Real Name: Alex Steel

Identity/Class: Human (1950s era)

Occupation: Adventurer

Group Membership: Explorers Club (see comments)

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Bwana Brown, Kato-Kato tribesmen

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Alex Steele (see comments); "great idol" (as referred to by himself); "the fool" (as referred to by Bwana Brown)

Base of Operations: Mobile

First Appearance: Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (July, 1953)

Powers/Abilities: Steel was an ordinary man with no paranormal abilities, although he was experienced at skydiving.

Apparently wealthy, Steel was willing to spend large sums of money to attain even greater wealth.

A brutal and violent man, Steel was willing to commit murder to get what he wanted.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 190 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Brown

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Alex Steel is largely unrevealed, but at some point, he became a member of the Explorers Club.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - One night, Steel was at the Explorers Club to listen to a lecture delivered by Bwana Brown. Brown presented a treasure chest filled with diamonds and gold, then offered it to the club members as a gift. When asked where he obtained such wealth, Brown mentioned he got it from the Kato-Kato tribe, and all one had to do was ask them for it...and then pass the tribe's test for immortality. But Brown refused to reveal the tribe's secret location...and that besides, none of the club members could pass the tribe's test.

   As Brown took his leave, he invited the club members to help themselves to the gold and diamonds--like a pack of wild animals attracted to the scent of blood, the explorers trampled, argued, and fought with each other to get their hands on the treasure.

   But Steel left the other brawling club members to follow Brown--he figured Brown had given the contents of the treasure chest away to throw them off the track, so he could keep the Kato-Kato's greater treasure for himself. As Brown walked to his apartment, Steel hatched a plan in his crooked brain--he figured Brown had a map to the Kato-Kato's territory, so he'd wait until Brown went to sleep, then break into his apartment and take the map.

   When Brown finally turned off the lights and went to bed, Steel climbed up the fire-escape ladder and broke in, then he began to ransack Brown's apartment, in search of the map. But when Steel noticed a leopard-skin pouch around Brown's neck, he figured it contained the map. Steel grabbed a souvenir spear displayed on the wall and drove it into Bwana Brown, then took the map; after climbing back down the fire-escape, Steel ran off into the darkness, with no living witnesses to his crime.

   The next day, Steel was on a flight to Africa--his only baggage consisted of gadgets of the modern world, which he was sure would convince the primitive Kato-Kato that he was a "great idol". While looking through a newspaper, he noticed there was nothing about Brown's death--since Brown lived alone, Steel figured it would be days before his body was discovered...and by that time, Steel figured he'd be the richest man in the world!

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 - BTS) - But unbeknownst to Steel, Brown had recovered from his death, then he somehow went back to Africa and returned to his throne as leader of the Kato-Kato.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - When Steel landed in Africa, he hired a native guide to take him to the land of the Kato-Kato; but when he was told the long journey would take weeks--or maybe months--Steel reacted violently and punched the guide, because he was determined to find a faster way there.

   Steel went back to the airport and payed a biplane pilot $5000 to fly him over the tribe's land; then Steel parachuted from the aircraft--he thought when the Kato-Kato saw him floating down from the sky, they'd be convinced that he was an "idol".

   As he landed before the tribesmen, Steel told them he was a "great idol" from the sky, and that they had to do what he commanded; then Steel ordered them to bring him their gold and diamonds. As proof of his "divinity," Steel lit a match to show the primitive tribesmen that he could make fire appear from a stick. But a tribesmen told him he first had to pass their test to prove he was truly an "idol"--the unsuspecting Steel unwittingly agreed.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 - BTS) - The test didn't take long--Steel was beheaded, and when he didn't recover, the tribesmen placed his head on a golden platter.

(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - A few minutes later, the procession of Kato-Kato tribesmen carried the golden platter to their leader. As Bwana Brown looked at the head of the false "idol," he commented that Alex Steel made one mistake: When the fool (Steel) tried to kill him, he didn't suspect that Bwana Brown really was immortal!

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Gene Colan.

The name of the organization was specifically mentioned in a caption as the "Manhattan Explorers Club" (no apostrophe).

Although his surname was initially spelled as "Steele" in the opening caption, it was thereafter spelled as "Steel" (4 times) throughout the rest of this 5-page story.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Alex Steel has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p3, pan5 (Main Image - Alex Steel, climbing fire-escape ladder)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p3, pan2 (Headshot - Alex Steel)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p5, pan5 (Alex Steel lights match to impress Kato-Kato tribesmen)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, p5, pan8 (Alex Steel's head on golden platter, presented to immortal Bwana Brown)

Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (July, 1953) - unidentified writer, Gene Colan (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 12/19/2020
Last updated: 12/19/2020

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:

Special Thanks to for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters