Real Name: Franz Lukoff

Identity/Class: Human (European) mutate (1950s era) (see comments)

Occupation: Unemployed

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Aram

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: Serge Lukoff (brother)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: His apartment at 45 Lepic Street, somewhere in an unidentified European country (see comments)

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#21/5 (August, 1953)

Powers/Abilities: Born to a privileged upbringing, Franz Lukoff was a lazy gadabout by the time he reached adulthood--although approximately fifty-five years of age, he was still financially dependent upon his elder brother for a monthly allowance (...which Franz usually squandered on gambling).

In an effort to prolong his life, so that he would be sure to outlive his brother and inherit the family fortune, Franz became an amateur surgeon/biochemist and injected himself with a serum derived from monkey glands.

Initially, the serum gave Franz renewed vitality and a more youthful appearance, but he was later transformed into a hirsute and bestial ape-like creature.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 180 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

(Strange Tales I#21/5 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in the past, a Russian scientist named Voronoff conducted an experiment to prolong human life by using monkey glands. He removed fluid from the monkey glands and injected it into an old and feeble dog. Later, the experiment proved to be a success when the elderly canine regained its strength and pranced in its cage like an energetic puppy. Voronoff eventually wrote a treatise on his experiment.

   The past of Franz Lukoff is largely unrevealed, but he and his brother Serge were born to a wealthy family. As the elder son, Serge inherited the family castle and fortune, while Franz subsisted on a monthly allowance from Serge.

(Strange Tales I#21/5) - One rainy night, Franz made his monthly walk to the castle of his elder brother for dinner and (more importantly) to collect his monthly allowance. After dinner, Serge gave Franz enough money to pay his living expenses until the next month, but refused to give him more because Franz was an irresponsible spendthrift.

   The following night, Franz went to his habitual hangout--the casino--where he lost his entire monthly allowance in exactly three hours. Afterwards, Franz made his customary monthly visit to Aram the money-lender, where he borrowed enough cash to hold him over until his next allowance payment. When Aram asked him when he intended to pay off his mounting debt, Franz assured Aram that he would be paid off when Serge died, because he (Franz) was the sole heir to the family fortune. But then Aram proposed a troubling question: What if Franz were to die before Serge? Franz dismissed Aram's inquiry as nonsense, because Serge was old and feeble, and Franz figured he couldn't last much longer. But during his walk to his apartment, Franz was plagued by Aram's question, for it would be a catastrophe indeed if Serge were to outlive him.

   During the next few days, Franz remembered hearing about the experiment of Voronoff, so he read the scientist's treatise on his work; Franz became determined to perform the same procedure on himself to regain his youth, then he'd be able to outlive Serge by at least thirty years!

   The time soon came for Franz's next monthly dinner with his brother--Serge noticed his younger sibling seemed unusually cheerful. Later, Serge performed the familiar ritual of passing the monthly allowance to Franz, and he lectured him not to gamble the money away in one night; but Franz had a much better use for the money in mind.

   The next day, rather than his usual trip to the casino, Franz visited a pet shop in town, where he bought the two monkeys that were for sale; he then purchased the medical equipment he needed for his repetition of Voronoff's experiment.

   The following night, Franz chloroformed the monkeys and performed surgery on them--after making the incisions, he extracted fluid from their glands. Hours later, as a new dawn began to redden the sky, the two monkeys had died from the ordeal, but Franz had what he wanted, and in the final step, he injected the monkey glands secretion into his own bloodstream.

   Franz sat in his apartment for hours, and he could feel the fluid pulsating through his body. When he looked in the mirror, he could see the lines of fatigue and wrinkles of old age disappearing from his face, and he could feel the vitality of youth coursing through his veins! Franz felt more energetic than he had in a score of years, and he was confident that he would easily outlive Serge!

   But six months later, Franz got word that Serge had just died from a stroke. He thought to himself that if he'd known Serge would die so soon, he wouldn't have bothered taking the injection of the monkey glands serum...but after considering his youthful energy, he happily concluded that now he could really enjoy spending the fortune Serge left him!

   During Serge's funeral, Franz began to suffer from a headache--he attributed it to his excitement over the impending reading of Serge's will.

   After the funeral, Franz and Serge's servants were seated in the lawyer's office to hear the reading of the will. To his faithful servants, Serge left a sum of money commensurate with the years of their service. The will next stipulated that the remainder of Serge's fortune and estate was to go to Franz in the event that his death should precede Franz's; otherwise, the entire fortune was to go to the state, to be used for any purpose deemed advisable--Franz chuckled to himself, because there was no chance of that happening, since he was still very much alive! But just then, Franz's headache got worse... and unbeknownst to him, he was also undergoing a horrible physical change...

   When the lawyer and the servants turned toward Franz to congratulate him on his good fortune, their weak smiles turned into expressions of fright as they beheld the bizarre transformation which had come over Franz, and the lawyer telephoned the hospital.

   Soon, a pair of hospital orderlies came to the lawyer's office and dragged the raving Franz away.

(Strange Tales I#21/5 - BTS) - Franz Lukoff's mind and body further regressed into a bestial state.

(Strange Tales I#21/5) - The Lukoff property was eventually taken over by the state--the old castle became an institution for the hopelessly insane, and its first inmate was...Franz Lukoff!

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Paul Reinman (artist).

This 5-page story--The Monkey Glands--never specified exactly where in Europe these events took place, but I'm guessing it was somewhere near France because of two references:
1. When Franz lost all his money gambling at the casino, he thought to himself, "I am left without a sou!"--a sou is a former French coin of low denomination (...although this expression can often be used to describe any small amount of money).
2. Franz Lukoff's apartment was on Lepic Street--this could possibly be Rue Lepic in Paris.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Franz and Serge Lukoff have no known connections to:

Aram the money-lender has no known connections to:

Baron Serge Lukoff

The wealthy Serge was a 75-year-old European nobleman (see comments) and the elder brother of Franz Lukoff.

As the elder son, Serge inherited the family castle and fortune, and he gave his lazy younger brother a monthly allowance to cover his living expenses.

But Franz was a spendthrift who always lost the money on gambling, and Serge worried about what would happen to his estate after he died and Franz inherited it all.

Serge included a stipulation in his will that if Franz should precede him in death, then his estate was to go to the state, to be used for some worthy charitable purpose.

To ensure that he would outlive Serge, Franz injected himself with a serum derived from monkey glands and regained his youthful vitality; but six months later, the elderly Serge died from a stroke.

During the reading of Serge's will, the serum caused Franz to mutate into a bestial ape-like creature; consequently, the Lukoff property was taken over by the state, and the old castle became an institution for the hopelessly insane, where the first inmate was the transformed Franz Lukoff.

--Strange Tales I#21/5


Aram was a European citizen (see comments) who operated a money-lending business--Franz Lukoff frequently borrowed money from Aram whenever Franz lost all his monthly allowance gambling at the casino

When Aram asked Franz when he intended to pay off his mounting debt, Franz assured Aram that he would be paid after Franz's wealthy older brother Serge died, because Franz was his sole heir.

But then Aram posed a disturbing question to Franz: What if Franz were to die before Serge?--this inquiry troubled Franz Lukoff so much that he eventually performed an unusual experiment to regain his youthful vitality.

--Strange Tales I#21/5

Monkey gland serum

In an effort to prolong his life, Franz Lukoff duplicated the experiment of Russian scientist Voronoff by surgically extracting fluid from the glands of a pair of monkeys.

Lukoff then injected the fluid into his bloodstream, which granted him a more youthful appearance and renewed vitality.

But six months later, Lukoff was transformed into a mindless and bestial ape-like creature.

--Strange Tales I#21/5

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p3, pan5 (Main Image - Franz Lukoff)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p4, pan4 (Headshot - Franz Lukoff, performing surgery on monkey)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p4, pan8 (youthful Franz Lukoff, after injecting himself with monkey glands serum)
Strange Tales I#21/5
, p5, pan8 (bestial Franz Lukoff)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p3, pan2 (Baron Serge Lukoff)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p3, pan3 (Baron Serge Lukoff)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p2, pan6 (Aram (left) lending money to Franz Lukoff)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p4, pan5 (Franz Lukoff holding vial of monkey glands serum)
Strange Tales I#21/5, p4, pan6 (Franz Lukoff injects monkey glands serum into his bloodstream)

Strange Tales I #21/5 (August, 1953) - unidentified writer, Paul Reinman (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 07/08/2020
Last updated: 07/08/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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