Classification: Subterranean crustacean-human
Location/Base of Operations: Subterranean
location near a U.S. city (name unrevealed)
Known Members: Mike Webster,
First Appearance: Journey Into Unknown Worlds
I#15/6 (February, 1953)
Powers/Abilities: Fully developed Crabmen have
a fearsome visage with fangs. Similar to vampires and werewolves, their
bites turn the human victim (from within hours to several days) into
one of their own; however, with newly transformed Crabmen,
the human head initially remains.
It's unrevealed how long the final cranial mutation takes. Their large
black eyes are well adapted to seeing in dim light. They have
a hard chitinous-like shell that surrounds the torso and flexible
plates that cover the four limbs. Each limb has a large crab claw;
these pincers have serrated edges for gripping. Crabmen can amble along
and over objects with stealth, but demonstrate no speed beyond a human
fast walk. They demonstrate strength beyond peak human.
Traits: While Crabmen are collective in
nature, they follow one leader. They are self-conscious about not
appearing "normal" and seek to change humans so that they appear as
Crabmen. They dwell underground, but this may be a reaction to being
shunned by humans living on the surface.
Type: Bilaterally symmetric crustacean
Fingers: None (pincers)
Toes: None (pincers)
Skin color: Light green-yellow
Average height: 2'6"
(Journey Into Unknown Worlds I#15/6 (fb) - BTS) -
Crabmen slowly grew in number in subterranean caverns by biting humans
and causing them to transform into new Crabmen. Seeking world
domination, they chose to spearhead their invasion via psychiatric
institutions as they felt no one would believe the patients. From
there, Crabmen intended to change everyone to look like themselves and
then they would look normal instead of
(Journey Into Unknown Worlds I#15/6) - Crabmen
targeted their first psychiatric hospital and clambered up using a
hidden tunnel. They ambled through the open
ward at night, stopping at an occasional bed and biting the sleeping
but they were spotted by paranoid patient Mike Webster, whose later
warnings to the doctor and nurses were dismissed by the time the
Crabmen had disappeared. The Crabmen returned the following night and
several more before crawling back down their hidden passageway. This
time, Webster followed and found them assembled in an underground
cavern, declaring their plan to take over the world. Webster raced up
and tried to warn others but was sedated and restrained. However, a
Crabman had followed Webster and bit him as he lay helpless. The next
morning, Webster woke and ripped free of his straitjacket and bonds,
revealing his Crabman body. Other patients had likewise transformed.
Shocked but feeling validated, Webster rushed to the doctor and nurses
to find that they had also been transformed, but were strangely
indifferent as they all looked the same, all looked "normal."
Comments: Created by Dan Keyes & Basil Wolverton.
This is one of the most bizarre tales I've read from the Atlas era and Wolverton's art amplifies the creepy nature. Could it all just have been Webster's delusion?
Presumably the bite's transformational effect is
similar to that of a vampire in that the saliva has an enzyme that
induces change in the victim's DNA.
Obviously their takeover was unsuccessful. Too much
mayonnaise and Caesar salad in the world that exploits their
This profile was completed 09/10/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.
Profile by Grendel Prime.
Crabmen have no known connections to
Mike Webster was a patient in an open ward at the
first psychiatric hospital targeted by the Crabmen for their conversion
of humans. He saw them at night crawling between beds and biting
several patients; terrified, he tried to warn the doctor and nurses on
duty, but they dismissed him as raving and sedated him. The next night,
he saw the Crabmen again and followed them down the passageway to their
underground cavern where he heard their plan for world conquest.
rushed up and again tried warning the doctor and nurses; this time they
restrained him in a straitjacket and sedated him. Before he fell
unconscious, he was aghast at a Crabman coming up to bite him. Waking
the next morning, Webster ripped apart his restraints with his newly
transformed Crabman body and went to tell the medical staff, but
they were unmoved as they felt he looked "normal."
--Journey Into Unknown Worlds I#15/6
images: (without ads)
Journey Into Unknown Worlds I#15/6, p1, pan1 (main image)
p5, pan1 (headshot)
p3, pan7 (Crabmen, underground)
p4, pan1 (Crabman plot)
p2, pan2 (Webster, human form)
p5, pan6 (Webster, Crabman form)
Journey Into Unknown Worlds I#15/6 (February, 1953) - Dan Keyes (writer), Basil Wolverton (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 09/14/2021
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!
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