Membership: Ben Benson, Sam
Binder (aka the Great "Spell" Binder), Ulysses
Spahn (honorary member), Alex
Steel, unidentified president,
Purpose: The Explorers' Club was a social
organization for men who had traveled the world and hunted
and/or adventured extensively
Aliases: Eastern Explorers' Club, Manhattan
Explorers Club, Explorers Club, Explorer's Club (see
Enemies: Harvey Elder;
Base of Operations: Explorers' Club,
Manhattan, New York
First Appearance: Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (July, 1953)
(Strange Tales I#47 (fb) - BTS) <Circa 1946> - 10 years before the main story, this man (main image, balding white hair, in profile) became the president of the Explorers' Club.
(Journey into Mystery I#47/1 (fb) - BTS) - Craine joined the Explorers' Club, where -- over a period of years -- he developed an intense rivalry with fellow member Burton, whose own experiences mirrored Craine's.
(Strange Tales I#31/5 (fb) - BTS) - Most meetings of the Explorers' Club meant a quiet, relaxing evening.
(Journey into Unknown
Worlds#20/1 (fb) - BTS) <1953> - The Manhattan Explorers' Club invited
adventurer and lecturer Bwana Brown to speak at one of their
meetings; Brown brought along a treasure chest filled with
diamonds and gold.
(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - During his lecture, Bwana Brown roused many of the explorers listening into a frenzy with tales of how the Kato-Kato tribe would grant limitless gold and diamonds if one could pass the tribe's test for immortality. Many members felt they could easily dupe what they presumed to be primitive tribesmen with their modern technology.
(Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1) - Refusing to betray his vow not to reveal the tribe's location, Bwana departed, but 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.
(Journey into Unknown
Worlds#20/1 - BTS) - Seeking to learn the Kato-Kato tribe's
location, club member Alex Steel followed Brown back to his
apartment and seemingly slew him, then he stole a pouch containing
a map with the tribe's location. Steel ultimately located the
tribe but failed their test of immortality when their test
decapitated him. Bwana then noted how he himself was truly
(Men's Adventures#26/4) <1954> - Seeking information on the legendary Gorilla Men who filled his dreams, Ken Hale sought out his old friend Benson at the Explorers' Club. Benson shared that he knew there were stories of half-man/half-gorilla creatures, and that their leader fought for his kingship to the death; Benson told Hale he could learn more from natives of Kenya, who spoke of the creatures. Hale immediately departed to make plans to go to Africa.
Tales I#31/5 (fb) - BTS) <1954> - Jackson Cole, the only member of the club
who had never distinguished himself by any spectacular feats, announced
to the Explorers' Club that he planned to climb Mount Ka, the
second highest peak in the world.
(Strange Tales I#31/5) - The
other members exploded in protest, warning
Cole that it was suicide, and that no man had ever done it,
specifically noting that the ascent was an impossible sheer
drop, and that the whole peak was covered in ice and hidden fog.
But Cole insisted that he would be the first man to climb Mount Ka, or he would die in the attempt; he continued that there was nothing they could say to stop him, and that he was leaving for Kashmir in the morning: "If Everest can be conquered, then so can Mount Ka...and I'm going to plant our flag at the top!"
(Strange Tales I#47/6 (fb) - BTS) <1956> - Zad Compton, president of the planet Pluto's Explorers Club, sought to become a member of Earth's Explorers' Club as well, hoping to experience Earth's locations and fauna.
(Strange Tales I#47/6 (fb) - BTS) - Flying to Earth in his car, Compton traveled to the local Explorers' Club and sought membership.(Strange Tales I#47/6) - Compton met with the local Explorers' Club, but consistently seemed inexperienced with the Club's typical adventures. The Club president considered him unworthy of membership, until Compton finally piloted his car into his space and revealed that he was from Pluto.
(Marvel Universe#4 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Golden Age Marvel 2004) <1956> - In his guise as the National Security Agency's Jake Curtiss (aka Michael "Mac" Curry), the Eternal Makkari summoned the supernatural investigators Ulysses Bloodstone, Dr. Anthony Ludgate Druid, and Zawadi of Wakanda to a meeting at the Explorers' Club to discuss a number of recent encounters with monstrous creatures.
(Marvel Universe#4 (fb) - BTS) - Harvey Elder's tales of a land at the center of the Earth were disbelieved by the Club employee Hathaway, who considered Elder a madman and a nuisance.
(Marvel Universe#4) - As Druid arrived at the Club, Stanley Hathaway denied Harvey Elder entrance, telling him that his travels qualified him only for the "loony bin" and questioned whether he was using a fake name. Elder warned that when he was a member of the Club, he would have Hathaway's job, but -- as he physically threw Elder out the door -- Hathaway assured him that if Elder even became a member, he would resign.
Druid wondered if Hathaway hadn't been too hard on the fellow, but Hathaway countered that Elder was a nuisance and a fool. Hathaway then escorted Druid to the meeting room where Bloodstone, "Curtiss," and Zawadi awaited, after which Hathaway closed the door as he departed.
Under the direction of "Curtiss," each of those present shared their encounters with monsters, until Zawadi sensed Elder spying on them from under a grate and exposed his presence. Druid hypnotized Elder into forgetting he had witnessed anything or anyone important, and Elder departed. "Curtiss" then explained that his investigations had led him to believe there to be a common source behind these monsters (though he did not reveal it at the time, Makkari suspected this to be the Deviant Kro). The group agreed to unite to investigate the cause.
(Journey into Mystery I#47/1) <1957> - One night at the Explorers' Club, Craine sat by himself in silent rage while he listened to Burton boasting of his exploits to the other club members--Burton was getting all the attention that Craine thought he rightfully deserved. Half mad with envy, Craine's hatred for Burton churned within him, and as he left the Club to go home, he decided to kill Burton.
Journey into Mystery I#47/1 - BTS) - While Burton meditated at midnight, Craine sent his astral self to try to kill Burton via gas fumes by snuffing out his fireplace. However, Burton resisted Craine, and Craine's body instead perished from the stress of the effort.
| (Strange Tales I#66/4 (fb)) <1958> - At the Explorers'
Club, Felix Bradin made a presentation to his fellow members.
Bradin planned to circumnavigate the globe non-stop in a midget
submarine; but the other explorers scoffed at his idea and told
him that the six month underwater voyage was impossible. Completely dejected, Bradin left the club, but honorary
member Harry Spahn came running out after him. Spahn offered to
finance the mission, under the condition that he could accompany
Bradin; since it meant the fulfillment of his plans, Bradin agreed
to the terms.
Eventually, Bradin came to resent Spahn's overbearing attitude, and after the Wanderer mini-sub was completed, he punched out Spahn and took out the Wanderer without him.
However, without Spahn's directness, Bradin explored an underground tunnel and wound up trapped in a Marineland exhibit.
(Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (fb)) <1959> - After his trained gorilla Moko was injured and no longer useful for his act, mentalist Sam Binder went to the Explorers' Club to get a line on some possibilities where he could get another gorilla to replace Moko; while he was there, he overheard another member talking about an isolated isle off the African coast, where legends claimed the world's largest gorilla could be found--Binder's interest was piqued, for he would be an international success with such an ape in his act!
(Journey into Mystery I#54/1 - BTS) - Binder went
to the isle and discovered Monstro,
but his hypnotism ultimately failed on the giant albino gorilla
due to the creature's blindness, and Monstro was returned to
Africa. Binder subsequently became the star of the new Jungle
Tales TV series.
(Journey into Mystery I#54/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Dunstan Blake joined the "Soldiers and Explorers" Club (see comments), where he played poker with some of the club members--on at least two occasions, he was caught cheating.
(Journey into Mystery I#54/2 (fb)) <1959> - While playing poker at the Club, Blake was caught cheating for the third time in the year--as a result of his disgraceful behavior, Blake's membership was revoked and he was told to permanently leave the organization.
(Journey into Mystery I#54/2 (fb) - BTS) - Blake
sought out a mysterious Tibetan
idol containing the largest diamond
ever seen on Earth, which led to him falling for a trap where
extraterrestrials from Superius
Rex sought a human lacking in morals to risk the journey
to their world.
Comments: Created by unrevealed writer and Gene
Explorers Club? Explorers' Club? Explorer's Club? Manhattan Explorers
Club? Eastern Explorers' Club?
Regarding Higgens and Sewall's lamenting that the tusk would be mistaken for a fossil: Fossils are petrified (stone) remains, and examination could readily determine the difference between a fresh piece of a tusk and a fossil...
I am not 100% certain that Felix Braden
was a member of the Explorers' Club, rather than just a person
soliciting funding, but the fact that he recognized Harry Spahn as an
honorary member makes me think he is pretty familiar with the group.
Bwana Brown was an invited speaker at the Explorers' Club, and the story seems to support that he was a guest-speaker.
Ken Hale met with his friend Benson at the Explorers' Club. It seems to be implied that Benson is a member, but there isn't anything to support Hale being a member; that being said, it would fit with his history if he were a former/inactive member at the time of that story.
What about the Monster Hunters?
Were they all members? Hathaway and Druid were certainly familiar with each other, so I'd think
that Druid, at least, was a member. The other members weren't directly
familiar with each other prior to that story, so I think they were not
members. However, I think it's likely that the others became members
since they used the building as their base of operations. Ulysses
Bloodstone was listed as a member of the Explorers' Club in his entry in
the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#2, and , as I reviewed the issues, it
became increasingly apparent that the room in which the Monster Hunters
first gathered was Ulysses Bloodstone's room.
Druid's and Makkari's OHotMU entries lists them as a member of the Monster Hunters but not of the Explorers' Club.
The general rule is that we consider Golden Age and Atlas era stories
to occur at the time they were published, so that is the reason that
(and the basis for why) dates are listed in the histories above.
Thanks to John Holstein for compiling a
list of appearances and for Ron Fredricks for researching and profiling
most of the characters.
John Holstein notes:
Gorilla Man - Men's Adventures#26/4 (Mar/54)- there is a guy with a tray seen from behind who could be identified as Hathaway.
Back My Body! - Journey Into Mystery#47/1 (Jun/57) - first page has characters in shadow who could be identified as Dr.
Druid & Ulysses Bloodstone (I don't see characters that look like
Druid or Bloodstone--Snood)
don't have access to Adventure Into Mystery or Mystical Tales or World
of Suspense or World of Fantasy or World of Mystery or Strange Stories
of Suspense, so I don't know if that is all the Explorers' Club
I saw these 2 stories I had thought they could be Explorers' Club
stories, but they aren't:
Mystic#12/4 (Sep/52) "The Man In The Tomb" - a mobster wants to join a lodge
Adventures Into Terror#25/2 (Nov/53) "The Terrible Trophy" --a blowhard who collects animal heads bores his friends at the club
Profile by Snood.
The Explorers' Club has no known connections to:
images: (without ads)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, pg. 1, panel 2 (Club members at Bwana Brown's lecture)
Journey into Unknown World#20/1, pg. 2, panel 4 (Club members demanding information from Brown)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1, pg.2, panel 7 (Club members fighting over gold and jewels)
Men's Adventures#26/4, pg. 2, panel 9 (Benson with Ken Hale)
Strange Tales I#31/5, pg. 1, panel 1 (Jackson Cole at podium; picture of Mount Ka)
Strange Tales I#31/5, pg. 1, panel 2 (Explorers' Club members)
Strange Tales I#47/6, pg. 3, panel 6 (Explorers' Club president and Zad Compton in Compton's car, flying into space)
Journey into Mystery I#47/1, pg. 1, panel 1 (Craine listening to Burton regale others)
Strange Tales I#66/4, p1, panel 3 (Felix Bradin, presenting his plans at Explorers' Club)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1, pg. 1, panel 3 (Binder listening to unidentified member)
Journey into Mystery I#54/2, pg. 1, panel 1 (after cheating at poker game, Blake gets expelled)
Marvel Universe#4, pg. 8, panel 1 (exterior)
Marvel Universe#4, pg. 8, panel 2 (entry)
Marvel Universe#4, pg.8, panel 7 (hallway)
Marvel Universe#4, pg. 9, panel 1 (room)
Marvel Universe#4, pg. 13, panel 1 (room from above)
Journey into Unknown Worlds#20/1 (July, 1953) "Bwana Brown" - unidentified writer, Gene Colan (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Men's Adventures#26/4 (March, 1954) "Gorilla Man" - Robert Q. Sale (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Strange Tales I#31/5 "The First Man" (August, 1954) - Paul S. Newman (script), Bill Savage (artist)
Strange Tales I#47/6 "The New Member" (June, 1956) - Vic Carrabotta (artist, at least)
Astonishing#53/4 (September, 1956) "The Hunter's Prey" - unidentified writer, Dave Berg (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#47/1 (June, 1957) "Bring Back My Body"- unidentified writer, George Woodbridge (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Strange Tales I#66/4 (December, 1958) "It Waits Under the Sea" - unidentified writer, Al Eadeh (pencils and inks), Joe Rosen (letters), Stan Lee (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#54/1 (September, 1959) "I Unleashed Monstro on the World" - unidentified writer, Steve Ditko (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters) Stan Lee (editor)
Journey into Mystery I#54/2 (September, 1959) "I Dared to Defy the Idol's Curse"- Stan Lee (plot/editor) Larry Lieber (script), Joe Sinnott (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors) Artie Simek (letters)
Journey into Mystery I#55/2 (November, 1959) "I Was a Prisoner of the...Ape Creatures!" - Stan Lee (plot/editor), Larry Lieber (script), Joe Sinnott (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Ray Halloway (letters)
Marvel Universe#4-7 (September-December, 1998) - Roger Stern (writer), Bret Blevins (pencils), Mike Manley (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel: The Lost Generation#2 (January, 2001) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone and the Monster Hunters#1 (January, 2006) - Michael Hoskin, Madison Carter, Jeff Christiansen, Sean McQuaid, Stuart Vandal, Eric Moreels, Ronald Byrd, Barry Reese (writers), Jennifer Grunwald & Michael Short (assistant editors), Jeff Younquist (editor)
First posted: 09/02/2021
Last updated: 08/29/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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