Real Name: Gerald Marsh
Identity/Class: Human technology user
Occupation: Jeweler, racketeer
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Ant-Man (Hank Pym)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Unknown Protector
Base of Operations: Manhattan, New York
Appearances: Tales to Astonish I#37 (November, 1962)
Powers: None. As the Protector, Marsh wore a primitive, bulky exoskeleton and platform shoes to increase his size and strength. He also used a "Disintegrating Gun" which he used to seemingly destroy the gems of those who could not or would not pay him. In actuality, the gun merely caused a large puff of smoke, under cover of which he stole the gems and replaced them with piles of sand. He was also armed with a vacuum cleaner and glue, which he used to briefly trap the Ant-Man.
Height: (Marsh) 5' 8"; (Protector) 6' 8"
Weight: (Marsh) 180 lbs.; (Protector) 315 lbs.
Eyes: Dark brown
History: Gerald Marsh was a jeweler in Manhattan, whose business was doing poorly. He decided to steal from his competitors, and came up with a plan to hopefully avoid capture. Disguised with a costume, an exo-skeleton, and a fake disintegration ray, he became the Protector. First, as Marsh, he reported himself being harassed and his gems destroyed by the Protector. Then, as the Protector, he began a protection racket, demanding that other jewelers pay him each week or he would batter them and destroy their gems.
Ant-Man's trusty ants, trained to key on words such as "Protector" or "Disintegration Ray," informed him of the Protector's next attack. Ant-Man tripped up the Protector on a bunch of pearls from a necklace, but the Protector quickly countered with a squirt from a water pistol, which threatened to wash Ant-Man into a sewer drain. Fortunately, Ant-Man was able to have some ants bring him a lollypop stick, which saved him from falling into the sewer.
Ant-Man, as Henry Pym, next rented out a jewelry store to set himself up as a target for the Protector. Sure enough, the Protector made an appearance, and Ant-Man was soon in hot pursuit. Following the signals of some ants he had trained to climb on the Protector's boots, Ant-Man inadvertently walked into a trap and was sucked up by the Protector into a vacuum cleaner, which he then sealed with glue. Ant-Man, with his normal human strength, quickly fought his way out of the paper bag, and then used a fan to blow the dust into the Protector's face. Despite a full face mask and goggles, the Protector was blinded and paralyzed by a sneezing fit until the police could arrive. Fortunately, Ant-Man always had a group of ants at the police station to form written messages with their bodies via his electronic signals.
The Protector was then unmasked, but Ant-Man, as both a biochemist and a robotocist, had easily determined who he was before that. He reasoned that the Protector wouldn't have worked his racket on Marsh whose business was going so poorly. He saw machine oil at the scenes of the crimes, which identified an exoskeleton as the source of the Protector's strength. He then explained the false disintegration ray, and directed the cops to Marsh's safe where they would find the missing gems.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby.
This story, alongside Strange Tales#101, win the "Reads Most Like a Scooby Doo Episode" award.
These early issues are classics. You've got to read them.
Clarifications: Gerald Marsh/The Protector has no known connection to:
Tales to Astonish I#37 (November, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Larry Lieber (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks)
Last updated: 05/01/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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