DOCTOR ROSS EKKER
Real Name: Ross Ekker
Identity/Class: Human technology user (1940s Era)
Occupation: Scientist, terrorist
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Joe (last name unrevealed, see comments), Jean Cooper, Vision (Aarkus)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Master of Madness" (in story title only)
Base of Operations: His hideout on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., USA
First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics I#41/5 (March, 1943)
Powers/Abilities: Dr. Ekker was an inventive genius who built an insanity-inducing Supersonic Sound Machine.
(Marvel Mystery Comics I#41/5 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Dr. Ekker is unknown, but at some point he developed his Supersonic Sound Machine.
(Marvel Mystery Comics I#41/5) - One night in his lab, Ekker and his assistant Hugo were testing the Supersonic Sound Machine; they tried the device on some lab animals (rabbits) and drove the creatures mad. Ekker planned to take the machine into Washington, D.C., and destroy the brains of American dignitaries, but first he wanted to test it on a human, so he and Hugo went driving around the area in search of a victim. The two noticed Jean Cooper, who was just leaving her friend Mary's house and walking home. Ekker and Hugo grabbed the young woman off the sidewalk and used a chloroform-soaked rag to knock her out, then drove the unconscious Jean back to the lab. Mary later phoned Jean's house and learned that she never made it home, so the concerned Mary called Jean's fiancé Joe, who came to investigate the disappearance. Starting at Mary's house and suspecting kidnapping, Joe followed a trail to a dirt road where he knew of only one suspicious place that looked like it could be used as a hideout. When he finally arrived outside the place, Joe tossed the cigarette he'd been smoking and ran to the shack--from the discarded cigarette's smoke appeared the Vision, who followed after Joe. Inside the hideout, Dr. Ekker and Hugo had Jean locked in cage and they were about to activate the Supersonic Sound Machine. Suddenly, Joe burst into the room and saw his imprisoned fiancée, then he began to fight Hugo. As the two men grappled, Dr. Ekker came up from behind and struck Joe with a wrench, knocking him out. The Vision entered next, so Ekker leaped for his machine and fired a sonic blast at the extradimensional entity, which stunned him and knocked him unconscious. Seeing that the Vision was helpless ("Soon he will be a gibbering idiot!"), Ekker was satisfied the machine would work, so he and Hugo dragged the Vision and Joe into the cage with Jean. They then loaded the Supersonic Sound Machine into a truck and drove to Washington, D.C.
Joe and the Vision later revived, and the Vision explained that he suffered no ill effects from the device. The Vision then broke them out of the cage. Meanwhile, Ekker and Hugo were outside the Library of Congress, where they activated the machine and drove a crowd of bystanders into an insane frenzy. They stowed the machine and were driving away when Joe's car came racing up next to them. The Vision jumped from the speeding automobile onto the truck's running board, and he reached in the passenger side and tightened his fingers around the doctor's throat. Hugo swerved and hit a utility pole, causing the truck to burst into flames. The Vision punched Ekker, but Hugo grabbed him from behind in a bear hug, but the Vision broke out of the hold and sent Hugo flying into the downed power lines. The fear-crazed Ekker fled, but he ran into the path of Joe's speeding car, and he was struck and killed. Afterward, the Vision told Joe and Jean to assure the populace that those made mad by Ekker's machine would recover in time.
Comments: Created by an uncredited writer and Syd Shores (artist).
Since Ekker's only appearance was
this 7-page story
and he died at the end, Dr. Ekker would seem to be rather
insignificant. But I had some thoughts of how he could indirectly play
a more important role in Marvel history (purely speculative, of
1. Considering the time this story was published, it's likely that Ekker was a Nazi operative. Maybe the schematics for his Supersonic Sound Machine somehow came into the possession of Colonel Klaue, and Klaue later passed it along to his son Ulysses (see Klaw), who was inspired by it to study the nature of sound.
2. Or maybe the schematics wound up in the hands of Mason Harding, who used Ekker's scientific discoveries as the basis for the Madbomb.
In regards to Joe: I'll admit I haven't read enough Vision stories to know if this is Joe's only appearance or if he was a regular supporting character. Considering how he was able to trace the location of the kidnapped Jean so easily and quickly, I'll guess that he was some kind of detective. If his last name has never been revealed, then I'll suggest "Spillane," in honor of famed mystery-novelist (and former Timely Comics writer) Mickey Spillane.
Thanks to Ronald Byrd for noting that Dr. Ekker's first name was revealed in the Vision's entry in the hardcover OHotMU, vol. 12
And a BIG Thank You to Pappy's Golden Age for the scans! (Sorry, but these scans were only available as black-and-white reprints from Captain George's Comic World#23 & #24 (1969); if anyone has color scans they can contribute, please do!)
Jonas Harrow (Amazing
Spider-Man I#206 (1980)) created a Madness Inducing Variator Beam that
could have been based on Dr. Ekker's Insanity-Inducing Supersonic Sound
Profile by John Kaminski.
Dr. Ekker has no known connections to:
Hugo has no known connections to:
Hugo was Dr. Ekker's lab assistant and driver, and he was involved in the doctor's plot to destroy the minds of the people of Washington, D.C. utilizing the Supersonic Sound Machine. But Ekker's scheme was foiled by the timely intervention of the Vision, and Hugo was electrocuted when he was knocked into some downed power lines.
--Marvel Mystery Comics I#41/5
Supersonic Sound Machine
A portable sound projector mounted on a tripod base, the Supersonic Sound Machine fired a frequency of sonic energy that affected the minds of animals and humans, producing a state of temporary insanity; the effects would wear off after an unspecified amount of time. The device was apparently destroyed when the truck in which it was being transported crashed and burst into flames.
--Marvel Mystery Comics I#41/5
Marvel Mystery Comics I#41/5, p5, pan4 (main image)
Other Appearances: None
Last updated: 07/25/10
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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