Real Name: Weems (first name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Human mutate (1940s era)

Occupation: Medical scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His three henchmen (Bo and Rocky named)

Enemies: Black Marvel (Dan Lyons), Dillon

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: His home/laboratory; an old warehouse

First Appearance: Mystic Comics I#7/9 (December, 1941)

Powers/Abilities: A skilled medical-research scientist, Dr. Weems was a normal human of average strength.

After imbibing an experimental serum, Weems was transformed into a hideous man-monster; although endowed with clawed fingers and a mouthful of fanged teeth (a feature which earned him the appellation of "The Grinner"), he displayed no enhanced strength or paranormal abilities. He was armed with a standard semi-automatic handgun.

Weems had a kindly and altruistic disposition, but his monstrous alter-ego had a hate-filled personality that lusted for money and power.

The Grinner later developed a chemical formula that counteracted the effects of his original serum and changed his physical form back to normal; however, his evil Grinner-personality still seemed to influence him.

Height: 5' 9" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

(Mystic Comics I#7/9) - The past of Dr. Weems is largely unrevealed, but the selfless scientist spent much of his time in his cellar laboratory, diligently trying to develop a quick cure for pneumonia. Believing that he had finally perfected the serum, Weems dared to drink the powerful potion himself, little dreaming of what the dread results would be--due to a miscalculation of the chemical formula, Weems' mind and body were twisted as he underwent a hideous transformation, and his brain filled with evil thoughts of murder and robbery.

   Desiring wealth and power, the transformed Weems recruited some bloodthirsty henchmen from the criminal underworld and became their leader (whom they only knew as "The Grinner"). The Grinner and his men embarked on a spree of murders and robberies that rocked the city for several days, but the fanged fiend had bigger plans in mind.

   The next day, the Grinner and his gang went to the home of Dillon, who owned the deed to a Texas oil property worth millions. Dillon refused to reveal the location of the deed, so the Grinner began to choke him to force his cooperation; suddenly, the Black Marvel (who'd been on the Grinner's trail for days) came bursting in. While the hero was occupied with fighting the henchmen, the Grinner made his escape. The Black Marvel chased after the villain's car, but he lost sight of it near Dr. Weems' house, so he went to the scientist's home to investigate further.

   Down in Weems' lab, the Grinner mixed a chemical formula and changed himself back to Dr. Weems (although he still seemed to be influenced by his evil personality). Hearing his doorbell ring, Weems went upstairs and found the Black Marvel at his doorstep. The hero questioned Weems, but the scientist told him that he had seen no suspicious individuals lurking about. Later, after the Black Marvel left, Weems drank his experimental serum and became the Grinner once more.

(Mystic Comics I#7/9 - BTS) - But while the Black Marvel had been following the Grinner's car, the henchmen had kidnapped Dillon and took him to their hideout in an old warehouse.

(Mystic Comics I#7/9) - Still determined to get the oil deed, the Grinner sent one of his henchmen to deliver a ransom note to Dillon's wife at their home--but unknown to the thug, the Black Marvel was secretly watching him as he slipped the note under the door. The dark-garbed hero followed the Grinner's underling back to the warehouse; after sneaking inside the warehouse and narrowly avoiding an electrified wire booby-trap, the Black Marvel found Dillon and freed him from captivity.

   Meanwhile, in another room in the warehouse, the Grinner told his men that as soon as Dillion's wife sent the deed, they were to put Dillon in a weighted sack and drop him into the river; but he was interrupted when the Black Marvel suddenly came running in and punched two of the henchmen, then he grabbed hold of the Grinner--as the panicked henchmen fled, they blundered into the live-wire trap and were electrocuted.

   The Grinner broke free of the hero's grasp, and as the Black Marvel came charging at him, the toothy terror pulled a rope which opened a trapdoor in the hero's path. The Black Marvel dropped into a small chamber below, where the walls began to close in upon him--but he happened to find a crow-bar, which he braced between the deadly compacting walls, causing them to buckle and split as they drew closer, then he escaped from the chamber.

   Unaware that his hostage had been freed, the Grinner was preparing to kill Dillon himself; but the Black Marvel rushed to confront him. The murderous madman fired his handgun, but the hero managed to dodge the bullets. The Grinner got into his car and raced back to Dr. Weems' house, with the the Black Marvel chasing after him on foot.

   After reaching Weems' lab, the Grinner once again drank his counteracting formula, just as the Black Marvel crawled in through an open cellar window. The hero punched the Grinner, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the stony cellar wall, which killed him instantly.

   In death, the monstrous Grinner transformed back to kindly Dr. Weems. After looking over Weems' notes, the Black Marvel sadly concluded it was one of the ingredients compounded in the pneumonia cure that had corrupted a good man into a killer.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Al Gabriele (artist).

Perhaps Dr. Weems' formula was chemically similar to the experimental formula Gary Gaunt would later create, or to the formula that Calvin Zabo would use later still to become Mr. Hyde.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

The Grinner/Dr. Weems has no known connections to:

Dillon has no known connections to:


Dillon (first name unrevealed) was the owner of a deed to Texas oil property that was worth millions; he hid the deed in a location that was only known to him and his wife.

When the fiendish Grinner and his henchmen broke into his house to steal the deed, Dillon initially refused to reveal where it was; but when the Grinner began choking him, Dillon was just about to tell him its location. Suddenly, the Black Marvel came bursting into Dillon's home--as the hero fought the henchmen, the Grinner made his getaway and drove off.  While the Black Marvel chased after the Grinner's car, the villain's henchmen kidnapped Dillon and took him to their hideout in an old warehouse.

Dillon was bound with rope and held in a closed room in the warehouse, and the Grinner had one of his henchmen deliver a ransom note for the deed to Dillon's wife.

But the Black Marvel had secretly been watching Dillon's home, and he followed the henchman back to the warehouse, then freed Dillon from captivity.

--Mystic Comics I#7/9

images: (without ads)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p1, pan1 (Main Image - The Grinner)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p1, pan3 (Headshot - Dr. Weems, holding vial of experimental serum)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p2, pan2 (Dr. Weems transforms into The Grinner)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p2, pan3 (The Grinner standing in Weems' lab)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p8, pan8 (death of The Grinner)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p3, pan4 (Dillon (left) threatened by the Grinner and two of his henchmen)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p3, pan5 (Dillon being choked by The Grinner)
Mystic Comics I#7/9, p5, pan8 (Dillon (right) freed by Black Marvel in Grinner's warehouse)

Mystic Comics I#7/9 (December, 1941) - unidentified writer, Al Gabriele (pencils and inks), Joe Simon (editor)

First Posted: 01/10/2019
Last updated: 01/10/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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