Real Name: Linda Brown
Identity/Class: Possible human mutate? (see comments)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Aunt May, Uncle Ben (see comments)
Known Relatives: Ben (uncle), May (aunt)
Base of Operations: Aunt May and Uncle Ben's
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
Weight: 110 lbs. (by approximation)
(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
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,
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
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:
May and Ben (last names unrevealed) were an
elderly married couple who lived in a home by the seashore.
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.
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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