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Dr. Arthur Nagan first appeared in Mystery Tales #21 (September 1954), and was created by Bob Powell. This story was reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales #7 (December 1974). Steve Gerber created the Headmen after reading the reprint issue. The character subsequently appears in Defenders vol. 1 #21 (March 1975), 31-33 (January–March 1976), 35 (May 1976), Defenders Annual #1 (October 1976), Power Man/Iron Fist #68 (April 1981), Marvel Age Annual #1 (1985), The Sensational She-Hulk vol. 2 #1-3 (May–July 1989), Avengers: Deathtrap: The Vault Graphic Novel (1991), Web of Spider-Man #73 (February 1991), Marvel Comics Presents #97 (1992), Defenders vol. 2 #5 (July 2001), 7-10 (September–December 2001), and Heroes for Hire #6-8 (March–May 2007). Gorilla-Man appeared as part of the "Headmen" entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #5, and in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89 #3.
Franz Radzik first appeared in Tales to Astonish #28 (February 1962).
Fictional character biography
Cover art for Agents of Atlas #2.
Art by Tomm Coker.
|First appearance||Men's Adventures #26 (March 1954)|
|Created by||Robert Q. Sale (artist)|
|Full name||Kenneth Hale|
|Team affiliations||Agents of Atlas
Nick Fury's Howling Commandos
Skilled hand to hand combatant
Possesses the form of a gorilla
Kenneth Hale was a happy-go-lucky soldier of fortune. He was always risking his life for thrills, but he was actually afraid of dying. He heard of a local tribal legend from Africa that stated "If you kill the magical Gorilla-Man, you become immortal." Ken travelled to Africa to find the Gorilla-Man. Ken gave up on the idea at the last minute, but the ape forced him to shoot. Ken Hale then became immortal, but at the cost of becoming the new Gorilla-Man. (X-Men First Class Vol. 1, Issue 8). After operating his own team for a while, Ken Hale then "retired", and lived in a large treehouse near the Congo. He served as a guide for the original X-Men, and proved himself to be a formidable one. He was given a special yearbook, and was acknowledged as an ally, or "X-Ape". After helping them on their mission, Ken presumably went on to live in the treehouse a while longer. He did use his powers when working with the Avengers,[volume & issue needed] S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos unit,[volume & issue needed] and the Agents of Atlas.
|First appearance||Mystery Tales #21 (Seprtember 1954)|
|Created by||Bob Powell (artist)|
|Full name||Arthur Nagan|
Circus of Crime
|Notable aliases||Dr. Ruhart Gnaan|
|Abilities||Expert transplant surgeon and inventor
Possesses the form of a gorilla
Dr. Arthur Nagan is a former surgeon who took the organs from gorillas to use in people. However his scheme was allegedly thwarted by the gorillas who somehow transplanted his head onto a gorilla’s body. He is a member of the Headmen and fought with the Defenders on several occasions. Upon his release from prison, he attacked Power Man, who was temporarily de-powered. He is a former member of the Lethal Legion.
He later rejoined by the Headmen and participates in the plan to give his ally, Chondu, a new body. Specifically, the body of a clone of She-Hulk. The Headmen hire the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime, then later Mysterio in order to test She-Hulk for compatibility. She is subdued and cloned, but escapes with the aid of Spider-Man. Nagan is arrested by the New York city police. Nagan is seen without the Headmen during a Vault outbreak. He and the female Frenzy, being held in neighboring cells, are freed by Electro.
The Headmen tracked Spider-man to a party Alicia Masters was hosting in order to procure Spider-Man's body for Chondu. Human Torch and Spider-man defeating enemies and the Headmen was soon arrested. Later allied with the A.I.M. plotted to control an ancient space-god in order to rule the world. They resurrected the alien space god Orrgo and conquered the world with him, but Defenders quickly defeating Orrgo and the Headmen.
It is revealed in the Guardians of the Galaxy series that Nagan is one of the inmates left behind in the Negative Zone's Prison 42. There, he, Condor, and Bison are involved in a fight with Star-Lord who, with the help of Jack Flag, is trying to stop Blastaar and his horde from invading Earth via the closed portal in the prison.
He sided with Blastaar's forces when the Shadow Initiative invaded to take the prison back. Despite inflicting heavy casualties on the Shadow Initiative's forces, Nagan and his allies were betrayed by fellow inmate Hardball. Hardball killed the Negative aliens but let Nagan live.
The Franz Radzik version of Gorilla Man. From Tales to Astonish #28.
|First appearance||Tales to Astonish #28 (February 1962)|
|Created by||Stan Lee, Larry Lieber (writers)
Jack Kirby (artist)
|Full name||Franz Radzik|
|Abilities||Possesses the form of a gorilla|
Franz Radzik, a scientist who created an electro-magnetic ray machine to transfer his mind into a gorilla’s body was known as Gorilla-Man. He was sent into deep space on an experimental rocket ship and first appeared in Tales to Astonish vol. 1 #28 and 30. The former story was reprinted in Adventure into Fear #5. The latter in Gorilla Man #3.
NOTE: This is not to be confused with a story from Strange Tales #1. In it, a man who admires evil things is injected with a formula by an evil scientist which turns him into an ape, as he hopes to become a creature of evil. A student is knocked out by the evil man. He is tied to a chair and gagged at the home of the scientist. The mind of the man is sent back through the ages as he becomes an ape. However, the other man is able to free himself. He breaks the scientist's neck, but is captured and caged at the local zoo.
Powers and abilities
As Gorilla-Man, Hale possesses the body, and therefore the strength, agility, and endurance of a mountain gorilla, while still retaining his normal human intelligence. He is an expert in weapons usage with a preference for firearms, and was a skilled hand-to-hand fighter even as a human being. Gorilla-Man also has been cursed with immortality, thus he does not age and has retained the same level of strength and physical prowess over decades.
The Arthur Nagan version of Gorilla-Man is an expert transplant surgeon and inventor. His large gorilla body possesses strength, agility, dexterity, and endurance.
In an alternate Earth that appeared in Avengers Forever #4-5, a similar version of Hale as Gorilla-Man appeared in the Avengers of the 1950s.[volume & issue needed] However their timeline was destroyed by Immortus.[volume & issue needed]
- X-Men First Class Vol. 1 #8
- Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust #1
- Mystery Tales #12
- Defenders #21
- Defenders #31-33
- Defenders Annual #1
- Power Man and Iron Fist #68 April 1981
- Marvel Age Annual #1
- The Sensational She-Hulk vol. 2 #1-3 (May–July 1989)
- Avengers: Death Trap, the Vault #6-8
- Web of Spider-Man #73
- Defenders (vol. 2) #5
- Defenders (vol. 2) #9-10
- Heroes for Hire vol. 2 #6-8
- Guardians of the Galaxy #9
- Avengers: the Initiative #27
- Avengers Academy #15
- X-Men: Legacy Vol. 2 #8