BOOKWORM full body

Real Name:Nelson Gruber

Identity/Class:Human mutate

Occupation:Laboratory assistant

Group Membership:None

Affiliations:Alyssa Conover (they went on a date, but she eventually helped stop him), Professor Huddleston (his employer)

Enemies:Whitney Cooper III, Rick Sheridan, the Sleepwalker

Known Relatives:None


Base of Operations: Brooklyn, New York

First Appearance: Sleepwalker#4 (September, 1991)

Powers/Abilities:  Bookworm could draw upon the power of the mindscape to generate solid images of anything that he read. He could then command the images to do his bidding. For example, if he read King Arthur, then King Arthur would appear and do whatever that Bookworm commanded him to do.

head shotHistory:  (Sleepwalker#4) - When Rick Sheridan and his girlfriend, Alyssa Conover, visited the campus of Metropolitan University to participate in an experiment by dream psychologist Professor Huddleston, they met the Professor's lab assistants Whitney Cooper III and Nelson Gruber. Whitney welcomed Rick and his girlfriend to "Doc Huddleston's Chamber of Horrors," but he was corrected by Gruber, who explained that there wasn't any real horrors present. Professor Huddleston then informed Nelson that Whitney was only joking, to which Gruber replied with an "oh." Minutes later, Professor Huddleston set Rick up for his dream experiment, he informed Rick that Nelson and Whitney would be on the lookout if anything abnormal appeared while Rick's dreams were being monitored. Rick's girlfriend waited patiently outside the room, asking Nelson if Rick would be ok in the laboratory. Nelson managed to stutter his way into reassuring Ms. Conover when Whitney Cooper explained that he was leaving early to date either a woman named Felicia or Phoebe. An annoyed Nelson Gruber explained that it wasn't fair that Whitney could leave and what if he had a date, to which Whitney replied that the only thing Nelson had a date with was books. Whitney then called Nelson a bookworm and tried to hit on Ms. Conover, but was turned down. Once Whitney Cooper left, Nelson told Ms. Conover that Whitney was very rude and that he was used to being called a bookworm. Alyssa Conover told Nelson that he seemed like a nice, all-around kind of guy to her and a surprised Nelson asked Alyssa to dinner before Rick came back. Alyssa reluctantly agreed to meet Nelson at the library steps at 7 the next day and Nelson Gruber was so lost in the moment that he did not the erratic brain wave activity that came with the Sleepwalker leaving the sleeping mind of Rick Sheridan.

Realizing that his presence jeopardized his linkage to Rick Sheridan, the Sleepwalker hid in the air vents of the lab just as Nelson noticed the strange brain wave readings of Rick. Nelson at first thought that he should get Whitney to help him analyze the data the next day, but opted to analyze it himself that night in order to prevent Whitney from stealing credit. He then synthesized the electrical impulses from Rick's mind and amplified them a millionfold for a more detailed investigation. During the course of amplifying the impulses, Nelson was electrocuted when he touched the keyboard. Seconds later, he came to, figuring that he must have overloaded the system and caused a power surge. The first thing that Nelson checked on was his books and he wondered where he would be without The Legends of Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table. Nelson then spoke to himself about how King Arthur was the guiding light of his life. When Nelson spoke the name King Arthur, an image of King Arthur appeared and announced that he was there by Nelson Gruber's command. Terrified at impossibility of King Arthur actually being in his presence, Nelson ordered King Arthur to go away, which Arthur did so on his command. A shocked Nelson quickly deduced that the power surge had changed him so that all he had to do was read something and it became reality. He then decided to test his abilities on Whitney Cooper and generated a Pegasus to transport him to Whitney's whereabouts.

As Nelson flew off on a Pegasus, the Sleepwalker followed him, finding him most unusual and feeling that something was wrong. Soon after, at Whitney's uptown apartment, Nelson interrupted a "romantic night" between Whitney Cooper and Felicia by appearing at Whitney's door and unleashing four amazon warriors upon him. The amazon warriors ripped out parts of Whitney's hair before the Sleepwalker arrived and destroyed the amazon warriors with his vision. Whitney explained to the Sleepwalker what Nelson Gruber had done to him and the Sleepwalker phoned Rick Sheridan's home to leave a message about Gruber.

The next day, Rick awoke to the Sleepwalker's message and decided to sleep again, allowing the Sleepwalker to save Alyssa Conover from Nelson Gruber. A short time later, as Nelson was having "dinner" with Alyssa Conover, the Sleepwalker arrived and announced that he had come for Gruber. Gruber told Alyssa to stand back and that he would protect her from the Sleepwalker and announced himself as the Bookworm, claiming that his was the power of the printed word. As the Bookworm, Nelson then unleashed a group of Native American braves at the Sleepwalker, who easily destroyed them with his vision. The Bookworm followed up by generating a sabertooth tiger, a tank, Civil War soldiers, and a tyrannosaurus. The Sleepwalker battled the Bookworm's creations, thinking to himself that if he had not left Rick's mind during the sleep experiment, the Bookworm would not have gained his ability to draw power from the mindscape to generate the literary creations. Realizing that Nelson had completely lost it, Alyssa Conover removed some blank pages from her diary and gave them to Nelson to use against the Sleepwalker. Nelson happily accepted the pages, thinking they would help, but he momentarily paused when he found out they were blank. The Bookworm's pause gave the Sleepwalker enough time to use his vision to manipulate a chair into capturing the Bookworm. The Sleepwalker then demanded the captive Bookworm to return the mindscape powers he had stolen from Rick's mind, but the Bookworm explained that even if he knew how to return the powers, he wouldn't do it. The Sleepwalker then turned the Bookworm over to the police, who carted Nelson to jail.

The next day, Alyssa and Rick discussed how Nelson was in jail with a court order preventing him from gaining access to any reading material.

Comments: Created by Bob Budiansky, Rick Leonardi, and Al Williamson.

Profile by Proto-Man


The Bookworm has no known connections to

images: (not counting ads)
Sleepwalker#4, front cover (The Bookworm, fullbody shot)

 p7, pan1 (Bookworm headshot)

Sleepwalker#4 (September, 1991) - Bob Budiansky (writer), Rick Leonardi (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Don Daley (editor)

First Posted: 09/05/2005
Last updated: 09/05/2005

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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