Real Name: Monstro
Identity/Class: Terrestrial animal;
possible Deviant mutate
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Sam Binder, the natives of his island
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: His cave on an
unidentified island off the coast of Africa;
briefly ran amok in an unidentified American city (probably New York)
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (September, 1959)
Powers/Abilities: Monstro was a giant albino gorilla, perhaps 30 feet tall, and had tremendous strength. From his years of being locked in a cave, Monstro was blind -- his other senses were probably heightened to compensate for his loss of sight, and he may have used some form of "radar sense" to find his way around.
History: (Journey Into Mystery I#54 (fb) - BTS) - Monstro lived on a small island off the coast of Africa, and at some point he was locked in a gated cave by the native people who dwelled there.
(Journey Into Mystery I#54) - Showman Sam "Spell" Binder was looking for a replacement for the gorilla in his act. While at the Explorers' Club, Binder heard stories of the largest gorilla in the world which could be found on an African island. Binder mounted an expedition to the island and 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 show.
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 then took refuge in a tunnel, where Binder cornered him and again knocked him out with 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 how he was able to resist Binder's hypnotic control.
The authorities shipped Monstro back to his island, where the natives returned him to his cave. Monstro was said to be happy, and so were the natives he became a symbol to.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Steve Ditko.
The Explorers' Club that Sam Binder went to is undoubtedly the same organization that the Monster Hunters originated from.
The cover of Journey Into Mystery I#54 featured Monstro drawn by Jack Kirby, and he looks completely different from the Monstro drawn by Steve Ditko.
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 scanning this story for me!
Profile by John Kaminski
Monstro has no known connections to
Sam "Spell" Binder has no known connection to:
Sam "Spell" Binder was a showman whose entire act involved his trained gorilla, Moko, which he claimed he hypnotized. When Moko suffered a concussion in an accident and had to be retired from the act, Binder had to find another gorilla. Binder went to the Explorers' Club to get a line on a possible replacement for Moko, and he heard some club members discussing an island off the coast of Africa that was the home of Monstro, the world's largest gorilla. Binder went to the island and bargained with a tribal chief to purchase Monstro. After gassing the beast and taking it back to America, Binder was going to use the monster ape in his act. On opening night, Binder tried to hypnotize Monstro, but found he could not control the gorilla.
As the giant ape broke free and ran amok through the city, Binder pursued him and gassed him once more, receiving a few cracked ribs in the process. It was in the hospital that Binder learned why his hypnotism didn't work on Monstro -- Monstro was blind!
After the authorities returned Monstro to his island home, Sam "Spell" Binder found employment in a new field -- as star of the "Jungle Tales" TV series.
--Journey Into Mystery I#54/1
Journey Into Mystery I#54, p3, pan1 (main image)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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