Real Name: Sylvia Corpo
Identity/Class: Human (possible magic user) (see comments) (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Corpo Construction Company employees
Enemies: Gara and gargoyles, Venus
Known Relatives: Henry Corpo (father)
Aliases: "Queen of the Gargoyles" (as called by herself); "my little friend," "honey" (as called by Venus)
Base of Operations: Corpo Construction Company, Suite 1307 Graycar Building, 506 51st Street (presumably New York City)
First Appearance: Venus I#16/1 (October, 1951)
Powers/Abilities: Sylvia could seemingly imbue life into stone gargoyles with a touch of her hand; conversely, she could also remove that life in the same manner -- it is unrevealed if she could extend this life-projection to other inanimate objects.
She was also able to somehow create a "non-existent" office space (see comments).
(And judging by her maniacal laughter, she was probably insane)
Height: 5'7" (by
Weight: 120 lbs. (by approximation)
History: (Venus I#16/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Sylvia Corpo is largely unrevealed, but seven years earlier, her father Henry's construction company tore down an old building and erected the Graycar Building in its place -- a superstitious man, Henry Corpo insisted that the Graycar Building not have a floor designated as "13," so it was intentionally omitted from the floor numbering. The old building had been adorned with stone gargoyle statues, which Henry had thrown away, but Sylvia recovered the statues.
By some unrevealed means, Sylvia was able to bring the gargoyles to life; she gave them a home in a suite of Corpo Construction Company offices situated on the Graycar Building's "non-existent" 13th floor (see comments), where the gargoyles sat upon pedestals around the office. Sylvia proclaimed herself to be the gargoyles' queen, but Gara (the gargoyles' true king) resented Sylvia and planned to kill her.
(Venus I#16/1 (fb) - BTS) - The goddess Venus went to the 13th floor offices of Corpo Construction on unspecified business -- she found nothing amiss.
(Venus I#16/1 - BTS) - While wearing street clothes, Sylvia was at the Corpo offices when Gara and the other gargoyles attacked. The stone creatures killed the company employees and wrecked the office, but Sylvia (her clothes badly torn in the attack) was uninjured; she hid under a desk and was blocked in by a fallen file cabinet. The gargoyles returned to their pedestals.
(Venus I#16/1) - A week after her initial visit, Venus paid another call to Corpo Construction, but when she asked the elevator operator to take her to the 13th floor, she was told that there was no such floor in the building -- to prove his point, the elevator operator first took Venus to the 12th floor (Associated Publishers, Inc.), then next to the 14th floor (Hanson Cosmetics Company), with no stop in between. Confused, Venus got off on 14 and walked down the stairwell until she found herself on the supposedly "non-existent" 13th floor; she walked into the suite of Corpo Construction and found a scene of carnage and destruction. As she stood over the body of the company's receptionist, one of the gargoyle statues that adorned the office -- Gara -- spoke to her. Gara threatened Venus, and as punishment for trespassing in his kingdom, he and the other gargoyles swarmed about the goddess -- in the ensuing struggle, Venus dropped her hat and gloves. Then Venus heard a cry for help from underneath one of the desks; she moved the fallen file cabinet and found a terrified woman in torn clothes (Sylvia Corpo), who (falsely) told Venus that she had just started to work for the company as a stenographer when the gargoyles came to life and attacked. After directing the woman to climb out the window to the fire escape, Venus grabbed a fire ax from the wall and fought off three of the gargoyles. Venus then joined the woman on the fire escape, and the two climbed down to the street and went to the office of Venus' friend Whitney P. Hammond to tell him their story; upon hearing their account of the events, Hammond was incredulous, for he knew the contractors intentionally omitted the 13th floor of the Graycar Building when it was built, but he contacted the police, regardless.
Venus and Hammond met the police at the Graycar Building and began their investigation. After taking the elevator to the 12th floor, the group climbed the stairwell to the following 14th floor and found nothing out of the ordinary, for the police also knew there was no 13th floor in the building. With no evidence to support Venus' claim, the police lieutenant didn't believe her story either, so the goddess decided to investigate the scene later on her own.
At midnight, Venus returned to the building after it closed. She went into the basement through the service entrance, pried open the elevator doors, then shinnied up the elevator cable until she reached the 13th floor of the shaft (getting her gown extremely greasy in the process). After prying the inside shaft doors of the 13th floor open, Venus went to the Corpo suite and found it as it had been that morning -- wrecked, the dead bodies still on the floor. Then Venus heard a moan and saw the woman she had saved earlier (now oddly attired) taking the life from Gara the gargoyle. The woman introduced herself as Sylvia Corpo and explained that she had given life to Gara and his fellow gargoyles, but the stone creatures had double-crossed her and were trying to kill her. Suddenly, Sylvia lunged at Venus' throat and tried to strangle the goddess, but with her back turned, the remaining stone creatures flew to attack Sylvia. Sylvia ran out of the suite and fled down the long corridor to escape, with three gargoyles flying after her; she saw the open elevator shaft that Venus had climbed up -- mistakenly believing that there was an elevator car waiting there, Sylvia unwittingly jumped in. As Sylvia and the pursuing gargoyles plummeted down the empty shaft, the actual elevator car (on a floor above) slipped its brake and plunged down after them. Venus raced down the stairs to the basement, where she found a "ghastly mess" at the bottom of the elevator shaft.
Venus telephoned Hammond and the police, and when they arrived, they found Sylvia Corpo's body under the smashed elevator car, mixed with the remains of stone gargoyles. Meanwhile in the stairwell, a police patrolman found Venus' lost hat and gloves, which had somehow become sandwiched between the 12th and 14th floors. With no logical explanation for what had happened, the mystified police lieutenant decided to just list Sylvia Corpo's death as a suicide and leave the rest up to the coroner.
Comments: Created by Bill Everett (writer and artist)
There weren't many details provided in this story,
so we never learned the source of Sylvia's powers, or what motivated her to
animate the gargoyles.
The true nature of Sylvia's power was unspecified -- while it's possible that she could have been a mutant who animated the gargoyles by projecting her life-force into unliving matter (much like Ashley Martin), that wouldn't explain where that "non-existent" 13th floor came from. So I'll just assume that she was some kind of witch or sorceress, and her weird garb was some sort of ceremonial attire. Maybe she brought the gargoyles to life by using powers of the occult to summon minor demonic entities and trapped them in the gargoyle statues (Venus used an ax to damage some of the gargoyles, so I'll assume Sylvia used her powers to restore them to normal). Maybe the offices on the "non-existent" 13th floor were a magical construct or illusion that Sylvia conjured, and the 13th floor itself existed in some mystical "pocket dimension" magically linked to the Graycar Building.
This 8-page story -- "Where Gargoyles Dwell!" -- was reprinted in Marvel Spotlight I#2 (February, 1972).
There is no relation between Graycar and the Graybar Building, a 30-story building in Manhattan (420 Lexington Ave) built in 1926-1927. I couldn't find any documentation that the Graybar Building was built without a 13th floor, but the New York Central Building nearby was built without one. Its address is 230 Park Avenue.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Sylvia Corpo has no known connections to:
Gara and the gargoyles have no known connections to:
Numbering at least four, they were stone statues that previously adorned an
old building; when Henry Corpo tore down that old building to erect the
Graycar Building in its place, he had the gargoyles thrown away. But
Corpo's daughter Sylvia recovered the statues and somehow brought them to
life; she also gave them a home in a suite of Corpo Construction Company
offices located on the "non-existent" 13th floor of the Graycar
Building, where the gargoyles sat on pedestals.
But Gara, the king of the gargoyles, resented Sylvia, who proclaimed herself the stone creatures' queen, so he plotted her death. One day when Sylvia was in the office, the gargoyles attacked and killed the Corpo Company's employees, but Sylvia found refuge by hiding under a desk. Shortly afterwards, the goddess Venus entered the office and fought off some of the gargoyles with a fire ax.
Sylvia later returned and took Gara's life away, but the other gargoyles retaliated by chasing after her. When Sylvia fell down an elevator shaft, the gargoyles followed after her and ended up smashing themselves at the bottom of the shaft.
The sentient gargoyles were made of stone and had the ability to propel themselves through the air.
They included an unidentified female and unidentified male; they had been working in the Corpo office when they were killed during a savage attack by Gara and the other gargoyles.
images: (without ads)
Venus I#16/1, p7, pan1 (Main Image, Sylvia Corpo taking the life from Gara)
Venus I#16/1, p3, pan6 (Headshot, Sylvia Corpo (in torn street clothes))
Venus I#16/1, p7, pan2 (Sylvia introduces herself to Venus)
Venus I#16/1, p7, pan5 (Sylvia Corpo and gargoyles plunge down elevator shaft)
Venus I#16/1, p3, pan1 (Gara and other gargoyles reveal themselves to Venus (in street clothes))
Venus I#16/1, p3, pan3 (Gara and other gargoyles swarm around Venus (in street clothes), as Sylvia (under desk) calls for help)
Venus I#16/1, p4, pan3 (Venus (in street clothes) smashes gargoyles with fire ax)
Venus I#16/1, p2, pan5 (Venus (in street clothes) by dead unidentified female Corpo Construction Company receptionist)
Venus I#16/1, p6, pan5 (Venus enters office and passes by dead unidentified male Corpo Construction Company employee, hears Gara moaning)
Venus I#16/1 (October, 1951) - Bill Everett (writer, pencils, inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 02/21/17
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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