Membership: None identified
Purpose: Caretakers for mortal fate
Affiliations: Tom Baker, Hiram Cragmoor, Daniel Doone, Mike Mathews, Willie Sloan, Death, Eternity and other Cosmic Entities (see comments)
Enemies: Larry Adams, Charles Bennett, Charlie Burke, Jim Carson, Archie Craig, Glenn Dague, Jack Flanders, Sy Flanders, Duke Charles Laure Hagues, Irene (last name unrevealed), Walter Krugg, Champ Maggio, Nick Nolan, Sandy Rells, John Tate, Wilbur Underhill, William Vane, Tony White, others
Base of Operations: Unidentified "Shadowy" Dimension, mobile throughout the Universe
First Appearance: Official True Crime Cases#25/1 (Winter, 1947)
Powers/Abilities: The Fates are cosmic entities and have lived for over 6 billion years. They are able to harness cosmic energy for a variety of effects which are as of yet undefined. They have been shown to be able to teleport over vast distances instantaneously within the universe or to other dimensions, become invisible, use mental telepathy and control and rearrange matter. They have been tasked with attending to and controlling the fates of mortal beings in the universe and have the ability to peer through time or even travel into other eras. They seem to have the ability to grant superhuman powers to mortals and have them act as their agents. They own the Book of Fate.
(Tales to Astonish I#33/3 (fb) - BTS) - Cosmic entities were charged with the task of governing life and meting out fate. They had been actively controlling the destiny of all life for 6 billion years, including humanity, which had been under their jurisdiction for about 2 million years.
(Justice Comics#5/3) – Fate told the story of Duke Charles Laure Hagues, a member of royalty living in Budapest, Hungary circa 1850. Obsessed with having a grand monument built in his name when he died, Duke Hagues, whose wealth and title were via his marriage to Mathilda and was quite modest, began murdering local women and stealing their priceless jewels to pay for it. The local papers dubbed him the anonymous killer "Tiger Man." Meeting a beautiful young singer during a party sponsored by his philanthropic wife, Duke Charles bequeathed her with a stolen pearl necklace as a gift, but was caught doing so by Mathilda. His wife threatened to cut him out of her will leaving Duke Charles a pauper. Feeling disgraced in front of all his friends, the Duke murdered Mathilda and when the police arrived he blamed the Tiger Man of the crime and was questioned by inspector Allard, who deduced he was lying and that he was in fact the Tiger Man and arrested him. Tried and convicted of his crimes, Duke Charles Hagues was sentenced to hang and died January 16, 1851. He never got his monument and was buried in a cheap pine coffin in an unmarked grave.
(All True Crime Cases#29/2) - Fate introduced the story of Charles Bennett who, around 1900, was a small-time gambler in a midwestern town who lived with his younger brother, Paul, who always got him out of trouble with angry, swindled cowboys and townsfolk. No longer wanting to be his brother's keeper, Paul kicked him out and vowed not to aid him financially. Charles held bitter resentment and anger toward Paul, having been banned from all gambling houses and being financially strapped. so he framed his brother for murder. Paul, an innocent man, served 15 years in prison and upon release bought a small chemical company that produced medical drugs and soon became wealthy. Twenty-five years later and down on his luck, Charles Bennett begged his brother for a job and put him charge of his chemical plant while he went overseas on a vacation. Wanting to get rich fast, Charles, not caring if a new medicine called Liftol (a heart medication) was safe, had it manufactured, not caring that it was untested or approved for sale by the Medical Association. People who bought the drug died and their deaths implicated Paul Bennett, who went to prison. Eventually the police with both Paul's assistance and with the prodding and investigation from his wife, orchestrated a sting to catch Charles. Armed with a gun, Paul coerced a confession from Charles. When the police burst in, Charles took his own life, knowing that he would be sentenced to death for his crimes anyway.
(Official All True Crime Cases#26/1) – Fate, who was in control of destinies, influenced the life and death of Wilbur Underhill in the 1920s whose obsession with guns led him into a life of crime and murder, and would later become known as the Tri-State of Terror. His favorite weapon of choice, a luger he called "Sweetheart", became his downfall when it jammed and backfired on him while he was eluding capture by the police after he escaped prison. Underhill was wounded and unable to shoot back, and the police riddled his body with bullets as he crawled onto a nearby bed. Fate went on to say that "Like all those who pit themselves against society, Wilbur Underhill's end was a bad one...The end for all criminals is bad....Because crime cannot win!"
(Law Breakers Always Lose#4/6) – Fate told the story of what happened when hoodlums tried to gamble with fate. In Seattle dated 1935, Sy and Jack Flanders and Tony White joined a local racket led by long-time friend Rip Daniels in stealing illegal slot machines and their money from local bars and night clubs, then resold them back to local mobsters. During one such heist, Sy Flanders killed a cop and soon the police were in pursuit. Upon capture, Sy was sentenced to the gallows for murder while his brother Jack and Tony White were sentenced to life imprisonment.
(Tales to Astonish I#33/3) - In 1945, in a place beyond what we call reality, two Fates discussed the folly of humankind, which believed it was in control of its destiny and continued to defy them. One of the Fates wagered a thousand thunderbolts with the other that he could chose a human at random and convince him that he could not escape the destiny they had ordained for him. The other fate, believing humans were aware of their "fate," agreed. The Fate appeared before Walter Krugg, who had just stolen a valuable necklace and was planning to flee the country. The Fate confronted Krugg and explained to him that it was futile for him to run since he could not escape what the Fates had planned, and no matter where Krugg hid, he would still pay for his crime. But paying no heed to the mysterious being's cryptic words, Krugg departed and fled the country. Returning to his shadowy realm, the Fate reported to his fellow entity that he had lost the wager, but assured him that although Krugg was now in another country and possessed the stolen necklace, he wouldn't escape his destiny for long. Krugg fled to Hiroshima Japan. Not long after, on August 6th 1945, the American military dropped an atomic bomb on the city.
(Official True Crime Cases#25/1) - A being claiming to be Fate targeted a weak-willed young man called Glenn Dague into being an unwilling participant in a murderous crime spree perpetrated by a young woman named Irene that spread across multiple states. As he was too weak and afraid, Irene would kill him if he fled, so he blindly followed her until they were both eventually caught along the Texas/Mexico border. Both he and Irene were later tried and convicted, and sentenced to death by electrocution.
(Law Breakers Always Lose#3/2) - Fate told the tale of John Tate, who felt pressured to provide financial stability and a better way of life for his wife and infant son. Turning to crime he joined a gang and robbed Tillman's Jewelry store, then returned home to hide his cut. When his wife found out about where he was getting his money, she convinced him to quit the gang and turn himself in because his son would not grow up being proud of him. Doing the right thing, John Tate later turned state's evidence against his old gang but also ended up serving five years in prison for his crime.
(Justice Comics#4/3) - Fate influenced the destinies of three criminals. Amused, Fate witnessed small-time crook Sandy Rells break into a posh apartment in Chicago's fashionable Northside and open a safe containing thousands of dollars in heroin belonging to two drug kingpins called Harry Marsden and Fettering. When Marsden and Fettering entered the room unexpectedly, Rells hid under a bed. Marsden saw that the drugs were missing and assumed his partner was trying to double cross him and so shot Fettering, killing him and and wounding a hidden Rells in the arm as the bullet passed through the dead Fettering's body. Eventually both Rells and Marsden were caught by the FBI with Rells serving five years in prison for drug possession and Marsden sentenced to life on Alcatraz.
(Justice Comics#6/1) - Fate told the story of a real "wise guy" named Jim Carson whose crimes and carefree show-off attitude sealed his fate. Jim Carson was born into a wealthy family and all through his college years threw money around to make himself look important. Notorious as a tipper and big spender, he often treated his friends and others to rounds of drinks at local night clubs, making people wonder where he got all his money from. Years later and now employed in a bank, his flashy attitudes about money got him fired and he turned to crime as the head of a small gang of criminals. Eventually Carson was captured by the police and imprisoned for 25 years, but soon escaped. The authorities scoured the surrounding towns and recaptured Carson due to his over the top attitudes about money and since he stood out as most of the locals did not have that kind of money, let alone flaunted it. He was now destined to serve 32 years in the State Penn.
(Complete Mystery#2/1) – Fate introduced the tale of William Vane who was mad with jealousy, his son Johnny who was in love with Della, the daughter of his worst enemy, and an innocent bystander called Pete Jensen, who was a tramp who looked like William Vane. Fate explained that these are elements from which tragedy is made. Wanting to kill his rival Daniel Doone who flaunted his wealth in their childhood while William Vane grew up poor, William Vane hired a dreg of society to murder him. Fate watched this tale unfold, stepped into the picture and placed a homeless man named Pete Jensen, a tramp whose face was an identical match to William Vane. Setting Jensen in front of a speeding car driven by Vane, and making it look like an accident, William Vane stopped his car and to his amazement, discovered the tramp looked like him. Hatching an idea, William Vane hired the tramp for a thousand dollars to attend a business meeting to act as his alibi while he set out to murder his rival. William Vane kidnaped Daniel Doone at gunpoint and both drive off to a cliff overlooking a river at which point Vane forced him to drive off the cliff. Unknown to both men, Daniel Vane had cut the car's brakes earlier after having a heated run in with Daniel Doone. With his alibi intact, William Vane was acquitted of murder while his son, after a lengthy investigation by police, was found guilty although Daniel Doone's body was never found. Desperate to find the now vanished tramp to clear his son of any crime and avoid the death penalty, William Vane was unable to locate the man and later committed suicide, but his body could not be identified. Fate stepped in; Daniel Doone had survived the horrific crash and drifted down river with amnesia for a few years. William Vane's son married Doone's daughter and both lived happily ever after.
(Crime Can't Win#43) - Fate influenced the destiny of a gang of criminals lead by Champ Maggio who were arrested and tried for robbing the safe at the Elite Insurance company. For years the gang had escaped prosecution for similar crimes, but using modern forensic techniques all were convicted by three pieces of evidence: a gun, a brown tweed suit owned by Champ Maggio, and a stamped-out cigarette.
(Marvel Tales I#101/1) - Fate overheard a discussion between Larry Adams and his friend Willie Grant, who said that there was no way to escape fate. Larry Adams replied that it was all a bunch of bunk and that a grown man determined his own life and not from a book written on the day they were born. Amused by Larry Adam's belief , Fate disguised as a human dressed in black interrupted their conversation and said to Larry that he was "stubborn and that fate—fate...no one can outwit the writing of destiny", and mysteriously vanished. Everywhere Larry went, Fate seemed to follow him at a distance unnerving him and leaving etched signs "Fate" as a reminder before vanishing. Days later Larry was given a business task by his boss to travel to Chicago. The next day while on board the plane, Fate reappeared, this time in the seat next to Larry; that very minute the plane's motor caught on fire and the plane began to crash. Fearing his death, Fate said to Larry that he would give him another chance to live; time was reversed and his day rewritten. Larry awoke from bed believing he had a dream but decided instead of going to Chicago by plane, he would make the trip by car. But Fate had other plans-----Fate caused the plane he was scheduled to be on to crash--into his car! In the hospital, a dying Larry spoke his last words to his friend Willie Grant that he was was right and mumbled the words "...Fate...Fate." Fate next appeared at Larry's grave and said that there was no escape and your destiny was written in the Book of Life and Death the day you were born and that he knows...he wrote it!
(Uncanny Tales I#36/1) - Fate played a cruel trick on a criminal named Nick Nolan serving life in prison who wanted to escape. Fate placed a newspaper article in the morning paper describing an anonymous inventor who invented a strange electronic teleporter that claimed to work and needed a human to test it. Since his lab's address was listed in the article and it was nearby, Nolan made a break and escaped while working on the prison road gang the next morning. Making his way to the lab Nolan, desperate to use the scientist's device to escape, was given the device, a vest with dials and destinations listed, and shown how to use it. Activating the electronic teleporter, Nolan disappeared and reappeared in Africa in front of two savage lions. Sensing that it was too dangerous to be there, he activated the teleport device set for London and reappeared in a python cage in the London Zoo and again in Paris falling from the top of the Eiffel Tower and yet again on a raging Saint Lawrence river flowing over Niagara Falls. Escaping once again by using the teleport device, Nolan's final destination was his previous jail cell. Feeling anger and confusion, Nolan was left wondering who the inventor really was. A smiling inventor was then seen with the closing words---"his name? Some men call him Fate!"
(Strange Tales of the Unusual#9/3) - Fate (or a being resembling Father Time) went on to weave a tale that every man's fate is written in the Book of Destiny and that fate can not be altered. One story was that of Tom Baker, a gardener who bought an unfamiliar can of insecticide called Shur-Kil as he had been told it was cheaper and would work just a well, but was actually explosive. Back on his farm, Baker tried to open the dangerous can using a hammer, can opener, jack-hammer and even a steam roller to unseal it but these attempts all failed. In anger, Baker threw the can away and it exploded violently. Fate, shown with a scythe, revealed that it was not Tom Baker's time to die and that he ought to know!
(World of Fantasy#18/2) - In 1959, electrical engineer Frank Hanes felt cheated by the company where he had worked for fifteen years. After stealing some money from the company's safe, Hanes used his time machine to travel a century into the future--Fate was watching him and laughed, for it knew of the coming events. When Hanes arrived in 2059, he found the police waiting to arrest him, so he reactivated the time machine to take him back to the past. But Hanes overshot his starting point and went to 1944 instead; regressed in age by fifteen years, and with no memory of the time machine, Hanes had just been hired by the very same company, but he was contemplating taking a job offer with another company instead--Fate was watching him, and wondered what Hanes would decide.
(Tales to Astonish I#30/2 - BTS) - The Fates gifted hotel elevator operator Willie Sloan with power and appointed him as one of their human operatives. They assigned him to protect others from being killed before it was their time to die.
(Tales of Suspense I#33/1 - BTS) - Reclusive millionaire Hiram Cragmoor was tasked by Fate to be responsible for guiding the souls of the dead to their respective afterlives. Spending a lifetime trapped within a giant ruby, Hiram sat in a chair and was given instructions from the "Greater Realm" where the souls would be sent when they ended their mortal phase. Having grown weary with this age-long task, Hiram changed places with Mike Mathews, an unscrupulous tabloid reporter, and chose to pass on to the next plane.
(Tales of Suspense I#35/4) - A Fate became amused after watching a series of repeating events unfold over time. He went on to explain that nothing ever changes and no one is really much different from anyone else. He presented an account of an alternate future Earth where robot servants who possessed superior intelligence felt that humankind viewed them as inferior and showed no respect for them. They all banded together and fled Earth in rockets to colonize their own world. Over time, the robots also built a servant race of their own. These newer "robots" in turn felt misused, and fled this planet under similar circumstances.
(Strange Tales I#100/1) - An unscrupulous man called Charlie Burke owned an operated a failing amusement park attraction called "The Mad Maze". Burke had created an unbeatable maze and drew in crowds of people with the reward of $10,000 if anyone could escape by finding the exit. Unknown to anyone else, Charlie Burke's "Mad Maze" had no exit. Threatened to be exposed as a con-man by a reporter for The Daily Express after the park had closed for the day, Burke lured the man into his maze and sealed the door shut and turned off the air vents. The reporter died of asphyxiation and the police the next day did not feel the reporter died by foul play, but rather by an unfortunate accident. Later when a new maze in the amusement park opened and began drawing his customers away, Charlie approached his new rival with a business proposition of becoming partners. The new maze operator declined his offer and told Charlie Burke he would pack up and leave if he could solve his maze. Accepting the challenge Charlie entered but soon discovered to his horror, he became trapped in unbeatable maze with death traps and other pitfalls. The new maze operator revealed himself, removing his mask to reveal his true identity and explained that Charlie would eventually make it out of his maze, but the exit only led down into a bottomless chasm beneath the earth (possibly Hell) and stated that none could escape justice from "a man called Fate".
(Strange Tales I#101/3 - BTS) - A being called Fate altered the form of a ticket for the S.S Palace, a tramp steamer, which was sold to criminal Archie Craig. Craig sought to escape the police and flee the country, but the ticket -- on two separate occasions -- transformed into a piece of paper with only "X-35" printed on it. Thinking the ticket seller was trying to pull a fast one on him, Craig pulled a gun and chased the agent outside. Archie Craig was then struck by a speeding car and killed instantly. The license plate on the car read "X-35".
(Strange Tales I#105/2) - A Fate was reading a great ledger (the Book of Fate) with the names of mortals who tried to escape their ill-fated destinies. He went on to tell the tale of one such man who was plagued by recurring nightmares of being a prisoner in solitary confinement. The man -- thinking he could escape his fate -- boarded a boat and set sail to a new land where he would never be placed in prison. The boat sank and as the sole survivor, he washed up on the shore of an uncharted desert isle. The man's name: Robinson Crusoe!
Comments: Created by an uncredited writer, Sol Brodsky (art) and Stan Lee (editor)
Unfortunately, most of this profile must remain as speculation. The only reason I joined them together was mainly due to the chronology of these stories and many unanswered similarities they have with each other. These stories unless otherwise noted by Marvel writers in the past, present or future do not belong on Earth-616 but on some other alternate Earth dimension(s). I don't see why they can't be, after all these beings are powerful cosmic entities able to manipulate both time and space and might very well also exist on any and all alternate Earths.
The being called Fate appeared in various Crime comics published by Atlas and seemed to serve as a foil or host introducing and even taking an active part in some of these stories and was similar to the Crypt Keeper from EC comics Tales From the Crypt series. Fate always seemed to have some sick sense of justice concerning the destiny planned for the criminals that were featured.
It is unknown if the cosmic beings called the Fates are related to any of the other metaphysical entities such as Death or Eternity. It is likely they work alongside both beings. It also remains unknown what connection these entities may have with the Fates or the Norns from Greek and Asgardian mythology. Possibly they could be their offspring or appointed by them to act as their agents in the distant past when man evolved and began worshiping gods. Maybe they could be part of their race altogether.
Just speculation on my part, but the Fates from mythology could be empowered operatives by the cosmic Fates that were later deified. Another theory is that the cosmic Fates are connected to the Norns/Fates from mythology with different appearances or they were aspects of them. Chalk it up to artist interpretation.
The demon called the Messenger served a Hell lord called the Master Judge of the Lower Depths and was in charge of ferrying souls to the afterlife to Hades when their names were written in a ledger called the Fatal Book. His appearance resembles that of the Fates and may infarct be one of them serving other death gods or demons. The Book itself in all aspects is quite similar to the Book of Fate.
Fates certainly took an interest in assorted criminals (notably thieves
and killers), watching their moves, at times intervening so that the
criminals would be caught and punished. Evidently they also didn't like
In regards to the red-skinned "man called Fate" (@ Strange Tales I#100/1): About thirty years ago, I remember reading an article in some comics news-magazine (maybe Comics Scene or Comics Feature) that mentioned this story--the "man called Fate" was originally drawn to be the Devil (thus the red skin), but it was changed to get the story approved by the Comics Code.
Mistress Fate (Young Allies Comics#6 (January, 1943) from the Young Allies' "Comet Of Doom" story could be connected to the Fates.
Thanks to Ron Fredricks for adding World of Fantasy#18.
Profile by AvatarWarlord72.
The Fates have no known connections to
(Tales to Astonish I#33/3) - The Shadowy dimension is an alien realm located somewhere beyond reality and the home to the Fates. The dimension appears to be composed of variable cloud formations that constantly discharge lightning. This realm appears to constantly alternate between total darkness to light. Other spherical worlds can be seen off to the distance. Two Fates standing on a cloud formation were viewing the Earth and wagered that man could not be convinced that he was not control his own destiny. Unable to convince Walter Krugg that he would not be able to escape justice for his crime, the Fate not conceding defeat, returned to his shadowy realm, confident that although he had lost the bet, the man would still meet his fate.
--Tales to Astonish I#33/3
Book of Fate
This book contained thousands of names of mortals that have sometime in their lives tried to alter their fate.
In one case, a Fate read from the Book of Fate and narrated the story of a man who was plagued by recurring nightmares about being in a prison and housed in solitary confinement. He then goes on to say that the man decided to alter his fate by leaving the country by boat to a place where he could never be placed in prison. The boat later sank and the man, being the only survivor washed ashore on a desert island-his name, Robinson Crusoe! It is unknown if this book was quasi-mystical and possessed any special power or abilities.
It was also called "The Book of Life and Death" in Marvel Tales I#101/1 and "Book of Destiny" in Strange Tales of the Unusual#9/3.
--Marvel Tales I#101/1 (Strange Tales of the Unusual#9/3, Strange Tales I#105/2
Tales to Astonish I#33/3, p2, pan2 (2 Fates, main image)
Justice#5/3, p1, pan1 (full body image, turned to reader)
Tales to Astonish I#33/3, p2, pan2 (close up, pink alien face)
Official True Crime Cases#25/1 p3, pan1 (looming behind a chair)
Law Breakers Always Lose#3/2 p1, pan1 (close-up head shot, white human-like face)
Crime Can't Win#43 p2,pan1 (full body image, with cigarette)
Marvel Tales I#101/1, p1, pan1 (disguised as a man in black clothing)
World of Fantasy#18/2, p4, pan4 (Fate laughs at Frank Hanes)
Tales of Suspense I#35/4, p, pan (unidentified Fate)
Strange Tales I#100, p7, pan5 (Fate. mask removed)
Tales to Astonish I#33/3, p5, pan2 ("Shadowy" dimension)
Strange Tales I#105/2, p2, pan 1 (Book of Fate)
Official True Crime Cases#25/1 (Winter, 1947) - uncredited writer, Sol Brodsky (art), Stan Lee (editor)
All True Crime Cases#26/1 (February, 1948) - uncredited writer, Syd Shores (art), uncredited editor
Law Breakers Always Lose#3/2 (August, 1948) - uncredited writer, artist, editor
Justice Comics#4/3 (August, 1948) - uncredited writer, artist, editor
All True Crime Cases#29/2 (September, 1948) - uncredited writer, artist, editor
Justice Comics#5/3 (September, 1948) - uncredited writer, artist, editor
Justice Comics#6/1 (October, 1948) - uncredited writer, artist, editor
Law Breakers Always Lose#4/6 (October, 1948) - uncredited writer, artist, editor
Complete Mystery#2/1 (October, 1948) - Stan Lee (writer), Syd Shores (art), uncredited editor
Crime Can't Win#43 prose (February, 1951) - uncredited writer, Allen Bellman (art?), uncredited editor
Marvel Tales I#101/1 (June, 1951) - uncredited writer, Paul Reinman (art), uncredited editor
Uncanny Tales I#36/1 (October, 1955) - uncredited writer, Bob Powell (art), uncredited editor
Strange Tales of the Unusual#9/3 (April, 1957) - uncredited writer, Sol Brodsky (art), Stan Lee (writer?/editor?)
World of Fantasy#18/2 (June, 1959) - uncredited writer, Steve Ditko (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Tales to Astonish I#30 (April, 1962) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Tales to Astonish I#33 (July, 1962) - uncredited writer, Don Heck (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Tales of Suspense I#33 (September, 1962) - uncredited writer, Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Strange Tales I#100/1 (September, 1962) - uncredited writer, Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Strange Tales I#101/3 (October, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Tales of Suspense I#35 (November, 1962) - uncredited writer, Paul Reinman (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Strange Tales I#105 (February, 1963) - Stan Lee (plot/editor), Larry Lieber (script), Don Heck (artist)
First Posted: 12/22/2013
Last updated: 04/15/2018
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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