Real Name: None

Identity/Class: Creature of the imagination (extradimensional?)

Occupation: Enemy of the world

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Possibly the creatures of Monster Island (see comments)

Enemies: Alpha Flight (Flex, Guardian synthoid, Manbot, Puck, Radius, Vindicator), Charles Bentley, Big Hero 6 (Baymax, Gogo Tomago, Honey Lemon, Silver Samurai, Sunfire, Hiro Takachiho)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: The Thing That Lived, the Unknowable

Base of Operations: Mobile in America and Japan

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish I#20/1 (June, 1961)

Powers/Abilities: X possesses the ability to transform into any substance, including solid and gaseous matter. X is shaped by the imagination of the person who creates it (so far either Charles Bentley or Tomi). It can only follow the directives given to it by its author, but will attack its creator to preserve its own life.

History: (Tales to Astonish I#20/1) - X was created by Charles Bentley, a Marvel Comics writer who had to invent new monsters every month, attempting to top himself each time. He wrote up X on a typewriter he had bought in Europe, and gave it the ability to change its form. He depicted X facing the military and holding up against their best efforts, and left the story open so that he could write a sequel next month.

When X came to life, Bentley wrote a finish to the story where X was slain by germs, but because it wasn't on his home typewriter, it had no effect. Bentley drove back home to get his typewriter, but X hunted him down, recognizing him as its creator. X stopped Bentley's car, so he fled to the sewers, but X shifted to a smaller body to pursue him. Bentley managed to evade it and reached his apartment, but X had found his address inside Bentley's car, and followed him there. With no time to write a finish, Bentley flung the typewriter out the window, smashing it to pieces. As a result, X vanished into thin air.

(Warlock and the Infinity Watch#7) - X somehow ended up on Monster Island.

(Alpha Flight II#17 (fb) - BTS) - A boy in Japan named Tomi read the comic book account of X's story, and created his own manga in which the creature was reborn. He was unaware that by doing so, he would bring X back to life. Tomi depicted X rising out of a volcano, so it first appeared at Mount Fuji.

(Alpha Flight II#17) - The opening pages of the manga depicted X attacking the Cool World amusement park in Tokyo, home base of Big Hero 6, and so X attacked the park and fought off the heroes. Big Hero 6 was down by one member because of Sunfire's absence, so Honey Lemon sent a message to him in Canada at Department H, which alerted Alpha Flight to the crisis. By the time Sunfire and Alpha Flight arrived, X had disappeared.

While cleaning up after X, Alpha Flight and Big Hero 6 met Tomi, and looked at his manga. Seeing that the upcoming pages of the manga depicted X at an atomic plant, the heroes split into teams to locate it. X turned out to be at Cool World still, disguised as a teddy bear, and attacked and devoured Radius. Sunfire blasted the teddy bear, but X turned into a two-headed bat and flew away.

The heroes caught up to X as it was in the form of a two-headed serpent, and fought it at an atomic plant, as they had seen in the manga, but it escaped them and headed for Mount Fuji. Sunfire bombarded X with a powerful plasma blast, and Vindicator bathed it in lava. Gogo Tomago managed to save Radius from X's burning body before it fell into the volcano.

Hiro Takachiho examined the rest of the manga, and revealed that it depicted X becoming human and marrying a beautiful princess. He remarked that "sometimes stories end themselves the way they want to!" and flung the manga into the volcano.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.
Tomi created by Steve Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Gus Vazquez, Rob Hunter and Josef Rubinstein.

Nightmare sent an image of X to torment Peter Parker's dreams in Sensational Spider-Man#-1.

One of the creatures on Monster Island in Warlock and the Infinity Watch#7 resembles X.

The Marvel Pets Handbook (2009) profile on Mole Man's Monsters confirmed X's appearance in Warlock and the Infinity Watch#7.
--David A. Zuckerman

John K. observes that the creature from Tales of Suspense I#12's "Monster in my Cellar" was also brought to life by a writer using a typewriter. Could this be the same typewriter Charles Bentley obtained?

In Captain America Comics#52 (1/46) "The Case Of The Telepathic Typewriter" writer Allen Slake used a Telepathic Typewriter to create AM, perhaps it is the same typewriter used in this story or someone (Sorcerer/Sorceress or God or Demon) has been creating more Telepathic Typewriters. The Telepathic Typewriter in Uncanny Tales#42 (4/56) is a different type of typewriter.

by Prime Eternal

X, the Thing That Lived should not be confused with:


Charles Bentley was a writer for Marvel Comics who purchased a magic typewriter while in Europe, though he didn't believe it to be magical. The typewriter brought creations of his (such as a sea serpent and a two-headed radioactive demon from outer space) to life, and they met their dooms just as he wrote in his comics. When he created X, a creature with the power to shapeshift, he left X alive so that he could write a sequel, but X then came to life, and was on the loose. Cut off from his typewriter, Bentley tried to finish X off by writing a finish in which germs defeated the creature, but it needed the magic typewriter in order to work. Bentley went back to his apartment with X in pursuit, and finally smashed the typewriter, which was enough to make X vanish into thin air.

--Tales to Astonish I#20


Tomi was a young Japanese boy who read a comic book account of the story of X, and wrote his own manga in which X returned, unaware that this would bring X back to life. When X attacked Cool World, he showed his manga to the members of Alpha Flight and Big Hero 6, who used it to predict X's actions.

--Alpha Flight II#17

Images taken from:
Tales to Astonish I#20, page 8, panel 4
Tales to Astonish I#20, page 15, panel 3
Bentley- Tales to Astonish I#20, page 18, panel 1
Tomi- Alpha Flight II#17, page 13, panel 5 (not counting ads)

Tales to Astonish I#20 (June, 1961) - Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Warlock and the Infinity Watch#7 (August, 1992) - Jim Starlin (writer), Tom Raney (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)
Alpha Flight II#17 (December, 1998) - Duncan Rouleau & Steve Seagle (writers), Duncan Rouleau & Gus Vasquez (pencils), Rob Hunter & Joe Rubinstein (inks), Jaye Gardner (editor)

First Posted: 09/11/2005
Last updated: 05/09/2015

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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