KING OF THE VAMPIRES
Real Name: Masinissa
Identity/Class: Human vampire (possibly 238 BC to 0, 1st to 10th century, 11th to 17th century to 19th century (see comments) )
Occupation: King of the Vampires
Group Membership: Leader of a clan of vampires (see comments)
Affiliations: Unidentified vampire guards and seconds for his duel
Enemies: Francois Armal
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: A cave in the hills somewhere in Europe
First Appearance: Journey into Unknown Worlds#28 (June, 1954)
Powers/Abilities: Masinissa was an extremely long-lived vampire with chalk-white skin, who towered over most of his kind, and presumably possessed superhuman strength proportional to his size and had to consume blood to survive. He lacked eyes and eye sockets, but possessed a large nose, pointed ears (presumably an enhanced sense of smell and hearing), sharp teeth and claw-like fingernails. It is unknown if he walked hunched over due to his age or his size. His large bat-like wings presumably gave him the power of flight. Though it was not shown it is very likely he possessed the standard vulnerabilities of vampires including sunlight, religious symbols, garlic and a stake through the heart. (see comments)
Height: 9' (by approximation)
Weight: 400 lbs. (by approximation)
(Journey into Unknown Worlds#28/5 (fb) - BTS) - According to legend (stories told by the great-grandfather of an old man Armal met during the story) the King of the Vampires had descended from bats themselves. (see comments)
(Journey into Unknown Worlds#28/5 - BTS) - Armal, who could slay vampires with his stare, heard of the King of the Vampires for the first time when a vampire told him about him with his last breath. Armal didn't want to believe in the King of the Vampires at first, but an old man assured him he was real and lived well protected in a cave in the hills. Even though the vampire told Armal he would have no chance to harm the King of the Vampires, Armal sent out a challenge to the King of the Vampires throughout the country.
The King of the Vampires answered the challenge and had an invitation to a duel on the moors during the next full moon sent to Armal.
(Journey into Unknown Worlds#28/5) - The King of the Vampires was the last to arrive at the designated spot where Armal and his and Armal's seconds were already waiting. The King of the Vampires faced off with Armal, who screamed for help when he realized his powers were useless against the King because he had no eyes.
(Vampires: The Marvel Undead#1 - Appendix) - The King of the Vampires slew Armal with ease.
Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Al Eadeh (artist).
Though the text called him twice the size of any other vampire, the images showed him as maybe 3 feet taller than his seconds.
The King of Vampires was identified as Masinissa in the Vampire Appendix in Vampires: The Marvel Undead#1 (December, 2012).
The idea behind the real name of the King of the Vampires was that he was actually the historical Masinissa, king of the Massylii (@ 206 BC - 202 BC) and first king of Numidia (@ 202 BC - 148 BC).
His assumed North African origins could mean he and his kin were connected to African vampires like the Adze though they are not the only vampires known in African lore and it could very well be a form of vampire we have not encountered since in Marvel Comics...or Atlas.
Though he was called the King of the Vampires he was probably just the leader of a clan predominantly active in Middle Europe. Dracula probably didn't care much for the old coot hiding in a cave.
His albino-like skin, gnarly bone structure and wings are most likely a result of his vampiric nature. Every other vampire in the story had the same features, which would support the assumption that they were all of the same clan. We don't know which clan though! The Nosferatu would've been a nice pick if not for their ancient leader Lord Nosferatu, though maybe Lord Nosferatu laid low at this point and was the one who had turned Masinissa into a vampire. The King of the Vampires could've been the leader of the Nosferatu clan for centuries if Lord Nosferatu needed some rest.
The King of the Vampires' powers and weaknesses are mostly assumption as the character only appeared in a mere four panels and didn't do much more than attack Armal.
The story clearly did not take place during the 1950s. Armal, who was from Hungary, was knighted by the Emperor at some point during the story. There was no Emperor in Hungary during the 1950s! Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire from 1804 to 1867 and Austria-Hungary between 1867 to 1918. He was probably knighted by Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria.
Dracula's complete absence during the story could be explained by one of his several voyages that kept him away from his home country for months. Most likely IMHO are either his journey to the US for Annabelle St. John in 1862 or his stay in England from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula wherein he went after Mina Murray (later Harker) in 1890.
Profile by Markus Raymond.
King of Vampires (Masinissa) has no known connection to:
Armal was a sheepherder in the small Hungarian town of Diener with the power to slay a vampire with a mere gaze into the creature's eyes.
Armal was looking after a herd of sheep on a September morning when he encountered a vampire for the first time. The vampire attacked the sheep and other townsfolk urged Armal to run for his life, but Armal was scared stiff and just stared at the vampire. To the surprise of everyone the vampire died when Armal stared into his eyes. The villagers celebrated Armal and carried him back to the village on their shoulders.
Word of Armal's powers spread throughout the country and he went from town to town in Hungary and then across the continent of Europe to destroy vampires with his stare.
Three months later Armal was invited to the palace of the Emperor (see comments) and was knighted by him. Sir Armal became a rich lord with a castle of his own and grew arrogant. He stopped helping the poor even when the vampires he had driven out of the cities started attacking their families. Instead he only answered the call of other rich people, who could pay him.
One night Armal slew another vampire for one of his rich friends. With his dying breath the vampire told Armal that even though he could kill normal vampires with his powers he would never be able to harm the King of the Vampires. Armal, who had never heard of this king, at first though the vampire was only trying to frighten them, but an old man assured him the King of the Vampires was real and lived well protected in the caves up in the nearby hills. Armal send word throughout the country to challenge this King of the Vampires and a week later received an invitation to a duel to the death on the moors during the next full moon.
Armal arrived in his coach at the designated spot on the moors where his and the King of the Vampires' seconds were already waiting. He wore all his medals of honor and was self-confident that it would only take seconds to slay the King of the Vampires. Moments later the King of the Vampires arrived and Armal faced off with him. Armal screamed for help when he realized his deathstare was useless against the King of the Vampires because he had no eyes. The King of the Vampires slew Armal.
--Journey into Unknown Worlds#28/5
images (without ads)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#28, p25, pan7 (Masinissa, head shot)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#28, p25, pan5 (Masinissa body shot, in shadows)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#28, p24, pan1 (Armal body shot)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#28, p22, pan5 (Armal's vampire-killing stare)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#28 (June, 1954) - Al Eadeh (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 06/27/17
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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