Real Name: Rex Ross

Identity/Class: Human (1950s era)

Occupation: Treasure-hunter

Group Membership: None (see comments)

Affiliations: Pancho

Enemies: Bororo Indians

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile in South America

First Appearance: Mystical Tales#5/1 (February, 1957)

Powers/Abilities: A normal human, Rex Ross had no paranormal physical abilities.

A clever and resourceful man, Ross improvised a paste made of red earth and water to darken his skin, and thus disguised himself as one of the indigenous peoples of South America.

Although greedy, Ross was a strong-willed individual--he had the fortitude to survive and retain his sanity despite being imprisoned in total darkness within the Palace of the Taboo for a year.

Height: 6'  (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Mystical Tales#5/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Rex Ross is largely unrevealed, but motivated by greed, he went to the jungles of South America in search of diamonds and gold; at some point, he hired Pancho to be his guide.

(Mystical Tales#5/1) - While Ross and Pancho were near a village, they saw a group of natives carrying monkey-skin bags through the jungle; Pancho explained that the Bororo Indians were making their annual pilgrimage to the Palace of the Taboo, and the bags contained their most valuable possessions,which they left as offerings to the Taboo.  Figuring that the Palace would be filled with diamonds and gold by now, Ross wanted to follow the natives; but the superstitious Pancho refused to accompany him, so Ross was determined to go alone.

   Ross first stopped within the village, where he traded some beads for a loincloth; after changing into the garment and making a paste to darken his skin, the disguised Rex Ross joined in the chanting Bororo procession as they walked through the dense jungle.  All along the way, Ross thought to himself that the Bororos had been hauling their wealth to the Palace for hundreds of years, and soon it would all be his--with all the diamonds and gold, he figured he'd be the richest man in the world!

   After hours of walking deep into the jungle, the procession finally reached the Palace of the Taboo.  Ross sneaked inside the darkened shrine as one by one, the Bororos entered and placed the bags of their treasures on the floor--Ross figured he would wait inside until they had all left their offerings and departed, then he would help himself to the biggest pile of wealth in the world.  Finally, when all was quiet, Ross figured the Bororos had gone, so he began to gather the treasure--although he couldn't see anything in the pitch blackness of the Palace, he could feel that the hunks of gold were as big as coconuts!  But after he had gathered all he could carry for the first load, Ross discovered the entrance was blocked--the natives had rolled a giant boulder in place, and he was trapped inside the Palace of the Taboo!

   For hours, Ross vainly searched for another exit in the darkness, but it was hopeless, for he was imprisoned--fortunately for him, the Bororos had also left food and water as part of their offerings.  In the eternal darkness within the Palace, Ross lost track of time, and he resigned himself to the fact that he would be trapped there until the Bororos made their next yearly pilgrimage.  But he figured it would be worth it, for when they next opened the Palace, he could sneak out with enough of the treasure to be set for life.

   For twelve long months, Ross passed the time by counting and recounting the treasure that he couldn't see while he awaited the return of the Bororos--he thought to himself that he would have cracked up long ago if it wasn't for being able to feel those cool diamonds running though his fingers, and the huge lumps of gold.  Then finally came the moment Ross had been waiting for--he heard chanting, and figured a year had passed, which meant that the Bororos were back and the Palace entrance was unblocked, so the time had come to make his escape.

   Carrying a bag of treasure, the bearded and haggard Rex Ross stealthily emerged from the Palace and hid in the jungle.  Ross then dumped the bag on the ground so he could finally see the treasure he had given up a year of his life for; but he was horrified when he saw that the "treasure" consisted of coconuts, rocks, shells, trinkets, and five-and-dime gems!  With a sad sense of irony, Ross realized that while gold and diamonds represented wealth to him, the Bororos considered all that worthless junk to be their most priceless possessions!

Comments: Created by Carl Wessler (writer) and Al Williamson (artist)

Considering the time-period in which this 4-page story -- The Taboo! -- was published, maybe Ross was a member of the Explorers' Club (see Monster Hunters).

Just a thought: Since these events took place somewhere in South America, maybe the Palace of the Taboo had actually been built in honor of the alien Taboo (who first appeared in South America).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Rex Ross has no known connections to:

Pancho has no known connections to:


He was knowledgeable of the peoples and territory of South America; treasure-hunter Rex Ross hired him to be his guide.

When they saw a procession of Bororo Indians making their pilgrimage to the Palace of the Taboo to leave their tribe's valuables as offerings, the superstitious Pancho refused to accompany Ross because he feared the Taboo.

--Mystical Tales#5/1

Bororo Indians

A tribe of natives who lived somewhere in the jungles of South America, they made an annual pilgrimage to the Palace of the Taboo to leave their valuables as offerings.

--Mystical Tales#5/1

Palace of the Taboo

An ancient structure built deep within the jungles of South America, it was where the Bororo Indians left their tribe's most precious possessions as offerings to the Taboo.

After leaving their offerings, the Bororos rolled a boulder in place to seal the Palace's only entrance, unaware that treasure-hunter Rex Ross was inside; Ross would be trapped within the Palace for a year.

(Note: There were no panels that showed a full view of the entire palace.)

--Mystical Tales#5/1

Treasure of the Bororos

Consisting of coconuts, rocks, shells, trinkets, and five-and-dime gems, it was what the Bororo Indians considered to be their most valuable possessions.  Every year, the Bororos carried the items in monkey-skin bags to the Palace of the Taboo and left the bags as offerings to the Taboo.

Wrongfully assuming the treasure was actually diamonds and gold, Rex Ross would be trapped within the darkened Palace for twelve months, only to learn that he had given up a year of his life for what he considered to be worthless junk.

--Mystical Tales#5/1

images: (without ads)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Rex Ross (rear view))
Mystical Tales#5/1, p1, pan2 (Headshot - Rex Ross)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p2, pan2 (Ross in loincloth, spreading paste over his body to darken his skin)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p4, pan7 (after one year of imprisonment, Ross (with beard) dumps bag of "treasure" on ground)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p1, pan2 (Pancho explains significance of Bororo procession)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p1, pan3 (Pancho (left) warns Rex Ross (right) about taboo)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p1, pan1 (procession of Bororo Indians carrying "treasure" to Palace of the Taboo, as Pancho explains)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p2, pan5 (Ross watches Bororo Indians enter Palace of the Taboo)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p3, pan1 (Ross (right) watches Bororo Indian leaving offering inside darkened Palace of the Taboo)
Mystical Tales#5/1, p4, pan8 (Ross (with beard) finally sees "treasure" in daylight)

Mystical Tales#5/1 (February, 1957) - Carl Wessler (writer), Al Williamson (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor) 

Last updated: 01/17/17

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