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Dragon Man(pop culture)
Super-genius Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards wasn't the only big man on campus in Fantastic Four #35 (1965)—the 15-foot, 3-ton Dragon Man made the college scene in that issue's tale by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. While Richards is lecturing students at his alma mater State University, his colleague Professor Gregson Gilbert has created—for some inexplicable reason—a lifeless, gray-skinned dinosaur-man (discreetly wearing briefs, as mandated by the Comics Code Authority). Enter the alchemist Diablo, enemy of the Fantastic Four, whose arcane brews bestow life upon Gilbert's android and places the beast under the villain's control. Flying on bat-like wings and disgorging flame from its massive jaws, Dragon Man incites “Calamity on the Campus!” (the story's title), but thanks to the intervention of Richards and his FF teammates, the creature and its manipulator plunge into the icy waters of Dead Man's Lake. Dragon Man returned (as did Diablo) on countless stomp-and-burn rampages, usually as a pawn of some ruthless soul like the Machinesmith, the Dragon Lord, or the evil corporation Roxxon, only to be corralled by the FF, the Avengers, Spider-Man, She-Hulk, or other heroes. His durable hide can withstand the Thing's blows (“What gives?? When I clobber someone, he's supposed to stay clobbered!”), mortar blasts, and extreme heat and pressure. Dragon Man's 7-feet-long tail thrashes at a dizzying 90 miles per hour. He possesses rudimentary sentience, being about as bright as a dog, and therein lies his appeal—part mutt, part dinosaur, this unorthodox villain has become a favorite of fans and fans turned comics-pros, the latter of whom nostalgically dust off Dragon Man for return engagements.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.