Real Name: Unrevealed (see comments)
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (race unrevealed; see comments)
Occupation: Singing idol, would-be world conqueror
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: His warriors
Enemies: Nan Miller, Steve Miller
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Don Russell
Base of Operations:
His dressing-room in a theater, somewhere in an unidentified North
First Appearance: Strange Tales I#93/2 (February, 1962)
Powers/Abilities: The alien had a melodious singing voice that appealed to a diverse audience; he also seemed to possess a limited degree of telekinesis, which he employed to open locked doors. He wore a full-head mask and (presumably) flesh-colored gloves to appear in his human guise of "Don Russell". By some unknown technical means, he planned to mix hypnotic impulses with the sound of his voice on vinyl records. He was also equipped with a telecommunication screen to contact his homeworld, and a flying saucer spacecraft with interstellar-flight capabilities.
(Strange Tales I#93/2 (fb) - BTS) - An alien invader came to Earth on a mission of conquest. After landing his spaceship, he disguised himself as a human and went to the office of the Miller Theatrical Agency. He used his powers to unlock the door, then went inside to wait.
(Strange Tales I#93/2) - Theatrical agent Steve Miller arrived at his office to find the door open and a stranger sitting at his desk. The man introduced himself as "Don Russell" and boasted of his vocal talents, so Miller allowed him an impromptu audition. Miller was suitably impressed by Russell's exceptional singing, so he agreed to become his agent and helped him establish a musical career. Russell began performing in live concerts and became an overnight sensation, with fans both young and old alike. Shortly thereafter, Russell was awarded a record contract, but Miller became suspicious of the rising star--Russell lived in his theater dressing-room, kept to himself, and refused to grant interviews to reporters. One night, Miller decided to follow the singer to try to learn his secrets, and was startled when he saw Russell open the locked theater door merely by pointing his finger at it. He was further shocked when he sneaked in after Russell and saw the singer remove his mask, revealing himself to be an alien! Miller continued to spy and saw the invader activate a communication device to report to his warriors that his plan was proceeding smoothly. Suddenly, the alien spotted Miller watching him, so he hastily put his disguise back on and gave chase. The two ran to the theater's rooftop, where Russell punched Miller and knocked him over the ledge. As Miller hung from the roof with a precarious grip over certain doom, the vile vocalist taunted him by revealing the full extent of his plan: Russell was going to mix hypnotic impulses with the sound of his voice on his records; the records would be purchased by his ever-growing fan base, and eventually all of humanity would be entranced and unable to offer any resistance against his invasion force!
But Miller was able to save himself by grabbing hold of a billboard, then made his way home. He told his wife Nan (a former stage actress) about Russell's scheme for planetary conquest, and the married couple came up with a plan of their own to counter the alien's plot. Nan appeared on a TV interview program and tearfully claimed to be Don Russell's abandoned wife; she told a heartbreaking tale of how the singer deserted her and their three children. Public opinion immediately turned against Russell--because of his sullied reputation, his fans no longer wanted to listen to him, his upcoming performances were canceled, and he was (literally) kicked out of his dressing room. Subsequently, production and distribution of his hypnotic records was terminated as well. With his singing career ruined and his invasion plans foiled, the disgusted alien climbed aboard his spaceship and left Earth.
Comments: Created by an uncredited writer, Jack Kirby (pencils) and Dick Ayers (inker).
In 1958, the Skrulls tried a similar plot using rock singer Vince Rivers.
It was never revealed how far away "Russell's" homeworld was, yet his telecommunication screen allowed instantaneous transmission and reception with no time-delay, so the device probably worked under the same scientific priciples as Reed Richards' Ultra-Sonic Radio Transmitter.
"Don Russell" was only the alias he employed for his human disguise, and his true name was never revealed, so I'll suggest naming him "Seliv" (an anagram for "Elvis" (Presley)).
These aliens had a slight resemblance to the "Space Beasts" (@ Tales to Astonish I#29) and the Tribbitites/"Toad Men" (@ Incredible Hulk I#2)--maybe they're an offshoot of one of those races; but considering their plan to hypnotize Earthlings into submission, I'll guess that they were militarily weak (...either that, or else they were just lazy).
Boy, that Nan Miller must have really been a great actress--she was able to turn the whole world against "Don Russell" without presenting any proof to substantiate her allegations (e.g., a marriage license, the "three children").
This story was reprinted in Monsters on the Prowl#27/2 (November, 1973), which is where the images are from.
And a BIG Thank You to Grendel Prime for the scans!
Profile by John Kaminski.
Don Russell has no known connections to:
Steve & Nan Miller have no known connections to:
A former stage actress, Nan Miller gave up her theatrical career when she married Steve Miller and became a housewife. She longed to return to her past profession, and got the chance to play the greatest role of her life when she appeared on a TV interview program under the pretense that she was the abandoned wife of singer Don Russell. Her convincing performance helped put an end to an alien invasion.
--Strange Tales I#93/2
The owner of the Miller Theatrical Agency, Steve Miller had just finished a long day of watching the auditions of mediocre performers. He returned to his office and found Don Russell waiting inside. Miller agreed to let the singer audition for him, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Russell was actually talented. He used his business expertise to help Russell establish himself with a phenomenal musical career, but later learned that the singer was really an alien invader with ambitions to conquer Earth. After he narrowly escaped death, Miller and his wife Nan formulated a plan to discredit Don Russell in the eyes of his fans.
--Strange Tales I#93/2
The military force of Don Russell's homeworld, the warriors stood ready to attack Earth after his hypnotic records mesmerized humankind; however, the invasion plan never came to fruition because of the intervention of Steve and Nan Miller.
--Strange Tales I#93/2
Monsters on the Prowl#27/2, p4, pan1 (main image - true face revealed)
Other Appearances: None
Last updated: 11/02/10
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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