Real Name: Eric Kane
Identity/Class: Human mutate (Pre-Modern era)
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Prison guards (including Hastings)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile in the tunnels of Subterranea; formerly an African prison camp
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery I#64/2 (January, 1961)
Powers/Abilities: As a human, Eric Kane was one tough hombre. When he was mutated into one of the Lizard Men, he took on their physical appearance, along with their inability to breathe the air of the surface world.
History: (Journey Into Mystery I#64/2) - Hardened criminal Eric Kane was serving a life sentence in an African prison camp where, even among the world's most defiant criminals, he was the worst. But Kane thought himself to be very clever and plotted to escape. While on an outside work detail, he arranged to work in the section guarded by Hastings, who was the most sympathetic of the guards. Kane faked an appendicitis, and when Hastings helped Kane and carried him off to the hospital, Kane punched him and left him unconscious.
Kane ran into the jungle, and soon heard the baying of hounds as the other guards pursued him. He found a cave hidden behind a waterfall and went inside, then he would follow the tunnel until he could find an exit, but the tunnel only went further down into the bowels of the earth. Finding no way out, Kane decided to turn back...then he heard a low guttural moan. He turned and saw a Lizard Man behind him; in a panic, Kane ran further down the tunnel and saw a strange light. He eventually came upon the source of the light -- a giant diamond. Suddenly, Kane found himself surrounded by Lizard Men.
Kane was shocked when the Lizard Men spoke to him, but relieved when they told him they would not harm him. They told him that they had lived in Earth's core for untold ages in a world of darkness, except for the light that they got from the giant diamond, which was their only comfort, their only luxury. Kane asked them why they didn't just go to the surface, but the Lizard Men said they were unable to breathe the air of the upper regions. The Lizard Men told Kane that he could remain with them as their honored guest, but Kane was determined to take the diamond, so he edged his way to it, then grabbed it and started to run up the tunnel to the surface. The Lizard Men tried to stop him, but the quicker Kane was too fast for the ponderous creatures. The Lizard Men warned Kane to drop the stone, to not hold it anymore because it was dangerous -- Kane didn't believe them, because the diamond would make him the richest man in the world.
Confident that the creatures could not follow him because of their inability to breathe the air, Kane continued upward. But as he left the black, subterranean depths, it became harder for him to breathe; it eventually became impossible to go any higher because Kane was choking. Then, for the first time, Kane looked at himself, and in the murky gloom, he saw that he was becoming one of the Lizard Men! Now he realized why the creatures told him the diamond was dangerous!
Unable to breathe in the upper regions, Kane had no choice but to return to the lair of the Lizard Men with the diamond, but he was shunned by the Lizard Men because he tried to take their stone. He wondered if the diamond's spell would ever wear off and if he would ever be human again. Eric Kane was now a complete outcast, losing everything -- even his identity -- all because of his greed.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Don Heck.
Although they have a slightly different appearance and couldn't survive on the surface, I wonder if these Lizard Men have some connection to the Lizard Men? Considering Kane's transformation, perhaps these Lizard Men were once humans as well -- maybe they were once Gor-tokian subterraneans, or some other Deviant slave race, who were also mutated by the diamond.
In Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone and the Monster Hunters it was revealed that the Lizard Men that encountered Kane were the same that were fought by the Monster Hunters.
And that giant diamond -- considering that it produced light and could cause transformations, perhaps it had some connection to the Mole Man's Valley of Diamonds.
This story was reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces#6 (December, 1966).
Profile by John Kaminski
Eric Kane has no known connections to:
Journey into Mystery I#64/2, p4, pan3 (main image)
Journey into Mystery I#64 (January, 1961) - Don Heck (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Fantasy Masterpieces#6 (December, 1966) - reprint
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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