Real Name: Jim Kirby
Identity/Class: Human mutate (1950s)
Occupation: Detective; former police officer
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Dr. Marcus
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Man Who Shrunk"; "Mr. Detective" (as called by Dr. Marcus)
Base of Operations: San Francisco, California
First Appearance: Amazing Detective Cases#12/1 (May, 1952)
Powers/Abilities: As a plain-clothes detective, Kirby was skilled in criminal investigations, self-defense, and the use of a skeleton key.
After being injected with Dr. Marcus' shrinking serum, Kirby was temporarily reduced to microscopic size.
History: (Amazing Detective Cases#12/1 (fb) - BTS) - Prior to joining the police department, the past of Jim Kirby is unknown. As a police officer, he was once called out to the estate of Dr. Marcus, following Marcus' confrontation with a fellow scientist, in a dispute over his theories.
Kirby eventually became a plain-clothes detective with the department's Bureau of Missing Persons.
(Amazing Detective Cases#12/1) - On his night off, Kirby was relaxing in his apartment, watching television--"The Millet Variety Hour," featuring "The Great Moru and His Living Dolls". Moru stepped onstage, accompanied by a troupe of tiny walking dolls. Kirby was amazed by how life-like the dolls looked, and how they were able to move without wires ("They look almost alive!"). While watching closely as the dolls performed on the TV screen, Kirby noticed that their faces seemed vaguely familiar; finally recognizing the faces from some photos he'd seen in missing persons files, Kirby drove down to police headquarters to check out his hunch. In the file room, Kirby combed through the files of the people he'd recognized, finding that they were all professional entertainers, and they all lived in theatrical boarding houses on Trumball Street.
Kirby went to a couple motels on Trumball Street, trying to find a lead on Moru (because he vaguely recognized him as well). On the third try, Kirby hit pay-dirt and found a room that the Great Moru had rented. Breaking in with a skeleton key, he found the room bare except for a single suitcase... but in the suitcase, he found an old news article concerning Dr. Marcus and his theories on shrinking humans. Now realizing that the Great Moru and Dr. Marcus were the same person, Kirby also recalled the past incident when he was sent to Marcus' mansion. Suspecting that Marcus had discovered a way to shrink human beings, Jim Kirby drove to the doctor's estate to find some evidence.
Kirby easily made his way into the Marcus' mansion, and went down into the cellar, where the doctor kept his lab. He found notes with the names of the people Marcus kidnapped, along with the times they were injected with the serum. Suddenly, he was interrupted by Dr. Marcus, who was holding a gun on him. Marcus fired the gun, shooting a cloud of knock-out gas at Kirby--although he felt weak, Kirby managed to lash out and throw a punch at Marcus, during which his ring cut a gash on the doctor's cheek.
When he lapsed into a state of semi-consciousness, Kirby was dragged along the floor and strapped to a chair by Marcus. He felt a hypodermic needle penetrate his skin as the doctor injected him with his shrinking serum. Kirby heard Marcus say that he would shrink him to the size on an ant, then crush him like a bug between his fingers before he returned to normal size. But Dr. Marcus had evidently inhaled some of the knock-out gas himself and collapsed to the floor, unconscious.
Kirby felt a strange sensation, then saw that his whole body was getting smaller! He shrank out of the straps that held him, and out of his clothes as well--but Kirby surmised from Marcus' remark that the effect wasn't permanent. He was no bigger than a man's thumb when he jumped out of the chair, looking for a place to hide until the serum wore off. As he fell, Kirby continued to shrink like a deflated balloon, and was the size of a flea when he landed on Marcus' face, right in the doctor's beard. He worked his way through the forest of hair, and came upon a raw, red fissure with a crimson stream pouring out of it--the wound he had inflicted when he punched Marcus. But as he got too close, he fell in and was swept away in the torrent--Kirby was now a tiny speck, on a fantastic voyage through the doctor's bloodstream!
Tossed about in the current of corpuscles, Kirby felt a change taking place within his body, and began to panic as he felt the sides of the artery close in on him, but then realized he was starting to grow. The shrunken shamus continued to expand until he violently broke through the arterial wall and emerged out of Dr. Marcus' wrist, unintentionally killing the sinister scientist in the process.
The diminutive detective's size increased with amazing speed as he returned to normal--by the time he had wiped himself clean with his handkerchief, he was tall enough to don his own clothes again. Kirby placed a call to headquarters, requesting a couple of officers and a doctor to come out to Marcus' address.
The coroner gave his verdict on Marcus' death ("This man died of a burst artery... probably from a stroke!") -- Kirby only explained that Marcus had kidnapped him and tried to use him for a "wacky experiment," since they probably wouldn't believe the truth.
(Amazing Detective Cases#12/1 - BTS) - Kirby freed the "living dolls"--since Marcus was no longer around to give them further injections, they had returned to normal size also. With the kidnapped entertainers' whereabouts now accounted for, Jim Kirby ended up closing several missing persons cases.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Martin Rose (Martin Rosenthall).
Jim Kirby shrank out of his clothes and was completely naked in his miniaturized state... but don't worry -- although this story was published before the Comics Code came into effect, everything was drawn discreetly.
In the first-person narration at the beginning of the story, Jim Kirby mentions that he had just signed up for the army (G2 intelligence), so he probably served in the military after this story.
And a big THANK YOU to The Horrors of It All for scanning this story for me!
Profile by John Kaminski
Jim Kirby has no known connection to:
Amazing Detective Comics#12, p5, pan5 (Kirby shrinking out of his suit)
Amazing Detective Comics#12 (May, 1952) - Martin Rose (pencils)
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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