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Big Evil Comes in a Small Package

October 12, 2014

When it comes to supervillains, a comic fan’s mind might jump to the likes of the Joker, Lex Luthor, or the Green Goblin. But amongst the countless Golden Age villains is one brilliant but tiny worm: Mister Mind.

Mister Mind is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain created for Fawcett Comics, and now owned and published by DC Comics. Created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck, Mister Mind first appeared as a voice only in Captain Marvel Adventures #22, his first true appearance was in Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (August 1943).

The two-inch alien worm was created for Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel Adventures series by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck. Though various versions of the character have appeared over the multiple Captain Marvel and Shazam! series by Fawcett and DC, the character’s powers tend to always include telepathy and extremely high intelligence.

Mister Mind is perhaps best known for leading the Monster Society of Evil, through which he carries out his plans. Members of the Monster Society of Evil have included the likes of Black Adam, King Kull, Mister Atom, and Oggar. Though most of his plots are foiled by Captain Marvel, he has also faced off against the likes of Booster Gold, and other members of the Justice League.

The original Mister Mind depicted in Fawcett publications and pre-1985 DC Comics publications was a cartoonish worm possessing an intelligence beyond that of human beings. He claimed to be a mutant worm from a distant planet who was more intelligent than the other worms, which communicated by touching their feelers. This Mister Mind possessed limited telepathy and the ability to spin nearly indestructible silk at speeds faster than the human eye could follow, spoke through the use of a "talk box" which hung around his neck which amplified his voice, and was depicted as being myopic and needing eyeglasses. In Shazam #2 (April 1973) he is described as having the body of a lowly worm, the conscience of a Hitler, and the brain of a genius. Meanwhile, the membership and size of Mind's Monster Society has changed dramatically over the years, from thousands of members (including all of the Axis Powers) in the 1940s Captain Marvel Adventures comics to only a handful in DC's Shazam! stories.

The current version of Mister Mind, introduced by Jerry Ordway in his Power of Shazam! series, is a more realistically depicted worm from the planet Venus, possessing powers which include mind control, telepathy, and mental image projection. This Mind is the only survivor of a race of mind-controlling Venusian worms who might have once ruled the World, and irregularly appears in DC Universe stories attempting to find hosts and/or clone himself.

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