MARLENE BLACKGARReal Name: Marlene Blackgar
Identity/Class: Human mutant
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Garth, Strug
Enemies: Buck Cowan, Lissa
(Jack Russell), numerous unidentified victims
Known Relatives: Miles Blackgar (father), unidentified mother (apparently deceased - see comments)
Base of Operations: Blackgar Island (off the Monterey Coast, California, U.S.A.)
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight I#4 (June, 1972)
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)
(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
(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
(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
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.
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
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)
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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