Real Name: Unrevealed - perhaps George Pellew or Pelham (see comments)

Identity/Class: Undead human - possibly zombie (see comments) (1900s

Occupation: Petty thief

Group Membership: Street Arabs (Creeper, Hoyden/Megan, Jacob, Spieler/Lille McGurty, the Swell/Eddie Gunnam, Tristan, Yellow Kid, others) 

Affiliations: The Runaways (Molly Hayes, Victor Mancha, Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean, Chase Stein, Xavin), Professor Duck;
    formerly the Sinners 
(Forget-Me-Not, Kid Twist, Maneater, Morphine, others)

Enemies: Goldbrick, Ratdog, the Sinners; the Upward Path (Adjudicator, Black Mariah, Daystick, Difference Engine, Nightstick, the Witchbreaker); Dale Yorkes, Stacey Yorkes

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Camelot (a backyard between NYC tenements in 1907)

First Appearance: Runaways II#27 (August 2007)

Powers/Abilities: Because of his undead form, Dead George Pelham suffers no pain and only cosmetic damage from weapons such as guns; presumably if his body suffered sufficient damage he might be rendered unable to function, but not necessarily slain.

    It is also unrevealed whether he can heal the damage he sustains; if not, then he might eventually be stopped by cumulative injuries over time. It is unrevealed whether he might still be vulnerable to damage to his head and/or brain. His jaws are strong enough to crack through human skulls, and he likes eating brains, though it is unrevealed whether he actually needs to do so to maintain himself.

Height: 6'10" (by estimation)
Weight: 180 lbs. (by estimation)
Eyes: (Normally) unrevealed; (in combat) white
Hair: White

(Runaways II#27) - Early in the 20th century, the apparent zombie Dead George Pelham was one of a number of Wonders (that era's term for people with abilities - "Wonders of the Modern Age") who had come together in New York City as the Street Arabs. They based themselves out of some derelict tenements which shared a backlot, an area the Arabs dubbed "Camelot." The other Arabs noted that he had a thing for eating brains, but nevertheless considered him a true-blue pal and "hell in a tussle."

(Runaways II#28 (fb) - BTS) - The Street Arabs occasionally did minor criminal jobs for the Sinners, a more violently criminal group of Wonders secretly controlled by the time traveling Dale and Stacey Yorkes, future foes of the Runaways.

(Runaways II#27) - The Runaways, time traveling from around 100 years in the future, arrived in 1907 and encountered the Swell, who brought them to meet the rest of the Street Arabs, including Dead George Pelham.

(Runaways II#29) - In Camelot, Creeper, Hoyden and Dead George Pelham listened as the Swell explained that the Runaways had put them all in the Sinners' bad books, as they apparently had a feud with the Sinners' "Higher-ups" (the Yorkes). Pelham offered his assistance if the problem could be resolved by eating some brains, but the Swell felt the Arabs needed to keep the Runaways close until he could catch the Sinners' leader Maneater in a favorable mood and calm the situation. Hoyden, however, felt the Arabs should distance themselves from the Runaways and throw them out of Camelot before the situation worsened, and Creeper agreed, quite open that he was doing so mainly because the suggestion had come from Hoyden. Ultimately, the Swell successfully argued that they should hold off doing so, as he still hoped the Arabs might be able to gain something from the situation by working out a deal with the Sinners.

(Runaways II#29 - BTS) - The Yorkes sent the Sinners to attack Camelot and wipe out both the Street Arabs and the Runaways. One Sinner, Kid Twist, shot and apparently slew both Creeper and Hoyden. The law-enforcing Wonders of the Upward Path also showed up, and a gigantic melee ensued. Though initially not visible among the combatants, Dead George Pelham was present for the fight.

(Runaways II#30) - The Yorkes detonated a massive bomb intended to slay all the combatants, even their own allies, the Sinners, but two of the Runaways, Karolina Dean and Xavin, combined their powers to shield as many people as possible. The survivors battle continued to rage, with Kid Twist firing away, boastfully proclaiming that he never missed and that he had "done" Creeper, Hoyden and now the Swell. As he gleefully pronounced all the Arabs were dead, an angry Dead George Pelham corrected him, saying "not all, but enough of us."

    Seeing the sunken eyed monster moving menacingly towards him, a now panicked Twist started shooting Pelham, repeating a terrified mantra of "I never miss" as the bullets blew holes in Pelham but failed to slow his advance. Lunging forward as Twist began to click away desperately on now empty cylinders, Pelham opened his jaws wide, telling his victim that he was partial to brains, but disparagingly noting that given Twist had just emptied his gun shooting a dead man, he didn't think this would be much of a meal. Then he bit down hard, taking a large bite out of the screaming Kid Twist's skull and the brain within.

    The Runaway Nico Minoru tried to end the conflict by flooding Camelot, but some of the combatants continued to fight despite her efforts, including Dead George Pelham and his friend the Yellow Kid.

Comments: Created by Joss Whedon, Michael Ryan, Rick Ketcham and Jay Leisten.

   The "normal" part of the name he uses may not be his actual given name, but instead a reference to lawyer and writer George Pellew, who wrote as George Pelham. Per Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The History of Spiritualism, "George Pelham was a young literary man who was killed at the age of thirty-two by a fall from his horse. He had taken an interest in psychic study, and had actually promised Dr. Hodgson that if he should pass away he would endeavour to furnish evidence." Hodgson was Pelham's friend, the psychical researcher Dr. Richard Hodgson, and after falling from his horse and dying in February 1892, Pelham, apparently true to his word, reportedly showed up at a seance held by medium Leonore Piper on March 22nd that same year. Again, per Doyle, "Pelham established his identity by meeting thirty old friends who were unknown to the medium, recognizing them all, and addressing each in the tone which he had used in life. Never once did he mistake a stranger for a friend." Pelham's spirit gradually communicated less and less with the living, eventually stopping in 1898. All of this was reported at the time by Hodgson, and was well known in spiritualist circles; indeed, Doyle noted that "it was the study of the George Pelham records which made his mind receptive and sympathetic" to the possibility that spiritualism was real prior to Doyle becoming a confirmed believer during the First World War. So Pelham's name was known by 1907, meaning the Wonder featured in this Appendix entry might be someone adopting the name of the spirit, or the actual spirit of George Pelham/Pellew animating a corpse.

   Dead George Pelham is apparently undead and apparently likes to eat brains, but we're never outright told he is a zombie. It's worth recalling that prior to George Romero's 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead, zombies weren't generally depicted as being hungry for the flesh of the living, and brain-eating wasn't attached to zombies until Dan O'Bannon's 1985 movie Return of the Living Dead. Prior to that ghouls were generally the undead believed to go for eating flesh, or maybe revenants. He certainly seemed to look pretty human still, only becoming more monstrous when he was angry and avenging his murdered friends.

   Given his undead nature, Dead George Pelham could easily still be active (if not alive) in the modern era. It all really depends on whether he was dead and preserved, or dead and slowly rotting.

   We can estimate his teammate the Swell's height as he is seen standing next to Chase Stein, a character whose official height has been revealed. Swell appears to be around 5'10", and even without his top hat Dead George Pelham stands more than a head taller. He's thin for his height, and I've assumed that he's well below the ideal weight for a man of his height - if he wasn't already dead, his weight would be unhealthy.

This profile was completed 12/31/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

Dead George Pelham has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Runaways II#27, p15, pan 4 (main)
Runaways II#30, p5, pan 3 (headshot, undead eyes)
Runaways II#30, p5, pan 4 (ignoring being shot by Kid Twist)
Runaways II#30, p5, pan 5 (snacking)

Runaways II#27 (August 2007) - Joss Whedon (writer), Michael Ryan (pencils), Rick Ketcham (inks), Jay Leisten (inks), Nick Lowe (editor)
Runaways II#29 (April 2008) - Joss Whedon (writer), Michael Ryan (pencils), Rick Ketcham and Andrew Hennessey (inks), Nick Lowe (editor)
Runaways II#30 (August 2008) - Joss Whedon (writer), Michael Ryan (pencils), Rick Ketcham & Victor Olazaba & Roland Paris & Craig Yeung (inks), Nick Lowe (editor)

First Posted: 09/16/2021
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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