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"CREATURES FROM THE BOTTOMLESS PIT"

Classification: Terrestrial humanoid life-forms

Location/Base of Operations: Subterranean cavern, somewhere beneath the Atlantic Sea (see comments)

Known Members: Kloto (leader); about 24 unidentified others

Affiliations: Serge Kemplet

Enemies: Magic One; humankind in general

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#68/2 (April, 1959)

Powers/Abilities: The Creatures were mischievous magical entities with undefined powers; whatever powers they possessed on the surface of the world were nullified while they were exiled underground, but they were still apparently immortal (see comments). 

Traits: Humanoid in appearance, the Creatures stood about 8 inches (~20 cm) tall and had pointed ears; they all appeared to be males.

Kloto

History:

(Strange Tales I#68/2 (fb)) - "Many ages ago," the Creatures lived near a city of antediluvian Atlantis, where they always caused mischief with their pranks. One day they incurred the wrath of the Magic One because Kloto had taken the Sacred Ball that protected the city from being inundated by the ocean. The Magic One commanded the imps to return the talisman before the angry waters claimed the city, but Kloto and his brethren denied any culpability in the theft. Days later, the Magic One learned the truth when he found the Creatures in possession of the Sacred Ball, so he punished them by magically transporting the elfin horde to the deepest hole in the Earth. But the sorcerer had recovered the talisman too late, for the sea rolled over the land and destroyed Atlantis (see comments). 

(Strange Tales I#68/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Creatures found themselves banished to a dry cavern in a pit under the ocean floor, where an air pocket held the waters back; they would remain thus imprisoned for centuries. 

(Strange Tales I#68/2) - On a routine reconnaissance patrol, an atomic submarine discovered an opening on the sea floor, and a pit that appeared to be bottomless. Two months later, wealthy industrialist Serge Kemplet seized the opportunity to explore the sub-sea crevice so he could exploit it for its mineral wealth. He had his employees construct a special bathysphere (see comments), then Kemplet hired a ship to take him to the crevice and lower him in the diving-bell alone, so he would have sole claim to any resources he found. As he descended into the pit, Kemplet found himself in a gigantic watertight cavern, and his bathysphere was surrounded by the tiny Creatures--Kemplet theorized that the little men were probably the basis for legends of elves, gremlins, and leprechauns. Kloto offered to make Kemplet ruler of the world if he helped get them out of the cavern and back to the surface. Kemplet initially agreed to help the elves, but at the last minute he had a change of heart when he considered the havoc Kloto and his followers would wreak on humankind. Kemplet told the Creatures that he wanted to stretch his legs, and as he got out of the diving-bell, he secretly increased the air pressure control and sealed the hatch behind him. Minutes later, the bathysphere exploded from the pressure build-up, thus ruining the Creatures' chance to escape captivity.

Comments: Created by an uncredited writer and Steve Ditko (art). 

It was never specified under which ocean that cavern was located, so I'm only assuming it was the Atlantic (it seems logical, since that's where the continent of Atlantis was). 

I'm assuming that the elves were immortal and that their magical nature allowed them to survive to modern times; however, since they were imprisoned underground, their longevity could be attributed to their drinking from the waters of Tyrannus' subterranean Fountain of Youth (@ Incredible Hulk I#5). 

The appearance and manner of dress of Kloto and his followers reminds me of the characters from Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest--since they both read Marvel comics (and even "met" each other through a letter column in Silver Surfer I#5), I wonder if they might've read this story and based the look of their creations on Kloto & company. 

It's been established that Atlantis sank because of the Great Cataclysm, so this story would seem to be in contradiction. But only one city (and a relatively small area of land) was shown, and the only inhabitants besides the elves seemed to be the Magic one and two centaurs. So I'll speculate that after the continent disappeared beneath the waves, the Magic One managed to preserve one last vestige of the Atlantean culture by using the Sacred Ball to create a magical force barrier (perhaps the "Shields of Seraphim"?) to hold the waters back. (And the Magic One kinda resembles Raama--maybe they're the same person?) 

Kemplet had his bathysphere made from "a rare metal"--I originally thought that could be an early use of Adamantium (being indestructible, it would be ideal for withstanding the intense pressures at the bottom of the sea). But since the diving-bell was later destroyed, I guess that puts an end to that idea... or it could be Secondary Adamantium, which is strong, but not quite indestructible. 

And a BIG Thank You to Dennis Giansante for the scans!

Profile by John Kaminski.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Creatures from the Bottomless Pit have no known connections to

Serge Kemplet has no known connections to

The Magic One has no known connections to

The Sacred Ball has no known connections to


Serge Kemplet - the tycoonSerge Kemplet up close to Kloto and his men

Serge Kemplet

Kemplet was a wealthy industrial tycoon who ruthlessly made his fortune without caring about how many people he had to step on. When a deep crevice was discovered on the ocean floor, Kemplet wanted to be the first to explore it so he could claim any riches it would yield for himself. He had his employees construct a special bathysphere made from a rare metal (see comments) that he embezzled from a national defense project his company was working on (he falsified reports to show the metal got lost in shipping). When he descended into the crevice, Kemplet found himself in a large sub-sea cavern that was the prison for a horde of elf-like beings. The elves offered to make Kemplet ruler of the world if he helped them escape to the surface. He initially agreed to the deal, but Kemplet was able to resist the temptation when he considered the danger of releasing the elves, so he destroyed the bathysphere, trapping himself and the creatures in the bottomless pit. Although he sacrificed his freedom and was now condemned to eternal exile in the depths of the earth, Kemplet took solace in the fact that he had finally done one unselfish act.

 

--Strange Tales I#68/2


Magic One

Magic One

The Magic One was a sorcerer in ancient Atlantis. He protected the city with the power of the Sacred Ball, which held back the flooding waters. When he learned that Kloto and his brethren had stolen the mystic talisman, the Magic One banished the evil elfin creatures to a sub-sea cavern. But the old mage was too late in recovering the Sacred Ball, for the ocean began to roll in. As the waves inundated the city, the sorcerer lamented that magic would no longer exist on Earth; presumably, the Magic One drowned in the flood.

 

 

 

--Strange Tales I#68/2


Sacred Ball

Sacred Ball

The Sacred Ball was a spherical mystic talisman made of an unknown golden material. The Magic One used it to protect Atlantis from the flooding ocean waters. One day, the Ball was stolen by the elf-like Kloto. The Magic One eventually reclaimed the enchanted object, and subsequently banished Kloto and his followers to the depths of the Earth. But the Sacred Ball had been recovered too late, for waves arose and flooded Atlantis.

 

--Strange Tales I#68/2


images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#68/2, p1, pan2 (main image)
p2, pan2 (Kloto)

p2, pan8 (Serge Kemplet)
p3, pan3 (Serge surrounded by Creatures)
p3, pan6 (Magic One)
p4, pan3 (Sacred Ball)


Other Appearances: None


Last updated: 03/05/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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