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Real Name: Robert "Bob" Hardin

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Earth-93060/Ultraverse) human mutate

Occupation: Patient/prisoner (comatose);
   formerly adventurer, college student

Group Membership: None;
   formerly the Strangers (ElectroCute, Grenade, Lady Killer, Spectral, Yrial, Zip-Zap), student cohort at San Francisco Art Institute

Affiliations: Stacy Adams, Atom Bob duplicate (pawn), Dr. Beniamino, Brazen, Byter, Choice, Mr. DiStefano, Captain Christopher Dugan, Empire-7, Entity, Gangsta, Generator X, Hardcase, Henrietta Hawkins (as Light Being), Dr. Horla (loose), Lightshow, Mantra (Lukasz), Marilee, Powerhouse, Prime (Kevin Green), Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz), Rodent, Captain Jacob Rome, Supra, Zara (all Earth-93060)

Enemies: Aladdin, Chief Aula, Bastinado and his demons, Boneyard and his wives, Boneyard's elite guard, Deathwish, Dirt Devil, Foxfire (John Reynolds), Grip, Gaius "Guy" Julius Hunt, J.D. Hunt, J.D. Hunt's bodyguards, Mr. Leopold, Night Man (Johnny Domino), Notch, NuWare, Omega Team (Gun-Nut, Needler, Trouble), Quattro (Book, Death Dance, Gate, Meat Hook), Rafferty (loose), Raiders (Centipede, Gecko, Jolly Roger, Sandblast, Sangre, Scar, Yardarm), "space station aliens", Teknight, T.N.T.N.T. (Naiad, Neuronne, Taboo, Torso, Tugun, Tyrannosaurus), Waddell, War Eagle (all Earth-93060)

Known Relatives: Will Hardin (father), Grace Hardin (mother), younger brother (name unrevealed)

Aliases: Pilgrim

Base of Operations: Clinique de Parsival, Andorra;
   formerly San Francisco, USA;
   formerly Oakland, California, USA (all Earth-93060)

First Appearance: The Strangers#1 (June, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Bob Hardin has the ability to transmute at will any matter into other matter, regardless of its state or complexity of it chemical composition; this transmutation ability is limited to his imagination and knowledge. He requires direct touch to transmute matter, usually his hands, but this can also be achieved by drawing matter through his feet and directing the transmutation through his hands. Hardin also developed the ability to manipulate demon magick and generate dimensional breaches, and transfigure sentient beings to appear completely differently. However, Hardin's transmutation powers cause physical and mental exertion; while personal training has given him considerable abilities and duration (at least several hours of constant use) in utilizing these powers, Hardin nevertheless has human limits and can be physically exhausted. He also has a creative talent that helped him succeed in visual art studies. Hardin has novice detective skills and a desire to prove himself to others.

Height: 5'10"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eyes: Blue (red as Pilgrim)
Hair: Blond


(The Strangers#19 (fb)) - As children, Bob Hardin and Hugh Fox quickly became friends when Hardin's family moved into the Oakland neighborhood. Hardin explored his interest in art.

(The Strangers#16 (fb) - BTS) - As a youth, Bob Hardin delivered newspapers in the neighborhood.

(The Strangers#19 (fb)) - In junior high, shy Hardin kept his friendship with Fox, even though Fox was often busy with girlfriends.

(The Strangers#16 (fb) - BTS) - In senior year high school, he had a crush on Stacy Adams, but she ignored him. His mother noted he wanted to do something heroic and solve mysteries.

(The Strangers#19 (fb)) - While Fox wasn't sure what to do after high school, Hardin encouraged him to try art classes.

(The Strangers#14 (fb) - BTS) - Hardin stayed good friends with Fox while studying in Oakland, California.

(The Strangers#1 (fb) - BTS) - Hardin and Fox enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). Prof. Kenner there helped Hardin with his art.

(The Strangers#1) - One Thursday morning on their way to class by tram, Hardin and Fox took action against the excessively sexual behavior by passenger J.D. Hunt and his paramour Candy (secretly a sex android); fellow passenger Dave Castiglione helped Hardin and Fox throw him off. An instant later, the tram was hit by the lightning-like "Jumpstart" effect, which would later trigger superpowers in its 59 passengers (becoming "ultras"). The tram brakes failed and hit a car driven by Johnny Domino (later Night Man). They waited for ambulances and to report to police. Hardin was conscientious about his cut wrist and stayed so that accurate assessments of injuries could be made, but this delayed the duo's walk to SFAI. Concerned how his lateness may appear to his academic mentor, he inadvertently triggered his ultra powers and his satchel became a bag of gift apples. Shocked, Fox tried to see if could trigger any powers and found he could shoot out shrapnel through his skin that caused minor damage around him, but Hardin instinctively turned the shrapnel blasting at him into rosebuds. But where Hardin panicked at their predicament, Fox saw income opportunity.

   Later at dusk that same day, and hearing of an incident at the tram accident location, Hardin and Fox rushed over and found sorceress Yrial seemingly menacing onlookers. and battling fellow former passengers also mutated with powers (speedster Leon Balford, sharpshooter Elena La Brava, energy-spectrum manipulator Castiglione, plus electricity-firing android Candy); eventually Yrial fled. The police arrived but Balford whisked his fellow ultras away. The six ultras compared notes and considered that others on the cable car had been similarly affected, yet only they had been responsible enough to confront the sorceress. They decided to stay a team and pursue the sorceress, focusing on the unusual cloud over San Francisco. La Brava took them to the airport to her private plane.

(The Strangers#2) - After banter in the plane, they discovered the jungle land of Sky Island in the protective cloud and landed. But they were all soon captured and bound, their powers manifested so far all negated. While his matter-transforming power was negated, with great strain, Hardin found he could transform sound waves, effectively translating their language so that they could understand their captors, and heard Yrial and chiefs Aula and Zara debate whether to remain a hidden people given the sudden rise in super-powered humans. Castiglione tried red flame, which triggered super-strength and rage that led to their breaking free. Eventually an understanding was reached with Aula, despite Zara's protests, and Yrial was assigned to study and help the ultras. The group decided to remain a team, calling themselves the Strangers, and seek answers to their changes and fellow former passengers. La Brava appointed herself leader given her experience and the rest quickly assented.

(The Strangers#3 (fb)) - Back on ground, the Strangers hid in Hardin's parents' home where they discussed their powers over dinner. The team decided on their individual codenames (Atom Bob (Hardin), ElectroCute (Candy), Grenade (Fox), Lady Killer (La Brava), Spectral (Castiglione), Zip-Zap (Balford)). La Brava, also a successful fashion designer, created costumes for them. Yrial kept her name and original clothes.

(The Strangers#3) - Wanting to protect his secrets, vengeful J.D. Hunt sent the villainous ultra team T.N.T.N.T. (Naiad, Neuronne, Torso, Tugun, Tyrannosaurus) after the Strangers. Initially almost overwhelmed, the team fought back. Victorious, the Strangers introduced themselves to the quickly assembled media.

(Hardcase#4 (fb) - BTS) - Suspicious of a connection between J.D. Hunt and the Aladdin ultras they had just fought, the Strangers sought help from prominent ultra Hardcase.

(Hardcase#3) - The Strangers arrived at Hardcase's mansion, where the hero and his girlfriend Choice had just returned from a battle.

(Hardcase#4) - Aggressively prepared for further fighting, Hardcase and Choice calmed down when they realized the Strangers were there peaceably. They discussed Aladdin's connections with ultras and decided to join forces investigating an Aladdin secret base at Groom Lake, Nevada. Landing in Nevada, Hardin secretly desired Choice, but Fox distracted him by getting him to transform a rock into a donut. Nearing the site, they split into three teams for reconnaissance, but were all incapacitated by Aladdin ultra agents (Dirt Devil, Foxfire, Grip, War Eagle); Distracted, Atom Bob, Grenade and ElectroCute were constricted by the energy-binding field of the Grip.

(The Strangers#4) - The Strangers, Hardcase and Choice were imprisoned inside a specially designed holding pen with a force field that resisted any direct attack from their powers. Senior Aladdin agent Mr. Leopold told them they would only gain freedom by joining Aladdin but they all refused. Grenade and Hardcase used their powers against each other to bring down the force field and the freed heroes fought Aladdin forces. They briefly escaped until Aladdin forces caught up with them in the labyrinthine base. Choice brought down War Eagle before Atom Bob had a chance to see if he could transform the air around the villain. After Atom Bob threatened to transform the base's computer network, a truce was reached between Aladdin and the Strangers (plus Hardcase and Choice) to keep out of each other's affairs.

(Flood Relief) - Feeling helpless, Atom Bob, ElectroCute, Grenade and Lady Killer watched the devastating Iowa floods (partially caused by Flood) on TV as Zip-Zap, Prime, Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz) and Hardcase did their best to mitigate the damage.

(The Strangers#5) - After receiving emergency communication pagers from Lady Killer, the Strangers went separate ways for personal time. Atom Bob returned home where his parents told him his high school crush Stacy Adams had tried to reach him. Alerted by Yrial, the Strangers assembled against the near-undefeatable death-dealing ultra Deathwish, including Atom Bob's direct transmutation attack. Spectral arrived late, having failed to save an ill friend, and used his green flame to make Deathwish seemingly perish. Afterward, Spectral revealed he was gay to the group and they remained supportive of him as team members.

(The Strangers#6) - The Strangers cleaned up the damaged street after the battle while Deathwish's unconscious human host was ferried to hospital where Deathwish was reborn. The villain again confronted the Strangers but, having learned from the previous fight, was no longer affected by Spectral's flame. Atom Bob momentarily pinned Deathwish using a transformed lamp pole. The team were overwhelmed until Yrial intervened by releasing the power of the Light Being within nurse Henrietta Hawkins and villain was vanquished.

(Break-Thru#1) - Aladdin's Dr. Rains called in the Strangers for their views on the sudden unusual light-shifting activity of Amber Hunt, suspended in the sky, which caused deranged behavior in many people. The Strangers and Mantra flew up to investigate Amber's situation and, despite Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz)'s interference, Mantra determined it was the Entity on the Moon calling for assistance through Amber. Powerful hidden manipulator Rex Mundi sent his villainous teams Quattro (Book, Death Dance, Gate, Meat Hook) and Omega Team (Gun-Nut, Needler, Trouble) to eliminate Amber but his counterpart the Alternate sent in the Solution team (Dropkick, Outrage, Shadowmage, Tech) to join the Strangers and other heroes to protect Amber. With the Moon glowing to match Amber, the heroes next course was to travel to the Moon and help the Entity.

(Prototype#5) - The Strangers broke into J.D. Hunt's base where they commandeered and launched his nuclear-powered space shuttle, intending to use it to go to the Moon, but it was preprogrammed to go to a Russian satellite instead. Meanwhile, J.D. Hunt had Prototype (plus heroes Empire-7 and Supra) pursue them in an ex-Russian rocket. Automatically docking, the Strangers investigated the space station; they found it seemingly abandoned until they were attacked by savage space aliens that could quickly reconstitute themselves. Prototype's team arrived to find the Strangers constrained in the aliens' tentacles.

(The Strangers#7) - Prototype's team helped free the Strangers. Atom Bob found the alien was resistant to his powers and that its rapidly corroded his hand; Atom Bob instantly transmuted the acid waste into a new hand. The heroes fled into a dead end but bickering led to Prototype unintentionally breaching the hull. Spectral used his indigo flame to form a protective air bubble. Atom Bob sealed the breach and the heroes split into three to destroy the hungry aliens and find escape. In the hangar, Atom Bob transmuted metal piping into fuel for their shuttle, and Prototype and the Strangers evacuated the space station, but Supra and Empire-7 perished.

(Break-Thru#2) - The Strangers piloted the shuttle to the Moon, where they joined Hardcase, Choice and the Solution. A battle soon raged: the heroes versus and Quattro and Omega Team, although the enhanced Prime was knocked back and secretly healed by Mantra, who found out the Entity's secret. While the heroes addressed the chaos unwittingly unleashed by the distressed Entity, Rex Mundi's two teams fled. Several heroes downloaded data from the Entity but it exploded before all could be retrieved. The heroes realized that the Entity initiated many Jumpstarts throughout Earth's history, seeking help for its crashlanded predicament on the Moon. Atom Bob mused that they may someday reach the Entity's world.

(The Strangers#8) - The Strangers left in the stolen Aladdin shuttle and landed it at Edwards Air Force Base, where Mr. Leopold confronted them but was dismissed by Air Force Captain Dugan. The Strangers left only to be confronted by Chief Aula, who demanded Yrial return to Sky Island. Yrial initially resisted with the Strangers' help, but acquiesced and left with Aula. The Strangers followed and landed by plane. Yrial considered herself a Strangers member and escaped with them but stopped as her people gave chase. During a brief fight, Atom Bob transformed a magick blast into puffballs. Yrial chose to surrender, but secretly gave a clue about her people to Lady Killer. She accepted imprisonment in a mystical stone and the Strangers left. Finding the clue, they all resolved to help Yrial.

(The Strangers#9) - The Strangers (except Yrial) rejoined each other in the Caribbean to investigate Yrial's clue. Atom Bob and Lady Killer briefly flirted. The group anchored and relaxed while Atom Bob explored his powers in seclusion on the nearby island. Atom Bob heard Grenade's call for help as the rest of the group were attacked by ultra pirates, Scar and his Raiders, who didn't realize their targets were ultras as well. Atom Bob transmuted sand into his costume, but was soon surrounded by three of the pirates. While the power-absorbing Scar recovered from a blow nearby, Atom Bob transformed the the three pirates to appear like three of the Strangers, and duped Scar into attacking his own crew. The Strangers left victorious, having alerted the Coast Guard to the bound pirates. But Atom Bob realized then the extent of his power was virtually limitless.

(The Strangers#10) - The Strangers continued searching information for Yrial and chanced upon a portal to a demon dimension. Spectral and ElectroCute were dragged inside by demons and the others followed through the breach as rescue; Atom Bob now hoped to impress Lady Killer. The Strangers' ultra powers didn't work in this new realm except for Atom Bob's, who created magick that matched the demon realm's ruler Bastinado. A furious fight of raw magical power left Bastinado defeated. The Strangers rushed to escape, but instead fell off a deep cliff.

(The Strangers#11) - All falling were powerless (including Atom Bob who had nothing to draw on) except Zip-Zap, whose hyper-metabolism saw his powers returned earlier and he generated a vortex that slowed their descent, landing on the enormous celestial body the Wold. During their immediate analysis, Lady Killer suggested that Atom Bob had created artificial magick, but he refuted this, stating it was real. Zip-Zap scouted the patchwork domains over several days while the others slowly recovered, during which Atom Bob told Lady Killer about personal change and their romance slowly blossomed. Meanwhile, Zip-Zap found the Entity and was told where Sky Island was located. He rushed back, gathered the Strangers in a vortex and zoomed them back through the demon dimension and breach to Earth.

(The Strangers#12) - The Strangers stormed Sky Island, confronting Chiefs Aula and Zara with the truth. Recognizing the world beyond had changed, Aula freed Yrial and the Strangers left united.

(The Strangers#13) - Back in their base, police Captain Rome sought the Strangers' help against the villainous sorcerer Boneyard, who had hijacked a flight to gain the heroes' attention to secure their help locking away the demons they had unintentionally released. Atom Bob instantly transmuted material to make a small riding rocket to join flyers Yrial and Spectral to reach the airport ahead of the others. At the airport tarmac, the Strangers were joined by sorceress Mantra, enemy of Boneyard, and a dramatic fight ensued, with Atom Bob's transmutation-generated demon magick joining Yrial's and Mantra's. But powerful Boneyard knocked out Atom Bob and teleported away with him to Half Moon Bay where Boneyard began siphoning part of Atom Bob's power, naively thinking it only artificial magic to control demons. Paralyzed in midair, Atom Bob was unable to resist. Mantra detected Atom Bob's new location and they soon found Boneyard, but a new breach allowed Bastinado and other demons to come through.

(Mantra I#12) - The Strangers helped Mantra fight Boneyard and his minions, although they escaped with the captive Atom Bob. But Boneyard still lusted for Mantra and returned with his warrior wives and Atom Bob, whom he used as a power resource, and the fighting began anew. Boneyard was soon distracted and Atom Bob was freed. Although the foes were evicted through portals, Atom Bob secretly had hoped to learn more from Boneyard.

(The Strangers: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga (fb) - BTS) - Atom Bob savored the taste of real power, particularly after the demons' defeats, and became committed to changing himself as the most powerful Stranger of all, creating the mysterious identity of Pilgrim seeking to dismantle the Strangers and eventually gain more power, the greatest on Earth and beyond, "a man forever voyaging."

(The Strangers#14) - The Strangers took personal time off. Hardin and Fox went to their former college hangout area in Berkeley, hoping to remain incognito but were quickly recognized by fans. Hardin ducked into nearby Moe's bookstore while Fox happily dealt with autographs. But the jealous super-strong ultra Powerhouse leapt in to confront the pair. Atom Bob instantly transformed their clothes into Strangers' costumes and the fight began. Powerhouse knocked Atom Bob backward.

(The Strangers#14 - BTS) - Hardin created a duplicate of "Atom Bob" as he fell backward into rubble and invisibly first manifested his Pilgrim identity.

(The Strangers#14) - The "unconscious" Atom Bob duplicate was carried away to nearby safety by onlookers while the invisible Pilgrim found Powerhouse's hidden civilian clothes and learned his identity, intending to recruit him later into a small army against the Strangers.

(The Strangers#14 - BTS) - Hardin secretly changed from the Pilgrim identity back to Atom Bob, replacing the untended duplicate.

(The Strangers#14) - Atom Bob reappeared, feigning a weakened state as he watched Grenade fight Powerhouse alone (to gauge Powerhouse's fighting skills). The fight ended at a stalemate and the frustrated Powerhouse leapt away. Atom Bob and Grenade then left the scene.

(The Strangers#15) - At their base, the Strangers reviewed those 16, including themselves, whom they knew were ultras from the cable car Jumpstart. Lady Killer revealed fashions she had developed to sell, including clothes featuring Atom Bob's starburst design. They then went their separate ways on personal matters.

(The Strangers#15 (fb) - BTS) - Hardin invisibly followed Yrial and Zip-Zap, who were confronted by the villainous ultras Gangsta and Brazen. An extended fight saw the villains beaten but Hardin saw opportunity and potential allies. He fashioned a small lackey creature he dubbed Byter.

(The Strangers: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga (fb) - BTS) - Hardin's plan to destroy the Strangers involved a small army to kill the heroes as he didn't want their blood directly on his hands.

(The Strangers#15) - Accompanied by Byter, Hardin appeared in his Pilgrim disguise in a flash of light before Zip-Zap and Yrial, who had just knocked out Gangsta and Brazen. Declaring he was "a man forever voyaging," he stated he was gathering accomplices and that he intended to destroy the Strangers, he levitated the two unconscious villains and suddenly vanished with them and Byter in front of the astonished Zip-Zap and Yrial. The two Strangers rushed off to tell their teammates.

(The Strangers#16) - Atom Bob and Grenade held a block party at Hardin's parents house for friends and key guests to give back to their Oakland neighborhood with media assembled outside the property. All the Strangers attended (except Spectral, who had personal matters) and briefly discussed the ominous mystery of the Pilgrim. Villainous ultras Generator X, Lightshow and Rodent, keen to attack the successful Strangers, violently gatecrashed the party, but Hardin had already wandered away with former crush Stacy, leaving the other Strangers to fight. With the foes soon defeated, Pilgrim suddenly appeared (with Byter) and  blasted the Strangers back before taking the three villains for his small army, again threatening the heroes' destruction, then quickly disappeared through a portal (Yrial suggested it may have been interdimensional). Hardin then returned from around a brick wall with a happy Stacy. Lady Killer chided Hardin for not standing by the Strangers. (Hardin likely transformed Stacy into Byter, given she apparently had no memory of Hardin disappearing, or else the Hardin with Stacy was a duplicate).

(The Strangers#17) - The Strangers held a tense meeting at their headquarters to discuss strategy against the Pilgrim. Due to their power set, Lady Killer put herself and Atom Bob on "shadow detail" to respond immediately. Days passed and the Strangers joined Lady Killer's new fashion line launch, acting as security, but the ultra killer Rafferty stealthily broke through, almost murdering Lady Killer. In the chaos, Atom Bob disappeared, replacing himself with a construct, and suddenly appeared as Pilgrim with Byter, and asked Rafferty to join his army against the Strangers. Rafferty refused and it led to a staged fight between Pilgrim and the Atom Bob construct behind a force field during which Rafferty escaped. Delivering enigmatic clues about himself, Pilgrim showed himself to have power levels equal to Atom Bob.

(The Strangers#19 (fb)) - Pilgrim offered the Strangers a vague clue as to his real identity, which they misinterpreted in the heat of battle.

(The Strangers#17) - Spectral, Grenade and ElectroCute blasted Pilgrim's force field; a blinding flash hid Hardin's reversal from Pilgrim back to Atom Bob, and the Atom Bob construct to a Pilgrim construct, so as to confuse the Strangers. Atom Bob then made it appear that the Pilgrim construct and Byter teleported away. Spectral healed Atom Bob's apparent arm injury from Byter.

(Firearm#17) - Atom Bob was amongst several Strangers held back from intervening against Rafferty during a deadly siege against the villain.

(The Strangers#18) - Time passed and the Pilgrim recruited Sky Island priest Zara and the ultra Powerhouse, both bitter at the Strangers, for his small army. The now-suspicious Strangers continued trying to work out who Pilgrim was, possibly even one of their own. At the Strangers' Pier 25 base, Hardin proposed to Lady Killer but was rebuffed as she felt unready for the commitment; Hardin solemnly walked away.

(The Strangers#18 (fb) - BTS) - Hardin changed into his Pilgrim persona and gathered his small army, having already planted seven bombs around San Francisco to force the Strangers to work separately. Pilgrim called in the mysterious Teknight for hopeful recruitment but was rejected. Pilgrim led his small army toward to the Strangers' base.

(The Strangers#18) - ElectroCute saw Teknight enter the warehouse and Pilgrim leave, and incorrectly concluded the two were the same person; she rushed backed to tell her colleagues. The other Strangers were caught in a surprise and coordinated attack by Scar and his Raiders. [Hardin jumped ahead and joined the fight against the pirates.] Seeing the Raiders' imminent victory and the Strangers all knocked out, Atom Bob feigned unconsciousness and secretly transformed into Pilgrim elsewhere, gathering his private army (Brazen, Byter, Gangsta, Generator X, Lightshow, Powerhouse, Rodent, Zara) while leaving an inert Atom Bob construct behind. The Raiders readied to kidnap the Strangers but Pilgrim and his allies warped in, quickly defeating and expelling them. As the Strangers recovered, Pilgrim promised his army each a Stranger to slay the next day and they teleported away. Again, Pilgrim secretly turned into the real Atom Bob, who left a distracting clue about the sentient android Teknight. The Strangers set off to find Teknight, thinking he was Pilgrim in disguise.

(Night Man: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga) - The Strangers found, fought and defeated Teknight but Night Man swung in and let their would-be foe speak. Teknight was searching for the Strangers to warn them of Pilgrim's nefarious plot to destroy the Strangers, the Pilgrim having planted seven bombs around San Francisco to force the Strangers to work separately. Night Man helped as each Stranger confronted one of Pilgrim's army. Although Atom Bob didn't want Night Man's interference, he waited for Night Man and Zip-Zap to confront Generator X, with Atom Bob the only one immune to Generator X's incredible power thus showing off his power to Night Man. Elsewhere, Yrial discerned the pattern of the bombs' locations and, with all of Pilgrim's army defeated, the Strangers homed in on her (while Night Man quickly dismantled most of the bombs), although the Atom Bob arriving with the group there was just another construct while Hardin secretly went back to Strangers HQ.

(The Strangers: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga) - Having returned to Strangers HQ, Hardin resumed his Pilgrim disguise and planted the final bomb. Realizing this, the Strangers raced back to find Pilgrim there with Byter and a bomb. Yrial's magic forced Pilgrim's retreat. Pursued by Grenade, Hardin changed suddenly while briefly hidden into Atom Bob. Hardin then created a Pilgrim construct to join Zara's attack on Grenade and subsequent escape, while the real Hardin stayed with the group. By now, Night Man had determined the identity of Pilgrim, shocking the other Strangers that it was Bob Hardin. With his secret revealed. Hardin transformed into Pilgrim and gloated, saying he had grown beyond them, then rushed into shadow. Finding him nowhere in the base, ElectroCute deduced he had become part of the room. His secret revealed, Hardin morphed back into his Pilgrim form and fled. The Strangers, Night Man and Teknight all pursued and battled the power-mad Pilgrim to Coit Tower. Night Man knocked Hardin back after the villain had transformed his appearance into a tree, but the costume he wore as he fell was Atom Bob's before recovering and shifting back to Pilgrim's. The heroes kept wearing Hardin down, until he transmuted trash into intense radiation. Spectral cast up a protective bubble; eventually Pilgrim fell, finally expending his own physical energy, and as Hardin did so, he reverted to his Atom Bob costume. Hardin was made unconscious by Yrial's magic. All the Strangers were devastated by Hardin's treachery.

(The Strangers#19) - Back at their base, the remaining Strangers were all trying to cope with the betrayal of their teammate. Spectral felt that as long as Hardin was alive, he could be saved. The Strangers welcomed Teknight as a new teammate.

(The Strangers#21) - Yrial kept Atom Bob comatose using voodoo. Lady Killer directed Hardin be sent to the private clinic Clinique de Parsival in Andorra to remain subdued while being rehabilitated, and the Strangers watched the plane leave carrying Hardin accompanied by Lady Killer and Yrial.

(The Strangers#23) - In Andorra, in order to maintain secrecy, Yrial temporarily cast an invisibility spell over the comatose Atom Bob as they transported him to a private room and presented him to Dr. Horla, who promised six-monthly reports on his condition and efforts to rehabilitate him. Horla suggested a lobotomy or discrete death may be needed, but Lady Killer ruled it out, asserting that Atom Bob should return to the Strangers once healed.

(The Strangers#24) - The Strangers left the comatose Atom Bob at the Andorran clinic and continued as an adventuring team without Hardin.

Comments: Created by Steve Englehart, Rick Hoberg, Tim Burgard, Darick Robertson.

The "reboot" of the Ultraverse in the Black September event ended the Strangers run and virtually all the members disappeared, although their key ally Night Man continued and Zip Zap guest-starred in a speed race in Prime II#10 (Zip Zap's membership in the Strangers was recognized by the public, but it wasn't clear if the group was still active in a full capacity). The afterword in the final issue, Strangers #24, included finished covers for issues #25-27 in a possible 3-part storyline where the Strangers appear to encounter aliens. They definitely received new costumes, confirmed in the "next issue" box of issue #24, which states "celebration of the Jumpstart! With new costumes, and party guests from beyond the stars!" One can only speculate how many completed (or near-complete) issues were lost as Black September hit and what is left today decades later.

In The Strangers#14, Bob Hardin emerges from Moe's bookstore with a "a great book by John Dickson Carr!'; this is likely a reference to the renown mystery writer's most popular book The Hollow Man, which describes a crime involving duplicity and masked identity in a "locked room mystery." This is a good analogy for the Atom Bob/Pilgrim double identity mask (but only as a prelude to murder) with the final confrontation and reveal in a semi-locked room scenario.

It's assumed that he left his art studentship to pursue his full-time role as adventurer with the Strangers; his final comatose state would certainly have ended it.

That Atom Bob wasn't destroyed at the end of his storyline left room for his later revival. Who knows what was planned for the character...

For someone who could transmute matter, you'd think it'd be a good idea to add detachable patches or pouches to his costume for quick transmutations, instead of always relying on what was around him.

The Ultraverse Origins 2-page story in January 1994 is a summary of the team's origins and offers no new information.

Interestingly, the first Ultraverse trading card set listed Atom Bob as the Strangers' leader.

Artist Frank Fosco stated he did uncredited ghosting layouts for Rick Hoberg on The Strangers#5 on his Facebook page on 6/16/2021.

Englehart did some diligent research for real life placement; the cable car line passes near the San Francisco Art Institute with the appropriate crossing streets listed and nearby Coit Tower. Coincidentally, I caught a cable car on this line when I briefly visited SF a long while back, a few years before the Appendix gave me a proper introduction to the Ultraverse and welcomed me to explore further!

An early design of Atom Bob by Darick Robertson is at bottom right. I think they went with the better design!

From Wikipedia: "In 2003, Steve Englehart was commissioned by Marvel to relaunch the Ultraverse with the most recognizable characters, pitching the arrival of the Strangers to Earth-616, but the editorial decided finally not to resurrect the Ultraverse imprint." More specifically, as Englehart explained, "this set of Strangers were not the original group but instead comprised of Hardcase, Choice, Mantra, Prime, Sludge, Rune and Lord Pumpkin, along with Lady Killer, Night Man, Rhiannon and Atom Bob." Interesting!

Profile by Grendel Prime.

Atom Bob / Pilgrim name has no known connections to:

Stacy Adams

Stacy Adams was Bob Hardin's high school crush, but she fobbed him off. Several years later, now adults, Hardin had gained popularity as the transmuter ultra Atom Bob of the Strangers team and she became interested in him, calling his parents' house several times in hopes of setting up a date. She turned up at Atom Bob's neighborhood party, but he duplicitously used her as a distraction while three ultra villains fought his teammates. While he transformed into the villain Pilgrim, Hardin likely transformed Stacy into his big-toothed lackey Byter, given she apparently had no memory of Hardin disappearing (or else the Hardin with Stacy was a duplicate). She left the party after the foes were defeated, unaware of the fracas but smiling flirtatiously at Hardin.











--The Strangers#16 ([5],16

Grace Hardin

Grace Hardin was Bob's caring mother. She welcomed her son in his superhero identity as Atom Bob, as well as his team members the Strangers when they needed a temporary base. She later helped host Bob's block party and had a frank talk with Lady Killer about not toying with her son's romantic heart.













--The Strangers#3 (5,16

Will Hardin

Will Hardin was Bob's father. He was not bothered by his son's sudden career change into the superhero Atom Bob and welcomed his team members the Strangers when they needed a temporary base. He later helped host Bob's block party.













--The Strangers#3 (5,16

images: (without ads)
The Strangers#4, cover, reproduced without background in Malibu Signature Series 1993 (main image)
The Strangers#9, p5, pan5 (headshot)
The Strangers#16, p24, pan6 (casual clothes)
Night Man: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga, p29, pan1 (headshot using powers)
The Strangers#7, p23, pan3-5 (transmuting pipe into fuel)
The Strangers#13, p3, pan3 (self-created rocket ride)
The Strangers#18, cover (Pilgrim costume)
The Strangers: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga, p33, pan2 (Pilgrim using magick)
The Strangers#21, p1 (comatose)
The Strangers#16, p8, pan2 (Stacy Adams)
The Strangers#16, p9, pan3 (Grace Hardin)
The Strangers#16, p3, pan1 (Will Hardin)
Jumpstart: The Strangers Collection tpb (1994) (collects The Strangers#1-3, 5), last page (early design of Atom Bob)
The Strangers#10, p, pan (manic red-eyed "Atom Bob")

The Strangers#1 (June, 1993) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Burgard (inks), Chris Ulm (editor)
The Strangers#2 (July, 1993) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Burgard & Larry Welch (inks), Chris Ulm (editor)
The Strangers#3 (August, 1993) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Burgard & Larry Welch (inks), Chris Ulm (editor)
Hardcase#3 (August, 1993) - James Hudnall (writer), Jim Callahan (pencils), Rodney Ramos (inks), Chris Ulm & Hank Kanalz (editors)
Hardcase#4 (September, 1993) - James Hudnall (writer), Roger Robinson (pencils), Larry Welch (inks), Chris Ulm & Hank Kanalz (editors)
The Strangers#4 (September, 1993) - Steve Englehart & James Hudnall (writers), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Burgard (inks), Chris Ulm (editor)
Flood Relief (January, 1994) - D. Danko, Hank Kanalz, Tom Mason (writers), Aaron Lopresti, R. Pace (pencils); J. Lowe (inks), Chris Ulm (editor)
The Strangers#5 (October, 1993) - Steve Englehart (writer), Frank Fosco (layouts), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Dave Simons & Tim Burgard (inks), Chris Ulm (editor)
The Strangers#6 (November, 1993) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Dave Simons (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
Prototype#5 (December, 1993) - Steve Englehart, Tom Mason, Len Strazewski (writers), Roger Robinson (pencils), Jeff Whiting (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#7 (December, 1993) - Steve Englehart, Tom Mason, Len Strazewski (writers), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
Break-Thru#1 (December, 1993) - Gerard Jones, Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James D. Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez & James Robinson & Len Strazewski (writers), Gerard Jones (script), George Perez (pencils), John Lowe (inks), Chris Ulm & Hank Kanalz (editors)
Break-Thru#2 (January, 1994) - Gerard Jones (script), Gerard Jones, Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James D. Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson & Len Strazewski (plot), George Perez (pencils), Al Vey (inks), Hank Kanalz & Chris Ulm (editors)
Prototype#6 (January, 1994) - Len Strazewski & Tom Mason (writers), Roger Robinson (pencils), Jeff Whiting (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
Strangers#8 (January, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg & Steve Skroce (pencils), Tim Burgard (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Solution#5/2 (January, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Adam Hughes (pencils & inks), Roland Mann (editor) (reprinted in Ultraverse Origins the same month)
The Strangers#9 (February, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg & Steve Skroce (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#10 (March, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#11 (April, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#12 (May, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#13 (June, 1994) - Mike W. Barr & Steve Englehart (writers), Mike Gustovich (pencils), Thomas Florimonte (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
Ultraverse Premiere#4/2 (June, 1994) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Kris Renkewitz (pencils), Jeff Albrecht (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
Mantra I#12 (June, 1994) - Steve Englehart & Mike W. Barr (writers), Terry Dodson (pencils), Jasen Rodriguez (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#14 (July, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#15 (August, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#16 (September, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#17 (October, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#18 (November, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
Night Man I#14 (November, 1994) - James Robinson & Steve Englehart (writer), Dean Zachary (pencils), Bruce McCorkindale (inks), Roland Mann (editor)
The Strangers#19 (December, 1994) - Steve Englehart (writer), Steve Ellis (pencils), Tim Eldred (inks), Roland Mann & Kara Lamb (editors)
Night Man: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga (January, 1995) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Jack Keefer (inks), Roland Mann & Kara Lamb (editors)
The Strangers: The Pilgrim Conundrum Saga (January, 1995) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Barb Kaalberg, Scott Reed, John Strangeland (inks), Roland Mann & Kara Lamb (editors)
The Strangers#21 (February, 1995) - Steve Englehart (writer), Paul Abrams (pencils), Thomas Florimonte (inks), Roland Mann & Kara Lamb (editors)
The Strangers#23 (April, 1995) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Barbara Kaalberg (inks), Kara Lamb (editor)
The Strangers#24 (May, 1995) - Steve Englehart (writer), Rick Hoberg (pencils), Barbara Kaalberg (inks), Kara Lamb (editor)

First posted: 05/18/2023
Last updated: 05/18/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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