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Cover to Sludge #1
Art by Aaron Lopresti and Gary Martin
|First appearance||Sludge #1|
|Created by||Steve Gerber
|Alter ego||Frank Hoag|
|Abilities||-Superhuman strength and durability
-Ability to cause spontaneous tissue growth in others by touch
Sludge was a comic book series from Malibu Comics, set in the Ultraverse. It was created by Steve Gerber, Gary Martin and Aaron Lopresti. Sludge ran for only twelve issues, with one special: Sludge: Red X-Mas. A second special, Sludge: Swamp of Souls, was planned but never completed.
Sludge takes cues from Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing (which Gerber worked on during his time at Marvel) in both the chemical reaction origin (Swamp Thing) and powers (Man-Thing)
Frank Hoag was a corrupt NYPD detective who finally grew a spine when he was asked by his mob bosses to kill a fellow dirty cop. When he refuses, his own murder is ordered; he dies by a hail of bullets as well as a bomb. The explosion covers him with chemicals, which combine with the sewage from where the mobsters dump his body. The chemicals had regenerative properties and tried to heal Hoag, but combined the sewer substances with his body, transforming him into a huge mass of living slime. He awakens with a raging anger against criminals and an inability to think and speak coherently. Many words come out replaced with one that sounds similar, such as 'munch' instead of 'mutual'.
One of Frank's allies is Chas, a blind homeless man who sells newspapers. He does not comprehend that Frank has transformed; he only thinks he has gained an 'underwater voice'. Frank takes a newspaper from Chas, claiming to be good for it and reads about deaths in the sewers.
Frank meets Shelley Winters, a sensationalistic reporter, in the sewers. She was investigating the same case that interests Frank and she discovers upon Veffir Voon Iyax, a humanoid, albino alligator-man. Veffir had killed the two people and many more. During the fight, Veffir claims he is from another world, and that nobody who meets him lives. Despite this, Sludge kills him in battle and demands 35 cents from Winters. He uses this to pay back Chas.
Powers and abilities
Sludge has a tremendous regenerative ability, healing most wounds in seconds, and able to regrow large areas of body tissue. Submersion in water speeds up this ability. He does not require air and is immune to most chemical toxins. His touch melts human flesh.
Appearances in other media
Sludge appears in the Ultraforce animated cartoon. In the series, he is an underling of Lord Pumpkin, who ironically was one of his enemies in the comics, forced into being so due his addiction to a drug that Pumpkin created that restores him to human form. He sacrifices himself to stop a demon plant created by Pumpkin.