Real Name: Zurko (first name unrevealed)
Identity/Class: Normal human
Occupation: College professor
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Mr. Stone, unidentified mugger
Known Relatives: Clara (wife)
Base of Operations: His home in the suburbs of an unidentified American city
First Appearance: Amazing Detective Cases#14/4 (September, 1952)
Powers/Abilities: A practitioner of the mystic discipline of yoga, Zurko developed the ability to alter reality to a limited degree with his spoken words. He was apparently killed when he misspoke and inadvertently disintegrated the inner core of his cranium.
(Amazing Detective Cases #14/4 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Professor Zurko is unknown, but he eventually married Clara and began teaching at a local college; at some point, he studied the fakirs of India.
(Amazing Detective Cases #14/4) - One evening, Zurko was delivering a lecture regarding the miraculous talents of Hindu mystics. He told his students how the fakirs could use the power of their minds to resist pain and perform such amazing feats as laying on a bed of nails and walking on red-hot coals. Zurko went on to say he believed he could also accomplish anything with his willpower, but his assertion only brought jeers from the class. Having heard enough of Zurko's ludicrous discourse, the students filed out of the classroom, leaving the professor brooding alone on his desk. Zurko began to meditate and concentrated on a mantra: "If a man believes what he says...it will be so!"
Hours later, as Zurko left the university and began his walk home, he was assaulted by a mugger. Zurko told the "big gorilla" to leave him alone, and he was shocked when the hoodlum suddenly changed into an ape! The professor hastily ran away from the bewildered simian scofflaw and realized he was responsible for the mugger's transformation--with his willpower, he had brought his thoughts into reality merely by speaking them! Zurko continued his walk home and as he approached his house, he bumped into his bullying neighbor, Mr. Stone. The domineering troublemaker threatened the professor, so Zurko told him to "drop dead"--Zurko was fully convinced of his newly discovered power when Stone's corpse fell onto the sidewalk. When Zurko entered his house, his nagging wife Clara began to berate him with her usual litany of complaints and an argument ensued between the married couple. Zurko warned his spiteful spouse to show him more respect or else he was going to get rid of her; but Clara retorted that he needed her too much and couldn't get along without her. And in response, Zurko unknowingly uttered what would be his final words: "I need you like I need a hole in the head!", leaving a huge hole through his head.
Comments: Created by Hank Chapman (writer) and uncredited artist/s (see comments).
This story was published before
Code came into effect (...which explains how they got away
with that gruesome ending).
Zurko's first name was never revealed in the story, so I'll suggest "Milton".
Zurko was only shown using his ability for relatively minor results, so the full extent of his power is unknown--it's possible his power could have been on the same level as Barnaby Wade and "Skip" Collins, but I guess we'll never know. I assume the effects of Zurko's reality changes were permanent, so Mr. Stone is probably still dead and that thug is still a "gorilla-man".
Maybe some of those Indian fakirs Zurko studied included Rashu and Yama Nuri.
In regards to the story's unknown artist: No one signed the artwork; I've checked a couple of online sources, but they could only offer guesses, including Bob Forgione, George Roussos, and Jack Abel ... my guess is that is was Mike Sekowsky.
And a BIG Thank You to The Horrors of It All for the scans!
Profile by John Kaminski.
Professor Zurko has no known connections to:
Amazing Detective Cases#14/4, p2, pan4 (main image)
Other Appearances: None
Last updated: 10/20/10
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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