Real Name: Zunbar (first name unrevealed, see comments)
Occupation: Surgeon, mad scientist
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: "Julia Adams"
Enemies: Betty Dean, Sub-Mariner
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The greatest scientist of modern times" (as called by himself); "the crazy fool," "that lunatic scientist" (as called by Namor)
Base of Operations: His laboratory by the waterfront in New York
First Appearance: Sub-Mariner Comics#35/4 (August, 1954)
Powers/Abilities: Zunbar seemed to be extremely knowledgable in the fields of robotics (as exemplified by his robots) and genetic engineering (as exemplified by Elmer), but he was definitely insane.
History: (Sub-Mariner Comics#35/4 (fb) - BTS) - Professor Zunbar's past is unknown, but after perfecting his robots, he set about to develop a race of amphibious men, resulting in the creation of Elmer; however, Elmer was a failure -- the creature was afraid of water. To further his experiments, Zunbar sent a message to Namor (via Betty Dean's address), telling him that he was in desperate trouble and needed his help.
(Sub-Mariner Comics#35/4) - After receiving Zunbar's letter, Namor went to his lab in a tall, dark waterfront building and entered an elevator. Suddenly, the lights went out as Namor was seized by two of Zunbar's robots. The captured Sub-Mariner was taken to the gnome-like little man, and Zunbar explained to Namor that he needed his brain and organs which enabled him to live underwater, so the next day Zunbar planned to dissect him to obtain that secret.
Unable to free himself from the iron grip of the mechanical men, Namor was carried to a prison area and locked in one of the cells; he tested the bars, but was unable to break out. Zunbar's assistant "Julia" entered and brought Namor his last meal. Namor heard a horrible growl coming from an adjoining cell, and "Julia" explained that it was Elmer ("The stupid zombie's got a crush on me!"), then contemptuously threw a glass of water at the terrified creature.
After a restless night, Namor saw Elmer being escorted from his cell by two robots. Shortly afterwards, two more robots entered and carried Namor to an operating room. The robots put the Sub-Mariner on an operating table next to Elmer, who was also being held down by the first two robots. Professor Zunbar then entered, holding a scalpel, and apologized to Namor that he couldn't offer him any anesthetic ("The stuff is hard to get -- especially since the authorities refuse to recognize me as a competent surgeon -- the fools!").
Suddenly, "Julia" burst in to report that Betty Dean was outside with a couple of cops; the sight of "Julia" got Elmer riled up, and the creature broke free and lunged at her. The commotion gave Namor the distraction he needed to twist free from his mechanical captors. Namor told "Julia" to run to the cell block, and he jumped past the lumbering Elmer, grabbed "Julia," and locked her in a cell for her own protection as the monster pounded on the bars, unable to get to her.
Namor grabbed a fire extinguisher from the wall and hurled it at Elmer, distracting him. With the creature hot on his heels, Namor ran to the elevator and wrenched open the door, then tumbled helplessly down the shaft (see comments), but his fall was broken by the elevator car (carrying Betty and the cops) coming up, which took him back to Elmer. Namor punched the creature, stunning him, then jumped under Elmer's legs and punched him from behind.
As Betty and the policemen got out of the elevator, the dazed Elmer grabbed a box of nitroglycerin. The monster advanced, brandishing the nitro, despite Namor's warnings. Fearing that Elmer would cause an explosion and blow everyone up, the Sub-Mariner grabbed a fire hose from the wall and turned the valve on, then directed the powerful jet of hissing water at Elmer, forcing the terrified creature against a window. Falling through the window, Elmer was blown to pieces by the exploding nitro as he hit the street below.
With the menace of Elmer ended, the Sub-Mariner told the police to arrest Zunbar -- "He's a lunatic scientist, practicing surgery without a license!"
Comments: Created by Paul S. Newman and Bill Everett.
Regarding the appearance of Elmer -- I'd say Bill Everett was obviously influenced by the movie "Creature from the Black Lagoon", which was released earlier that same year (BTW - the girl assistant was never named in this story, so I named her after the lead actress in the "Creature" film).
And I'd say that Everett probably based Professor Zunbar's appearance on Dr. Sivana, the enemy of Captain Marvel/Shazam.
Several times in the story, Elmer was called a "zombie," but that may just refer to the fact that he was practically mindless, rather than him actually being one of the living dead.
Considering his advanced technology, maybe Professor Zunbar was helped out by Maelstrom.
In regards to Namor falling down that elevator shaft, rather than just flying down safely: Namor had lost the wings on his ankles in an earlier adventure, and they weren't restored to him until Sub-Mariner Comics#38 (February, 1955).
Professor Zunbar was kind of a boring villain, so I propose that his full name be Zachary Zoltan Zunbar (that way, his initials are ZZZ).
This story -- "Vengeance!!!" -- was reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes I#16 (September, 1968).
Namor thought Zunbar should be arrested for "practicing surgery without a license." Hm. Kidnapping, murder, assault, false imprisonment, unsafe workplace: not a problem in the undersea kingdom?
Elmer appears to be a direct copy
of the title character in Creature
from the Black Lagoon, a 1954 film.
And a BIG Thank You to Brian Hirsch for sending me the scans of this story!
Profile by John Kaminski
Professor Zunbar has no known connection to:
Elmer has no known connections to:
She was the assistant of Professor Zunbar and the object of Elmer's affections. She was likely taken into custody when Zunbar was arrested.
Four automatons which assisted Professor Zunbar in his devious schemes, they had great strength and a limited degree of independent operation.
The failed creation of Professor Zunbar in his quest to create amphibious men, the mindless Elmer was not amphibious, and he had a fear of water. Zunbar intended to transplant the Sub-Mariner's brain and internal organs into Elmer to make him fully amphibious, but Elmer was killed in an explosion before Zunbar could perform the operation.
Sub-Mariner Comics#35, p13, pan3 (main image)
Sub-Mariner Comics#35 (August, 1954) - Paul S. Newman (writer), Bill Everett (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Super-Heroes I#16 (September, 1968) - reprint
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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