Real Name: Barney Lowry

Identity/Class: Human mutate (1950s era)

Occupation: Hobo (i.e. unemployed)

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Chief Mike Fillmore, Haysville police officers (including Jerry and Wallace (last names unrevealed))

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The Unseen Man" (in story title)

Base of Operations: Mobile;
   temporarily Haysville, somewhere in America

First Appearance: Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1 (June, 1957)

Powers/Abilities: Barney Lowry was a lazy, shiftless drifter who refused to earn an honest day's living--he subsisted by begging others for food.

After he ingested an unspecified variety of berries, Lowry found his body (and clothing) temporarily rendered invisible (see comments)--this effect wore off after approximately four hours, but by eating more of the berries, he was able to return himself to a state of invisibility.

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

(Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Barney Lowry is largely unrevealed, but at some point he adopted a transient lifestyle and became a hobo.

   One morning, while he passed through the city of Haysville, Lowry was hungry because he hadn't eaten for nearly two days. He began aggressively begging some of the townspeople for food--although they offered him the opportunity to work for his sustenance, Lowry refused and became threatening, so a police officer arrested him.

(Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1) - At 10 AM, Lowry was taken to the Haysville police station and brought before Chief Mike Fillmore; Fillmore ordered Lowry to get out of town by noon, or else he'd be locked in jail.

   Lowry left the police station and wandered into the wilderness just outside of town--all along the way, the hobo thought of how he hated Haysville and its selfish people, and of how much he'd like to get even with the town. When he was deep in the woods, Lowry found a strange looking bush with berries--although they were hardly a feast, he figured the berries would satisfy his hunger until he reached the next town.

   After hungrily devouring some of the berries, and filling his pockets with more, Lowry walked back to Haysville so he could hop aboard a freight train--he knew it was past Chief Fillmore's two-hour deadline, and he was worried that he might be seen by the police, but it was the only way he could get to the railroad yard on the other side of town...unbeknownst to Lowry, he had turned invisible as he walked.

   Lowry was unaware of the fantastic thing that had happened to him until he passed by the same policeman who had arrested him earlier--when the cop didn't notice him, Lowry realized he was invisible, and he surmised that the berries made him that way. Alarmed at first, the vanished vagrant eventually became used to his strange condition, and after a while, he realized the power it gave him--he amused himself by standing in "plain view" outside the Haysville police station. But four hours had elapsed since Lowry had eaten the berries, and as his invisibility wore off, he suddenly reappeared in front of the stunned policeman. The cop immediately arrested Lowry and took him back to Chief Fillmore.

   The angry Fillmore threw the book a Lowry and ordered him locked in jail--Fillmore told the hobo that now he'd get sixty days of free meals at the town's expense, but he'd have to work for it. However, Lowry was unconcerned--he still had a pocketful of those berries, and he figured he'd be out of jail within an hour.

(Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1 - BTS) - In the solitude of his jail cell, Lowry ate the berries in his pocket, and he disappeared from view.

(Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1) - At 2:30 PM, the police discovered that Barney Lowry seemed to be missing, and when they opened the "empty" cell to investigate, they unwittingly set the invisible indigent free--as he walked away, the unseen Lowry was determined to make good use of his invisibility this time.

   Meanwhile, Chief Fillmore heard from the arresting officer that Lowry just seemed to appear out of nowhere in front of the police station, and after learning that the hobo had disappeared, Fillmore figured that Lowry must have discovered some way of making himself invisible--concerned about the mischief that the invisible hobo might cause, Fillmore ordered his entire force to be on 24-hour alert (see comments).

   Two hours later, the invisible Lowry went to Wheaton's Jewelery Store and robbed it by merely pocketing the jewels (see comments)--the police were contacted when the store-owner noticed his merchandise mysteriously vanishing. As three police cars surrounded the building and blocked all the exits, the transparent tramp calmly walked out and climbed in one of the police cars, then drove off to make his getaway. The other two cars took up in pursuit of the invisible bandit, and as they closed in on him, Lowry abandoned the car and walked to a nearby construction site--he was tired after his busy day, so Lowry decided to grab a nap in the nearly-finished building while the lawmen went crazy trying to find him. While the bewildered policemen stood about helplessly a short distance away, the unseen fugitive settled down and made himself comfortable in a corner of the almost-completed structure; as he drifted off to sleep, Lowry planned to go back to the woods later and get some more berries from the bush--the jewels he had stolen were only the beginning, and he predicted his days of being a hobo were over.

   But Barney Lowry was even more tired than he thought, for he slept soundly while the workmen completed their jobs about him. Lowry slept long enough to become visible again, then he was awakened by the sound of Chief Fillmore's raucous laughter, and he found himself behind the bars of a jail cell--Fillmore pointed out that the construction site Lowry chose as his hideout was actually Haysville's new city jail!

Comments: Created by Carl Wessler (writer) and Richard Doxsee (artist)

This 4-page story--Menace of the Unseen Man--seems to have a coloring error on the last page--in some panels, where Lowry was supposed to be invisible, he appeared in full-color instead of the "transparent" effect (as seen in the Main Image).

It was never explained how the berries were also able to turn Lowry's clothes invisible, or why the stolen jewelery in his pockets couldn't be seen. Maybe the berries actually affected Lowry's brain and gave him "the power to cloud men's minds" (to borrow a phrase from the old Shadow radio-program), and he mentally created a field around his person--along with anything he was carrying--that effectively blanked him from the perception of others.

And when Chief Fillmore alerted his men about Lowry, I wonder if he told them: "Be on the lookout for an invisible man!"

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Barney Lowry has no known connections to:

Chief Mike Fillmore has no known connections to:

Chief Mike Fillmore

He was the tough chief of police for the town of Haysville.

When hobo Barney Lowry was brought into his office because he had been aggressively begging the townspeople, Fillmore verbally chastised the vagrant for his behavior and ordered him to get out of town in two hours.

But hours later, Lowry appeared out of nowhere in front of the police station, so Fillmore had the hobo locked in a jail cell; Lowry later disappeared from his cell, and Fillmore surmised that the hobo had discovered some way to render himself invisible. Greatly concerned about the mischief an invisible law-breaker could get into, Fillmore ordered the men on his force to be on 24-hour alert.

The invisible Lowry had robbed a jewelery store and seemingly made his getaway, then he hid inside a building that was under construction to take a nap. But when Lowery awakened, he found himself trapped behind prison bars, and Fillmore laughed heartily as he revealed to Lowry that the building he had been sleeping in was Haysville's new city jail.

--Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1


Produced by a strange looking bush that grew in the woods outside the town of Haysville, the large red berries seemingly rendered those who ate them invisible; the invisibility effect lasted approximately four hours.

The berries were discovered by hobo Barney Lowry, who hungrily devoured some of them, and stuffed others in his pockets.

When Lowry learned he had temporarily been turned invisible by the berries, he used his new-found power to rob a jewelery store in Haysville.

--Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p2, pan5 (Main Image - Barney Lowry discovers he's invisible)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p2, pan4 (Headshot - invisible Barney Lowry notices that police officer doesn't see him)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p4, pan2 (Barney Lowry escaping in stolen police car)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p4, pan7 (Barney Lowry awakes from nap to find himself in completed jail cell; Chief Mike Fillmore (right))
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p1, pan2 (Chief Mike Fillmore orders Barney Lowry to get out of town)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p3, pan4 (Chief Mike Fillmore orders his men to capture Barney Lowry)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1, p2, pan1 (Barney Lowry picks berries from bush)

Strange Tales of the Unusual#10/1 (June, 1957) - Carl Wessler (writer), Richard Doxsee (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor) 

First Posted: 08/06/2019
Last updated: 08/06/2019

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