Real Name: Oliver Gombol
Identity/Class: Human (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Ernest Evans (employee); Santa Claus
Enemies: Landon family, unidentified grocer
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The Man Without a Heart" (in story title)
Base of Operations: Unidentified American city
First Appearance: Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3 (February, 1956)
Powers/Abilities: Having no paranormal abilities, the wealthy Gombol was a heartless businessman who had no compassion for those who owed him money.
But when he received his first Christmas gift from the son of an employee whom he had fired, the selfish and miserly Gombol's heart was so touched by the child's gesture of kindness that he vowed to become a better man.
Height: 5' 9" (by
Weight: 190 lbs. (by approximation)
Hair: Black (balding)
(Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Oliver Gombol is largely unrevealed, but he apparently had an unhappy childhood, for he never got any Christmas gifts; because of his joyless upbringing, he grew to become a greedy and selfish man who never smiled.
Despite his early adversity, Gombol eventually established a successful money-lending institution, where he employed Ernest Evans as a bookkeeper; but because of Gombol's harsh business practices, he gained the reputation of being a mean and heartless man.
(Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3) - One morning, five days before Christmas, Gombol evicted the Landon family from their apartment.
Gombol next went to a grocery store, where the store's owner was late paying off an installment loan--Gombol threatened to take the store away if he wasn't paid by Christmas.
(Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3 - BTS) - Gombol spent the entire afternoon hounding his debtors, and when night came, he returned to the study of his dreary home, where he checked over the bills owed him.
(Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/2) - While sitting at his desk, Gombol was startled by the appearance of a strange bearded old man, who advised him to change his ways before it was too late. The angry Gombol ordered the unwelcome visitor to leave--the stranger complied, but promised he'd be back.
Gombol ignored the old man's warning to mend his ways--just two days before Christmas, when a beggar who hadn't eaten in two days asked him for a dime, Gombol ordered a policeman to arrest the beggar for panhandling.
That night, Gombol answered a knock at his study door--it was the old stranger again, giving him the same warning. Gombol flew into a rage and lunged at the old man, who suddenly seemed to vanish, and Gombol nearly took a tumble down a flight of stairs.
Gombol's disposition only worsened, and when he went to his office on the morning of Christmas Eve, he discovered that Evans had bungled the accounts, and as a result, it had cost Gombol the sum of nine dollars and twenty-three cents. Although Evans profusely apologized for his error and offered to pay back two dollars a week out of his salary, the angry Gombol fired him anyway.
That night, as he lay asleep in his bed, Gombol was awakened by a voice--it was the bearded stranger, again warning him to change his ways, then the old man seemed to be swallowed by the shadows. Gombol found it impossible to go back to sleep afterwards, so he decided to go to his office early. But as he walked along the snow-covered sidewalks, Gombol suddenly remembered that Evans had forgotten to turn in his office keys when he was fired, so he took a detour to pick them up.
An hour later, shortly before dawn, Gombol plodded through deep snowdrifts along the path to Ernest Evans' small suburban home, where he found the Evans family up early to celebrate the holiday. As he entered and looked over the family's meager belongings, he contemptuously told them they had little reason to celebrate. Bess Evans scolded Gombol for firing her husband, and told him that it was a very sad Christmas for them, except for one thing: she and Ernest and little Ned still had each other. The sneering Gobol responded that he couldn't stand the sight of people feeling sorry for themselves because they didn't get any presents--no one ever felt sorry for him or gave him any Christmas presents!
But before the stern-faced Gombol could turn to leave, little Ned Evans, with his big brown eyes glowing softly with sympathy, went over to the miser and gave him his toy boat as a present.
The child's innocent act of kindness worked a miracle--overcome by emotion, Gombol choked back a sob, but he was unable to hold back the tears of joy that fought their way down his cheeks, for the child's boat was the very first gift he'd ever been given! Gombol promised little Ned that he'd keep the boat forever, and that there would be another one coming for the boy to replace it. Then Gombol wiped a tear from his eye as he turned to Ernest Evans and rehired him...with a good raise in pay!
Gombol left Evans' modest home, and for the first time within memory, he felt like smiling! As he walked along the sidewalk in a festive mood, Gombol heard a happy chuckle coming from the shadows--it was the voice of the stranger. But this time, rather than the usual warning, the stranger told Gombol that he wasn't heartless--his heart was just lost for a while, and now he had found it!
Then, out of the shadows and into the light of the dawning Christmas Day came the jolly stranger, all dressed in red, and he wished Gombol a Very Merry Christmas.
Oliver Gombol's heart was filled with gladness, for he now recognized the stranger, and he wished him the same.
Comments: Created by Carl Wessler and Robert Q. Sale.
This 4-page story seems to me like a cross between A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Oliver Gombol has no known connections to:
The Landon family has no known connections to:
The unidentified grocer has no known connections to:
Ernest, Bess, and Ned Evans have no known connections to:
Mr. Landon (first
name unrevealed), along with his wife and four children (none identified), lived in an
apartment owned by Oliver Gombol.
A grocery store owner, he had earlier taken
out an installment loan from businessman Oliver Gombol.
Ernest "Ernie" Evans worked as a bookkeeper
for the miserly Oliver Gombol; Bess was Ernest's wife, and Ned was their
son. The family lived in a modest suburban home.
On Christmas Day, the Evans family awoke before dawn to celebrate the
holiday, but it was a sad time for them--Ernie was now unemployed, and
he could only afford to give little Ned a single present: a crude toy
boat. However, the family found solace because they still had each
images: (without ads)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Oliver Gombol, evicting Landon family)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p2, pan5 (Headshot - Oliver Gombol, thinking about the stranger)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p2, pan3 (Oliver Gombol (left), visited by stranger)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p4, pan7 (Oliver Gombol (right) finally realizes who stranger is)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p1, pan1 (Landon family being evicted)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p1, pan3 (unidentified grocer (left) speaks with Oliver Gombol)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p2, pan1 (unidentified grocer (right) speaks with Oliver Gombol)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p3, pan3 (Ernest Evans learns that Oliver Gombol is firing him)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p4, pan2 (Ned, Ernest, and Bess Evans in their home; Oliver Gombol (background))
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p4, pan3 (Bess and Ernest Evans; Oliver Gombol; Ned Evans holding toy boat (background))
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3, p4, pan4 (Ned Evans gives his toy boat to Oliver Gombol)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2/3 (February, 1956) - Carl Wessler (writer), Robert Q. Sale (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
First Posted: 12/24/2021
Last updated: 12/24/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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