Real Name: Linda Brown

Identity/Class: Possible human mutate? (see comments)

Occupation: None

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Aunt May, Uncle Ben (see comments)

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: Ben (uncle), May (aunt)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Aunt May and Uncle Ben's seaside home;
   formerly her undersea home

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#97/3 (June, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: Linda Brown was an aquatic humanoid, possessing a fish-like tail instead of legs, and a human torso.

She was amphibious and could breathe conventionally while on the surface, and apparently had gills to extract oxygen while underwater--while on land, she was confined to a wheelchair.

Height: 5' 6" (by approximation)
Weight: 110 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Blond

(Strange Tales I#97/3 (fb) - BTS) - The past of mermaid Linda Brown is unrevealed (see comments), but under unspecified circumstances, she left her home in the sea and went to visit the surface-world, where she lived at the seaside home of her Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Because she possessed a fish-like tail instead of legs, Linda had to use a wheelchair to move about while out of water.

(Strange Tales I#97/3) - Linda loved living by the seashore, and she spent her time sitting out on the beach, collecting seashells.

At the end of one day, as Uncle Ben pushed her wheelchair back into the house, Linda showed Aunt May the new shell she found for her collection; Aunt May made Linda a cup of warm milk to drink before she went to bed.

Later that night, Linda had a nightmare and fell out of bed; Uncle Ben was awakened by the noise, so he went to Linda's bedroom to investigate. When he found Linda laying on the floor, Ben picked her up and tucked her back in bed.

The next morning, after the three of them finished breakfast, Linda excused herself to go down to the beach. After Linda was gone, Ben voiced his concerns to May--both Ben and May had experienced bouts of sleepwalking, and Ben suspected Linda was beginning to sleepwalk as well (see comments); May was startled to hear this, and she told Ben that perhaps Linda had been with them too long, and that perhaps they should send her back home. But Ben strongly disagreed, because they both loved Linda so much, and she needed them.  

That evening, Ben and May put Linda to bed and wished her a pleasant night; but later, when the house was still and silent, Linda arose from her bed (as if being summoned in her sleep (see comments)), climbed into her wheelchair, and rolled down to the beach.

The next morning, Ben and May were alarmed to find Linda's bedroom empty. They rushed outside and followed Linda's wheelchair tracks in the sand--they found that the tracks went into the sea.

May and Ben were saddened to learn that Linda had left them, but they always knew that some day the young mermaid would have to return to her home beneath the waves.


Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

This 5-page story--Goodbye to Linda Brown--was done with a surprise-ending, and Linda's true nature wasn't revealed until the last panel (see Main Image); also, this was basically a retelling of an earlier story--The Sea Waits for Me!--from Journey into Unknown Worlds#43 (March, 1956).

The whole bit about Ben, May, and Linda all sleepwalking was never explained--my guess is that there was some sort of hypnotic/telepathic call summoning Linda back home, and that Ben and May also "heard" it.--Ron Fredricks

Since she had a human name and human relatives, that implies to me that Linda Brown was from human ancestry, so it seems possible that she could have somehow been mutated into her mermaid form.
(Or she was just adopted by them and given that name - Madison Carter)

Perhaps there was once a mad scientist-type (similar to Dr. Hydro and Captain Omen) who thought that mankind's only hope for survival was to return to the sea, so he recruited some like-minded followers and mutated them into sea-dwelling mer-people (hmm...maybe there's a story there, somewhere).

    And despite the fact that they have the same first names and slight physical resemblances, Linda Brown's "Aunt May" and "Uncle Ben" are probably NOT the same people as Peter Parker's aunt and uncle.
    (Unless MAYBE Linda is really Peter's SECRET COUSIN!)
    Yeah, right...and the next thing you'll try to tell me is that Peter's really a CLONE!

In regards to the "SECRET COUSIN" remark: In the first issue of John Byrne's Spider-Man: Chapter One series, a "sort of" reference to this story might have appeared (maybe): In a memory flashback, young Peter Parker was shown with some birthday presents, one of which was from "Cousin Laura" (see yellow circle)--this was the only present that was labeled, and to my knowledge, Parker doesn't have any known cousins; and as for the different name ...well, maybe Byrne misremembered and confused "Linda Brown" with "Laura Brown" (see clarifications).--Ron Fredricks

    Anyway, Ben and May Parker would first appear in Amazing Fantasy I#15, two months AFTER this story was originally published.

    DC had a very similar character in Superman I#129 in May 1959: Lori Lemaris.
--John McDonagh

Here are some other mermaids that could be members of Linda Brown, Linus Vermeer & Alethea's race:


Profile by John Kaminski. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

Linda Brown has no known connections to:

Aunt May and Uncle Ben have no known connections to:

Aunt May and Uncle Ben

May and Ben (last names unrevealed) were an elderly married couple who lived in a home by the seashore.

They doted over their wheelchair-bound niece Linda Brown when she came to visit, because her happiness was the most important thing in the world to them.

At some point during Linda's visit, Ben had experienced bouts of sleepwalking; then May began walking in her sleep as well. But one night, Linda fell out of bed, and Ben was concerned that his niece was beginning to walk in her sleep (see comments). The next morning, Ben voiced his concerns about Linda to May, and May told him that perhaps it was time to send Linda back home; but Ben strongly disagreed, because they both loved Linda so much, and she needed them.

That night, Ben and May put Linda to bed. But when morning came, Ben and May were alarmed when they found Linda's bedroom empty, and they followed the tracks of her wheelchair, which ultimately led into the sea.

Ben and May were saddened by the abrupt departure of their niece, but they always knew that someday the young mermaid would have to return to her home beneath the waves.

--Strange Tales I#97/3

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p5, pan6 (Main Image - Linda Brown, swimming to her undersea home)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p4, pan5 (Headshot - Linda Brown arises from bed)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p3, pan4 (Linda Brown (in wheelchair), Uncle Ben, and Aunt May at breakfast)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p4, pan7 (Linda Brown (in wheelchair), leaving her bedroom for seashore)
Spider-Man: Chapter One#1, p2, pan3 (Peter Parker's birthday present from "Cousin Laura"; young Peter Parker (background))
Strange Tales I#97/3, p2, pan6 (Uncle Ben steps out of Linda's bedroom, and finds Aunt May sleepwalking)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p4, pan1 (Aunt May and Uncle Ben discussing Linda)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p4, pan2 (Uncle Ben and Aunt May putting Linda Brown to bed)
Strange Tales I#97/3, p5, pan2 (Aunt May and Uncle Ben find Linda Brown gone)

Strange Tales I#97/3 (June, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)

First Posted: 04/07/2006
Last updated: 03/29/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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