Real Name: Harlan Stillwell

Identity/Class: Norman human

Occupation: Research scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: J. Jonah Jameson

Enemies: Fly (Rick Deacon)

Known Relatives: Dr. Farley Stillwell (brother, deceased), Dr. Shannon Stillwell (unspecified relative) (see comments)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: A lab near New York City's waterfront

First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10 (1976)

Powers/Abilities: Stillwell was a brilliant biologist.

Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10 (fb) ) - Scientist Harlan Stillwell was chronically short of funds for his research on the common housefly (Musca domestica). When the price was right, he would occasionally patch up injured criminals.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10) - Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson approached Stillwell to create a new superhuman to battle Spider-Man, just as Stillwell's brother, Farley, had created the Scorpion. Jameson dismissed the Scorpion's turn to crime as an accident, and insisted that Harlan's new creation would be a super hero. Unable to turn down Jameson's money, Stillwell agreed, as it would dovetail with his ongoing housefly research. He soon had his test subject, as well, when wounded hood Rick Deacon broke into Stillwell's lab, having overheard Jameson and Stillwell's conversation. Before long, Stillwell strapped Deacon into his machines, using them to infuse the criminal with housefly DNA. Deacon became the powerful Human Fly, but his desire to gain revenge on Spider-Man, who he'd encountered earlier that night, overwhelmed him. He forced Stillwell to call Jameson at the Bugle and summon him to Stillwell's lab, where the Fly intended to use him as bait for Spider-Man.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10 (fb) ) - With Stillwell's usefulness at an end, Deacon shot him in the heart, killing him.

(Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10) - Jameson rushed down to Stillwell's lab, where he found the scientist's corpse.

Comments: Created by Len Wein, Bill Mantlo, Gil Kane, Frank Giacoia, and Mike Esposito.

When Spider-Man battles the Fly later on in ASM Annual I#10, Spider-Man knows that he murdered Stillwell, even though at that point Spider-Man had, to the best of the readers' knowledge, never even heard of Stillwell, have any idea that he created the Fly, or know that he's dead. A caption offers a No-Prize to anyone who could explain how Spider-Man knew - and to the best of my knowledge, nobody collected.

Harlan Stillwell and his brother Farley are presumably related in some way to Dr. Shannon Stillwell, who worked for the Regent - likely the daughter of one and the niece of the other. I would speculate that she's Harlan's daughter, due to their similar haircuts.

Profile by Minor Irritant.

Dr. Harlan Stillwell has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10, p17, pan4 (main image)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10
, p16, pan1 (headshot)

Amazing Spider-Man Annual I#10 (1976) - Len Wein (plot/editor), Bill Mantlo (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Frank Giacoia & Mike Esposito (inks)

First Posted: 04/24/2019
Last updated: 04/24/2019

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 www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters