Classification: Terrestrial (possible Deviant mutates, see comments)
Location/Base of Operations: Their undersea city in the Atlantic ocean
Known Members: Makka and at least three others (none identified)
Enemies: Eric Lansing
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense I#5/5 (September, 1959)
Powers/Abilities: Vaguely humanoid, the "Xenarthrans" were about eight feet tall, had orange, scaly, armored upper bodies and brown, hairy lower bodies.
Traits: Despite their fearsome appearance, the "Xenarthrans" seemed to be a fairly non-aggressive race, and only attacked in self-defense.
(Tales of Suspense I#5 - (fb) BTS) - Centuries ago, the Xenarthrans established a city somewhere beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
(Tales of Suspense I#5) - Construction engineer Eric Lansing began his intercontinental tunnel project with his work crew. Starting in the New England area, they began to tunnel downward, and when they were had gone far enough, they to leveled off and continued onward.
Meanwhile, in their subterranean city, one of the "Xenarthrans" (Makka) sensed the work crews' approach with his electro-detector and told his associate. Suspecting that it was the "land-dwelling creatures," he reported it to the city's ruling council.
As the council of the "Xenarthrans" met, they feared an invasion ("We don't want those barbaric land dwellers here! We've seen how war-like they can be!"). Two Xenarthrans were dispatched outside the city's protective dome with explosives to destroy the tunnel from the ocean floor -- the ruling council figured any humans who escaped would think it to be an accident and that it was too dangerous to tunnel under the sea.
When the drill of Lansing's work grew had hit an area that it couldn't penetrate, Lansing himself went up ahead in the tunnel to investigate and found what appeared to be man-made metal. Ordering his men to set the drill for high pressure, Lansing told the crew to start again. As the drill was reactivated, with a loud crash it broke through the snag, and the awe-struck Lansing saw what lay ahead -- a city on the floor of the ocean inhabited by alien creatures! As Lansing heard the creatures say that the explosives would go off at any second, he beat a hasty retreat back up the tunnel.
Following the explosion and cave-in, the work crew questioned Lansing, asking him what caused the cave-in, but listening to Lansing's stories of alien creatures and a city beneath the sea, the work crew was incredulous ("That explosion must've knocked a few of his marbles loose!"). Figuring the explosion to have been the result of gases (which Lansing didn't run a test for), it was all written off as negligence on the part of Eric Lansing.
When Lansing tried to tell some of his colleagues his story, none would accept his excuses. Having lost his fortune and his professional standing, the formerly smug and arrogant Eric Lansing had learned the value of humility.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and John Forte.
Another case where the monster on the Jack Kirby cover had little resemblence to the monster in the story.
The creatures in this story -- "I Was Trapped in the Tunnel to Nowhere!" -- were never actually named, but I just thought they kind of resembled hairy armadillos (Chaetophractus villosus), so I gave them the name "Xenarthrans" -- which is derived from "Xenarthra," the group name/order in which armadillos (along with anteaters and sloths) are classified.
Armadillos can go without oxygen for short periods of time when they are burrowing under the ground -- maybe that's how the two "Xenarthrans" survived undersea outside the protective dome while they set the explosives.
I'm guessing that maybe the "Xenarthrans" (aka the "Armadillo Men") are Deviant mutates, much like the Lizard Men.
In regards to their numbers: Although no more than four Xenarthrans were seen together in any story panel, Eric Lansing claimed to have seen thousands of them, however this could be written off as a result of Lansing's hysteria upon seeing the strange creatures.
Profile by John Kaminski
The Xenarthrans/"Armadillo Men" have no known connections to
Eric Lansing has no know connection to:
The home of the "Xenarthrans," it was a city which sat 1900 fathoms below the surface on the sea floor of the Atlantic, and was covered by a protective dome.
--Tales of Suspense I#5/5
A world-famous construction engineer, Eric Lansing had just received another of his many awards and honors (this one for building the Nagpur Bridge in India), so the vainglorious engineer embarked on his next project -- construction of an intercontinental tunnel from the United States to Europe!
Despite the doubts of his peers, Lansing gathered all the money he had (along with all the money he could borrow), formed a work crew, and initiated the mammoth project.
When his tunnel inadvertently burrowed into the "Xenarthrans" undersea city, Lansing (the only one to actually see the creatures) was doubted by the rest of the work crew and his peers.
--Tales of Suspense I#5/5
images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#5, p21, pan1 (main image)
Tales of Suspense I#5 (September, 1959) - John Forte (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales of Suspense#1 (October, 2006) - reprint
Last updated: 10/28/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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