Real Name: Professor Marko (first name unrevealed)

Identity/Class:  Human technology user (1950s)

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Gorodok and his henchmen (but only because he was brainwashed)

Enemies: Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Toro (Thomas Raymond)

Known RelativesStella (daughter)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: An observatory atop Kingdom Mountain

First Appearance: Human Torch I#38/1 (August, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: Professor Marko was an inventive genius who built the Hydromatic Vacuum.

History: (Human Torch I#38/1 (fb) - BTS) - Professor Marko was brainwashed by Gorodok and his henchmen. He then built and activated the Hydromatic Vacuum, and began to steal Earth's atmosphere.

(Human Torch I#38/1) - As the air on the planet began to disappear, trees and flowers shriveled up, automobiles and trains sputtered to a standstill, airplanes dropped out of the sky, and people gasped for air in the large cities, towns, and villages.

  The Human Torch and Toro were flying over New York when their flames died out because of the lack of oxygen. All over the city, people were crawling and pleading for air, but two men wearing oxygen masks watched the suffering with great satisfaction. The Torch became suspicious after he overheard the men's conversation of their scheme. After a brief struggle with the two, the Torch questioned them, and the men told the Human Torch about Professor Marko's plans.

  The Human Torch and Toro took the men's oxygen tanks, punctured the tanks to provide them with enough oxygen to support their flames, and they flew to Kingdom Mountain, where they saw the Hydromatic Vacuum in action. Caught in the infernal machine's powerful suction, the torrid twosome were swallowed by it and dumped onto the floor inside of the pressurized observatory, in front of Gorodok and Marko. Because there was air inside the observatory, their flames returned and they managed to disarm Gorodok, but Marko sprayed them with a water hose. Gorodok then knocked both of them out and they were imprisoned in glass tubes.

  After the Human Torch and Toro revived, Marko presented his handicapped daughter, Stella, to them -- he told them that he was doing it all for her, to rid the world of a cruel and inconsiderate population. But horrified over what her father was doing, Stella took one of her crutches and shattered the glass tubes holding the Torch and Toro, then she cut the water hose with an ax so it couldn't be used against the fiery heroes again.

  With the entire scheme falling apart, Gorodok grabbed an oxygen tank and blasted a hole in the pressurized observatory to escape. The Human Torch punched him back inside, but he was unable to stop Gorodok before he shot Professor Marko, who crumpled to the floor.

  In this moment of great excitement and emotion, Stella found the strength to leap out of her wheelchair, and she ran to the control lever to shut the Vacuum off. But now seeing where the control mechanism was, the Torch flew to the lever and reversed the Hydromatic Vacuum, pumping all the air back to the world.

  Afterwards, Stella explained to the Human Torch that Gorodok and his men had drugged and brainwashed her father into making him believe he was using his invention for her -- "to make me queen of the world, because I was unhappy and a cripple!"

  As Earth's atmosphere returned, flowers began to bloom, traffic started to move again, and people filled their lungs with precious air.

Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Dick Ayers.

Yeah, right...Professor Marko was going to destroy all life on Earth...with a VACUUM CLEANER -- I almost expected to see the Human Torch offer him some Twinkies instead.

Since this story is so outlandish, I refuse to believe that it took place on Earth-616, so I vote that it be consigned to Earth-Hostess...

...or, since this was a story that Toro was narrating, maybe it did occur on Earth-616, and Toro embellished certain details as he was telling the tale.

This story -- "The World's End" -- was reprinted in Human Torch II#4 (March, 1975).

Professor Marko's Hydromatic Vacuum must have had something similar to an Nth Projector inside it to send Earth's atmosphere extradimensionally.
Since I'm not a scientist, I don't know the environmental impact of what might happen on Earth if the atmosphere was removed that way, but in Quasar#23-25, Gaea asked Dr. Strange to gather the mightiest practitioners of the ancient ways (Dr. Druid, Black Crow, Moonglow (Arcanna), Talisman and Shaman) and use their mystical abilities to offset the climate impact of Maelstrom's tantrum of stopping Earth's rotation, so I was thinking that some of the Timely Comics sorcerers might have done a similar thing back then.
--John Holstein

Profile by John Kaminski

Professor Marko has no known connections to:

Gorodok has no known connections to:

Hydromatic Vacuum has no known connections to:


She was the daughter of Professor Marko, and was confined to a wheelchair for some unidentified ailment (possibly polio).

When her father was killed by Gorodok before her eyes, the moment of stress gave Stella the strength to stand up from her wheelchair and walk unassisted.

--Human Torch I#38/1

Gorodok & his henchmen

Working as Communist agents, Gorodok and his men brainwashed Professor Marko into building the Hydromatic Vacuum to steal the world's oxygen.

While the Hydromatic Vacuum was sucking up all of Earth's atmosphere, the henchmen wore respirator tanks to allow them to breathe when they ventured outside the pressurized observatory.

Gorodok was later responsible for killing Professor Marko.

--Human Torch I#38/1

Hydromatic Vacuum

A gigantic device created by Professor Marko, it was built on a pressurized observatory atop Kingdom Mountain. Its suction was so powerful that it could capture all of Earth's atmosphere.

--Human Torch I#38/1

Human Torch I#38, p5, pan3 (Professor Marko with Stella)

p4, pan4 (head shot)
p6, pan2 (Stella running towards control lever)
p5, pan5 (Gorodok)
p2, pan5 (men wearing oxygen masks)
p3, pan7 (Hydromatic Vacuum)
p4, pan2 (2nd image)

Human Torch I#38 (August, 1954) - Dick Ayers (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Human Torch II#4 (March, 1975) - reprint

Last updated: 10/28/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Back to Characters