Real Name: Nardo

Identity/Class: Extradimensional extraterrestrial (Martian) (1960s era) (see comments)

Occupation: Department manager at R.R. McGowan & Co.

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Sheriff John Lester, R.R. McGowan

Enemies: Horace Vail

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Mr. Nardo", "Sheriff Lester"

Base of Operations: His home in the town of Raffington, somewhere in America;
   originally from Mars

First Appearance: Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1 (April, 1957)

Powers/Abilities: The humanoid Martian Nardo could alter the form of his body--it was unrevealed if this power was a physical shapeshifting ability, or some form of mental illusion-casting (see comments).

Despite coming from another planet, Nardo quickly acclimated himself to life on Earth; a hard-working and industrious individual, he also had business and administrative skills.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Bald

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Nardo is largely unrevealed, but in 1967 (see comments), he somehow left his war-torn homeworld of Mars (see comments) to live in peace on Earth. He secretly assumed a human form to become the elderly bearded hermit "Mr. Nardo," and he took up residence in a shack at the edge of Raffington.

   For a year, Nardo learned the language and culture of his new world; he even learned to like humans, and decided he wanted to live amongst the townspeople in his true form.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1) - "Mr. Nardo" attended a meeting at the town hall, where he revealed his true form to the townsfolk; although Nardo initially saw fear on the faces of the citizens, he assured them that he wanted to live among them as a friend.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1 - BTS) - The people of Raffington were dazzled by Nardo's friendly demeanor and personality, and he was accepted into their community; Nardo eventually moved into a home in town.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1) - In May, 1968, just two weeks after revealing his true appearance, Nardo got a job with the manufacturing firm of R.R. McGowan & Co., where he was a valued employee. After a month, Mr. McGowan was so impressed with the Martian migrant's work performance that he promoted him to department manager.

   But one of Nardo's co-workers, Horace Vail, was jealous of the Martian's success, and he didn't like working for an "alien creature" who'd only been with the company for a matter of weeks. One night, Vail set a warehouse afire, then tried to implicate Nardo for it--although Vail didn't directly accuse Nardo of committing arson, he claimed that he saw the Martian in the vicinity just before the blaze erupted.

   Sheriff John Lester went to Nardo's home and questioned him about the fire. Nardo denied any involvement in the arson, and Sheriff Lester believed him, but he cautioned the Martian that he might have an enemy whom he should be wary of.

   Horace Vail had only begun his attack on the character of the Martian, and the next night, he released the brakes of a truck parked on the street--the truck rolled into a building and damaged the structure; afterward, Vail stirred more suspicion about Nardo to the crowd gathered around the "accident," telling them it was probably done by "someone different from us".

   Night after night, "accidents" occurred in Raffington, and always it was something that must have been caused deliberately. Horace Vail continued to direct suspicions at Nardo, and some of the townspeople were beginning to believe him. But when "somebody" broke into the dynamite shed at the Bartlett Construction Company and stole some nitroglycerin, there was great consternation in town, and an emergency meeting was called for that night.

   Before attending the meeting, Sheriff Lester stopped at Nardo's home to warn the Martian that the townspeople were demanding his arrest. But the sheriff believed Nardo's claim of innocence, and he thought the extraterrestrial was being unjustly persecuted, so the two of them came up with a plan...

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1 - BTS) - Using his shapeshifting ability, Nardo transformed himself into the perfect likeness of Sheriff Lester; while the disguised Nardo went to the town meeting, Sheriff Lester secretly tailed Horace Vail.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1) - Vail enacted his plan to get rid of the Martian once and for all, and he carried the nitroglycerin he had stolen to a trestle and attached it to the railroad track, then he went to the meeting--unbeknownst to Vail, Sheriff Lester was secretly watching him plant the nitro.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1 - BTS) - Sheriff Lester removed the nitro from the tracks, then went to Nardo's home and waited inside, as per their plan.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1) - At the meeting, the townspeople were in an ugly mood, demanding the Martian's arrest, but "Sheriff Lester" (actually Nardo) asked them to be patient, because their suspicions about the Martian weren't proof of any crimes. The "Sheriff" had been arguing with the angry citizens for an hour when Horace Vail burst in on the meeting; Vail claimed he saw Nardo put something on the railroad tracks twenty minutes earlier, so everyone left the meeting to go to the Martian's home.

   When they arrived at Nardo's home, the enraged townspeople shouted for the Martian to come out--they were shocked when someone did come out: the real Sheriff Lester! Having witnessed Vail planting the nitro on the trestle with his own eyes, Sheriff Lester placed Vail in handcuffs and arrested him, then the lawman pointed to his double--the townspeople stared in amazement as the "Sheriff" who had been with them at the meeting quickly took on his real appearance of the Martian Nardo!

   Nardo explained his alibi to the townspeople: Since he'd been with them at the meeting for an hour, he couldn't possibly have been at that trestle when Vail had claimed, because even he couldn't be in two places at once!

Comments: Created by Carl Wessler (writer) and Al Williamson (artist).

Although this 4-page story--Beware... A Martian--was published in 1957, it was set in the "future" year 1968.

Since news of a Martian living on Earth would've caused quite a worldwide stir, then it's likely that these events took place on some alternate world rather than Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel Universe).

   Considering all the accepted monsters and aliens living in communities on Earth-616 it is also possible they just stayed quiet about it.
--Markus Raymond

Nardo's skin-color was pink/Caucasian, despite the coloring in the Main Image (which was probably done for artistic effect, to emphasize that he was from Mars (the "red planet")).

The limits of Nardo's shapeshifting ability were never specified, and he was only depicted as altering his form to appear as "Mr. Nardo" and "Sheriff Lester"--it was unrevealed if he could transform himself into non-humanoid forms, such as animals or inanimate objects.

It was never mentioned how Nardo came to Earth, so it's possible that he had a spaceship hidden somewhere.

Since he was an extraterrestrial who liked living on Earth, Nardo kind of reminds me of the Skrull Velmax.

And considering his bald head and shapeshifting powers, he also reminds me of DC's Martian Manhunter (who first appeared over a year before Nardo).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Nardo has no known connections to:

R.R. McGowan has no known connections to:

Sheriff John Lester has no known connections to:

Horace Vail has no known connections to:

R.R. McGowan

He was the owner of the R.R. McGowan & Co. manufacturing firm in the town of Raffington.

McGowan hired the Martian Nardo to work at his business; he was so impressed by Nardo's work performance that a month later, McGown promoted the Martian to department manager.

--Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1

Sheriff John Lester

Sheriff Lester was the chief law-enforcer of the town of Raffington.

When a series of "accidents" began to occur around the town, Horace Vail stirred up suspicions that the Martian Nardo was responsible; Sheriff Lester went to question the extraterrestrial, and he was convinced of Nardo's innocence.

Later, Sheriff Lester and Nardo worked out a plan to expose Vail as the real perpetrator of the "accidents".

--Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1

Horace Vail

In the town of Raffington, he was an employee of the R.R. McGowan & Co. manufacturing firm, where he had worked for six years.

The bigoted Vail disliked the Martian Nardo, who had recently been hired by the company; when the extraterrestrial's outstanding work performance earned him a promotion to department manager, Vail was jealous of Nardo's success, so he began to arrange a series of "accidents" around town, then stirred up suspicion amongst the townspeople that Nardo was responsible.

Vail's campaign to frame the Martian culminated in his planting a canister of nitroglycerin on the railroad tracks, but his scheme was foiled by Sheriff Lester working in conjunction with Nardo.

Vail was later arrested by Sheriff Lester, and he was presumably sent to prison for his acts of malicious mischief.

--Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1

images: (without ads)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p1, pan2 (Main Image - Nardo first reveals his true form)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p1, pan3 (Headshot - Nardo)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p1, pan1 (at town meeting, Nardo as hermit "Mr. Nardo," about to reveal his true form)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p4, pan7 (Nardo (left) returns to his true form; Horace Vail, Sheriff John Lester)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p2, pan1 (R.R. McGowan (seated at desk) compliments Nardo)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p2, pan2 (R.R. McGowan (left) promotes Nardo to department manager)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p3, pan2 (Sheriff John Lester)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p4, pan6 (Nardo (left, disguised as Sheriff Lester), Horace Vail, Sheriff John Lester)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p2, pan4 (Horace Vail)
Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1, p4, pan2 (Horace Vail placing nitroglycerin on railroad track)

Strange Stories of Suspense#14/1 (April, 1957) - Carl Wessler (writer), Al Williamson (pencils), Ralph Mayo (inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 09/21/2019
Last updated: 09/21/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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