Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human mutate (Pre-Modern era)
Occupation: Thief, spy
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Unfriendly foreign powers, probably the Russians and/or other Communists
Enemies: The United States military
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Spy Who Cannot Be Caught, The Man In the Rat Hole (see comments)
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: Strange Tales I#78/4 (November, 1960)
Powers/Abilities: The Worm Man carried a pill case on his belt which contained a shrinking formula and a growth antidote (both in pill form). Taking the shrinking formula allowed him to shrink in stature to a height of mere inches, and (as the chemically-induced size change was permanent) the growth antidote was needed to return him to his normal size. At his reduced size, the Worm Man could easily crawl unseen through the cracks, crevices and dead spaces in walls, and was virtually invisible to security devices (making him the perfect thief), but the size reduction would also proportionately diminish his strength. The Worm Man was an expert safe-cracker.
History: (Strange Tales I#78) - The Worm Man was hired by a hostile foreign power to steal U.S. military secrets involving a powerful new explosive. Scheming to use the plans for the explosive himself to extort all nations, the Worm Man crawled through the walls of a military installation but found his way blocked by a common rat. As the minature malefactor tripped the rat off of a ledge, the rat managed to scratch its claw at the Worm Man as it fell, cutting off his pill case with the growth antidote in it. The rat and the pill case both landed at the bottom of a hole, far from the Worm Man's reach. The Worm Man found himself in a dilemma -- he could either stay in the rat hole trapped at his reduced size, or he could call for help and be captured by the authorities. Left trying to decide what course of action to take, the Worm Man's final fate remains unresolved.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Steve Ditko.
When this story was reprinted in Tower of Shadows#6 (July, 1970), the title was changed to "The Man in the Rat Hole!" and the story was edited and relettered to remove all references of this character being called "The Worm Man".
The Worm Man predates the first appearance of Henry (Ant Man) Pym in Tales to Astonish I#27 (January, 1962) "The Man in the Ant Hill!".
Who was the Worm Man and where did he get his size-changing formulas? My theory is that he was an adult Jimmy Everett who, while still just a boy, ingested Professor Schmidt's shrinking formula and was introduced in Human Torch Comics#2 (Fall, 1940) as "Microman" for his one and only appearance. Maybe little Jimmy fell in with a bad crowd and this is what happened to an obscure Golden Age character...
Also, I believe that a variant of Professor Schmidt's shrinking formula was used by the Nazis to change Roger Aubrey into "Dyna-Mite" (introduced in Invaders I#14 (March, 1977).
The Worm Man has no known connections to
Strange Tales I#78, p1
p3, panel 1 (shrinking)
panel 7 (face)
Last updated: 03/11/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com/
Back to Characters