Real Name: Paul Hartwick

Identity/Class: Human mutate (1950s era)

Occupation: Research scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Unidentified scientist

Known Relatives: Phyllis Hartwick (wife), son (unidentified)

Aliases: "The Man Who Meddled" (in story title)

Base of Operations: His lab at Trescott Preventive Medicine Foundation; his family home

First Appearance: Marvel Tales I#128/3 (November, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: Having no paranormal abilities, Dr. Paul Hartwick was a middle-aged man and a skilled bio-chemist.

After using a cyclotron to accelerate the life-cycle of mice, Hartwick was apparently contaminated with a radiation which caused him (and those within his proximity) to rapidly age (see comments).

Height: 5'10" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Brown, later gray

(Marvel Tales I#128/3) - Dr. Paul Hartwick was employed as a research scientist at the Trescott Preventive Medicine Foundation; he was attempting to develop a serum to speed up the life-cycle of mice, so that scientists could see the results of their experiments with the rodents that much quicker. After three years and 485 tests, Hardwick's experiments were all failures; yet despite the warnings from his wife and co-worker--that he shouldn't tamper with the fundamental sources of life--Hartwick persisted with his experimentation.

   One day, after his latest serum had failed, Hartwick was struck with the idea of using the institute's cyclotron on the mice. Although Hartwick was apprehensive--he'd never operated the nuclear device by himself--he nonetheless activated it and bathed his mice with radiation; but moments later, the cyclotron exploded. Hartwick's co-workers came rushing into the lab to find him injured, but Hartwick was more concerned about the condition of the mice; he was elated when he saw that his experiment was successful--the once very young mice were now old and feeble!

   Although he only suffered minor burns in the mishap, Hartwick was taken to the hospital, where his wife Phyllis came rushing to his bedside. The excited Hartwick told her the wonderful news of how he had finally accelerated the life-cycle of the mice from two years to less than one day, and thus he had made the greatest medical discovery of the century! But Phyllis warned him that he had made a horrible mistake, for he was meddling with life itself. In the months that followed, Hartwick attained great fame for his experiment--he was showered with scientific honors and received new job offers; but Phyllis still wouldn't change her opinion of his discovery.

   More months passed, and Hartwick's world was made complete when his wife gave birth to their first child--a son. But one week after the baby's birth, the infant had matured to the point where he could walk and talk! In the days that followed, Paul and Phyllis Hartwick watched in growing horror as their son rapidly matured into a middle-aged man! By the following week, the Hartwicks went to the crib and found their "baby" dead of old age.

   The Hartwicks were deeply anguished by the death of their son, and as the wrinkled and elderly Paul Hartwick consoled his gray-haired wife with a hug, he told her that they could always adopt a child--he was apparently unaware that they were both rapidly aging as well (see comments).

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Ed Winiarski (artist).

I'm only assuming these events took place on Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel Universe), and that only the Hartwick family was suffering from accelerated aging. But considering the way some of these old horror stories end, it's always possible that the mishap with the cyclotron released radiation that caused the entire population of the planet to rapidly age, in which case these events would then have taken place on some alternate Earth.

Maybe the cyclotron was emitting the same radiation that would later be used by the Time Master.

This 4-page story--The Man Who Meddled!--was reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell#33 (January, 1975).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Paul and Phyllis Hartwick has no known connections to:

Phyllis Hartwick

She was the young and beautiful blond-haired wife of scientist Paul Hartwick.

Paul was trying to accelerate the life-cycle of mice, but Phyllis objected because she feared he was meddling with life itself. When Paul finally succeeded by bathing the mice in the radiation of a cyclotron, he won great fame, but Phyllis thought he had made a horrible mistake.

Months later, Phyllis gave birth to their first child--a son. She was alarmed when their newborn baby was rapidly maturing, and two weeks later, she wept when they went to the crib and found their child dead from old age.

Phyllis and Paul were apparently suffering from the same accelerated aging as their child--as her elderly and wrinkled husband consoled her, the gray-haired Phyllis reprimanded him for his meddling with life.

--Marvel Tales I#128/3

Paul Hartwick's son

The infant son (name unrevealed) of scientist Dr. Paul Hartwick and his wife Phyllis, he was born months after Paul had a mishap with a cyclotron.

The radiation from the device apparently caused the newborn child to rapidly mature and age--within a week, he was able to walk and talk.

The child's accelerated aging continued, and days later, he was a middle-aged man who smoked a pipe while he read in his crib.

When the "baby" was just two weeks old, his parents went to his crib and found him dead from old age.

--Marvel Tales I#128/3

Unidentified scientist

He was one of Dr. Paul Hartwick's co-workers at the Trescott Preventive Medicine Foundation. He angrily confronted Hartwick over his foolish experiments to accelerate the life-cycle of mice--he thought that Hartwick was wasting the institution's money, and warned Hartwick that he was tampering with sources that mankind was not meant to understand.

One day, he heard an explosion in Hartwick's lab; he came running in to learn that Hartwick had exposed the mice to the radiation of a cyclotron, and that the nuclear device had exploded. He was amazed to see that Hartwick finally succeeded in speeding up the life-cycle of the mice with the cyclotron's radiation.

--Marvel Tales I#128/3

Paul Hartwick's mice

The numerous test subjects for Dr. Hartwick's experiments, their average life span was two years. Hartwick was attempting to discover a serum to speed up their life-cycle so that scientists could see the results of their experiments with the rodents that much quicker.

But Hartwick's experiments were always failures, and his various serums only poisoned the mice to death.

One day, Hartwick got the idea of exposing some very young mice to the radiation of a cyclotron; although the nuclear device exploded while he was operating it, Hartwick's experiment finally succeeded, for the radiation caused the mice to become old and feeble--he found that he had accelerated the life-cycle of the rodents from two years to less than one day.

--Marvel Tales I#128/3


A nuclear device at the Trescott Preventive Medicine Foundation, it was used by Dr. Paul Hartwick in an attempt to accelerate the life-cycle of mice.

Hartwick placed the mice under the cyclotron, activated it, and the rodents were bathed in radiation; but Hartwick was inexperienced with the operation of the device, and the cyclotron exploded.

Hartwick received minor burns in the mishap, but he was elated to find that the radiation of the cyclotron had caused the once young mice to become old and feeble.

Although Hartwick was initially pleased that his experiment had succeeded, he would later learn of the horrifying consequences of his own exposure to the radiation.

--Marvel Tales I#128/3

images: (without ads)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p2, pan4 (Main Image - Paul Hartwick, in lab, looking at dead mice)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p2, pan5 (Headshot - Paul Hartwick)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p2, pan1 (Paul Hartwick, at home, explaining the purpose of his experiment to Phyllis)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p4, pan8 (prematurely-aged Paul Hartwick, consoling gray-haired Phyllis over the death of their son)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p2, pan2 (Phyllis Hartwick, warning Paul not to meddle with life)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p4, pan7 (Phyllis Hartwick mourns death of their baby; Paul Hartwick (left))
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p4, pan2 (newborn baby with Phyllis Hartwick; Paul Hartwick (left))
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p4, pan5 (week-old baby asks Paul and Phyllis Hartwick for water)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p4, pan6 (baby (in crib) prematurely aged to middle-age; Paul and Phyllis Hartwick (right))
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p1, pan1 (unidentified scientist, holding one of Hartwick's dead mice)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p1, pan2 (unidentified scientist warns Paul Hartwick)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p3, pan5 (after explosion of cyclotron, Paul Hartwick and unidentified scientist look at prematurely aged mice)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p2, pan6 (Paul Hartwick begins to operate to cyclotron)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p2, pan7 (Paul Hartwick exposes mice to radiation of cyclotron)
Marvel Tales I#128/3, p3, pan1 (cyclotron explodes)

Marvel Tales I#128/3 (November, 1954) - unidentified writer, Ed Winiarski (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 07/05/2019
Last updated: 07/05/2019

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