We actually ran into the same issue not long ago with Turtle Man. It's your first issue. You've got a lot of ground to cover introducing a stretchy guy, an invisible woman, her brother who sets himself on fire but not in a bad way, and their rock friend who are all scientists, business owners, and space explorers. And now, oh yeah, they need a nemesis. And what says nemesis more than...mole...man?
Digging into Mole Man's History
Mole Man started by sucking a military base into the ground in French Equatorial Africa. And I know we're supposed to see this as bad, but everyone got out and if you look up atrocities in French Equatorial Africa...yeah. Hard to see a bloodless attack on colonialism as the outrageous event the comic tries to portray.
Still, Reed Richards had his super-sensitive machine that told him of ground weirdness in the heart of the African continent. Thinking that yeah, I need to stick my super-stretchy nose into this problem, he boarded his private jet and, despite French Equatorial Africa being landlocked, flew to Monster Isle.
Quick aside, if you're looking for monsters, that's a pretty good place to start.
And monsters they found. There was a three-headed dragon! And a rock person that wasn't the Thing, the rock person who came with them.
The team split up and Mr. Fantastic and the Human torch fell deep into a chasm to meet...him. The mole man.
So, the world was cruel to the Harvey Rupert Elder. Women didn't want to date him. Employers didn't want to hire him. Handsome 1960s guys with pencil mustaches laughed in his face. Why? Well, it definitely wasn't because of his extremely abrasive personality and his incessant, very vocal insistence in the theory that the earth was hollow.
No. It couldn't be that, Harvey told himself. He decided that it was because he was shorter than average and his nose was kind of big. So yeah, why should he change when it was obviously everyone else's fault?
So, he was going to show them all. In 1956, he left to go to the fabled island in the Atlantic, Monster Island, the alleged entryway to the hollow earth, and prove that he was right.
Real quickly, I was dismayed that there was a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to the Hollow Earth theory, but it looks like something that was debunked hundreds of years ago. It doesn't appear that anyone believes the earth is hollow anymore, but if I'm wrong about that and there's an entire hollow earther community out there dedicated to spreading misinformation please write me an e-mail and then delete it without sending. I don't want to know.
But, apparently, Harvey was right. Not because he was good at exploring or knew what he was doing, but because his boat crashed on Monster Island. Sometimes you get lucky...and then immediately very unlucky. He fell down the same hole that Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch did, but because his sister's boyfriend wasn't a stretchy guy he could use as a parachute, he hit his head and blinded himself.
Harvey was vindicated for his...crackpot theories. They were true! But he couldn't rub it in anyone's face because he was now trapped, blind and in the dark and surrounded by monsters.
I'll be real. I would probably just die. I mean, I know myself and can barely survive on a camping trip so...yeah. I wouldn't fare too well underground. Harvey...had purpose though. He had made the discovery of a lifetime, and he was going to emerge victorious, educate humanity, and then conquer them for refusing to date him.
His rage fueled him, and Harvey learned to feel the surrounding vibrations in the ground and air. He not only surpassed what someone could do with sight, but he could feel what was going to happen, giving him a near unbeatable edge in hand-to-hand combat. You know, like moles.
The Super Mole
Changing his name to Mole Man, he gained the respect and obedience of the Moloids and renamed them the Mole People.
Now, you're probably like, there is an entire people group living under the earth? I guess yes? If you've seen the Marvel movie the Eternals, I guess the Deviants, you know, those monster guys. Honestly I barely remember I fell asleep multiple times during that movie. Anyway, the Deviants created a group of really weak underground dwellers, were mad at how weak they were, and tried to exterminate them.
Mole Man had a near-unbeatable edge in hand-to-hand combat. You know, like moles.
They failed, I guess, and the Mole Man became their king. With the focus of one reasonably smart person leading them, they brought the monsters of the Hollow Earth to heel...and in the five years since Harvey fell into the ground, they had been busy.
The Mole Man revealed his plan. He was going to tunnel under every major city, destroy power plants, and release his mole people and underground monsters to conquer the surface world!
And that sounds like a compelling story. Too bad they spent so long on the origin of The Fantastic Four and had two pages left. The Thing and The Invisible Woman came to rescue Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch, and the human torch sealed the holes on Monster Island behind them. Case closed.
But, Harvey was the Mole Man, not, "sit quietly in the dark man"...though that name is probably just as intimidating and is actually pretty much what moles do. The Mole Man did go on to being...kind of an annoyance in the Marvel universe. Seeing part of his plan through...eventually, he stole some buildings from New York City, though I'm not sure what the point of that is. He fought a lot of the Marvel heroes, including Iron Man, the Hulk, the X-men, Spider-man, and more, to varying degrees of success before settling down, giving up the villain thing, and opening a sanctuary for people who had been rejected by the surface world.
He did eventually return to villainy though, ostensibly because the surface world was polluting the hollow earth area, but...probably because it was still the case that no one would date him.
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