The Leader


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The Leader

(pop culture)
The Leader followed the Incredible Hulk down a gamma-irradiated path to become one of the Green-Skinned Goliath's arch-foes. Created by the writer/artist duo of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in Tales to Astonish #63 (1964, although the Leader was first depicted wearing a helmet, shielding his appearance as a teaser for readers, in issue #62), laborer Samuel Sterns toils in a chemical-research facility when “a one-in-a-million freak accident” triggers the explosion of a gamma-ray cylinder—the type of mishap that, in the real world, would incinerate an individual, but in comics' Marvel Universe instead provides an origin. Sterns emerges with a voracious appetite for reading, but days later, a mutagenesis transpires: his pigmentation turns green and his cranium swells to accommodate his rapidly advancing intellect—but he maintains Sterns' well-groomed mustache—and the Leader, the super-brain with an unquenchable craving to amass knowledge, is born. The emerald-hued mastermind became preoccupied with studying his superstrong counterpart, the Hulk, dispatching his horde of faceless sythentic beings called Humanoids in an unsuccessful attempt to capture him. Serialized in a storyline that ran for over a year (through Tales to Astonish #75, 1966), the Leader's intellectual curiosity quickly flourished into megalomania. From his desert laboratory he employed a network of lackeys (which he later jettisoned for artifically constructed agents) to steal military secrets, allied with the Chameleon and Soviet operatives, developed complex weapons, and pilfered technology from scientist Dr. Bruce Banner (the Hulk's alter ego). While his plans failed, he succeeded at developing enmity with the Incredible Hulk, their war spanning decades of Marvel Comics stories. In the Leader's advanced mind, he and only he is worthy of controlling the world. No field of science is beyond his mastery, and his strategic and intuitive reasonings are staggering. He possesses total recall and the psionic ability of mind control. Among his android creations are sythentic substitutes for the U.S. president and vice-president, a 500-foot Humanoid, and a Super Humanoid that fired concussive blasts from its fingertips. During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, many of the Leader's malevolent milestones flowed from the mind of writer Peter David, long-time Incredible Hulk scribe. In 1987 the Leader temporarily lost his powers, then regained them by siphoning gamma radiation from the Hulk's friend Rick Jones, who had become Hulk-like himself; in the process the Leader's mutation was worsened, his cranium expanding to monstrous proportions and boils festering across his body. In the 1988 “Ground Zero” storyline the Leader detonated a gamma-bomb that leveled an Arizona town and massacred its 5,000 denizens. Under David's creative control the Leader also reanimated the dead; created an Arctic “utopia” called Freehold, over which he reigned; nearly initiated World War III, blaming a faux terrorists' network; and appeared to die while in a grostequely mutated state. Yet as with many supervillains who perish in a blaze of infamy, criminal flames are difficult to extinguish. The Leader appeared on television in “Hulk” installments of the animated omnibus The Marvel Super-Heroes (1966), voiced by Gillie Fenwick, and in the cartoon The Incredible Hulk (1996–1997), with Matt Frewer playing the villain. Toy Biz produced a Leader action figure in 1996 as a TV show tie-in; other merchandising with the character includes the Leader and Gamma Hulk Marvel Mini- Mates action-figure two-pack.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"The lions are never IN trouble--they only MAKE trouble," said the Leader, turning up his nose.
But the Leader of the Lions, when he got back to his den, saw his wife, the Queen Lioness, come running out to meet him with her hair untidy.
At once this knight seemed to throw aside his apathy, when he discovered the leader of his party so hard bestead; for, setting spurs to his horse, which was quite fresh, he came to his assistance like a thunderbolt, exclaiming, in a voice like a trumpet-call, ``Desdichado, to the rescue!'' It was high time; for, while the Disinherited Knight was pressing upon the Templar, Front-de-B uf had got nigh to him with his uplifted sword; but ere the blow could descend, the Sable Knight dealt a stroke on his head, which, glancing from the polished helmet, lighted with violence scarcely abated on the chamfron of the steed, and Front-de-B uf rolled on the ground, both horse and man equally stunned by the fury of the blow.
It was pointed out to the Prince, in impeachment of this decree, that the victory had been in fact won by the Disinherited Knight, who, in the course of the day, had overcome six champions with his own hand, and who had finally unhorsed and struck down the leader of the opposite party.
"Of course, if you make a howling mistake," Collins told them, "that's when you all pull the wires like mad and poke the leader and whirl him around.
The Pack closed up round the tree-trunk and the leader bayed savagely, calling Mowgli a tree-ape.
He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf's head from its body, so that it immediately died.
Fortunate for Okar is it that you were here to prevent their escape, for these be the greatest villains north of the ice-barrier, and this one"--pointing to the leader of the party--"would have made himself Jeddak of Jeddaks in the place of the dead Salensus Oll.
They laughed again loudly at this, and the leader said with frown:
Neither Number Thirteen nor any of his crew had ever before seen a boat, and outside of the leader there was scarcely enough brains in the entire party to render it at all likely that they could ever navigate it, but the young man saw that the other prahus were being propelled by the long sticks which protruded from their sides, and he also saw the sails bellying with wind, though he had but a vague conception of their purpose.
But in that case the question arises whether all the activity of the leaders serves as an expression of the people's will or only some part of it.
The black civilly volunteered his services to take off the leaders, and the Judge very earnestly seconded the measure with his advice.