Real Name: Marcia Kenwell

Identity/Class: Human mutant/mutate?

Occupation: unrevealed;
    potential would-be world conqueror

Affiliations: Cockroaches;
    possibly the Cockroach Conspiracy

Enemies: Schapalov family (father, mother, son);
    formerly cockroaches

Known Relatives: Unidentified mother

Aliases: none

Base of Operations: New York City, New York;
    pre-modern era

First Appearance: Monsters Unleashed#2 (September, 1973)

Powers/Abilities: Marcia could control cockroaches by command. She initially had a pathologic hatred for them, though she grew to love them as she found they were under her control, and that they loved her.

(Monsters Unleashed#2/8 (fb) - BTS) - Marcia's aunt had always warned her about cockroaches. The day she had left for New York City, she had told her that the city was full of cockroaches.

(Monsters Unleashed#2/8 (fb)) - Marcia had never seen a roach. But one day she went into a building's cellar, and her flashlight passed across a sink that was covered in black...a black that moved. Realizing that it was literally covered with a sheet of cockroaches, Marcia screamed and fainted.

(Monsters Unleashed#2/8) - Five years later, Marcia's fear and hatred of roaches had blossomed into something pathologic. The roaches seemed to be everywhere, and she couldn't escape them. She blamed her immigrant neighbors' filthy habits as the reason the roaches persisted in spite of her obsessive cleaning. One day, as she slept, she saw the roaches crawling through a hole in the Schapalov's apartment and towards her bed. As they crawled towards her, she awoke, saw them, and screamed at them to get out of her apartment. And they turned around and headed out. Curious, she told them to stop...and they did. Soon correctly figuring that the roaches were under her command, Marcia sent the roaches--and thousands of others that she had summoned--into the Schapalov's apartment to devour her neighbors. Their screams gave her a peculiar thrill.




    Deciding to celebrate her victory, she went to her cupboard to fetch a bottle of liquor. She opened the door to find the cupboard full of roaches, who looked up at her. Marcia felt she could read their thoughts, or rather their single thought, "We love you, Marcia, we love you..." As this was the first time she had ever been shown such emotion by any living creature, Marcia was overcome with emotion and responded in kind: "I love you, too. Come to me...come..."
    And from every corner of Manhattan...from the crumbling walls, from sewers and from garbage cans...the loving roaches came forth...and began to crawl towards their mistress. She had time to scream...but only once.




Comments: Created by Thomas M. Disch.
    Adapted from his short story by Gerry Conway and Ralph Reese.

    Did Marcia Kenwell die? The story only said she screamed. If I wrote for Marvel, I would do a story in which she did not die, but rather was consumed by the cockroaches and became a collective cockroach entity, just like Fritz von Meyer was consumed by bees and became Swarm. She could be one of the MAJOR players in the Cockroach Conspiracy.

    I would put this--like many monster stories not specifically tied to the modern era--as having occurred at the time in which it was printed. It would thus have occurred in the ever-expanding pre-modern era.
    As pointed out by Shad Z. Daly, there is nothing to confirm that this story occurred on Earth-616, and that Marcia Kenwell would be considered licensed property. My thoughts are that it is just as in-continuity as almost any horror story. Some have been confirmed, some have not, but there is certainly a precedent for their inclusion. Material being licensed doesn't really weigh one way or the other either. There are plenty of examples of licensed material being considered in-continuity, and there and tons that aren't, as well. I don't understand the trend by many readers to try to exclude material. I lean towards inclusion if possible. However, it is possible that Marcia's story took place on another Earth--there's really no evidence one way or another...but that still wouldn't stop her from getting involved in the dimension spanning Cockroach Conspiracy!

    I lived in New York for a year. The roaches there are unbelievable. Even on the Upper East Side, you might walk out into the kitchen in the middle of the night, flip on the light, and find them all over the kitchen sink. They didn't run away from you or anything. One time I picked up a shoe to smash one in the bathroom, and it looked up at me. I swear, if it could have talked, that roach would have said, "What the #%$#! are you lookin' at!?"

Special thanks to our own Darc_Lite for reminding me about this story.

Marcia Kenwell's existence in 616 is confirmed by All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Premiere (HC)#14's entry on Cockroaches.
--David A. Zuckerman

No known connection to:


Last updated: 05/09/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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