main image


Real Name: Ryan (first name unrevealed; see comments)

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Criminal, bank robber

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His henchmen (Muggs, Whitey)

Enemies: Dr. Knight

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unidentified city in the USA

First Appearance: Astonishing#30/5 (February, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: Ryan's metabolism and respiratory system were chemically altered by an antidote for poison gas--he was afterwards immune to the hazardous effects of breathing toxic fumes; however, normal air would prove to be fatal to him.


(Astonishing#30/5 (fb)) - Killer Ryan's past is unknown, but he ruthlessly led a life of crime and masterminded a series of bank robberies. He was always careful to let his henchmen take care of any killing that needed to be done so he would be safe from capital punishment. But during one such heist, Ryan was forced to shoot two panicky men in front of a dozen witnesses. The robbers fled with the loot and safely got to their hideout, but Ryan was greatly distressed about the killings he'd committed, for he knew if he were captured, he would surely be sentenced to the gas chamber. While Ryan was glancing through a newspaper, he noticed an article concerning biochemist Dr. Knight and he had a brilliant idea. The criminals drove to Knight's home and forced their way in, and as they held the scientist's daughter hostage, Ryan ordered Knight to develop an antidote for poison gas. Knight worked frantically for days, then the exhausted scientist emerged from his lab and announced he had successfully completed the formula. As a demonstration, Knight administered the antidote to a guinea pig and put the rodent into an enclosed glass container and flooded it with poison gas--amazingly, the creature playfully scampered around the container, unharmed by the lethal fumes. Knight handed the antidote bottle to Ryan and advised him not to open it until the last possible moment because it would quickly evaporate. Greatly pleased with the scientist's work, Ryan "rewarded" Knight by fatally shooting him. 

(Astonishing#30/5 (fb) - BTS) - Under unknown circumstances, Ryan was apprehended by the authorities and taken into custody. He was put on trial for the murders and sentenced to be executed in the gas chamber. 

(Astonishing #30/5) - Ryan sat in his prison cell on death row. Despite his somber surroundings, he was always in a jovial mood because with the antidote, he had a surefire method of escaping death--he could hardly wait to see the stunned faces of the guards when they opened the gas chamber door and found him still alive! When the time came, Ryan eagerly accompanied the guards as they escorted him to his execution. The gas chamber was sealed and the deadly fumes began to seep in, so Ryan opened the bottle and took the antidote. The chamber was soon filled with billowing clouds of poisonous gas... yet Ryan was breathing normally and very much alive! He laughed in triumph, because he figured once the execution failed, the judicial system would be forced to free him so he wouldn't undergo double jeopardy (see comments). But then Ryan noticed a note attached to the bottle--it was a dire warning from Dr. Knight, informing Ryan that once he swallowed the antidote, he would never be able to breathe real air again!

Comments: Created by an uncredited writer and Tony DiPreta (artist).

I guess we can assume that once the poison gas dissipated and fresh air was circulated back into the gas chamber, Killer Ryan dropped dead, it was mistakenly believed that he'd perished from the poison gas, and nobody ever learned of the criminal's unique respiratory condition. But even if Ryan's scheme had worked out the way he'd hoped and he survived his execution, I don't know what his legal status would be or if he would be freed because of double jeopardy--that's probably a question better suited for Bob Ingersoll

Ryan's first name was never revealed, but I'm guessing "Killer" was just a nickname--If it was his real name, it's no wonder he turned to crime! 

And a BIG Thank You to Atlas Tales for the scans!

Profile by John Kaminski.

Killer Ryan has no known connections to:

Dr. Knight has no known connections to:

Ryan's henchman Whitey has no known connections to:

Dr. Knight

Dr. Knight

A famous biochemist, Dr. Knight lived in a mansion with his beautiful daughter Helen. Killer Ryan and his henchmen invaded Knight's home and held Helen hostage. Ryan demanded that Dr. Knight create an antidote for poison gas, so the criminal could avoid execution in the gas chamber. Knight worked tirelessly in his lab and finally succeeded with the task. Following a demonstration, Dr. Knight gave Ryan the antidote, then the gangster shot the scientist.



images: (without ads)
Astonishing#30/5, p5, pan7 (main image)
    p2, pan2 (headshot)
    p4, pan1 (Knight)

Other Appearances: None

Last updated: 04/12/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Back to Characters