Mr. Mind(pop culture)
Readers during comics' Golden Age (1938–1954) had to look closely to see Captain Marvel's ultraintelligent enemy Mr. Mind. He is only “heard” as a broadcasted voice in his first few stories, beginning in Fawcett's Captain Marvel Adventures #22 (1943), and four months later in issue #26, writer Otto Binder and artist C. C. Beck disclose this world dominator's secret: he is a worm! Nicknamed “the World's Wickedest Worm,” Mr. Mind is the architect behind comics' first supervillain team in the Golden Age's longest-running serial, the 25-chapter, 232-page “Monster Society of Evil” storyline. Hailing from a planet of sentient worms, Mr. Mind boasts staggering telepathic abilities, but his poor eyesight forces him to rely upon round-framed, oversized glasses. A voice amplifier, shaped like a vintage radio and worn around his neck like a medallion, enables the tiny Mind to be heard. During the Monster Society's two-year-long adventure, Mind and his cohorts (myriad villains from Dr. Sivana to Adolf Hitler) destroy property and lives, sending Captain Marvel through a gauntlet of challenges. After the heroic Big Red Cheese crushes the Monster Society in #46 (1945), Mr. Mind is placed on trial for his crimes, which include ordering 186,744 murders, and he receives the electric chair. A taxidermist stuffs the worm's miniscule corpse, which is housed under glass in a museum. Little did the populace realize that Mr. Mind had cheated death—merely stunned by the attempted electrocution, he substituted a surrogate in the museum tomb and cocooned himself into suspended animation. Mr. Mind emerged almost thirty years later in Shazam! #2 (1973), at a new publisher, DC Comics, which had obtained Captain Marvel's publication rights from Fawcett after suing the character out of print in the 1950s. Mr. Mind fought Cap in several innocuous encounters and wiggled onto television in the “Best Seller” episode of NBC's cartoon Kid Super-Power Hour with Shazam! (1981–1982). Allan Oppenheimer voiced the villain; episode writer Paul Dini went on to co-create the lauded Batman: The Animated Series. Mr. Mind was retroactively inserted into DC's 1940s timeline via an earlier version of the Monster Society in a late 1985 All-Star Squadron storyline, but he was excised after DC's continuity-housecleaning series Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985–1986). At the end of Shazam!: The New Beginning #4 (1987), a panel depicting a large-eyed worm in a tequila bottle intimated that Roy Thomas, writer of this Captain Marvel–rebooting miniseries, had intended to revive Mr. Mind in a future story. Yet another Captain Marvel revamp in 1994, this time by Jerry Ordway, squashed Thomas' chances. Ordway introduced a more realistic, fear-provoking version of Mr. Mind in 1996 issues of The Power of Shazam!; the worm now originated on Venus, and attempted to populate Fawcett City with members of his species. Mr. Mind returned in 1998, partnering with the robotic Mr. Atom as the new Monster Society and destroying a small town in the process, then was seen again in the 2001 crossover series The Joker: Last Laugh. While more underfoot than appreciated in the darker DC Universe of the twenty-first century, Mr. Mind was given another spin by Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith in the 2006 miniseries Shazam!: Monster Society of Evil.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.