It was announced late last year so you are forgiven for missing it, “R.L. Stine to write the Man-Thing for Marvel”. Yes, R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame. With 62 books published under Goosebumps under his belt next lining up to write the
ongoing 5 issue Man-Thing mini-series for Marvel.
With the release of the first issue imminent you might be wondering – Who is Man-Thing?
First appearing in Savage Tales #1 from May 1971, Man-Thing has his origin tied to the most common cause of monsters in the Marvel Universe – Attempting to recreate the Super Soldier Serum which created Captain America.
Ted Sallis as a research scientist was working on the project with Drs. Wilma Calvin and Barbara Morse (later known as Mockingbird, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D) which gained attention from A.I.M. A.I.M. aka the Advanced Idea Mechanics for those who dont know are sort of a science’y version of Hydra but dress more like beekeepers.
A.I.M. conspired with Sallis’ neglected newly-wedded wife to led Sallis into an ambush. Having suspicions about the betrayal, Sallis had already destroyed all of his work and committed the formula to memory and being an origin story of course he had a sample of the formula that he injected himself with before it could be taken.
Sounds pretty normal so far? What happened next?
Well, as this is comics the formula did transform Sallis but that was not the only contributing factor. It seems that Sallis’ lab was also near a local swap which also just happened to be the gateway referred to as the Nexus of All Realities. Yes that old chestnut.
As Man-Thing Sallis gained strength and durability but he also lost his intellect making the character mostly silent. Man-Thing became the guardian of the Nexus being a more mystic based character than a science one. The one most interesting ability of Man-Thing is how attuned to the surrounding the emotions he is, secreting acid when someone is afraid of him – the Man-Thing touch burns those who fear him.
Being around in the Marvel Universe since the 1970’s as you can expect there is a multitude of adventures, team-ups and stories around Man-Thing including a brief time with Luke Cage as part of the Thunderbolts (the Marvel version of the Suicide Squad) acting as their teleporter. There is even a Man-Thing movie which also included Jessica Jones’ Hellcat & Australian Actor Rachael Taylor.
Man-Thing does share more than a passing resemblance to the DC Swamp Thing who also first appeared in 1971 and the very next month. Swamp Thing being the guardian of ‘The Green’ in the DCU, which is considered pretty much all plant life.
While not a Deathstroke/Deadpool like imitation given the time to write and create, there was definitely something happening in 1970 to inspire these two.
If you want to start fresh with Man-Thing, Issue #1 with R.L. Stine hits Australian Comic stores this week for new comic book day 9th of March from your local comic store.