the Earth-9904 Marvel Boy described it as such in What If? I#9 (see image below).

And the visitor ringing Vance's doorbell turned out to be Bob Grayson, who was working as a reporter for the Daily Monitor, and he was there to interview Professor Vance, which explains how Marvel Boy first became acquainted with him.--Ron Fredricks

This character reminds me of the 1963 movie X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes - the main character (Dr. James Xavier) uses chemicals to give himself x-ray vision, and at one point in the film, he even works as a side-show performer.
--John Kaminski

As seen in What If? I#9, the Great Video had a counterpart on Earth-9904, until that reality was erased by Immortus; details of that Great Video's participation in the story follow below:

(What If? I#9) - In 1958, the Yellow Claw used alchemy potions to restore the Great Video's powers and enslave his will. The Great Video thus became one of a group of superhuman criminals assembled by the Yellow Claw as part of his scheme to capture President Eisenhower. Alongside the Cold Warrior, Electro, and Skull-Face, the Great Video kidnapped Eisenhower -- during the abduction, the Great Video had no qualms against using his "death-vision" on one of the the President's guards. The kidnappers then took Eisenhower to the Yellow Claw.

Later, FBI agent Jimmy Woo sneaked into the Yellow Claw's base, and was taken captive by the Claw; but Suwan summoned the Avengers, whom Woo had brought together. The Great Video blasted the 3-D Man with his "death-vision" -- only the hero's triple-endurance kept him from dying immediately, and he couldn't last much longer; but he was saved by Marvel Boy, who noted the return of the Great Video's powers as he once again attacked with a combination of his fist and a light-burst. The Great Video boasted that he was now more powerful than before...then the villain fell unconscious when Gorilla-Man struck him on his head with one of Skull-Face's leg-bones.

(For a good while, it was presumed that the 1950s Avengers from Earth-9904 existed on Earth-616. But they were seemingly ret-conned out of existence when Kurt Busiek destroyed their reality in Avengers Forever. However, in a personal communication with Busiek (on Avengers Message Board), he specifically stated that he did not wipe the Avengers of the 1950s from existence -- only one alternate timeline containing them was wiped out. The group may well have existed in the mainstream past, but they just weren't called the Avengers. He suggested the name: "The G-Men".

Later, when Agents of Atlas was published, it was explained that the heroes did team up together on Earth-616, only they were called the G-Men and 3-D Man never joined, which explained that the What If issue's reality (Earth-9904) was the one that Immortus actually destroyed.)

Profile by Prime Eternal. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

The Great Video (Professor Heathrow Vance) has no known connections to:

The "Wonder Gang" has no known connections to:

Professor Vance's dog

An unspecified breed of canine (maybe a chihuahua?), it was Vance's pet.

After Vance was endowed with X-ray vision, he became the Great Video and worked at a theatre. While he was in his dressing room, Vance was stroking the dog, when it suddenly died -- he thereby learned that the radiation from his X-ray vision was deadly to living things, and he had the power to kill with a prolonged stare.

--Marvel Boy I#1/3

Mrs. O'Brien

Apparently Professor Vance's housekeeper, Mrs. O'Brien (first name unrevealed) went to answer the door when the doorbell awakened the napping professor -- Vance angrily scolded her for not waking him earlier, because he was at a crucial stage in his experiment, and he rushed back to his laboratory.

Mrs. O'Brien opened the door and discovered that the visitor was reporter Bob Grayson (secretly Marvel Boy), who was there to interview Vance. As she escorted the reporter to Vance's lab, there was a chemical explosion which struck the professor in his eyes -- unknown to Mrs. O'Brien, the chemicals had somehow given Vance the power of X-ray vision.

When Vance began to rave that he could see everything, Mrs. O'Brien feared he was insane ("The professor's gone mad, poor soul!"), and she likely quit.

--Marvel Boy I#1/3

"Wonder Gang"

A trio of hoodlums led by the Great Video, they were dubbed the "Wonder Gang" by the press for their amazing robberies.

By using his X-ray vision, the Great Video first ran reconnaissance on the targets of their crimes, and he provided them with first-hand knowledge of exactly where burglar alarms and valuables were hidden inside homes and buildings; with this information, the gang was able to flawlessly pull off their robberies.

When they heard a rumor that a certain bank had a million dollars cash in its vault, the Great Video confirmed the rumor to be true, so they prepared to to commit the biggest bank heist in history.

As the three men cut through the vault door with an acetylene torch, the Great Video was acting as their lookout. But the rumor was actually planted by Marvel Boy (Bob Grayson), who lured them into a trap; using a light-burst from his wristbands, the young hero destroyed the Great Video's X-ray vision, while the police arrested his trio of henchmen.

--Marvel Boy I#1/3

images: (without ads)
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p4, pan7 (Main Image - Great Video)
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p4, pan6 (Headshot - Great Video)
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p3, pan1 (Professor Vance rants about his power)
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p1, pan1 (Great Video on theatre stage)
What If? I#9, p27, pan1 (Earth-9904 - Great Video uses his "death-vision" on 3-D Man; Marvel Boy (foreground))
What If? I#9, p27, pan3 (Earth-9904 - Marvel Boy attacks Great Video)
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p4, pan4 (Vance's dog dies as a result of Great Video's "death-vision")
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p4, pan5 (Vance's dead dog; Great Video, Marvel Boy (background))
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p2, pan1 (Mrs. O'Brien runs to answer doorbell; Professor Vance (foreground))
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p2, pan5 (Vance discovers his power by seeing through Mrs. O'Brien and Bob Grayson)
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p5, pan6 (newspaper headline mentions crimes of "Wonder Gang" (underlined in red))
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p6, pan2 (three gang members; Professor Vance (foreground))
Marvel Boy I#1/3, p6, pan3 (three gang members break into vault, as Great Video sees Marvel Boy through closed door)

Marvel Boy I#1/3 (December, 1950) - unidentified writer, Russ Heath (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First posted: 07/12/2003
Last updated: 09/18/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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