Real Name: Mark Coren
Identity/Class: Human mutate (Post-World War II era)
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Ozt and Zak (behind the scenes)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: An unnamed small eastern American city
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense I#1/5 (January, 1959)
Powers/Abilities: When he was affected by the aliens' technology, Mark Coren shrank to a height of about 12 inches. Although Coren's shrinking had slowed, it was theorized that he would continue to shrink out of existence unless a solution could be found to completely stop it. But a solution was eventually found and he was returned to his normal size when he was launched into space and exposed to cosmic rays.
History: (Tales of Suspense I#1/5 (fb) - BTS) - In their spaceship orbiting behind the dark side of the Moon, Ozt and Zak sent a shower of yellow-green meteors to Earth as "Phase I" of their master-plan while they monitored the ensuing events.
(Tales of Suspense I#1/5) - One of the meteors crashed in a small eastern city, in a vacant lot in front of Mark Coren. When he recovered from the shock, Coren found fragments from the meteor continuously orbiting around his body like satellites -- he wasn't hurt, but he found himself a prisoner of the satellites. Then Coren noticed a kind of force or pressure on him as he began to shrink into a more solid compact unit. Even as he reached a smaller size, the satellites still encircled his body.
Scientists the world over quickly compiled the results of the meteor shower -- Mark was the only human being involved, but other objects (including a 20-story building) had been similarly affected. Fear began to grow that this was all some deliberate plot against Earth.
A careful study was made of Mark's miniaturized condition -- his rate of compression had decreased, but it was only a matter of time before he shrank out of existence. The scientists found only one way to save him -- counter-balance the rays the satellites were giving off. A "moon satellite" was speedily constructed and Mark was placed inside. The "moon satellite" was launched into orbit around Earth's protective atmosphere where pure cosmic rays balanced the forces shrinking Mark.
The effects of the cosmic rays built up against the compressing forces of the tiny orbiting satellites. The speed of the satellites began to diminish until, one by one, they dropped off and Mark was free of them. Mark then began to grow inside the small "moon satellite" -- his sudden mass change threw the device off its controlled orbit, and Mark was worried that he'd burst through the small satellite before it landed.
As Ozt and Zak were ready to order "Phase II," the satellite with Mark in it was brought back under radio control and returned to Earth, bringing Mark safely home. Ozt and Zak left orbit in their spaceship because the whole operation depended on Earthlings' inability to cope with "Phase I" -- mankind had proven themselves to be superior.
As Mark Coren returned to his normal size, he asked if there had been any more meteor attacks and was told that there hadn't, and it was likely there wouldn't be any more -- whoever caused it knew mankind could overcome them.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Steve Ditko.
I wonder if Mark's exposure to cosmic rays left him with any super-powers -- maybe he gained control of his shrinking and became a size-changing super-hero (one of the unknown Lost Generation ones), or possibly he chose not to use his powers and just led a normal life.
(I mention the above because the visual of the tiny Mark Coren with the satellites whirling around him reminds me of the Silver Age version of DC's The Atom.)
It was never revealed what happened to the building and the other objects that where exposed to the meteors -- unless some way was found to generate the cosmic rays on Earth, they probably shrank down into the Microverse.
It was never elaborated exactly what Ozt and Zak had planned for "Phase II" or what there whole goal was -- I'd speculate that maybe they were from the Microverse and they were collecting specimens for a typical "conquer-Earth-and-enslave-humanity" plot.
Mark Coren's shrinking effect predates the silver age Atom (Ray Palmer) in Showcase#34 (October, 1961).
And a big THANK YOU to Dennis Giansante for scanning this story for me!
Profile by John Kaminski
Mark Coren has no known connections to:
Zak has no known connection to:
Ozt and Zak
Two aliens who sent a meteor shower to Earth, but the meteors were actually their technology and were used in "Phase I" of their plan to shrink Mark Coren and various Earth objects. When a way was discovered to overcome the shrinking, Ozt and Zak departed before they could initiate "Phase II".
--Tales of Suspense I#1/5
Used to transport Mark Coren into space, where he would be exposed to cosmic rays in the hopes that it would reverse his shrinking. When the cosmic rays proved to be the solution, it was used to transport Mark back to Earth.
--Tales of Suspense I#1/5
images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#1, p19, pan4 (main image)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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