JOHN the CHANGELING

Real Name: John (last name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial human mutate (Changeling (see comments))

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Alana, King, unidentified teacher

Enemies: Spaceport security guards

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile in interstellar space;
   temporarily on Earth; originally from the planet Centaurius II (see comments)

First Appearance: Tales of Suspense I#23/4 (November, 1961)

Powers/Abilities: John was apparently from human ancestry, and aside from his microscopic size (a standard attribute of his race), he displayed no paranormal abilities.

After taking flying lessons, John became skilled at piloting one of his people's interstellar spaceships.

Height: 0.05" (by approximation) (see comments)
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Brown

History:
(Tales of Suspense I#23/4 (fb) - BTS) - The history of the Changelings is unrevealed, but in the distant past, their forebears left their mother-planet of Earth--at some point, under unrevealed circumstances, they were reduced to microscopic size (see comments).

   The Changelings' journey from Earth was a long one, but they eventually settled on the planet Centaurius II, where they built a flourishing and advanced civilization.

   In the centuries that followed, the succeeding generations of the general populace were unaware of (or had forgotten about) the size difference between themselves and their "brothers" on Earth--their scientists only told them that they had changed since they left their mother-planet, and that they would no longer be able to live on Earth.

   The Changelings eventually developed faster spaceships that could make the voyage to Earth far more quickly.

(Tales of Suspense I#23/4 (fb) ) - Ever since he was a boy, John was curious about making a trip to Earth, the legendary birthplace of his people. But while he was in school, his teacher told him that such a visit was impossible, because the scientists told them that they had changed in all the generations since they had been on Centaurius II.

   When John was a teenager, he told his girlfriend Alana that some day he was going to Earth--he reasoned that although the scientists said their people had changed, the scientists couldn't prove it, so John figured it was possible that they were just like the people who stayed behind on Earth.

(Tales of Suspense I#23/4 (fb) - BTS) - A few years later, when John became an adult, he took lessons and learned to fly his people's interstellar spaceships.

(Tales of Suspense I#23/4) - One year later, John was ready to make his voyage to Earth. Taking his dog King with him to the spaceport, John threw a stick for King to fetch. The spaceport's security guards detected movement on the airstrip with their wrist radar units, so they left their post and went to investigate, only to find King--this distraction gave John the chance he needed to climb aboard an unguarded spaceship and blast off. As he lifted off the surface of Centaurius II, John excitedly thought that now he could reach Earth and prove once and for all that there was no reason why his people couldn't return to their mother-planet after all these ages.

   Traveling at faster-than-light speeds, the spaceship soon spanned the vast galaxies of the universe, until John finally approached the almost-legendary world of Earth--he could make out the continents and oceans, and they were just as his people's ancestors had described them. Orbiting the planet a few times, John examined Earth's surface with the spaceship's video-magniscope--he saw that Earth had farms, not too different from those on Centaurius II; although Earth's cities weren't as modern as those on Centaurius II, they seemed well built and pleasant to look at; and Earth's people--they had the same features and form as the people of Centaurius II, which seemingly proved that the passing ages hadn't made John's people any different!

   Since the Earthlings seemed friendly and industrious, John thought they would surely welcome him, so he decided to land. As he excitedly prepared for the glorious event, when "brother" would meet "brother," John thought of how foolish the scientists were to say his people could no longer adapt to Earth.

   John guided the spaceship down in a perfect landing, then eagerly opened the spaceship's hatch and stepped outside...but when he looked up, he realized he had made a fantastic mistake, and discovered that the scientists were right--after generations on Centaurius II, his people were no longer suited for Earth, because they were much, much too different.

   Regretfully thinking that he should have listened to his elders, John realized he never should have gone to Earth, so he decided to return home at once.

   From a city sidewalk crowded with pedestrians, John's spaceship took off, unseen and unheard--but that was to be expected, for relative to the "gigantic" Earthlings, the spaceship was only half-an-inch long...

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

This 5-page story was done with a surprise-ending, and the reader was given the impression that it occurred in the distant future. It wasn't until the final panel, when John was leaving Earth, that we learned it took place in contemporary times, and that John's size was microscopic in comparison to "giant" Earthlings.

The exact name of John's race was never mentioned--they called their planet Centaurius II, but (to me, at least) that would seem to imply that it was the second planet that orbited the star Centaurius (...much like Earth could be considered Sol III). However, the story-title was "The Changeling", and the final caption read "...and so the Changeling took off from Earth...", so I referred to them as such for this profile.

Perhaps John and his race had some connection to the tiny extraterrestrial "Stranger".

Although the Changelings were originally from Earth, it was never explained how they were so technologically advanced in comparison to their human "brothers".

Maybe the Changelings were actually an offshoot of the Inhumans (from a time before Randac developed the Terrigenesis process). Perhaps in ancient times, a group of pre-Terrigen Inhuman pioneers built a "space-ark," and they (along with some animals, to explain the presence of King) reduced their size with their equivalent of the size-altering "Pym Particles" (so as to conserve their ship's resources (e.g. food, oxygen, etc.)) and migrated to Centaurius II (...much like what happened with the Xantha in modern times).

In regards to John's height: I estimated his height to be about one-tenth the length of the spaceship, and the final story-caption mentioned that the spaceship was only half-an-inch long (relative to Earthlings).

This story was originally published at the same time as Fantastic Four I#1, so possibly it occurred in the early days of the modern Marvel Universe.

This story would be reprinted in Monsters of the Prowl I#19 (October, 1972).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

CLARIFICATIONS:
John the Changeling and his race have no known connections to:


unidentified teacher

Although from human ancestry, she was one of the microscopic inhabitants (Changelings) of the planet Centaurius II (see comments).

Years earlier, when John was a boy, she was teaching her class when John expressed interest in making a voyage to Earth, their people's mother-planet.

But the teacher tried to dissuade John by telling the boy that their scientists said their people had changed in all the generations since they'd been on Cenaurius II, and they would no longer be able to live on Earth.

--Tales of Suspense I#23/4


Alana

Although from human ancestry, Alana was one of the microscopic inhabitants (Changelings) of the planet Centaurius II (see comments).

Alana was John's girlfriend when he was a teenager, and he told her of his plans to some day return to their people's mother-planet of Earth.

--Tales of Suspense I#23/4


King

An unspecified breed of canine, King was John's dog. Like the human inhabitants of Centaurius II, King was apparently from Earth ancestry, but of microscopic size (see comments).

John used King as a decoy to distract the spaceport's security guards--John threw a stick for King to fetch, while John "appropriated" (i.e. stole) an interstellar spaceship to make a voyage to Earth.

--Tales of Suspense I#23/4


spaceport security guards

Although from human ancestry, they were two unidentified microscopic inhabitants (Changelings) of the planet Centaurius II (see comments).

They guarded the airstrip where their people's interstellar spaceships were stored. Their personal equipment included wrist radar units (which detected movement in the area), and sidearms (which fired an energy discharge).

One day, the guards detected an intrusion in the area with their wrist radars, so they went to investigate, only to discover that it was merely a dog. But the dog belonged to John, who used it as a decoy to distract the guards while he stole one of the spaceships.

A guard managed to fire a shot at the spaceship just as John blasted off, but the guard missed.

--Tales of Suspense I#23/4


interstellar spaceship

A spacecraft built by the microscopic inhabitants (Changelings) of the planet Centaurius II (see comments)--in comparison to "gigantic" Earthlings, the spaceship was only half-an-inch long.

The spaceship could travel at faster-than-light speeds, and it was equipped with a "video-magniscope" which provided telescopic images of a planet's surface when the spaceship was in orbit.

This spacecraft was stolen by John, who used it to travel from Centaurius II to Earth.

But after discovering that the people of Earth were "giants" in comparison to himself, John reentered the spaceship and blasted off, presumably to return to Centaurius II.

--Tales of Suspense I#23/4


images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p1, pan1 (Main Image - John)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p3, pan7 (Headshot - John)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p5, pan2 (John first sees Earthlings)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p5, pan4 (John realizes his people have changed since leaving Earth)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p2, pan1 (in classroom, unidentified teacher (center) lectures John (as a boy))
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p2, pan2 (unidentified teacher)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p2, pan4 (John (left, as a teenager) speaks to Alana)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p2, pan5 (John (left, as a teenager) tells Alana his plan)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p2, pan6 (John (left) throws stick for King to fetch)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p3, pan2 (spaceport security guards discover King; John climbing aboard spaceship (background))
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p2, pan7 (spaceport security guards investigate intrusion)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p3, pan3 (spaceport security guards try to stop John from taking spaceship)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p3, pan5 (John in spaceship, flying toward Earth)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p5, pan1 (John in spaceship, landing on Earth)
Tales of Suspense I#23/4, p5, pan5 (John's spaceship (in red circle) taking off from Earth, unnoticed by "giant" pedestrians)


Appearances:
Tales of Suspense I#23/4 (November, 1961) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Sol Brodsky (inks)


First Posted: 08/28/2020
Last updated: 08/28/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:
http://www.marvel.com

Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters