Real Name: Ken Masters
Identity/Class: Human (1940s era)
Occupation: Explorer, pilot
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Professor John Peter Roberts, Tim Roberts
Enemies: John Crafton, Crafton’s henchmen (Mike, Slug), indigenous peoples of the Americas
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Citrusville, Florida
First Appearance: (Historic) Amazing Mystery
Funnies II#6 (June 1939);
(Marvel) Marvel Comics#1 (October, 1939)
Powers/Abilities: Handy with various firearms, Masters was an experienced brawler.
He possessed the knowledge associated with earning a geology degree.
He had access to various expensive state-of-the-art planes, as well as Professor Roberts’ hypnotic diamond; how the gemstone’s mesmeric properties worked remains unrevealed.
Weight: 166 lbs.
(Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary Special, Amazing Mystery Funnies II#6, Marvel Comics#1) - Adventurer Ken Masters worked closely with museum and plantation owner Professor John Peter Roberts, as well as the professor’s nephew Tim Roberts, near Citrusville, Florida. The trio went on several expeditions, taking sacred objects from indigenous peoples to use as attractions in the professor’s museum. They often clashed with neighboring plantation owner and rival treasure hunter John Crafton.
(Amazing Mystery Funnies II#6) - In early 1939, the trio traveled to the rainforests of southern Mexico to find the Golden Idol of Nahapatan. While Masters followed a map they’d procured, Tim discovered a mountain bridge used by indigenous peoples. Crossing it and following a sacred river, they briefly fought a “tiger” (see comments) then discovered buildings used by a still-thriving Mesoamerican culture. Tim was captured by indigenous warriors, and it took Masters days to track them to a hidden Mesoamerican city. Sneaking inside the city, Masters and the professor saw the Mesoamerican leader planning to kill Tim, so they fired handguns, causing the indigenous warriors to scatter. Tim grabbed the idol, and the three escaped through an underground tunnel. Masters noted that as soon as they returned to Florida, he would discuss future expeditions.
(Marvel Comics#1) - Following Masters’ leads, Professor Roberts left to meet with an Amazonian tribe rumored to have hypnotic diamonds. After the tribe learned of the professor’s plunderous plans, they took him captive.
In the summer of 1939, after three months without word from the professor, Masters flew Tim to South America in a sportster plane, unaware his rival Crafton had sabotaged the plane and followed them with his henchmen. Crashing in the rainforest due to Crafton’s meddling, Masters carried Tim to safety when they were discovered by indigenous warriors, who led them to the camp where the professor was being held. Crafton and his men followed, though one of his men was shot by a poison arrow.
Masters and Tim were placed in the same hut where the professor was held, but the professor already had an escape plan. They followed a hidden tunnel to a cave housing thousands of hypnotic diamonds. As the professor began to take the diamonds, Crafton arrived and demanded he be given the treasure. When the indigenous people attacked, Crafton and his remaining henchman were apparently killed by poison arrows. Masters used the confusion to get Tim and the professor out of the diamond cave. Taking Crafton’s plane, the three escaped, and Roberts revealed he had pocketed one of the hypnotic diamonds.
Comments: Created by Tohm Dixon
How can characters from Marvel Comics#1 appear in comics from other companies? In the early days of the comic book industry, creators played fast and loose with concepts like intellectual property, and companies hired creator packages, often including completed work. As a result, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Ken Masters, Doc Doyle, Super Baby, and others all appeared in comics from other companies during the Golden Age.
Interestingly, Masters appeared in books from Centaur Comics, and several Centaur Comics characters (by this point in the public domain) were revived by Malibu Comics for the Protectors universe, which was later purchased by Marvel.
It should go without saying, but Masters’ adventures were from a different time. In both adventures, Masters helped a plantation owner kill indigenous people and steal objects of great religious importance. Ages like fine milk.
In their Mesoamerican adventure, Professor Roberts referred to a large cat that attacked Tim as a “tiger,” but it would likely have been a jaguar. He also referred to the hidden civilization as “Aztecs.” The civilization modern historians call the Aztecs were actually the Mexica, a Nahuatl-speaking people with a powerful civilization in the Valley of Mexico (now Mexico City). The Mexica were one of dozens of different cultures and civilizations that existed in Mexico and Central America. The hidden civilization apparently persisted to the present day without any Spanish colonial interference. It could theoretically be the same one encountered by Clark Savage Jr. in Doc Savage#2 (1972).
In the Centaur Comics adventure, Tim called the professor “Uncle Peter,” and in the Marvel adventure, he was called “Uncle John.” Presumably his name is John Peter Masters.
Roberts’ plantation was connected to Citrusville, famous for being a hub of weirdness, in the Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary Special.
This profile was completed 08/11/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
Profile by Kevin Garcia.
Ken Masters has no known connections to:
Tim and John Peter Roberts have no known connections to:
Professor John Peter Roberts
A plantation owner, museum owner, and college professor, John Peter Roberts was easily drawn to objects of value, even to the point of putting himself and his nephew in mortal danger.
--Amazing Mystery Funnies II#6, Marvel Comics#1
Nephew of Professor Roberts, Tim was a headstrong adventurer who looked up to Ken Masters and enjoyed figuring out mysteries.
--Amazing Mystery Funnies II#6, Marvel Comics#1
Professor Robert’s neighbor and rival, Crafton often sent men from his plantation to spy on Roberts.
When Masters left for South America to find the missing Roberts, Crafton had his lackeys sabotage Masters’ small plane, preventing it from making a safe landing.
Crafton and his men--Mike and Slug--went to the Amazon as well, but soon encountered indigenous warriors.
All three were killed by poisoned arrows following the confrontation.
Marvel Mystery Handbook (2009), page 53, second profile main image (Ken Masters main image)
Marvel Comics#1 (1939), page 45, panel 4 (Ken Masters)
Marvel Comics#1 (1939), page 48, panel 4 (Prof. Roberts)
Marvel Comics#1 (1939), page 46, panel 11 (Tim Roberts)
Marvel Comics#1 (1939), page 45, panel 9 (John Crafton)
Amazing Mystery Funnies II#6 (Reprinted in Masked Marvel#1, Sept. 1940)
Marvel Comics#1 (Oct. 1939)
Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary Special
First Posted: 09/01/2020
Last updated: 08/11/2020
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
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