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JOSHUA BORGLUM

Real Name: Joshua Borglum

Identity/Class: Normal human (1950s Era)

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Blakely (first name unrevealed)

Enemies: Protoform

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Laboratory by the sea coast, somewhere in North America

First Appearance: Adventures Into Terror#7/1 (December, 1951)

Powers/Abilities: A brilliant scientist (presumably in the field of biology), Dr. Borglum accidentally created the Protoform during the course of one of his experiments to discover the secret of life.

History:

(Adventures Into Terror #7/1 (fb ) - BTS) - The past of Joshua Borglum is unknown (see comments).

(Adventures Into Terror #7/1) - Borglum purchased a dilapidated house by the seacoast where he set up a laboratory and  conducted experiments to create life. Three weeks later, while working in his lab, Borglum tried a new formula, but saw no sign of life in the chemicals on the microscope slide. While reaching for another slide, Borglum accidentally broke it and cut his hand, and as drops of his blood fell upon the experiment, he saw it moving! He had created life and believed his discovery would change the course of civilization!

    For weeks, Borglum watched the progress of the tiny creature (which he dubbed a Protoform), and the thing grew until it was large enough to fill a test tube. One day, an associate named Blakely visited the scientist, and Borglum showed him his creation, but swore him to secrecy until he completed his research. The Protoform continued to grow (now about the size of a softball), and as he held it in his hand, Borglum felt weak and dizzy, as if he were losing blood. Realizing the thing needed blood to survive, Borglum began to feed it lab rats.

    One morning, Borglum entered the lab and saw the Protoform growing out of the large beaker he kept it in, and the scientist feared that it would inevitably grow too large for him to contain or control. As he sat awake in his bedroom that night, trying to think of a solution to his predicament, Borglum heard a blood-curdling scream outside; the scientist raced downstairs just in time to see the Protoform (now, the size of a large dog)slithering under the front door and crawling back to the lab, and Borglum's fears grew.

    Then next day, a police officer paid a routine call to Borglum's home; he asked the scientist if he knew anything about the strange disappearances that had recently taken place in the vicinity--Borglum denied any knowledge of the events, but was secretly worried that the Protoform was somehow responsible. After the policeman left, the agitated Borglum rushed to his lab and shouted at his creation (now, larger than a man)--would it some day turn against him?  But the scientist had the (mistaken) impression that the creature was powerless to kill him, because it was born of his blood and his genius. Seeing the monster as a threat to humankind, Borglum grabbed a knife and began to stab the Protoform, but the blade had no effect on the gelatinous blob. As a fierce storm raged outside, the Protoform escaped and crawled away from the house, with Borglum in pursuit. He followed the monster as it slithered to the seashore, and finally reached it as it paused by the water's edge. Suddenly, the Protoform lashed out and engulfed the scientist, just as a swell of waves hit them both and carried them away, and the angry sea became the final resting place of Dr. Borglum and his hideous creation.

Comments:Created by an uncredited writer and Harry Lazuras (art).

Considering his apparent age, maybe in his younger days Dr. Borglum went to the 1928 International Conference on Genetics in Geneva, Switzerland (@ X-Factor Annual #3) (which also included such noteworthy attendees as Herbert Edgar Wyndham (High Evolutionary), Arnim Zola, and Wladyslav Shinski); maybe if he was there, Borglum picked up a few notes from Phaeder.

The first panel of the first page set up the story by depicting a scene wherein Borglum was firing a rifle at the Protoform while the monster was enveloping a man (Blakely?)--this sequence never actually appeared in the story, but I guess it could have happened behind-the-scenes; maybe Blakely paid an unexpected visit near the climax of the story and became another victim of the monster.

Creatures similar to the Protoform have appeared in other stories, including:

  1. The protoplasmic mass Doctor Dork sent against the Fiery Mask (@ Daring Mystery Comics #5)
  2. The enlarged amoeba Sporr (@ Tales of Suspense I#11)
  3. The human mutate Crawling Unknown (@ Incredible Hulk II#151)
  4. Carrion's (Miles Warren) Spider-Amoeba (@ Spectacular Spider-Man II#31)

(and let's not forget the classic monster movie, "The Blob")

Just a stray thought--it was never revealed exactly where this story took place, but Borglum's home was near a lighthouse...I just thought it would be neat if this was the same lighthouse later used by Yandroth to house the Omegatron (@ Marvel Feature I#1).

And a BIG Thank You to The Horrors of It All for the scans!

Profile by John Kaminski.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Joshua Borglum has no known connections to:

The Protoform has no known connections to:


Protoform

Protoform

A shapeless protoplasmic creature,the amoeba-like Protoform was seemingly mindless and traveled by slithering. It was invulnerable to stab wounds and had an insatiable appetite for blood. It apparently fed by enveloping its prey and absorbing it into its mass. The Protoform was created by Dr. Borglum when the scientist accidentally cut his hand and drops of his blood fell into the chemicals of his experiment, bringing the Protoform to life; within weeks the thing had grown from microscopic size to larger than a man. The Protoform and its creator were both carried out to sea during a storm.

 

--Adventures Into Terror#7/1


images:(without ads)
Adventures Into Terror#7/1, p2, pan1 (main image)

p5, pan5 (being engulfed by Protoform)
p3, pan4 (Protoform growing)


Other Appearances: None


Last updated: 03/27/10

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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