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CRABMEN

Classification: Subterranean crustacean-human hybrid ("hidden race")

Location/Base of Operations: Subterranean location near a U.S. city (name unrevealed)

Known Members: Mike Webster, others

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Humans

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 quadrupeds
Eyes: Two
Fingers: None (pincers)
Toes: None (pincers)
Skin color: Light green-yellow
Average height: 2'6"

History:

(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 freakish.

(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 patient, 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 bit 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 vulnerability...?

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.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Crabmen have no known connections to


Mike Webster

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. Webster 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)


Appearances:
Journey Into Unknown Worlds I#15/6 (February, 1953) - Dan Keyes (writer), Basil Wolverton (pencils & inks), Stan Lee (editor)


First posted: 09/15/2021
Last updated: 09/14/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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