Real Name: Alma Chalmers
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Elspeth Cromwell, Dr. Stephen Strange, Alice Winchell, other residents of Belle Porte
formerly Franklin Benjamin (Franklin Richards), Reed Benjamin (Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic), Susan Benjamin (Susan Storm-Richards, Invisible Woman);
she probably wasn't too happy with the Knights of Hades & Mephisto showing up as well
Known Relatives: Martin Chalmers (husband,
Base of Operations: Belle Porte, Connecticut
First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#268 (July, 1984)
Powers/Abilities: Alma Chalmers did not possess any superhuman abilities, but her nosiness bordered on the extreme. She uses strong binoculars and home made periscopes during her "investigations". She tended to distrust newcomers, sharply judging anyone and anything she deemed inappropriate. She also had a keen interest in the supernatural, reading up on demons, witchcraft and the occult, despite her late husband Martin's misgivings.
(Fantastic Four I#274 (fb) - BTS) - She was born in Belle Porte, Connecticut, and has lived there for all of her 58 years. She was known as the town's busy-body and nosy neighbor, spending most of her time keeping tabs on the comings and goings of every family in Belle Porte.
(Fantastic Four I#259 - BTS) - Susan and Reed Richards bought the house across the street from Alma Chalmers.
(Fantastic Four I#263 - BTS) - During a particularly uneventful couple of months, Reed and Sue had quietly moved into their Belle Porte home. In order to help sell their new identity as Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin, Sue was wearing a brown wig while Reed simply used his powers to change the shape of his face. They mostly kept to themselves, trying to act as unremarkable as possible.
(Fantastic Four I#268) - Suspicious about the Benjamins, after all she hadn't even seen them move in, Alma snooped around their house, peering through windows in hopes of learning more about them. She was caught in the act by fellow neighbour Alice Winchell. Alma tried to explain her presence on the Benjamins' property by claiming she saw someone in the house, while the Benjamins were supposed to be out. Winchell didn't fall for this and pointed out that there was no need for Alma to come over herself, not with the "million power binoculars" she used to regulary sweep the neighborhood. Alma then admitted she was indeed merely curious, feeling there was something odd about the Benjamins.
(Fantastic Four I#274) - Still convinced there was something off about her new neighbours, Alma once again snuck up to the Benjamins' house and used a home made periscope to spy through the kitchen window. There, she watched Jennifer Walters turn into the She-Hulk and lift the refridgerator so the Invisible Girl could retrieve her lost earring. Shocked by what she saw, Alma dropped the periscope and rushed home. Sue and the She-Hulk found the crude device, but figured it belonged to an inquisitive neighborhood kid. Back home, Alma had decided the Benjamins were witches and monsters who had to be dealt with.
(Fantastic Four I#276 - BTS) - After reading a feature
article about Elspeth Cromwell in Occult Magazine, Alma sought out the
exorcist and extended an invitation for her to come and deal with the
witches across the street. Elspeth accepted the invitation and travelled
to Belle Porte.
(Fantastic Four I#276) - While Reed and Sue were hosting a housewarming party for their neighbors, Alma used her binoculars to spy on them from her own house. She was extremely suspicious of the party, convinced it was merely a trick to convince everyone how normal they were. She urged on her houseguest Elspeth Cromwell to stop and destroy them. Cromwell remained calm, however, claiming it was important to find out if the party was a ruse to lure in innocents. She stressed the importance of making sure there wasn't any innocent blood spilled during the exorcism she was planning, for fear of unleashing a far greater evil than two suburban witches. After the party, Alma watched on as Cromwell confronted Reed and Sue and tried to banish them by summoning the demonic Knights of Hades. During the fight, Franklin was inadvertently wounded. With the blood of an innocent spilled, the demon lord Mephisto appeared and announced himself to be the final judgement. At the same time in Manhattan, Doctor Strange sensed a great evil had breached the interdimensional barrier between Earth and Hades and set out to Belle Porte to confront it.
(Fantastic Four I#277) - In the aftermath of Mephisto's appearance on Earth, Doctor Strange arrived in Belle Porte where he soon encountered the lifeless bodies of Reed, Sue, Franklin and Elsepth Cromwell. As he examined them, Strange overheard a defiant, gloating Alma Chalmers tell the police that the Benjamins had met the fate they deserved, even though it had cost the life of the world's greatest exorcist as well. Strange approached Chalmers, who was more than willing to fill him in on what had happened, not to mention her pivotal role in the process.
(Fantastic Four I#277 -BTS) - Thanks to his talk with
Alma, Doctor Strange had learned enough to figure out Mephisto was to
blame for both the interdimensional incursion and the fate that had
befallen one half of the FF. Strange prepared himself for a
confrontation with Mephisto, but before he left for the realm of the
lord of lies, he erected an invisible protective barrier around the
bodies of Cromwell and the Richards family.
(Fantastic Four I#277) - As Strange faced Mephisto
to free Reed, Sue and Franklin, a Belle Porte policeman remained baffled
by the invisible barrier surrounding their bodies. However, Alma was
convinced it was the doctor's doing. She claimed he must have been a witch
as well who had cast some sort of evil spell. Just then, Doctor Strange
appeared behind Chalmers. Alma was tongue tied when she realized he really
was the Sorceror Supreme she had read about in her occult journals.
Strange beratingly pointed out to Alma that her meddling had unleashed the
forces of ultimate evil that had almost killed two members of the
Fantastic Four and their son. After Reed, Sue and Franklin recovered, Alma
pleaded with Strange to rescue Cromwell's soul from Mephisto as well.
Strange denied her request, claiming it was beyond his power. As he left
the sobbing Alma, Strange told her to remember these events the next time
she felt the need to pry into her neigbors' lives.
Comments: Created by John Byrne.
The moral lesson offered by Doctor Strange at the end of Fantastic Four I#277 makes Alma's story sound like something straight out of Rod Serling's classic Twilight Zone tv-show. "Imagine if you will... A nosy neighbour. Meet Mrs. Alma Chalmers, 58 years of age, a lifelong resident of beautiful suburban Belle Porte. Mrs. Chalmers feels its her duty to keep an eye on her neighbors. But not only beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as Alma is about to find out in... John Byrne's Fantastic Four." It's also interesting to note that for some reason all gray haired women over 50 dress alike in Belle Porte. Don't believe me? Compare Alma's choice outfit to what Martha Winslow was wearing when she showed Sue around the house back in FF I#259. Incidentally, Alma's also possibly the oldest looking 58 year old ever.
Profile by Norvo.
Alma Chalmers has no known connections to:
Martha Winslow has no connections to:
(Fantastic Four I#259 (fb) - BTS) - Martha was married to George Winslow. They had no children.
(Fantastic Four I#259) - When the house across the street from Alma Chalmers went up for sale, Reed and Sue Richards were one of the prospective buyers. They were planning to move out of the Baxter Building to ensure their son Franklin would have a more normal childhood. After Susan, wearing a wig and calling herself Sue Benjamin, took a tour of the house given by next-door neighbor Martha Winslow, she decided to buy it. Before leaving Martha introduced Susan to local babysitter Kate Dwyer.
--Fantastic Four I#259 (Fantastic Four I#259 (fb) - BTS, Fantastic Four I#259
images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#268, p11, pan2&3 (main image)
Fantastic Four I#277, p7, pan4 (with binoculars)
Fantastic Four I#277, p21, pan4 (with Dr. Strange)
Fantastic Four I#259, p4, pan4 (Martha Winslow)
Fantastic Four I#268 (July, 1984) - John Byrne (writer, pencils, inks), Bob Budiansky, Michael Higgins (editors)
Fantastic Four I#274 (January, 1985) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Al Gordon (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
Fantastic Four I#276 (March, 1985) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Jerry Ordway (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
Fantastic Four I#277 (April, 1985) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Jerry Ordway (inks), Michael Carlin (editor)
First Posted: 09/23/2013
Last updated: 09/23/2013
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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