MARLENE BLACKGAR

Real Name: Marlene Blackgar

Identity/Class: Human mutant

Occupation: None

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Garth, Strug

Enemies: Buck Cowan, Lissa Russell, Werewolf (Jack Russell), numerous unidentified victims

Known Relatives: Miles Blackgar (father), unidentified mother (apparently deceased - see comments)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Blackgar Island (off the Monterey Coast, California, U.S.A.)

First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight I#4 (June, 1972)

  

Powers/Abilities: Marlene Blackgar was a mutant whose gaze had the power of turning people to stone. Since the Werewolf was able to avoid this fate by shielding his eyes from her gaze, it appears her victims had to see her eyes, like the Gorgons of Greek mythology, rather than her being able to transform those she looked at. She had no control over this ability, and thus normally wore reflective glasses to hide her eyes in order to avoid accidentally fossilizing people. Unfortunately she had no immunity to her own power and so was turned to stone herself when she saw her reflection in a mirror.

    Those transformed apparently remain alive and aware of their predicament despite being literally petrified, based on Jack Russell's experience, though it is possible that his supernatural curse made him an exception to the norm. Lycanthropes, and possibly other shapeshifters (or perhaps only those whose shapeshifting is involuntary and / or caused by a curse), are restored to flesh and blood when their transformations kick in.

  

Height: 5'6" (by comparison)
Weight: 130 lbs. (by estimation)
Eyes: White (no visible pupils or iris)
Hair: Red

  

History:
(Marvel Spotlight I#4 (fb) - BTS) - Doctor Miles Blackgar's wife gave birth to a mutant daughter, Marlene, whose gaze immediately turned her to stone.

   Over the next 20 or so years, in his island off the Monterey Coast, Blackgar conducted numerous monstrous human experiments, trying to find a way to rid Marlene of her powers.

   During that time Marlene transformed a number of victims, mostly (or all?) men; though it is unrevealed whether she did this accidentally or deliberately, she ghoulishly chose to keep her petrified victims as a grotesque garden of statues.

   Eventually Miles somehow learned of the existence of the Darkhold; he then bought Baron Russoff's castle from Jack Russell's step-father, Philip Russell, and had it shipped stone by stone from Transia and reassembled on Blackgar's Island.

   Believing he has nearing success, Miles decided it would soon be time to cure Marlene; learning this, Marlene decided she didn't want to be cured, and began considering turning against him.

 

(Marvel Spotlight I#4) - That same day Jack Russell came to the island looking for the Darkhold (which he believed might be hidden within the castle), he was taken prisoner by Blackgar's hireling Garth. From atop a balcony in his house Miles witnessed the newcomer's arrival, and he and Marlene went down to the docks to greet him.

 

(Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#9/2) - Miles welcomed Russell to the island and introduced himself and Marlene. 

 

(Marvel Spotlight I#4) - The introductions were interrupted as a disheveled man suddenly emerged from nearby foliage, desperately begging for Jack's assistance and insisting he wouldn't let Miles "change" him as he had "the others." Miles swiftly instructed Garth to subdue the escaped prisoner, and lied to Russell, claiming that he ran an institution for the mentally disturbed, hence requiring Garth to handle some of the more violent patients. Explaining that he needed to see to those patients, he entrusted the visitor to Marlene's care. Taking advantage of the opportunity to speak to Marlene alone, Russell questioned her about her father's work, which she refused to discuss while nevertheless admitting she was unhappy with him. Russell informed her that their castle home had been sold to them by his step-father, but when he asked about the Darkhold Marlene hastily warned him not to mention that to her father, stating that Miles would kill him if he did. As Russell pressed the issue, Marlene wavered and began to tell him where the Darkhold was kept, but was interrupted by her father arriving to request her help with his latest "operation"; they departed, with Miles locking Jack in the room "for his own safety." Assisted by Marlene and Garth, Miles carried out yet another unsuccessful experiment on an unwilling victim, unaware Jack had escaped the room and had covertly observed everything; Marlene however, was well aware of the intruder's presence.

   Moving on, Jack located the Darkhold in the library as Marlene had said, but the moon rose and he turned into his Werewolf form. After stumbling across and freeing Miles' horribly mutated test subjects and overpowering Garth, then leaving the henchmen for the angry mutates to kill, the Werewolf came across Miles and threw him out of a window. Arriving on the scene just after this, Marlene tried to calm the creature, explaining that she was happy with his actions as she wanted her father dead, and asking him to leave the island with her. However the Werewolf swiftly sensed something wrong about her and lashed out at her, knocking off her glasses. Enraged, Marlene caught his gaze and turned him to stone.

 

(Werewolf by Night I#1 (fb) - BTS) - Marlene then turned all of her father's creatures to stone, sparing only Strug to replace Garth as their henchman. Finding that her father had survived the fall but was now paralyzed from the waist down, Marlene reconciled with him and agreed to use the Darkhold to restore him.

 

(Werewolf by Night I#1 - BTS) - When the sun rose, Russell's lycanthropic curse kicked in to turn him back to a man, with the magic also reversing Marlene's petrification power. Revived, Russell snatched the Darkhold and fled the island.  

  

(Werewolf by Night I#1) - Discovering the absence of both the book and her new statue, and with Strug's keen sense of smell confirming that Russell was no longer made of stone, Marlene, her now wheelchair-bound father and Strug headed to Los Angeles. There they approached Philip Russell and got Jack's address off him by claiming Jack had stolen some of their property. Confronting Jack in his apartment, Marlene took Jack's sister Lissa and Jack's friend Buck Cowan as hostages, then had Strug knock Jack out. While he was unconscious they searched the apartment for the Darkhold to no avail. Waking unnoticed to see the sun setting, Jack caught the Blackgar's off-guard and pushed past Marlene to escape the apartment before he transformed, but returned after becoming the Werewolf. The creature grappled with Strug, but fearing their servant was losing Marlene opened fire with her revolver, only to fatally wound Strug even as he was gaining the upper hand. With the winded Werewolf getting to his feet, a desperate Marlene removed her glasses, intending to again petrify the monster, but it shielded its vision and ducked down. Too late the Blackgar's realized there was a mirror behind the beast, and both were turned to stone.

    The next day Buck Cowan made some hasty arrangements and had the two statues put on exhibit at the Santa Monica Art Museum, where they still presumably reside.

 


Comments: Created by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog.

   I've got to wonder how Marlene made it to adulthood if she had her powers from birth; I can't imagine the average toddler would have the self-discipline to keep a covering, be it bandages or spectacles, on their eyes at all times, nor to avoid glancing at their own reflection.

   As a newborn infant Marlene turned her mother to stone. Her father, and Marlene once she was old enough to understand, both ASSumed her to be dead, but based on Werewolf by Night still being alive and conscious when Marlene similarly turned him to stone, it's entirely possible that she was still alive. That said, it might only be a matter of time before the consciousness fades and the person within the statue dies. If that is the case then Marlene herself will likely have died by now, and since she is a mutant, she could be due for rebirth on Krakoa any time now.

    For estimating her height: there's a decent comparison shot of her standing next to the 5'10" Jack Russell in Marvel Spotlight I#4. - Loki

Profile by Jean-Marc Lofficier.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Marlene Blackgar has no known connections to


Marlene's statue garden

  

Marlene kept a number of her victims as a garden of statues on Blackgar Island. It's feasible this was to remind her of past mistakes and to be careful of accidentally using her powers, but given her attitude and how they were displayed, it seems more likely she considered them trophies, making her somewhat of a serial killer.

  

--Marvel Spotlight I#4

  


images:
Werewolf by Night I#1, p4, pan4 (main)
Werewolf by Night I#1, p16, pan2 (headshot, clear view of eyes)
Marvel Spotlight I#4, p21, pan3 (using powers)

Marvel Spotlight I#4, p20, pan2 (head shot with glasses on)
Werewolf by Night I#1, p20, pan6 (turned to stone)
Marvel Spotlight I#4,
p8, pan7 (mirror glasses)
Marvel Spotlight I#4, p8, pan7 (height comparison shot)
Marvel Spotlight I#4, p21, pan3 (statues)


Appearances:
Marvel Spotlight I#4 (June, 1972) - Gerry Conway (writer), Mike Ploog (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Werewolf by Night I#1 (September, 1972) - Gerry Conway (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Frank Chiaramonte (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#9/2 - Roy Thomas and R.J.M. Lofficier (writers), David and Dan Day (art), Ralph Macchio (editor)


First Posted: 05/11/2007
Last updated: 09/29/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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