Real Name: Bill Stiles (see comments)
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Cockroaches (in general), Mrs. Kirby (client), unidentified chemist
Known Relatives: Unidentified father
Base of Operations: Unidentified American city (maybe New York City)
First Appearance: Mystery Tales#1/1 (March, 1952)
Powers/Abilities: Bill was an ordinary man who was mutated into a hybrid creature, with his upper body retaining its human attributes, while his lower body was that of a giant cockroach.
History: (Mystery Tales#1/1 (fb)) - As a boy, Billy developed an affinity for bugs--cockroaches, in particular. He would come running to the rescue when he saw other children cruelly squashing the insects, and was often teased because of his affection for the pests. Billy's choice of "friends" was a major source of consternation for his father--being an exterminator by trade, he hoped his son would take over his business some day.
Years later, when he was a young man, Bill inherited the business after his father mysteriously disappeared while on a service call. But he still maintained a fondness for cockroaches, so he was determined to make some changes in the operation and deal with the pests more mercifully. Bill went to a (human) friend who was a chemist and had him create a special spray, which would only repel the roaches rather than kill them. After a successful test of the chemical, Bill was ready to begin with his kinder, gentler approach to pest elimination.
Bill made a service call at the old Kirby house. Mrs. Kirby complained about other exterminators she'd called previously--how they'd leave without her seeing them go, and the roaches would still be there--but Bill assured her that he'd take care of the infestation.
Bill began spraying in the cellar, and noticed a swarm of roaches streaming towards the entrance of a tunnel, so he followed them inside. As he walked through the stygian darkness of the subterranean passage, his foot bumped into something on the floor; shining his flashlight downward, Bill saw...human skeletons! But more importantly, Bill recognized the ring that was on one of the skeletons' fingers... a ring that had belonged to...his father! (...and at that point, Bill guessed his missing father's grisly fate) Then he saw a large, shadowy form crawling toward him. Paralyzed with fear, Bill was seized in the mandibles of a mammoth cockroach! He fainted from the shock as the monstrous insect carried him further down into the dark tunnel.
Bill revived to find himself lying on the floor of a cavern, his body wrapped in a cocoon-like substance, and he was surrounded by an entire colony of "Superoaches". Stranger yet, two of the giant roaches were arguing over how to deal with him--one wanted to kill Bill so he wouldn't reveal the secret of their existence, while the other wanted to show him mercy, as a reward to Bill for his compassionate ways of treating cockroaches in the past. The leader of the colony rendered his decision, and Bill was allowed to live.
(Mystery Tales#1/1 (fb) - BTS) - The "Superoaches" confined Bill to a prison cell. Eventually, Bill's body began to change, as he took on the characteristics of a cockroach (see comments).
(Mystery Tales#1/1) - A year later, the half-man/half-cockroach Bill was still a prisoner. He would throw out notes for help from his cell's window, warning the world about the "Superoaches"... but who in their right mind could ever believe such a story?
Bill was a permanent "guest" in this "roach motel," and it was doubtful that he'd ever be allowed to "check-out"...
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Gene Colan.
Bill's last name was never revealed in the story, so I took the liberty of giving him one -- for the record, it's the same last name as the main character from the movie "Willard" (another weirdo who had an odd choice in the "friends" he kept).
I'd speculate that Bill's mutation was induced by the "Superoaches".
No explanation was given for the "Superoaches" -- I dunno, I guess they were mutates (like the Scarlet Beetle or Grottu), or...?
But they're obviously a part of the Cockroach Conspiracy! (...if not the main instigators thereof)--possibly Mrs. Kirby acted as their human agent.
I just say Mimic.
Maybe the roaches were mutants from the first nuclear experiments or hold-overs
of creatures from the Hyborian age or just a mass delusion on the character's part.
And a BIG Thank You to The Horrors of It All for the scans!
Profile by John Kaminski
Bill Stiles has no known connection to:
Mrs. Kirby has no known connections to:
The "Superoaches" have no known connections to:
They were the size of elephants, had human-level intelligence, and seemed to "speak" telepathically.
The colony of giant insects lived in an underground cavern, near the old Kirby house. They awaited the day for mankind to destroy itself with atomic warfare, and they would be free to rule the world.
Mystery Tales#1, p5, pan7 (main)
Mystery Tales#1 (March, 1952) - Gene Colan (artist)
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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