Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human magic user;
citizen of India
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Unidentified thief
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Aged One" (as called by thief)
Base of Operations: A temple, somewhere in India
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense I#26/4 (February, 1962)
Powers/Abilities: The Lama could remotely project illusions of his face at varying sizes; the images appeared either in mid-air, or over the faces of other individuals. He seemed to be mystically linked to a sacred ruby and could sense its location over an undetermined distance.
(Tales of Suspense I#26/4 (fb) - BTS) - The past of the Lama is unrevealed, but at some point he was stationed at an Indian temple, where he was charged with guarding a sacred ruby.
(Tales of Suspense I#26/4) - One night, a thief entered the temple and was about to snatch the ruby from its pedestal. The Lama appeared and ordered the thief not to touch the gemstone--he warned the plunderer that he would never escape the wrath of the gods if he stole it. But having no fear of superstitious curses, the bandit pulled his gun and fired, wounding the old mystic in his arm, then the thief grabbed the ruby and fled the temple.
After running a few miles, the thief rested and pulled the gemstone from his pocket to look at it. Suddenly, a huge image of the Lama's face appeared in the dark sky above. The frightened thief ran away from the colossal countenance in a panic, and hours later he reached a train station, where he purchased a ticket and boarded the train.
As the locomotive chugged through the pitch-black night, the thief sat in the passenger car, confidently thinking that he was safe and that he'd just pulled off the crime of the century. But then he looked out the window and noticed a mysterious light following the train; as it got closer, the light formed into the face of the Lama. Afraid of the vengeful visage, the thief got out of his seat and made his way to the back of the passenger car--as he glanced at his fellow passengers, he noticed that they also wore the face of the old mystic! Then the thief saw a police officer approaching from the shadows at the back of the car--not wanting to arouse suspicion, he forced himself to remain calm. But when the officer stepped into the light, the terror-stricken criminal saw that he, too, had the face of the Lama! Scrambling to the front of the passenger car, the thief inadvertently dropped the ruby as he fled, for he was far more concerned with making his escape.
After yanking the emergency brake cord and bringing the train to a screeching halt, the thief laughed madly as he leapt out of the passenger car, certain that he'd finally beaten the Lama and the ruby's curse; but because of the gloomy night, he couldn't see that he'd stopped the train just as it was midway across a narrow bridge that spanned two mountain peaks. The thief's laughter echoed as he plummeted down into the darkness...
Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
A lama is a Buddhist priest in Tibet--since this story took place in India, maybe it would have been more appropriate for the Lama to be a yogi instead.
The thief wasn't identified, but he wore a fedora hat, and the story-panel where he was about to grab the ruby reminded me of an early scene from the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark"--the one where Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford) took the golden idol off its pedestal. With that in mind, I'll suggest naming the thief "Harrison Freeman" ("Freeman" from Paul Freeman, who played Indy's arch-rival,René Belloq, in the same film).
Maybe that sacred ruby had some connection to Cyttorak, the Star of Capistan, the Bloodgem of Ulysses Bloodstone, or the giant ruby that imprisoned Mike Mathews.
...or since this story took place in India and involved illusions, perhaps that sacred ruby had some connection to Maya, the Hindu goddess of illusions.--Ron Fredricks
And a BIG Thank You to Atlas Tales for providing the original scans!
New images by Ron Fredricks.
Profile by John Kaminski.
The Lama/"Aged One" has no known connections to:
A mystic artifact of unrevealed origin, it was displayed on a pedestal in an Indian temple, where it was guarded by the Lama. The fist-sized ruby was stolen by a thief, who later became a victim of the gem's curse.
--Tales of Suspense I#26/4
A criminal of unrevealed nationality, he was armed with a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. He went to India, where he spent months plotting to steal a priceless ruby from an isolated temple.
The Lama who guarded the ruby warned him that he risked the wrath of the gods if he stole the gemstone; but the thief considered the claim of a curse to be rubbish, and he ruthlessly shot and wounded the Lama as he took the gemstone.
But as he fled across the countryside, the thief was tormented by visions of the Lama's face, even after he boarded a train. He accidentally dropped the ruby, then unintentionally jumped to his death when he leapt from the train, under the mistaken impression that he had escaped the gem's curse.
--Tales of Suspense I#26/4
images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p2, pan5 (main image - Lama)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p3, pan6 (headshot - Lama's face appears in sky above thief)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p4, pan6 (Lama's face appears on other train passengers; thief (background))
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p5, pan1 (Lama's face appears on policeman)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p2, pan4 (sacred ruby on pedestal)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p2, pan6 (sacred ruby in thief's hand)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p2, pan4 (thief reaches for sacred ruby)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p2, pan7 (thief fires gun at Lama)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4, p5, pan6 (thief jumps off train)
Tales of Suspense I#26/4 (February, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (pencils/inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)
First posted: 01/08/2011
Last updated: 08/13/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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