Real Name: Not Applicable
Identity/Class: Giant dinosaur/theropod mutate
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Toro, US military
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Beast from the Egg" (as called in story title)
Base of Operations: Formerly New Mexico, mobile across western United States
First Appearance: Human Torch Comics I#36/2 (April, 1954)
Powers/Abilities: The atomic radiation that mutated this monster enabled it to rapidly grow from an embryonic stage to full adulthood within the span of a few hours. As a secondary side effect of the radiation, this creature grew abnormally huge in height and weight and it appeared twice as large as the average sized skyscraper. This dinosaur mutate possessed incalculable strength surpassing the 100 ton range, resistance to most conventional weapons, immunity to radiation, semi-resistance to fire, and--unusual for the species--opposable thumbs on its upper limbs that were able to grasp objects. The dinosaur, being a carnivore, had a series of razor sharp teeth used for tearing and shredding its prey, animal intelligence and instincts, and a prehensile tail used for maintaining balance while in an upright position.
This behemoth was infected with an unknown strain of deadly prehistoric germs that proved fatal to human life. These germs were not resistant to heat and quickly died when exposed to high temperatures.
(Human Torch Comics I#36/2) – Paleontologist Professor Conway discovered the fossilized remains of a new species of Tyrannosaur along with a perfectly preserved egg while digging in the New Mexico desert . The Professor and his crew were forced to vacate the discovery by the US military and escorted away from the area as it was scheduled to be used for an atomic bomb test.
(Human Torch Comics I#36/2) - The atomic bomb exploded and permeated the surrounding desert with radiation which miraculously altered the egg’s molecular structure, reverting it back to a previous non-fossilized state. The egg continued to absorb radiation at an astounding rate which nourished it and caused the embryo to rapidly mature. Having reached hatching stage and breaking free of its shell, the dinosaur rapidly grew to enormous size beyond its normal adult height. The dinosaur next began moving westward, causing a swath of destruction and death to anything in its path. As if its rampage wasn’t enough, the monster was also infected with prehistoric germs that killed thousands of people that came in close proximity. The US army was unable to stop the creature using conventional weapons, so the Human Torch and Toro were sent to destroy it. But the gigantic dinosaur could not be stopped by the two flaming heroes and continued moving further west toward San Francisco. After formulating a plan, the Human Torch and Toro arrived in San Francisco and forced the monster into the city’s harbor. The Human Torch then commandeered a US Navy submarine and launched a series of torpedoes at the monster’s legs. The attack crippled the behemoth and it toppled into the water, then the Human Torch and Toro began to quickly burn away at the creature’s muscles on its lower limbs. Unable to stand under its own power, the mutated dinosaur sunk deep into the ocean and presumedly drowned.
(Human Torch Comics I#36/2) - The Human Torch and Toro began using their flame powers to create great amounts of heat in order to destroy the monster’s deadly germs to prevent them from further spreading among the population.
(Saga of the Original Human Torch#4 (fb)) – The original Human Torch (in a flashback) retold his past battle with the monster dinosaur and revealed that it was given the name “Pre-history”.
Comments: Created by unaccredited writer and Dick Ayers (art)
This story debuted on April 1954 and it resembles the appearance and origin of the Japanese monster Gojira/Godzilla which also appeared in that same year. This story predates the Japanese monster by 7 months as the movie premiered in Japan in November 1954 and had an American release later in 1956. In the Saga of the Original Human Torch#4, it is hinted that the Japanese must have come up with the concept of Godzilla based on this Human Torch story. This monster could easily be considered the Earth-616 version of Godzilla if in fact it did not die as according to the story presented here.
Here is a possible scenario that could explain the similarities between Godzilla and this giant monster and how it could be retconned and placed within Earth-616 continuity.
After sustaining severe damage to its lower limbs, the giant monster slowly sank into the deep waters off San Francisco and its body drifted out onto the Pacific Ocean and presumedly drowned. The very same atomic energy that spawned it over time regenerated the monster’s injuries as well as caused further mutation. The ocean currents eventually washed the creature ashore near Japan where once again it went on a rampage destroying cities and towns in its wake. Eventually the giant monster sought a solitary existence in order to protect itself from further harm and, as mysteriously as it arrived, it departed Japan. The Japanese movie industry began filming the fictional account of this monster, naming it Gojira. Decades later, the giant monster resurfaced once again off the Alaskan coastline. The giant lizard began rampaging through the United States as its base animal instinct to return home to its birthplace to find a mate and spawn overwhelmed the desire to live a solitary life of isolation. Since the monster resembled the fictional version of Godzilla, the name stuck and the creature’s exploits were featured in the pages of the 1970s comic of the same name.
If this creature went on to become Godzilla of Earth-616, its further mutation would have given it the ability to generate atomic powered fire from its mouth. Godzilla is featured on the Appendix with its own profile.
The monster’s name was revealed as “Pre-history” in Saga of the Original Human Torch#4 and, in my opinion, it is a ridiculous name -- Roy Thomas is a great writer and could have come up with a better one. If I was Roy I would have named it "Protozilla," or even "Prezilla," since this monster did appear way before the Japanese Gojira/Godzilla ever did.
A Theropod (meaning "beast-footed") is a sub-order of Saurischian dinosaurs that were fast-moving, bipedal carnivores with grasping hands and clawed digits. They ranged in size from tiny chicken-sized Compsognathus to huge Giganotosaurus that were over 50 feet tall. Theropods lived from the mid-Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous period. (Info taken from Enchanted Learning)
Thanks to Brian Hirsch for providing a scan of this story.
Profile by AvatarWarlord72 and John Kaminski.
The monster known as "Pre-history" has no known connections to:
images: (without ads)
Human Torch Comics#36/2, p6, pan1 (main image)
Saga of the Original Human Torch#4, p15, pan4 ("Pre-history")
Human Torch Comics#36/2 (April, 1954) - Dick Ayers (art), Stan Lee (editor)
Saga of the Original Human Torch#4 (July, 1990) - Roy Thomas (writer), Rich Buckler (pencils), Romeo Tanghal (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Last updated: 01/29/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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