Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human mutate or mutant (see comments)
Occupation: Scientist, Would-be world conqueror
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: His zombie minions (Peter Johnson and unnamed others); Giant Buzzards
Enemies: Fiery Mask (Jack Castle)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Mad Doctor,
"Master" (nickname used by his zombie servants), "Doctor", "Doc"
(nickname used by Fiery Mask)
Base of Operations: An old
ramshackle house on the waterfront, unknown town in the U.S. (most
likely New York, see comments)
First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics#1 (January, 1940)
Powers/Abilities: The Zombie Master was twenty feet tall, with strength to match his size. A genius inventor and scientist, he designed a machine that emitted gamma radiation that could transform others into "zombies," their skin turning green in color (similar to other gamma mutates) and becoming mindless, blindly following the Zombie Master's orders. Without the Zombie Master to guide them, they would become almost comatose. Due to the transformed state, the zombies were exceptionally durable but could be killed by conventional means, as they were not genuinely members of the undead. The Zombie Master also had access to a fortress laboratory, which was guarded by gigantic vultures bred and trained to kill.
Weight: 7500 lbs.
(Daring Mystery Comics#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the Zombie Master had begun to kidnap homeless men and others off the streets to use in his experiments.
(Daring Mystery Comics#1) - One of these experiments, Peter Johnson, was brought in his zombie-like state to police headquarters, where he attacked the captain and young physician Jack Castle, until the policeman shot him dead. Investigating Johnson and other homeless men's disappearances, Castle got the bright idea to ask the utilities company for records of anyplace that had been using massive amounts of power. This led him to an old, run-down house. He was quickly taken at gunpoint by a zombie who led him downstairs to the Zombie Master. The giant decided to use Castle as his next experiment, but something went wrong, and instead of turning Castle into a zombie, the machines granted him incredible powers. Breaking free, Castle defeated the Zombie Master and escaped with a female hostage he had rescued. Castle would then adopt the superhero guise of the Fiery Mask.
(The Twelve I#3 (fb) ) - Waking up in the modern era after being captured by nazi forces in 1945, the Fiery Mask got reacquainted with the world by visiting old haunts. Having a drink in a bar that used to be called Flannery's, he recounted his origin story to some of the local patrons who called the Zombie Master and his plans the most ridiculous story they'd ever heard.
(The Twelve I#8 - BTS) - While investigating the murder of several people who were brutally killed in a bar, police lieutenant Rose discovered scorch marks at the scene of the crime that reminded him of the Fiery Mask. Digging into the hero's background, Rose began a seperate investigation into Fiery Mask's origin story, including the claims he consulted with the New York police in the 1940s and how he received his powers during the Zombie Master incident. After several days of searching, NYPD archivists failed to discover a single shred of documentation from that era to back up any of the Fiery Mask's claims. When Rose confronted him about this, wondering what else he might have lied about it, Fiery Mask angrily dismissed the implications and left.
(The Twelve I#9 - BTS) - Torn by guilt, Fiery Mask admitted to Mastermind Excello that he'd lied about his entire origin story: he never worked with the NYPD and he didn't receive his powers after a run in with the Zombie Master (see comments). He made it all up to cover the fact that he, as a doctor, willingly let a man die so he could inherit his superhuman abilities.
Comments: Created by Joe Simon.
Zombie Master received a profile in the Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special.
By Fiery Mask's own admission in J. Michael Straczynski's
rather excellent The Twelve limited
series, his entire origin story involving the Zombie Master was all made
up. So, does that mean the Zombie Master, his green zombies and the
giant genetically engineered buzzards never existed? Well... Nothing says
they couldn't have, Madison Carter quite correctly points out that
stranger things have come out of old Deviant technology lying around.
But given the fact that there wasn't even a single reference in the NYPD
archives that mentioned to the Zombie Master incident, let alone any eye
witness or oral accounts of the time New York was plagued by bums and
streetwalkers turned emerald zombies... It's safe to say they only
existed in Dr. Carter's imagination. I'm all for folding in as much
golden age goofiness as possible, but for my money J.M.S. made the right
call to essentially label Zombie Master a fabrication.
A goofy story, but it was written in 1940, so don't expect
Busiek. It was reprinted in the Golden Age of Marvel Comics Vol. 2 trade
paperback (As well as The Twelve I#0.5
- Norvo). Obviously, his zombies are not true zombies, but
created through science. John Kaminski theorizes that the energy that
the Zombie Master uses may either be gamma or ionic in nature. The green
light suggests gamma radiation, while the glowing of Fiery Mask's eyes
suggests ionic (much like Wonder Man). It is not clear exactly what the
Zombie Master is. He states that he spent 50 years ashamed of his
grotesque size. He claims his devices are thousands of years ahead of
humanity's. It's very possible he's boasting there, or that he found
them, maybe in a secret lair of the Deviants. Maybe he is a Deviant. I'm
guessing he's probably just a mutant with the ability to conceive and
build advanced electronics.
-- Madison Carter
If the 19'6" tall Warlord
Wrogg can lift 15 tons and Damon
Dran could lift 25 tons at his 20' height, then surely the "Zombie
Master" could lift 15 or 25 tons? Or, perhaps based on Giant-Man (Bill
Foster) who, at 15' tall, could lift 5 tons; and Dr. Henry Pym (as
GIANT-MAN/GOLIATH using original Growth Serum) at 25' tall could lift 10
tons; using them as examples the "Zombie Master" should be able to lift
7 tons at his 20 height.
--From John Holstein
John is commenting on the OHotMU entry giving Zombie Master a strength level of 3.
Just because characters are the same size doesn't make them the same strength; they have different sources of their abilities and numerous other variables.
Based purely on his size, I agree that a strength level of 3 (up to peak human (lifting 800 lbs.)) seems a bit low for someone who's 20 feet tall.
Seems more like enhanced human (lifting over 800 lbs., up to 2 tons) would fit; or even Class 10 (lifting up to 10 tons) - both of which would give him a strength on the power grid of 4, but I guess one of the issues is that he never really did anything to demonstrate super-strength. We'd rather stick to what we are certain about, rather than describe some super-strength he never demonstrated.
So, it could be that whatever granted him his great size was a stress on his body, such that he was significantly weaker than you'd expect.
Ultimately, if you can't back up the argument with actual feats of strength, then it's just idle speculation with no basis.
Also, I would call him Green Claw (named in title), the name of the golden age villain the Claw---enemy of Golden Age Daredevil
--From John Holstein
Original profile by Madison CarterNew profile by Norvo.
The Zombie Master has no known connections to
The Zombie Master's lair was home to several enormous buzzards, supposedly of his own breed. His minion claimed they were bred by the Zombie Master and also served to "take care" of the "useless ones" in his experiments (probably by eating them, fitting given the fact they're carrion eaters). Jack Castle fought off a couple while entering and leaving the Zombie Master's base.
--Daring Mystery Comics#1
Daring Mystery Comics#1, p5, pan2 (main image)
The Twelve#3, p19, pan2 (and his minions)
The Twelve#9, p21, pan6 (revealed to be a lie)
Daring Mystery Comics#1, p4, pan5 (buzzards)
Daring Mystery Comics#1 (January 1940) - Joe Simon (writer/artist/editor)
The Twelve I#3 (May 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Gary Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#8 (December 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#9 (April 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last updated: 01/03/15
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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