Real Name: Gary Gaunt

Identity/Class: Human mutate (1940s era)

Occupation: Criminologist (see comments)

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Jean Carson

Enemies: "Overlords of gangdom" (including Leres)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: His home/laboratory in an unidentified American city

First Appearance: Mystic Comics I#9/6 (May, 1942)

Powers/Abilities: Possibly a polymath, the highly intelligent Gaunt was skilled in the fields of criminology and biochemistry. He was in good physical shape, and was able to fend off an assault by two armed thugs.

After accidentally imbibing an experimental formula he created, Gaunt was transformed into a monstrous evil-doer by night--at sundown, his facial features underwent a fierce physical alteration (accompanied with pointed ears and fanged teeth), he stood with a hunched posture, and he developed an amoral and brutish personality. (Possibly his strength and durability were augmented as well, but there was no obvious evidence of this (see comments)).

While in his transformed state, Gaunt was compelled to commit a series of robberies and assaults; during his crime spree, he wore a red cape and carried a walking stick, which he used as a bludgeoning weapon.

When exposed to the rays of the rising sun, Gaunt was transformed back to his normal self, and he had only a vague recollection of what his monstrous alter-ego had done.

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

(Mystic Comics I#9/6 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Gary Gaunt is largely unrevealed. He used his talents to assist the police department of his city in solving crimes, for which he incurred the wrath of the criminal underworld. He was involved in a relationship with Jean Carson; in his spare-time, Gaunt endeavored to develop a chemical formula for a virus that would change rabbits into cruel and vicious fighting animals (Yes, you read that right--see comments).

(Mystic Comics I#9/6) - After having solved yet another case for the police, Gaunt postponed his date with Jean until the following night so he could focus his attention on his rabbit experiment.

   Meanwhile, Leres and the other overlords of gangdom put their old feuds aside to unite against their common foe: Gary Gaunt.

   The next morning, just as Gaunt had completed his experimental formula, he received a phone call from mob-boss Leres--claiming that he was in danger of being "rubbed out" by his competition, the gangster wanted to arrange a meeting with Gaunt to pass along the incriminating evidence. Although he suspected a trap, Gaunt nonetheless drove to the meeting place, but when he walked inside, he was confronted by two armed thugs. Gaunt easily dealt with the gunmen by punching them out, then returned to his car to drive home.

   But unbeknownst to Gaunt, his car had apparently been sabotaged while he fought the thugs--as he drove along a quiet stretch of highway, his car blew up with a shuddering blast; the force of the explosion flung Gaunt clear of the fiery wreckage, although he seemingly suffered a minor concussion.

   Half-conscious from the shock, Gaunt staggered to his feet and wandered for several hours; as nightfall approached, he dazedly arrived back at his home. With his head spinning, Gaunt made his way to his lab and sought a sedative--he blindly reached for a chemical mixture, unaware that it was actually his experimental formula. After draining the test-tube of the fluid, Gaunt collapsed into a deep slumber--as he slept, his appearance began to change in the darkness.

   Later that night, Jean had just arrived at Gary's home for their date when she saw a horrible-looking man sneaking out; finding Gary's lab empty, Jean trailed the ugly stranger to the swank Riphany Jewelry establishment. The stranger sneaked inside the store, clubbed the security guard with his walking stick, then turned his attention to the Glory Diamond. But as the savage burglar plucked the huge gem from the case, Jean entered and held him at gunpoint. The stranger turned to flee as Jean fired her gun, but her shot missed--Jean chased after the brutal prowler, accidentally dropping her handbag in the store.

   But after searching for some time, Jean was unable to find the thief; returning to Gary's house, Jean heard a radio report implicating her in the jewelry store robbery, for the police had discovered her purse and identification there. Jean knew she was in trouble, but since she was exhausted and hadn't slept all night, she settled down and took a nap in Gary's home.

   Meanwhile, the monstrous robber continued with his spree of crimes. As the night began to lighten its veil of darkness, he returned to the lab, where he found the sleeping Jean. The startled Jean awoke and saw the ugly stranger just as the malevolent fiend seized her, his fingers closing in a death-grip around her throat. But as the first rays of dawn seeped through the window, the man-monster dropped his intended victim and clutched his own throat, gasping. As the day grew into brightness, the horrified Jean watched as the stranger's face changed to that of Gary Gaunt!

   The bewildered Gary wondered what had happened to him; Jean explained that he had changed from one person to another, and all night he had been robbing and assaulting like an evil monster of the dark, the loot still in his pockets. Realizing that Jean's claims were true, Gary explained that his transformation had been caused when he accidentally drank his experimental formula.

   The distraught Gary was near hysteria over his condition, but Jean calmed him--she told him that first they would return all that he had stolen, then after she herself was cleared of criminal charges in the jewelry store robbery, the two of them would go away. Gary feared he would change again with the next sundown and try to kill Jean, but Jean was willing to take the chance and stay with him--she pointed out that since Gary changed back at dawn, it meant that he had the days to fight off what came upon him in the night. With Jean at his side, Gary resolved to find a way to cure himself of his double-life: Ace criminologist by day, monster evil-doer by night.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Don Rico (artist).

And although the caption in the last panel promised another Gary Gaunt adventure in the next issue, this 6-page story would be his one-and-only appearance (on Earth-616, at least... but read on).

Perhaps the Gary Gaunt feature was cancelled because editors considered him to be too much like The Terror (Laslo Pevely), who already had his own feature also running in Mystic Comics. (And speaking of which: The Terror made a modern-day appearance in Sensational She-Hulk I#15-17 (May-July, 1990), but the artwork made him look more like the transformed Gary Gaunt--perhaps that story was originally intended to reintroduce Gary Gaunt.)

Gaunt's monstrous alter-ego was never identified by any name, but after his crime spree, a caption read "...the man of mystery skulks into Gary Gaunt's laboratory...", so I suggest that he be known as... The Night-Skulker.

Gaunt's occupation was never fully explained, but he didn't seem to be a full-time law-officer--my guess is he was independently wealthy and assisted the police department as a freelance forensic investigator (...and being independently wealthy would also explain how he had a fully stocked laboratory and so much free time for his silly experiment).

Gaunt's motivation for making that experimental formula was never explained--maybe he planned to use the rabbits for sport, or for secret weapons for the military. (The ridiculous idea of making rabbits into vicious and cruel fighting animals reminds me of a scene from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

Perhaps the formula Gaunt created was similar to the one Calvin Zabo later used to become Mr. Hyde.

The concept of a Jekyll-and-Hyde-type character would be used again about 20 years after this story when Marvel created the Hulk (Bruce Banner), whose transformations were initially triggered by the setting and rising of the sun (@ Incredible Hulk I#1-3). (And shortly after the Hulk, DC created Eclipso, another Jekyll-and-Hyde character whose transformations were triggered by eclipsed sunlight

Gary Gaunt's final fate remains unrevealed because he never appeared again in Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel Universe) continuity. But Marvel Adventures Super Heroes#21 (May, 2010) featured an appearance of Gaunt in a story set on Earth-20051, where it was revealed that he was sent behind enemy lines during World War II to disrupt the Nazi war-effort; following the war, he discovered a serum that prevented his transformations--in modern times, burglars stole his serum, and he feared he would change again.

Although the Earth-616 alter-ego of Gary Gaunt displayed no abnormal strength in the original story, his Earth-20051 counterpart was said to be half as strong as the Hulk, also, Gaunt-20051 explained that the purpose of his rabbit experiment was to understand rage and aggression.

Gary Gaunt's alter ego could be called Throwback (name taken from the "title"). Plus if Earth-616 Gary Gaunt's experiments were the same as Earth-20051 Gary Gaunt's then maybe finding a chemical cure to un-Vita Ray treated Super-Soldier Serum subjects like Prototype/Protocide could be the reason for the experiments with rabbits. Hopefully since the Earth 616 Gary Gaunt only had one appearance Marvel will choose to make him more like his Earth 20051 counterpart.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Gary Gaunt has no known connections to:

Jean Carson has no known connections to:

Leres has no known connections to:

Jean Carson

Jean was Gary Gaunt's girlfriend; she carried a handgun in her purse.

When she went to Gary's home one night for their date, Jean saw a horrible-looking stranger sneaking out; finding Gary's lab empty, Jean trailed the stranger to a jewelry store, where the stranger committed a robbery. Jean confronted the thief and held him at gunpoint, but the stranger fled--as Jean chased after him, she inadvertently dropped her purse in the store.

After searching for some time, Jean was unable to find the monstrous thief, so she returned to Gary's home; she heard a radio report implicating her in the jewelry store robbery, because the police had discovered her purse there.  Although knowing that she was in trouble, Jean was exhausted because she hadn't slept all night, so she took a nap.

But near dawn, the startled Jean awoke to find the monstrous stranger standing over her. The malevolent man-monster seized Jean by her throat and began to choke her. But as the first rays of sunlight began to seep into the window, the stranger began to gasp, and Jean watched in horror as he transformed back to Gary Gaunt!

Jean learned that Gary's transformation was due to his accidentally drinking an experimental formula; although Gary feared he would continue to change into the violent monster every night, Jean promised to stay at his side while he searched for a cure.

--Mystic Comics I#9/6


Leres (first name unrevealed) was a mob-boss and considered to be one of the "big guns" of organized crime.

When criminologist Gary Gaunt's assistance to the police of the city threatened the livelihoods of the overlords of gangdom, the criminals put aside their feuds to meet, and Leres came up with a scheme to kill Gaunt.

Leres telephoned Gaunt and claimed his competitors were going to kill him; he requested that Gaunt meet with him at the Moonglow Hotel so he could pass along the evidence.

But when Gaunt went to the meeting, he discovered that it was a trap, for Leres had stationed two gunmen to confront him--Gaunt easily fought off the thugs; but the gunmen had merely been a distraction, for apparently another of Leres' underlings had planted a bomb in Gaunt's automobile.

--Mystic Comics I#9/6

Gary Gaunt's experimental formula

A chemical concoction created by Gaunt, the fluid mixture contained a virus that was intended to change timid rabbits into cruel and vicious fighting animals; Gaunt was interrupted by a telephone call before he could test the formula.

Some time later, Gaunt had just survived an assassination attempt when gangsters blew up his car.  Staggering back into his lab, Gaunt reached for a sedative to ease the pain of his injuries, but he accidentally grabbed the test-tube with the formula. After drinking the formula, Gaunt collapsed and was transformed into a monstrous alter-ego at sundown.

--Mystic Comics I#9/6

images: (without ads)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Gary Gaunt)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Gary Gaunt's monstrous alter-ego)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p4, pan5 (Headshot - Gary Gaunt's monstrous alter-ego strikes security guard with his walking stick)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p6, pan2 (Gaunt's monstrous alter-ego clutches his throat and begins to change with approaching daylight; Jean Carson)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p6, pan5 (Gary Gaunt returns to normal at sunrise; Jean Carson)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p4, pan1 (Jean Carson)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p6, pan5 (Jean Carson tells Gary Gaunt about his alter-ego's crime spree)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p1, pan5 (Leres speaking to other overlords of gangdom)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p2, pan5 (Leres speaking to Gary Gaunt on telephone)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p3, pan6 (in laboratory, delirious Gary Gaunt accidentally drinks test-tube with experimental formula)
Mystic Comics I#9/6, p6, pan6 (Gary Gaunt holding empty formula test-tube, telling Jean Carson that he accidentally drank it)

Mystic Comics I#9/6 (May, 1942) - unidentified writer, Don Rico (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 01/01/2019
Last updated: 01/06/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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