Classification: Extradimensional extraterrestrial (see comments)

Location/Base of Operations: The planet Mercury

Known Members: Five (all unidentified)

Affiliations: Four Earth astronauts (including Ben)

Enemies: None

First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#78/4 (March, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: They communicated telepathically, and could read the minds of humans.

Traits: Despite their imposing size and fearsome appearance compared to humans, they were actually benevolent.

Average height: 30' (by approximation)
Eyes: Two
Fingers: Four (including opposable thumb)
Toes: Four (all equally sized)
Skin color: Green

(Journey into Mystery I#76/4 (fb) - BTS) -  The past of these creatures is unrevealed, but they inhabited the planet Mercury (see comments).

(Journey into Mystery I#76/4) - On December 24th of an unspecified future year (see comments), a spacecraft from Earth landed on Mercury, and the four astronauts began to explore the planet. But when the men encountered these giant beings, they mistakenly thought them to be hostile and fired their weapons at them. As the four men began to hurriedly erect a shelter, the creatures only stood silently beyond the range of the Earthlings' weapons and watched.

   When the men had completed their transparent dome, the "monsters" were curious about the human visitors, so they began to telepathically probe the men's brains. However, the Earthmen mistakenly believed the "monsters" were trying to take control of their minds, so the men began to think about the upcoming Christmas holiday to resist them.

   Shortly afterward, one of the "monsters" approached the shelter -- it was carrying a cone-shaped object concealed by a tarp, which it left just outside the transparent dome. The Earthmen feared the mysterious covered object was a time-bomb meant to destroy their shelter, so one of them--Ben, the demolition expert--went outside to deactivate it.

   As Ben left the safety of the dome, he noticed one of the "monsters" was still watching him from the distance. But as he approached the covered object and pulled the tarp aside, Ben was shocked by what he found, and he called his fellow astronauts outside to look at it. Then Ben pulled the tarp completely off and showed the others that the supposed "bomb" was actually a crudely-made Christmas tree! Now realizing that the "monsters" were really friendly, the men were ashamed that they had misjudged the giant creatures.

   And so, millions of miles from Earth, two alien races joined in brotherhood, inspired by a symbol of peace and good will which has endured through the ages...

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

This alien race were never referred to by any specific name, so I just used the story's title to identify them. It was never stated that they were native to Mercury -- it's always possible that they were actually explorers from another star-system who happened to be on that planet when the Earthlings arrived there.

No specific year was mentioned for when this story took place, and unlike the real planet Mercury, this world had an environment that was able to support human life, as exemplified by the fact that the astronauts weren't wearing spacesuits -- my guess is that this happened in some alternate future reality where conditions on that planet were more Earth-like.

This 5-page story was basically a retelling of an earlier tale--They Wait in the Shadows! --from Journey into Unknown Worlds#47/1 (July, 1956).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

The Monsters on Mercury have no known connections to:

Earth astronauts

On Christmas Eve, this crew of four were the first men from Earth to land their spacecraft on the planet Mercury; but as they began to explore, a group on "monsters" approached them. The jittery Earthmen held the giant creatures at bay with their weapons while they hurriedly erected a prefabricated "protecto-glass" shelter. Minutes later, the Earthmen were inside their transparent dome, while the Mercury creatures stood silently out of range of their weapons and watched.

When the astronauts suddenly felt a tingling sensation in their heads, they realized that the creatures were trying to telepathically read their minds. Thinking that the monsters were trying to gain control of them, the astronauts blocked the telepathic probe by thinking about the upcoming Christmas holiday, but the men figured sooner or later they would crack from the pressure.

Shortly afterward, one of the monsters approached with a cone-shaped object covered by a tarp, and left it by the astronauts' shelter; believing the object to be a time-bomb, one of the men--Ben, a demolition expert--went outside to deactivate it.

But when Ben pulled the tarp aside and saw what the object really was, he called his fellow astronauts outside. Then Ben pulled the tarp away to reveal that the "time-bomb" was really a crudely-made replica of a Christmas tree, and the astronauts thereby realized that the "monsters" were actually friendly.

The astronauts then celebrated the holiday with their new friends.

--Journey into Mystery I#78/4

Monsters' Christmas tree

Created by the Monsters of Mercury and covered with a tarp, it was a crude representation of a Christmas tree made from unspecified materials.

When a group of Earth astronauts landed on their planet, the Mercury creatures used their telepathy to probe the men's minds and learned of the humans' upcoming holiday. As a gesture of peace and good will, the friendly creatures presented this Christmas tree replica to the astronauts.

The astronauts initially believed that the creatures were hostile, and that the covered object was a time-bomb meant to destroy them; but after learning the truth, the astronauts celebrated Christmas with their new friends.

--Journey into Mystery I#78/4

images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p2, pan3 (main image - Monster approaches two astronauts)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p3, pan1 (headshot - Monster)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p3, pan5 (Monster carries concealed Christmas tree to astronauts shelter; other Monsters [background])
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p5, pan4 (Monsters show astronauts that they're friendly)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p5, pan5 (Monsters and astronauts around Christmas tree)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p2, pan6 (astronauts feel Monsters reading their minds)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p3, pan3 (astronauts resist Monsters' telepathy)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p4, pan1 (covered Christmas tree outside astronauts transparent shelter)
Journey into Mystery I#78/4, p5, pan3 (astronauts uncover Christmas tree)

Journey into Mystery I#78/4 (March, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils/inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)

First Posted: 12/24/2023
Last updated: 12/24/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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