Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (unidentified - see Comments)
Occupation: Law enforcement (Monster Metropolis), wanderer;
formerly space explorer; scientist
Group membership: Legion of Monsters
Man-Thing (Ted Sallis),
formerly S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos unit (Abominable Snowman, Bradley Beemer, Brother Voodoo, Clone of Frankenstein, Glob/Joe Timms, Gorilla Man/Ken Hale, Groot, Hellstorm, It the Living Colossus, Lilith, Living Mummy, Clay Quartermain, Sasquatch/Walter Langkowski, Vampire by Night, Warwolf/Vince Marcus, Zombie"John Doe", many others)
Affiliations: Becky Barnes, Elsa Bloodstone, Dr. Stephen Strange, Punisher (Frank Castle), Red Hulk, unidentified mate (deceased); the "Elders" of his race
Enemies: Doc Samson (displaced spirit), Aaron Fox; Robert Hellsgaard, Hunter of Monster Special Force, another unidentified male of his race; Dimensional Man, Merlin, the Rose (name unrevealed)
Known Relatives: Unidentified mate (deceased), several unidentified children (deceased)
Base of Operations: Mobile;
New York City, USA, notably Monster Metropolis;
formerly Area 13, Pine Barrens, New Jersey;
formerly mobile throughout an unknown region of the USA (possibly Texas)
First Appearance: Legion of Monsters I#1/2 (September, 1975)
Powers/Abilities: As his name suggests, Manphibian is amphibious, able to survive underwater as easily as above. Manphibian is superhumanly strong, to an unrevealed extent. He and another male of his species both exhibited the following abilities: to tear a 15+ foot tree up from its roots; a mere swipe from Manphibian sent several men sprawling (and he notes that he didn't use his full strength). All members of his race depicted also possess razor sharp claws, able to slice open the body of a car. His skin is also able to withstand a missile strike, though even he realized it probably would not withstand a second hit. Manphibian, and presumably his entire race, have unusually long life spans, at least upwards of a thousand years. His species are incredibly durable, capable of eventually healing fully from massive injuries, including having half their head destroyed; their brains are in their necks, allowing them to survive severe head wounds. His race is also noteworthy for developing crafts capable of interstellar travel.
Height: 7' 2"
Weight: 425 lbs.
History: (Punisher VIII#16) Manphibian's alien species did not suffer from the delusional concept of fate, the belief that bad things happen for a reason, instead accepting that even traumatic misfortune was simply bad luck. As such, they also did not normally reinvent such calamities in their own minds as a call to a righteous and vital mission, such as the hunt for revenge, but realized the true motive for such actions was to share their own pain with the world.
(Legion of Monsters I#1/2 (fb) - BTS) Manphibian's species believed in a "Prime Mover" and none of their race had raised a hand against another of their kind in eons.
(Legion of Monsters I#1/2 (fb)) Manphibian's mate was murdered by another male from their race.
(Legion of Monsters I#1/2 (fb) - BTS) Ignoring the wisdom of his race's Elders, who said that to seek vengeance would be to become as mad as the killer, Manphibian pursued the murderer into space. The chase went across a hundred worlds before reaching the planet Earth a thousand years ago.
(Legion of Monsters I#1/2) Oil-drilling released an unnamed creature from a long imprisonment under the Earth. The creature, an explorer and scientist in his own race, noted how humans had changed in the last thousand years, but brushed them off in search of something else. Meanwhile, another creature of the same type attacked a car belonging to Beth Fox (wife of oil tycoon Aaron Fox, whose well "Manphibian" escaped from). Manphibian arrived in time to stop the other creature, the same one that had killed his mate centuries before, from killing Mrs. Fox. Upon learning that a creature had crawled out of Shaft #27, Aaron Fox mobilized his high-tech helicopter.
Manphibian rescued Beth from the other creature while battling underwater, and after bringing her back to the surface for air, was attacked by Fox's workers, then Fox himself, who tried to blast the creature with missiles (which ended up killing two employees instead). Fox explained that Shaft #27 was too important for the monster to get near. However, another missile attack accidentally destroyed the shaft and Manphibian escaped in the chaos. With his wife traumatized beyond help, Aaron Fox vowed revenge on the Manphibian, who in turn was last seen searching for the other alien to gain revenge.
(Punisher VIII#12 (fb) - BTS) Manphibian and his mate had multiple offspring who were similarly trapped on Earth (see Comments) He began raising them as best he could without his mate.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#1 (Director's Cut) (fb)-BTS) At some point, Manphibian was recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos unit.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#2) Manphibian was seen in Area 13's commissary along with John Jameson and the Golem.
(Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#6) Manphibian was among the Commandos that launched an assault on the forces of Merlin.
(Ghost Rider VI#33 - BTS) Deacon and Blackout considered him as a possible agent in their fight against Ghost Rider (Blaze).
(Punisher VIII#11 (fb)) When Robert Hellsgaard's Hunter of Monster Special Force began hunting down and slaughtering any being they deemed a monster, Manphibian joined the reformed Legion of Monsters to defend those being attacked. They led the survivors to the abandoned Morlock tunnels beneath Manhattan, which had been a haven for monsters centuries earlier, and there set up the Monster Metropolis, though they feared it was likely to be the site of their last stand.
(Punisher VIII#12 (fb) - BTS) Manphibian's children could not join him in the Metropolis, as their young bodies needed clean water, which was in short supply in the putrid catacombs.
(Punisher VIII#11) After the Punisher was slain by Wolverine (Daken), his remains were retrieved by Moloids and taken to the Monster Metropolis, where Morbius the Living Vampire revived him as a patchwork creature similar to Frankenstein's Monster. Awakening understandably disorientated and with his brain not fully restored, Punisher stumbled from Morbius' lab into the Metropolis, to be confronted by a huge variety of creatures, including Manphibian and the Living Mummy. Manphibian counseled his fellow monsters to stand back, recognizing that the Punisher had been reborn wild, while the Mummy tried, unsuccessfully, to calm and welcome the newcomer. Punisher flung the Mummy aside and into Manphibian, knocking both of them over, and stomped off, but was restrained soon after by the Molten Man-Thing. The Legion arrived seconds later, and Morbius ordered Punisher returned to the lab so his brain could be fully restored, using "synaptic glue" pills.
(Punisher VIII#12 (fb) - BTS) Manphibian left the Metropolis to check on his children, but was captured by Hellsgaard's Force.
(Punisher VIII#12) The Force transported their captive to their base in the Alps, where he was threatened with torture to try and force him to give up the hiding place of his fellow monsters. When he refused to yield that information Hellsgaard taunted him by revealing that he already knew where the Metropolis was, and he showed Manphibian the corpses of the alien's slaughtered children; Manphibian's reputation for being noble had convinced Hellsgaard that the amphibian would not break, so Hellsgaard's men had captured Manphibian's offspring too, and, under terrible torture, they had given away the monster refuge. Tearful, Manphibian asked Hellsgaard why he had brought him there and shown him this horror if he already knew the location, and the gloating Hellsgaard admitted it was simply for his own sadistic pleasure.
(Punisher VIII#15) Punisher assaulted Hellsgaard's castle to rescue both Manphibian and Morbius, who had been captured when Hellsgaard assaulted the Monster Metropolis. However, after he freed the two badly injured monsters from Hellsgaard's torture chamber, they were confronted by Hellsgaard, who sliced open Manphibian's chest with a buzzsaw, and then blasted Punisher.
(Punisher VIII#16) Manphibian pulled himself to his feet, angrily remembering how Hellsgaard had slain his children, and realized in so doing Hellsgaard had spread a human poison to him, that of seeing a twisted significance to his horror, the need for revenge. As Hellsgaard trapped Punisher's arms with a snare, Manphibian joined the fight, granting the Punisher a momentary respite. Hellsgaard easily pounded Manphibian into the ground, while some of the Force fired spikes into the Punisher, pulling him to the ground. Punisher watched helplessly as Hellsgaard trained his massive gun on Manphibian's head; the alien made a last request to the vigilante, begging him to avenge Manphibian's children, before Hellsgaard blew away part of his head, seemingly slaying him. Punisher silently promised to do as Manphibian had asked. Hellsgaard then opened a portal to limbo (Otherplace), then tossed Manphibian's body through, as well as the pills Punisher needed to keep his damaged mind functioning. Moments later Punisher broke free and tackled Hellsgaard, sending them both through to a volcanic landscape beyond. Narrowly losing a brutal fight, Punisher was thrown towards the lava, landing near his pills and Manphibian's body, but before he could reach them Hellsgaard intervened and the fight recommenced. However, Punisher noticed that behind Hellsgaard's back, Manphibian had pulled himself back to his feet, and intensified his attack to keep Hellsgaard from noticing, smashing open the helmet of Hellsgaard's massive armored suit. When he eased off, Hellsgaard taunted the vigilante that his moment had passed, but Punisher responded that he merely intended to share it with someone who wanted it more. Moments later, Manphibian jumped on Hellsgaard's back and hauled him bodily out of his armor. When Hellsgaard expressed disbelief that Manphibian could have survived being shot in the head, the alien noted that his species' brains were in their necks, an anatomy lesson he angrily chided Hellsgaard for not learning when he had slaughtered Manphibian's children. Manphibian ripped free the regenerative Bloodstone Hellsgaard had stolen when he assaulted the Monster Metropolis, but Punisher stopped him from killing Hellsgaard, telling Manphibian that it was a not a path he wanted to walk. Hellsgaard pleaded that he had only ever wanted to protect the world by ridding it of the kind of monsters who had slain his own family, but Manphibian responded that all the hunter had done was create new ones. However, calmer now, Manphibian added that he was nothing like Hellsgaard - he was not a child and he saw nuance in the world, and so recognized that Hellsgaard was the monster. The portal to Earth reappeared, opened by Morbius, and Manphibian and Punisher departed, leaving Hellsgaard trapped in limbo.
(Franken-Castle#17) Back at the Monster Metropolis Manphibian was bandaged up, while Punisher was given the Bloodstone to heal his far more severe injuries. Once Punisher was back on his feet, Manphibian informed him that after Morbius extracted the two of them, the Legion had gone into Hellsgaard's castle to deal with the monster hunters, but without their leader the hunters had simply surrendered, leaving the monsters with a quandary. Manphibian led Punisher to some cells beneath the Hall of Monsters, where the hunters were being held, and explained that the Legion didn't know what to do with their captives - they couldn't let them go but no court would prosecute them for killing monsters, so Manphibian wondered if Punisher might have a solution. Punisher grinned and enquired rhetorically "You're asking me?", then handed Manphibian a gun and walked away. Holding the weapon, Manphibian turned to look at the prisoners, who were flinching away in anticipation of what was to come, but Manphibian chastised them, telling them to quit squirming, as if he had intended to kill them then he would have already have done so.
(Franken-Castle#21) After Punisher rampaged through Tokyo seeking revenge against Daken, the Legion convinced his ally, Billy Russo, to direct the patchwork vigilante to Monster Island, where the Bloodstone could have the time to heal him without him endangering anyone else. Within weeks the Punisher was fully human again, but the Bloodstone was also affecting his mind, making him more brutal and paranoid. The Legion of Monsters, including a fully healed Manphibian, met with Elsa Bloodstone and Billy Russo to discuss the situation and decided to try and get Punisher to give up the Bloodstone for his own sake. The Legion and Elsa went to Monster Island, where Manphibian made the initial approach, hoping to reason with the man who had saved his life. Unaware that Punisher was thinking about ways to kill him, Manphibian informed Punisher that the Bloodstone was powered by a demon trapped inside it, which would detrimentally influence someone with Punisher's need for revenge. However, Manphibian's impassioned plea began to make some headway, and the Punisher began to doubt his paranoid thoughts, until an impatient Elsa spoiled the moment by taking a rifle shot at Punisher. Though it missed, it confirmed Punisher's suspicions, and, ignoring Manphibian's attempt to placate him and explain Elsa's actions as an overzealous error, Punisher shot Manphibian, sending him flying backwards, though the bullet did no discernible injury against Manphibian's thick hide. As Punisher fought Elsa and the rest of the Legion, Manphibian noted with annoyance that he had been getting somewhere reasoning with Punisher before the interruption. Eventually the Living Mummy convinced Punisher that the Bloodstone was destroying his one redeeming quality, that he only killed those who preyed on the innocent, and Punisher ripped the Bloodstone out of his own chest and stormed off, telling the Legion that they were done with one another. Apparently upset by this pronouncement, perhaps because he had come to consider Punisher a friend, Manphibian covered his face with his hands.
(Legion of Monsters II#1) In Monster Metropolis, Morbius and Manphibian helped the Living Mummy and Jack Russell the Werewolf capture the predatory Dimensional Man. Elsa Bloodstone suddenly teleported into the underground city with a dead monster and was taken into custody. It was soon revealed that the dead monster had been corrupted by a powerful force.
(Hulk III#52) Alongside Jack Russell, Manphibian helped Red Hulk overcome panicked monsters when Red Hulk journeyed to Monster Metropolis, guided by Dr. Strange, to stop the malevolent spirit of Doc Samson. Manphibian helped defeat the gamma-hungry spirit.
(Morbius: The Living Vampire II#8) Manphibian joined fellow Legion Monsters members to evacuate Brownsville so that Morbius could directly confront the new Rose and his makeshift Ultimate Nullifier. Manphibian tried to keep Morbius' friend, Becky Barnes, safe.
(Morbius: The Living Vampire II#9) Manphibian carried the reluctant Becky Barnes away from the wreckage to keep her safe, following Morbius' wish that she be kept safe.
Comments: Created by Marv Wolfman, Tony Isabella (writer), Dave Cockrum (pencils) and Sam Grainger (inks).
It should be noted that nowhere in the story do any of the alien creatures have names. At the end, a doctor treating Mrs. Fox refers to the main one as "Manphibian," and Aaron picks up on it.
This story, obviously intended to be a continuing series, leaves a lot to be desired. What exactly is Fox hiding in Shaft #27? He seems intent on keeping Manphibian from getting to it again, so there must be something else there, something important enough for him to kill his own workers (and almost his wife too). And for that matter, what's he doing with a state-of-the-art missile-equipped helicopter?
Also, Manphibian's been buried for a thousand years...where has the "evil" alien been all this time? Just walking around? And why after all this time, is he such a short distance away from Manphibian? And the first person he attacks just happens to be the wife of the guy whose oil well Manphibian just escaped from? And, conveniently enough, the only surviving person who ever saw the evil alien was the now-comatose Beth. Perhaps he was similarly caught beneath the Earth, and was woken at the same time as Manphibian? - Loki
An interesting piece of trivia regarding Manphibian's creation, found here: Dave Cockrum originally conceived the idea and pitched it to both Marvel and DC. Marvel bought the concept, and while Cockrum and Wolfman worked on the story, Dave learned that DC had included the character in an upcoming book as well. After Dave alerted them to the situation, the DC Manphibian was reworked as Devil-Fish, who first appeared in Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes#202. Per Dave Cockrum on his website, "My main reason for doing Manphibian--as with Devilfish over in the Legion of Superheroes--was my long, abiding love for the Creature From the Black Lagoon, and the fact that we couldn't get a license to do a Creature strip." He also drew concept art for a Manphibian model kit that never came to fruition, but which now supplies this entry with it's main image.
An interesting, but cliched, first tale. Sure wouldn't mind seeing Manphibian pop up briefly somewhere again. (And he did! Thanks Giffen and Norton! - Madison)
Without further evidence one way or the other, I'd say that this tale quite possibly occurs on Earth-616. I'd also tend to place it at the date of publication, @ 1975, rather than trying to link it to Marvel's sliding modern era--just like the Frankenstein monster's 1970s adventures. And of course, subsequent stories have confirmed Manphibian to be 616. - Loki
Manphibian's mate died over a thousand years ago, yet he had children, and seemingly young ones at that, as seen in Punisher #12. How could this be? Several possibilities present themselves: (1) Manphibian brought his children with him to Earth over a thousand years ago, but whatever trapped Manphibian for a thousand years also trapped the kids. They either remained in suspended animation until Manphibian was freed, and he subsequently freed the kids following LoM I #1, or else they were trapped awake but are incredibly long lived with a very long, thousand year plus, childhood; (2) After escaping from his underground captivity, Manphibian encountered another of his kind, or a being similar enough to mate with (heck, maybe he can mate with humans), perhaps while serving in the Howling Commandos - it is even possible that his mate was the male who slew Manphibian's previous mate. While that would seem an unlikely coupling given their personal hatred of one another, the mating urge might be so strong as to temporarily override such concerns; (3) Manphibian reproduces asexually (or, despite his build and that of his mate, is the female of his species (Womanphibian) and was pregnant while trapped below the Earth, or in his species the males carry the embryos for part of the gestation) - some Earth amphibians can change gender, while the male Cardinal fish carries the eggs after the female lays them, so it's not that unlikely an option; (4) Manphibian, being a scientist, made children through cloning or other scientific "test tube baby" means. I personally favor a mix of these - Manphibian's mate laid "frogspawn" before she died, which Manphibian was carrying when he got trapped in suspended animation beneath the Earth, and which only turned into "tadpoles" after he was freed in LoM I #1.
Manphibian's species is unidentified - I personally lean towards naming them Anurans, after the animal order that frogs and other amphibians come from.
Manphibian has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1970s Handbook.
Profile by Madison Carter.
Manphibian has no known connection to:
Manphibian's mate was slain by an insane member of their species, the first of their kind to raise his hand against another of their race in untold eons. When the insane one threatened to shoot Manphibian, she threw herself between them, and took the fatal shot herself, then died in her mate's arms.
Maybe she should be called Womanphibian?
--Legion of Monsters I#1/2
Manphibian had several children. Unable to join him in the Monster Metropolis because they needed clean water to survive, they were easy prey for Hellsgaard's Hunter of Monster Special Force. Captured, they divulged under torture the location of the Metropolis before dying.
Manphibian's mate's killer
The male member of Manphibian's species who slew Manphibian's mate was considered insane by his people, as none of their species had slain another of their kind in eons. After committing the murder he fled off-world, and was pursued across a hundred planets by Manphibian before both ended up on Earth. Manphibian was then somehow trapped beneath the ground for a thousand years (presumably so was the killer, since he didn't high tail it off planet after this and was still in the vicinity when Manphibian emerged). Shortly after Manphibian emerged, the killer attacked the car carrying Beth Fox and killed her driver, Fenton. Manphibian intervened before he could similarly slay Beth, and a fight ensued, but after the killer carried Beth into a river, Manphibian gave up his chance to capture or slay his foe in order to save Beth from drowning.
In the absence of a better name, and to avoid having always clunkily call him "the killer of Manphibian's mate," maybe he should be referred to as Badrachian (a play on Batrachian, or frogs to the layperson).
--Legion of Monsters I#1/2
images: (without ads)
Manphibian model kit concept art (main)
Legion of Monsters I#1, cover (head shot)
Legion of Monsters I#1/2, p1, pan4 (Manphibian rising from the oil)
Punisher VIII#16, p20, pan 5 (Manphibian with half his head shot off)
Franken-Castle#21, p12, pan1 (Manphibian full body including feet)
Legion of Monsters I#1/2, p4, pan7 (Manphibian 's mate)
Punisher VIII#12, p3, pan 1 (Manphibian's slaughtered children)
Legion of Monsters I#1/2, p3, pan5 (Manphibian 's mate's killer)
Last updated: 02/16/14
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