Real Name: Julius Keaton
Identity/Class: Human mutant (? - see comments)
Occupation: Entertainer, mind reader, hypnotist
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Roy Henry and his two accomplices (Nick, "Benny" (last names unrevealed, see comments))
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Horace Duval
Base of Operations: Mobile in the USA
First Appearance: Mystery Tales#42/4 (June, 1956)
Powers/Abilities: Keaton could attune his mind to the thoughts of other individuals and thereby read their minds (even down to the subconscious level); he did not need to be in close proximity to read a subject's mind, and could sense thoughts from a distance (maximum range unknown). Keaton could also hypnotize people to the extent that he could overpower their free will and influence their perceptions of reality. When he assumed the guise of "Horace Duval," Keaton wore an Applejack hat, eyeglasses, and a false beard and moustache.
(Mystery Tales #42/4 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Julius Keaton is unknown, but he eventually used his paranormal abilities to become a professional entertainer with a mind-reading act.
(Mystery Tales #42/4) - One evening, Keaton was at the National Theater, performing on stage before a live audience. The psychic showman sensed that a woman with the initials L.J. had misplaced her purse earlier--not only was Keaton able to tell her where she mislaid her handbag, he even knew exactly how much money was in it! But suddenly Keaton had a darker flash of insight. He announced that he sensed somewhere in the audience, a man with the initials R.H. was employed by a foreign power; he further went on to say that the man--along with his two cohorts--was planning to steal some top secret government files. Keaton's statement caught the attention of Roy Henry and his associates, who were conspiring to commit espionage. Alarmed that they'd been discovered, the traitorous trio fled the theater as Keaton proclaimed to the assemblage that he would find the spies and stop them. Henry and his men went back to their hideout, but they were determined to get Keaton before he could fully expose their plot. Keaton checked into another hotel--with his powers, Keaton was able to read Henry's mind from afar, and thus was able to stay one step ahead of his enemies. The spies made further attempts to catch Keaton, but he continued to elude them. After they finally realized the utter futility of trying to outwit a mind reader, Roy Henry and his cronies decided to have themselves hypnotized, to blank their minds so that Keaton would not be able to anticipate their actions with his mental "eavesdropping".
(Mystery Tales #42/4 - BTS) - But Keaton remained in constant contact with Henry's mind and sensed what the spy was planning. He rented an office, disguised his appearance, and assumed the identity of hypnotist "Horace Duval". Having psychically learned what newspaper Henry regularly read, Keaton placed a classified ad in that particular paper, giving public notice of "Duval's" services. Keaton was now ready to catch the three conspirators in a trap of his own.
(Mystery Tales #42/4) - Two days later, the three spies went to the office of the shady Horace Duval, who agreed to work with them for $1000. First Duval placed them under his hypnotic spell, then he marched them into a building where he said Julius Keaton was hiding--completely enthralled by Duval's mesmerizing them, Henry and his men didn't realize they were actually walking into a police station. When the spellbound spies were awakened from the trance, they were surprised to find themselves locked in a jail cell, and further shocked when "Duval" removed his disguise on the other side of the bars and revealed himself to be Julius Keaton. Keaton explained to them that he was as skillful of a hypnotist as he was a mind reader!
Comments: Created by uncredited writer and Bob Bean (artist).
Unlike some real-life "psychic" entertainers (such as Uri Geller or the Amazing Kreskin), who merely used sleight-of-hand trickery to simulate uncanny powers, Keaton actually had psychic abilities. I'd speculate that his "hypnotic" power was the result of him telepathically transmitting his thoughts directly into the minds of others, to bend them to his will. (Although the Uri Geller of Earth-616 actually has psychic powers, which he used to assist Daredevil when the two battled Mind-Wave.)
Keaton's true nature is unknown, so I'm just assuming that he was a mutant because he basically demonstrated similar telepathic powers to Charles Xavier, and I don't think it's too much of a stretch... besides, it's less convoluted than explaining his powers by saying, "He's an Eternal/Inhuman/mystic/alien/etc."
Keaton's talents also remind me of other mentalist/hypnotist characters such as Master Mind Excello (Earl Everett), Sleepy Eyes, and Mentallo (Marvin Flumm). Since he did such a good job with his amateur counterespionage sting operation, maybe Keaton was later recruited by the government into what would eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D.'s ESP Division.
NOTE: "Benny's" name was never revealed in the story, so I just named him after infamous American traitor Benedict Arnold.
Mystery Tales#47 (November, 1956) "The Man With No Face!" features a telepath named Detective X and he isn't the Atlas Age's only Police Department telepath in "The Outcast" from Journey into Mystery I#44 (March, 1957). Someone at Marvel could have them encounter Julius Keaton.
And a BIG Thank You to Pappy's Golden Age for the scans!
Profile by John Kaminski.
Julius Keaton/"Horace Duval" has no known connections to:
Roy Henry and his accomplices (Nick and "Benny") were hired to be spies for a foreign power, and they were offered $100,000 to steal top secret documents from the U.S. State Department. One evening, the three men went to the National Theater to attend a performance by mind reader Julius Keaton. Keaton inadvertently read Henry's mind and learned of his treacherous plot. Henry and his cohorts began a cat-and-mouse pursuit of Keaton, but they found themselves outwitted because their quarry was in constant contact with Henry's mind and knew beforehand every move the spies were making against him. Finally realizing that it was impossible to outwit the mind reading Keaton, Henry and his henchmen went to hypnotist Horace Duval to have their minds blanked. But after placing the three spies in a trance, the hypnotist marched them into a police station and had them locked in a jail cell. Roy Henry and his cohorts were awakened from their trance, only to learn (much to their chagrin) that "Duval" was really Keaton in disguise.
--Mystery Tales #42/4
Mystery Tales #42/4, p1, pan1 (main image)
Other Appearances: None
First Posted: 09/07/2010
Last updated: 09/07/2010
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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