Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments) (1950s era)

Occupation: None

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: The natives of his island (including unidentified native chief)

Enemies: Sam Binder

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Monstro" (as called by native chief)

Base of Operations: His cave, on an unidentified island, somewhere off the coast of Africa;
    briefly ran amok in an unidentified American city (possibly New York)

First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (September, 1959)

Powers/Abilities: Apparently long-lived (if not immortal), Monstro was a giant albino gorilla with tremendous strength--he could easily smash through the walls of structures, and was able to crush a bus between his hands.

From his years of being locked in a dark cave, Monstro was blind--possibly his other senses were heightened to compensate for his loss of sight, or he may have used some form of "radar sense" to find his way around.

Because of his blindness, Monstro was able to resist the hypnotic control of Sam Binder.

Height: 40' (by approximation)
Weight: 80 tons (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: White

(Journey Into Mystery I#54/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Monstro is unrevealed, but he lived on a small island off the African coast. At some point in the distant past, the natives of the island tricked Monstro into a cave, then they sealed the cave with a pair of huge doors.

   Unspecified years later, an explorer came to the island and learned the legend of Monstro--although he never actually saw the gargantuan beast, the explorer did see the huge, constantly-guarded cave.

(Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (fb) ) - Hypnotist/showman Sam "Spell" Binder was looking for a replacement for the gorilla in his stage-act. While at the Explorers' Club, Binder overheard the explorer talking about the world's largest gorilla, which could be found on an African island.

   Binder mounted an expedition to the island, then bargained with the tribal chief to purchase Monstro. When Monstro was released from his cave-prison, Binder used gas to render him unconscious, then loaded him aboard a ship to take him back to America, where the super-sized simian would be the main attraction in Binder's stage-show.

   But on the opening night of the show, Monstro was able to resist Binder's hypnotic control and went on a rampage through the city. The great ape eventually took refuge in a newly-constructed tunnel, where Binder cornered him.

   Binder again rendered Monstro unconscious with the gas, but not before Monstro grabbed Binder and cracked a few of his ribs.

   Later, doctors examined Monstro and discovered that the gargantuan gorilla was blind, which explained to Binder how Monstro was able to resist his hypnotic control.

(Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (fb) - BTS) - Eventually, Binder learned that the authorities transported Monstro back to his island, where the natives returned him to his cave--Monstro was said to be happy...and so were natives, to whom Monstro had become a symbol (see comments).

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Steve Ditko.

The cover of Journey into Mystery I#54 featured Monstro drawn by Jack Kirby, and he looked completely different from the Monstro drawn by Steve Ditko.

On the cover, Monstro had darker coloring, and he appeared to have a pair of long, slender antennae protruding from his forehead (...and for that matter, the cover's Sam Binder looked different, too).--Ron Fredricks.

Monstro isn't the only giant white ape in comics, there is also Ticonda in Amazing Mystery Funnies#12 (July, 1939) (Fantom Of The Fair story)--an enormous arctic ape on display. Fought the Fantom Of The Fair 10,000 years ago. I wonder if Monstro, Bokk and Agu the Giant (from Lorna the Jungle Queen#1 (June, 1953) could've been part of a race of Giant Gorillas. There is also a Giant Ape in Lorna The Jungle Queen#9 (September, 1954) and in "The Terror Of The White Fang" (Lorna The Jungle Girl#10 (November, 1954) ) might be another appearance of Agu the Giant--unless it's one of those Splash Pages that makes normal size characters giants on the first page only.

    And a big THANK YOU to Dennis Giansante for originally scanning this story for me!

Monstro's true nature was never revealed--perhaps he was a Deviant mutate; or perhaps a stranded extraterrestrial visitor; or maybe he had some connection to the sacred White Gorilla worshiped by Wakanda's Jabari tribe.--Ron Fredricks

Profile by John Kaminski. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

Monstro has no known connections to:

unidentified native chief

He was the elderly leader of an unidentified tribe that lived on an isolated island off the African coast.

According to the chief, "many moons ago," his ancestors tricked Monstro into a cave, then sealed it with a pair of huge doors.

Eventually, showman Sam Binder came to the island, in search of the world's largest gorilla for his stage-act. The chief sold Monstro to Binder, then ordered his tribesmen to release the giant ape from the cave.

Binder took Monstro to America, but he was unable to hypnotize the blind gorilla. Monstro was eventually returned to the island--both Monstro and the natives were happy again, and Monstro became a symbol to the tribe (see comments).

(Comment: Although the chief appeared to have a Caucasian skin-tone in this panel, I'm just going to assume it was a coloring error--the other natives depicted were dark-skinned (see second image in the following sub-profile).)

--Journey into Mystery I#54/1

Monstro's cave

Located on an isolated island off the African coast, it was where the giant albino gorilla Monstro had been imprisoned by the native inhabitants in the distant past.

The cave was sealed by two huge ornately-carved doors that were decorated with images of gorilla heads; the doors were secured by a giant bolt.

When Sam Binder came to the island and purchased Monstro from the tribal chief, the chief ordered his tribesmen to unlock the doors. But as soon as the natives removed the bolt, Monstro flung the doors open and emerged from the darkness.

The natives eventually returned Monstro to his cave, and the giant gorilla was happy.

--Journey into Mystery I#54/1

images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p3, pan1 (Main Image - Monstro in his cave; Sam Binder (foreground) )
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p5, pan2 (Headshot - Monstro crushing bus)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p4, pan5 (Monstro on theatre stage, unaffected by Sam Binder's hypnotism)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p5, pan1 (Monstro breaks through theatre wall)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, cover (Monstro, as he originally appeared on cover)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p2, pan2 (native chief (right) bargains with Sam Binder (center) )
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p2, pan3 (native chief leads Sam Binder to doors barricading Monstro's cave)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, p2, pan5 (after bolt is removed from doors, Monstro's hand flings doors open, scattering natives)

Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (September, 1959) - unidentified writer, Steve Ditko (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters) Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 04/07/2006
Last updated: 01/14/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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