Real Name: Unrevealed (see comments)
Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments) (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Enemies: His creditors, purchasers of his brain
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The Great Mnemo"
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: Astonishing#22/2 (February, 1953)
Powers/Abilities: Having an abnormally large cranium, Mnemo was endowed with an incredible intellect and computer-like mind, which he used for a variety of feats. With his remarkable photographic-memory, he claimed he could read 400 pages in a half-hour and memorize every word. He could mentally multiply and divide seven-digit numbers quickly with ease. He could read and speak at least 74 languages fluently (including Japanese and Swahili). He used his mental talents as a stage-performer.
Although he earned a great deal of income from his performances, Mnemo's major weakness was that he handled money poorly--he squandered his wealth, and became indebted for $1 million.
Prior to his death from a "dread disease," Mnemo had made arrangements to have his brain sold to pay off his debts; after he died, Mnemo's brain was removed and placed in a fluid-filled glass jar.
Height: 5' 10" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
(Astonishing#22/2) - The past of Mnemo is largely unrevealed, but at some point he began a career as a showman and demonstrated his amazing mental talents--he was hailed internationally, and the world clamored to see him. Although he earned a great deal of money from his performances, Mnemo was a spendthrift, and he eventually found himself in debt for $1 million, but he assured his creditors that he wouldn't let them down.
One day, Mnemo received an invitation to be the guest of honor at the International Doctors and Scientists Joint Conference. At the symposium, Mnemo was given a series of difficult memorization and arithmetic tests, and he passed all with flying colors. But just as the conference unanimously declared that Mnemo had the most brilliant brain in the history of mankind, he suddenly fainted. Mnemo was rushed to a doctor--following an examination, the phyician's diagnosis was that Mnemo only had a few months left to live.
When rumor of his fatal disease got out, Mnemo's apartment was besieged by creditors who demanded to be paid. Mnemo promised that he would reimburse them all, and he assured them that a brain like his could figure out a way to pay back a few paltry millions.
(Astonishing#22/2 - BTS) - In order to pay all his creditors, Mnemo secretly made arrangements for the advance sale of his brain for the sum of $100,000 following his death; but he fraudulently made deals with several universities and laboratories, and thus raised enough money to cover his $1 million debt.
On the day Mnemo passed away, his brain was removed and placed within a fluid-filled glass jar.
(Astonishing#22/2) - At Mnemo's funeral service, thousands attended to pay their final respects.
A few days after Mnemo's internment, the head of a university held a meeting with representatives from various universities and laboratories so he could publicly announce that he had purchased Mnemo's brain for $100,000--he was shocked when all the individuals in attendance also claimed that they had made the same deal with Mnemo! Now understanding how Mnemo had managed to raise the money to pay off his immense debt before he died, the attendees realized that they had all been swindled.
Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Sam Kweskin (artist).
...And I assume there was a lengthy court-room battle over which
party had legal ownership of the brain.
This 4-page story -- The Brain -- really didn't have any good full images of Mnemo.
Since his name -- Mnemo -- is obviously derived from the word "mnemonic," it was probably not his real name, but probably a stage-name.
The exact nature of Mnemo was never revealed, but I'd guess that he was a mutant.
Considering his freakish intelligence, perhaps Mnemo's brain was still active after his physical body's death, and maybe his mind lives on as a disembodied brain floating in a jar...
Interesting character. I've got a fondness for the little known superhumans of the Atlas era, with all the potential they have for further, yet to be revealed, adventures. And in that spirit, I'd like to suggest an additional comment to the one speculating that his brain might still have been active after his body's demise. To whit:
Perhaps he faked his death, and the brain everyone was fighting for post-mortem wasn't even his to begin with? Figure this - you've got a bunch of creditors chasing you, so you feign the illness to start with. A brain like Mnemo could easily figure a way to fool the doctor and tests, or else simply pay for falsified results. Likewise, the surgeon or coroner who supposedly removed the brain after death could be bought, or their name forged on the documents to cover up the fact that no one actually removed a brain from a corpse. Unless someone suspects something, no one is likely to check. Mnemo pockets the payments he got for selling his brain, leaves his creditors to spend years fighting in court before whoever wins gets a chance to examine the brain and discover that they've actually bought the brain of a large animal or two normal human brains glued together, except by that time the brain's already turned to mush and can't be properly examined because Mnemo deliberately mixed the "preservative" chemicals in the holding jar to slowly dissolve the faux brain from the inside out, covering his tracks. And now Mnemo is away, free and clear, ready to become the 1950s version of the Mad Thinker...
--Loki of Midgard
Since Mnemo didn't have a criminal background I see him more of a potential Atlas Age Big Brain or Belgian Brain. Plus his "dread disease" could be his "mutant brain" killing off a body it doesn't need to survive.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Mnemo has no known connections to:
An unspecified number of unidentified financial businessmen, Mnemo owed them all the combined sum of $1 million. When they heard rumors of Mnemo's fatal illness, they went to his apartment to demand repayment; Mnemo assured them that they would be fully reimbursed.
One month later, they were all surprised when Mnemo payed them in full.
An assemblage of representatives for various unidentified universities and laboratories, they had each purchased the deceased Mnemo's brain for $100,000. They eventually learned that they had been swindled by Mnemo before his death.
(Note: Although I have them as his enemies, Mnemo himself didn't seem to have any animosity for them... but I'd bet they didn't feel too favorable toward him after they learned they'd been bilked.)
images: (without ads)
Astonishing#22/2, p2, pan6 (Main Image - Mnemo standing before mirror, explaining that he handled money badly)
Astonishing#22/2, p3, pan7 (multiple Headshots - Mnemo demonstrating his phenomenal memory)
Astonishing#22/2, p3, pan5 (Mnemo (center) demonstrating his photographic memory to doctors and scientists)
Astonishing#22/2, p4, pan8 (following his death, Mnemo's brain in jar, surrounded by representatives of laboratories and universities)
Astonishing#22/2, p4, pan3 (creditors visit Mnemo at his apartment, demanding repayment)
Astonishing#22/2, p4, pan4 (creditors surprised to be repaid by Mnemo)
Astonishing#22/2, p4, pan6 (head of university (with Mnemo's brain on his desk) announces that he has purchased Mnemo's brain)
Astonishing#22/2, p4, pan7 (purchasers of Mnemo's brain realize they've been swindled)
Astonishing#22/2 (February, 1953) - unidentified writer, Sam Kweskin (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
First Posted: 03/06/18
Last updated: 05/12/18
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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