Real Name: Hugo Barge
Identity/Class: Human mutate (Pre-Modern era)
Group Membership: None
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile throughout Europe; originally from America
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery I#64/3 (January, 1961)
Powers/Abilities: Hugo Barge had been an extremely obese man, but after ingesting Korumbu's reducing potion, Barge found himself rapidly getting thinner at an incredible rate.
History: (Journey Into Mystery I#64/3) - Hugo Barge was a wealthy and ruthless businessman who would think nothing of hurting others as long as he made a profit.
Barge's favorite pastime was eating, and the gluttonous man constantly stuffed his face, until his eating began to have deleterious effects on his health. Upon seeing a doctor, Barge was advised to lose weight. He tried everything -- diets, pills and exercises -- but nothing seemed to work for the fat man. After reading a newspaper story of how there seemed to be no overweight people in Europe, Barge flew there and tried all manner of crackpot remedies to lose weight, but also met with failure.
When all seemed hopeless, a Gypsy told Barge of Korumbu's reducing potion: "Korumbu can make anyone lose weight--and still eat all you wish!"
Intrigued, Barge ventured to a Gypsy camp out in a swamp and went to Korumbu's wagon. He told Korumbu that he wanted his reducing potion, and that he'd pay any price for it; but Korumbu warned him it was still not perfected and may be dangerous. After futilely trying to negotiate with the Gypsy, Barge threatened to tell the authorities about Korumbu and his people, and have them all arrested for trespassing. Not wishing any harm to come to the people of his tribe, Korumbu relented and gave Barge the potion. Barge drank the solution down, but suddenly everything went dark as he slipped into unconsciousness.
When he awoke sometime later, Hugo Barge found himself laying alone on the ground -- Korumbu, his wagon, and his people were gone. But looking down at himself, Barge was pleasantly shocked when he saw he had lost an incredible amount of body fat, and his clothes hung loosely about his frame.
But the first signs of trouble became apparent to Barge when he had to return to the tailor's shop again to get his loose suit refitted -- a suit which had just been refitted mere hours earlier. He was alarmed because he was losing weight by the minute and growing ever thinner.
Barge ate more than ever to try to stop the awful reducing. Panicking, Barge notified the authorities, and the search for Korumbu spanned the continent, but no trace of the Gypsy could be found.
Extremely emaciated at this point, Hugo Barge was forced to eat continuously for fear of wasting away any further. Now seeing where all his greed and cruelty had gotten him, Barge was left with only his constant feasting, and one obsessive thought: "I must find Korumbu!"
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Steve Ditko.
This story reminded me of the 1984 Stephen King book "Thinner," about an obese man who continues to get thinner and thinner after a Gypsy places a curse on him -- I wonder if King got the idea from this story?
And a big THANK YOU to the Atlas Tales site for allowing me to use the scans of this story!
Profile by John Kaminski
Hugo Barge has no known connection to:
Korumbu has no known connections to:
A mysterious Gypsy, Korumbu possibly had some knowledge in the art of alchemy, which can be exemplified by the creation of his reducing potion.
--Journey Into Mystery I#64/3
Journey into Mystery I#64/3, p2, pan1 (body shot)
Journey into Mystery I#64 (January, 1961) - Steve Ditko (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Fear#3 (March, 1971) - Reprint
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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