Membership: A multitude of unidentified animated human skeletons (Reality-5391, 2075 AD)
Purpose: Animated by the power of the "electronic brain," they were basically used as robots; armed with advanced 21st Century weaponry, they were sent on a mission of conquest.
Aliases: Skeleton army, ghoul army, spooks (see comments)
Affiliations: Interplanetary hoodlums
Enemies: Captain Speed Carter, Space Sentinels (including Lt. Crash Morgan, Junior Cadet Johnny Day, Colonel Stone); Stellar Stone
Base of Operations: Ghoul planet
First Appearance: Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1 (January, 1954)
History: (Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1 (fb) - BTS) - A gang of interplanetary hoodlums were judged to be public enemies of their various planets, so they migrated to the "ghoul planet" and began to carve out their own empire (see comments). They kidnapped doctors and physicists from all inhabited planets and had them create the "electronic brain" -- the power of this device enabled them to animate skeletons and thus build an army of the dead (the unliving soldiers were the perfect warriors, for they required neither food nor clothing). The hoodlums sent a group of these space ghouls to excavate graves on Earth and add to their numbers.
(Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1) - Captain Speed Carter of the Space Sentinels police force was out on a date with his girlfriend, Stellar Stone. While driving Stellar home, Speed turned his jetmobile off the superway and parked by a cemetery so the two could indulge in a little romance. But while they were kissing, Speed saw a group of skeletons digging up a grave; thinking them only to be costumed grave-robbers, Carter jumped out of the jetmobile, unholstered his "zap-gat" (ray-gun), and went to make an arrest. One of the skeletal creatures fired its own gun at Carter, so he shot back, but when the creature shattered into pile of scattered bones, Carter realized he was facing real skeletons! One of the other ghouls clubbed Carter with the butt of its pistol and knocked him out -- while Speed was unconscious, the remaining skeletons kidnapped Stellar and continued exhuming the graves.
Hours later, Speed came to his senses and saw Stellar was
gone, so he reported to Space Sentinel headquarters and informed his
commanding officer (and Stellar's father),
Colonel Stone; a general alarm was sent out, and many Space Sentinel
rocketships were launched in an effort to locate the skeletons'
home-world. Aboard one rocket, Lt. Crash Morgan found the planet,
but as he radioed its location, an attack from the "ghoul planet" blasted
his ship -- Morgan and the other two crewmen had to abandon ship and
went to the planet's surface, where they were eventually captured.
In their own rocket, Speed and Junior Cadet Johnny Day received Morgan's message and flew to the coordinates of the skull-like planet. Leaving the rocket "space-parked" in orbit, Speed and Johnny used their "zoom vests" (rocket-propelled spacesuits) to reach the planet's surface, where they found a world populated by skeletons Speed was determined to find Stellar, but the horde of ghouls attacked, and despite putting up a good fight, he and Johnny were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The two were captured and taken before the gang of hoodlums who controlled the skeletal drones. The leader of the criminals showed Speed how they animated the space ghouls with the electronic brain, and he let the two spacemen know that a battalion of skeletons was marching through space to Mars for their first conquest (see comments).
Speed and Johnny were taken to Stellar, Crash, and the other captured Space Sentinels. The gang-leader told Speed that the captives had already refused to join him and his criminal cohorts, so they were fated to die. Then the leader asked Speed and Johnny if they would join with them -- Johnny outright refused and told him that Speed felt the same way. But to Johnny's shock, Speed slapped him aside ("Shut up, you little brat! I can speak for myself!") and he agreed to join forces with the hoodlums. The criminals welcomed Speed to their group and gave him his first assignment: He had to make his friends into skeletons for their army, and to accomplish this, the hoodlums instructed Carter to push the yellow button on the electronic brain's control panel. But as his finger reached for the button, Speed suddenly slammed his fists on the control panel and wrecked the apparatus, having fooled the criminals with his ruse. While Speed and his fellow Space Sentinels fought the hoodlums, the electronic impulse from the smashed instrument panel was cut off, and a short-circuit turned each skeleton into a bomb -- the army of skeletons that was marching to Mars exploded, and it rained bones out in space for hours.
With the menace of the hoodlums and their boney battalion defeated, Stellar Stone and the heroic Space Sentinels boarded Speed Carter's rocketship and flew back to Earth.
Comments: Created by Hank Chapman (writer) and Joe Maneely (artist)
The army of skeletons were never identified by any particular name, but Colonel Stone referred to them as "space ghouls" -- I liked the sound of that, so I identified them as such; Johnny Day referred to their world as the "ghoul planet".
It would be impossible for the space ghouls to "march"
through empty space, so I'm guessing the electronic brain also had the
capability for some form of teleportation to transport them.
In regards to the "ghoul planet's" location and unusual shape: Since Mars was the skeleton army's first target, I'm guessing that their home-base was in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Maybe its skull-like appearance was the result of the hoodlums initially testing the space ghouls by having them dig and re-shape the asteroid into its distinctive form (The leader did say they "carved out" their own empire).
Since the scientists who developed the electronic brain weren't shown in the story, I'm guessing the hoodlums made them part of the skeleton army when they were done with them.
Grave-robbers from outer space reanimating the dead -- Kind of foreshadows the plot of the later schlock-fest movie Plan 9 from Outer Space.
The technology used to create the Space Ghouls is similar to Stegron's Retro-Generation Ray that he used to animate dinosaur skeletons in Amazing Spider-Man I#165 (2/77)
or that the Deformed Man (Dr. Foster) used to animate and remotely control the Robot Skeleton in the Angel story in Sub-Mariner Comics#6 (Summmer 1942).
Profile by Ron Fredricks
The Space Ghouls have no known connections to:
None identified, they were a group of outlaws from various planets; they included the yellow-skinned, pointed-eared leader, and at least five others -- although no races were specified, one hoodlum appeared to be human.
With the "ghoul planet" as their base of operations, they used the electronic brain to animate an army of skeletons for their plans of conquest.
Presumably, they were taken into custody by Captain Speed Carter and his fellow Space Sentinels.
--Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1
A planet shaped like a skull, Lt. Crash Morgan reported it to be located at "grids 27-Y and 54-Z on Astromap 12-M" (see comments); it was the home-base of the interplanetary hoodlums and their skeleton army.
It had an unspecified long-range weapon on its surface that was used to blast Lt. Morgan's rocketship.
--Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1
The "electronic brain" (computer) was developed by scientists and physicists the hoodlums had kidnapped from various planets. It had the power to remotely reanimate the skeletons of the dead, basically turning them into robots; its range is unrevealed. It also seemed to have the capability to transport the skeleton army through space (see comments).
The electronic brain was destroyed by Captain Speed Carter of the Space Sentinels.
--Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1
images: (without ads)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p1, pan4 (Main Image, Space Ghouls digging up grave in Earth cemetery)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p2, pan7 (Space Ghoul clubs Speed Carter)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p6, pan5 (Space Ghouls marching through space to Mars)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p6, pan6 (Space Ghouls exploding)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p5, pan4 (Leader of interplanetary hoodlums)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p5, pan5 (Hoodlum leader presents other gang members)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p4, pan5 (Speed Carter's rocketship flying towards Ghoul planet)
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1, p5, pan7 (Hoodlum leader presents "electronic brain")
Speed Carter, Spaceman#3/1 (January, 1954) - Hank Chapman (writer), Joe Maneely (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 01/15/17.
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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