Real Name: Brown (first name unrevealed) (see comments)

Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments) (1950s era)

Occupation: Leader of Kato-Kato tribe; lecturer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Explorers Club (see comments), Kato-Kato tribesmen

Enemies: Alex Steel

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Kato-Kato village, somewhere in Africa; his Manhattan apartment

First Appearance: Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (July, 1953)

Powers/Abilities: Although appearing to be a normal middle-aged human, Brown was apparently an immortal of unspecified age; his body could somehow recover from otherwise fatal physical injuries, including beheading and impalement by a spear.

Despite his immortality, Brown seemed to suffer from some unspecified vision defect, because he wore a pair of eyeglasses; he also seemed to require sleep.

As leader of Africa's Kato-Kato tribe, Brown had access to the abundant wealth of their territory, including gold and precious stones.

Brown wore a leopard-skin pouch around his neck that contained a map showing where the tribe was located--he had sworn an oath to the tribe, and refused to betray their trust in him by revealing their secret location to outsiders.

Height: 5' 10" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Bwana Brown is largely unrevealed, but at some point in the past, he was in Africa, where he encountered the Kato-Kato tribe. He was apparently beheaded by the tribesmen, but when he somehow recovered, he was appointed the tribe's leader (see comments).

   Brown was eventually invited by the Explorers Club to deliver a lecture, so he filled a chest with some of the tribe's diamonds and gold; carrying a map with the tribe's location in a leopard-skin pouch, he went to America.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - At the Explorers Club, Brown presented the treasure chest and offered it to the stunned club members as a gift. When asked where he obtained such wealth, Brown mentioned he got it from the Kato-Kato, and all one had to do was ask them for it...and then pass the tribe's test for immortality. But Brown refused to reveal the tribe's secret location...and that besides, none of the club members could pass the tribe's test.

   As Brown took his leave, he invited the club members to help themselves to the gold and diamonds--like a pack of wild animals attracted to the scent of blood, the explorers trampled, argued, and fought with each other to get their hands on the treasure.

   But as Brown left the club to go to his home, he was unaware that he was being followed by one of the club members--Alex Steel--who was more interested in getting even greater wealth from the Kato-Kato. Figuring that Brown had a map to the tribe's location, Steel waited outside Brown's apartment.

   When Brown turned off the lights and went to bed, Steel broke in and began to ransack the apartment, in search of the map. But when Steel noticed the leopard-skin pouch around Brown's neck, he correctly figured it contained the map. Steel grabbed a souvenir spear displayed on the wall and drove it into Bwana Brown, then took the map.

   The next day, Steel was on a flight to Africa; while looking through a newspaper, he noticed there was nothing about Brown's death--since Brown lived alone, Steel figured it would be days before his body was discovered...and by that time, Steel figured he'd be the richest man in the world!

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 - BTS) - But unbeknownst to Steel, Brown had recovered from his death, then he somehow went back to Africa and returned to his throne as leader of the Kato-Kato.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - Sometime later, Steel parachuted into the land of the Kato-Kato; he demanded diamonds and gold, then tried to convince the primitive tribesmen of his "divinity". But a tribesman told him he first had to pass their test to prove he was truly an "idol"--the unsuspecting Steel unwittingly agreed.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 - BTS) - The test didn't take long--Steel was beheaded, and when he didn't recover, the tribesmen placed his head on a golden platter.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - A few minutes later, the procession of Kato-Kato tribesman carried the golden platter to their leader. As Bwana Brown looked at the head of the false "idol," he commented that Steel made one mistake: When the fool (Steel) tried to kill him, he didn't suspect that Bwana Brown really was immortal!

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Gene Colan.

"Bwana" is a Swahili word, often used as a respectful form of address, and corresponding to "sir"--I'm guessing that wasn't Brown's actual first name.

The name of the organization was specifically mentioned in a caption as the "Manhattan Explorers Club" (no apostrophe).

This was only a 5-page story, and details of Bwana Brown's past weren't mentioned, so I'm only assuming he underwent the same "test" as Steel.

The source of Bwana Brown's immortality was never explained; since he was active in daylight, he probably wasn't a vampire. So what was he? A magic user? A god/demigod/demon? A mutant? A member of the Immortal Nine? Your guess is as good as mine...

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Bwana Brown has no known connections to:

The Kato-Kato tribe has no known connections to:

Kato-Kato tribesmen

A primitive tribe located somewhere in Africa, their territory was abundant with "yellow iron" (gold) and "sparkle stones" (diamonds and other precious stones).

When Bwana Brown came to their land, they apparently beheaded him (see comments). But when Brown recovered from the fatal injury, and thereby passed their test for immortality, the tribesmen were convinced that he was an "idol". They made Brown their tribal leader, and granted him full access to their wealth.

When Alex Steel later parachuted into their territory, he claimed to be an "idol," then demanded gold and diamonds. A tribesman told Steel that he first had to pass their immortality test first, so Steel unwittingly agreed.

After they beheaded Steel and he didn't get better, the Kato-Kato tribesmen placed the false "idol's" decapitated head on a golden platter, then carried it to their leader--Bwana Brown, a true immortal.

--Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1

images: (without ads)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Bwana Brown, presenting gold and precious stones at Explorers Club)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p1, pan3 (Headshot - Bwana Brown)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p2, pan1 (Bwana Brown tells about Kato-Kato tribes' test)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p5, pan8 (immortal Bwana Brown sees Alex Steel's head on golden platter)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p5, pan5 (Kato-Kato tribesmen speaking to Alex Steel)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p5, pan6 (Kato-Kato tribesman speaking to Alex Steel)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p5, pan7 (procession of Kato-Kato tribesmen carrying Alex Steel's head on a golden platter to Bwana Brown)

Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (July, 1953) - unidentified writer, Gene Colan (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 12/19/2020
Last updated: 12/19/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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