Real Name: Inapplicable

Identity/Class: Terrestrial animal (Lion) mutate

Occupation: Predator; would-be world conqueror

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His subjects

Enemies: Two unidentified men, mankind (in general)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: King of all the beasts; lord of the jungle

Base of Operations: Unidentified jungle, somewhere in Africa

First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#83/3 (August, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: Previously an ordinary lion , the "Lion King" was mutated by exposure to an unknown wavelength of radiation. He was temporarily endowed with human-level intelligence and reasoning, as well as mental telepathy, which he could use to enthrall other animals--the limits and range of this power are unknown.  The lion's intelligence and powers faded after the span of a few hours, and he returned to normal.

Height: 5' (by approximation)
Weight: 600 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Amber
Hair: Tawny-brown

History: (Journey into Mystery I#83/3 (fb) - BTS) - The past of the lion is unknown, but he made his domain in an African jungle.

(Journey into Mystery I#83/3) - One day, the lion saw two men invade his jungle, but he did not attack, for he sensed something stranger in his domain--a device the men had apparently left behind.  As he stalked closer to the device in the jungle clearing, he was bathed in the radiation of a secret atomic test (see comments).  Stunned by the staggering shock, the lion fell unconscious. 

   Hours later, the lion revived, greatly changed by the bombardment, for the radiation had altered his brain, giving him human-level intelligence.  Seeing that the weapons of man almost caused his death, the lion decided the animals of the world must destroy the human race before mankind destroyed all life on earth, and it would be his destiny to lead the attack.  Utilizing his new-found ability, the lion sent out penetrating thought-waves throughout the jungle, summoning the other animals--none could resist, and every beast sensing the mental call responded.  As the lion telepathically addressed his subjects, he explained to them that they outnumbered humans by millions to one, and wherever the humans might run, or swim, or fly, they would be pursued and overwhelmed; he would be their leader, and soon the king of beasts would be monarch of the world!

   But then the radiation that had affected him began to weaken, and the lion's brain grew more and more clouded.  As his unnatural intelligence rapidly faded, the thoughts and plans and dreams of the king of the beasts faded as well.  With his intellect gone, the lion instinctively let out a roar, and the other jungle beasts--no longer held by his hypnotic mental power--broke rank and fled in fear of their once-more predatory foe.  The lion resumed his normal life, and the unsuspecting human race narrowly avoided becoming an endangered species.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer) and Steve Ditko (artist)

This lion was never identified by any particular name, so I just arbitrarily called him the "Lion King" for the purposes of this profile.

It was never explicitly shown that the two men actually left a device in the jungle, so I'm only assuming they did, and that they weren't just two hunters on safari who happened to be in the area.  Although the artwork and caption implied it was an atomic explosion that mutated the lion, there was no evidence of the wide-spread devastation to the jungle that would have resulted if it had been a tactical nuclear weapon (not to mention that the lion would have been vaporized!), so maybe it wasn't actually a bomb, but rather some other atomic-powered device that malfunctioned and had a radiation leak.

I guess the most significant thing about this story is that it appeared in the very same issue that featured the first appearance of a certain Norse thunder god--maybe they could bring back the "Lion King" as a foe for Thor and reveal that he was an avatar of the Lion God , or maybe that those men were testing a device for the High Evolutionary.

The Lion King story was originally done in Strange Worlds#5 (August, 1959) "I Am...Gorilla!" with a gorilla instead of a lion.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

  "Lion King" has no known connections to:

"Lion King's" subjects

The beasts of the jungle, they included apes, birds, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, leopards, monkeys, snakes, water buffaloes, and zebras.  They were enthralled by the lion's new-found mental powers, and were going to be his soldiers in an attack to destroy mankind.  When the lion's intelligence faded, he instinctively roared at them, and the animals scattered back into the jungle.

--Journey into Mystery I#83/3

Unidentified men

Presumably, they were responsible for bringing an atomic device into an African jungle (possibly carrying it in that white backpack?).  The resultant radiation from the device bombarded the lion and temporarily mutated him, giving him human-level intelligence.

--Journey into Mystery I#83/3

images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#83/3, p3, pan4 (main image, "Lion King" summoning his subjects)
Journey into Mystery I#83/3, p3, pan1 (headshot)
Journey into Mystery I#83/3, p2, pan4 (lion bombarded by radiation)
Journey into Mystery I#83/3, p4, pan1 ("Lion King" addressing his subjects)
Journey into Mystery I#83/3, p2, pan2 (two men watched by lion)

Journey into Mystery I#83/3 (August, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist) 

Last updated: 03/09/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters