Real Name: Unknown (possibly Volcan)
Occupation: Ruler of an subterranean world
Affiliations: His flame men
Enemies: Bob Roland, Carol
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: God of the Middle Earth
Base of Operations: A subterranean kingdom, at least part of which is beneath Mexico
First Appearance: Mystic Comics #5 (Timely, March 1941)
Powers/Abilities: Able to create volcanos. Immune to heat and flame. Giant, at least sixty feet tall. Carries a rock-hammer for undisclosed purposes. Able to move through the underworld "with the speed of light".
History: Discovering an entrance to a subterranean world inside a volcanic crater near Las Palmas, Mexico, geologist Bob Roland and his fiancee Carol started to explore. They were soon captured by strange beings "clad in asbestos suits", who took them to their leader, a giant man with flames running up and down his body. Initially this figure ordered them thrown into the lava as punishment for trespassing, but when they protested, he agreed to at least explain who he was. He stated he was "the Sub-Earth Man, God of the Middle Earth." Claiming he ruled the world "when the Earth was a fiery planet" but that his power diminished as the Earth cooled, he then told them of his intention to create volcanos and earthquakes until mankind was driven from the face of the Earth, leaving him in charge once more.
Desperately trying to stave off their execution, Bob offered to use his geologist's skills to tell their captor the place where his earthquake could do the most harm. Sub-Earth Man accepted this offer, warning them of dire consequences should Bob be lying. Sure enough Bob's directions caused Sub-Earth Man to open a volcano under the ocean, causing water to flood in. In the ensuing confusion, Bob and Carol fled back to the surface. However Sub-Earth Man, initially angry at the deception, wasn't too upset - the eruption had caused a tidal wave which was heading towards Las Palmas, while the influx of water could be turned to steam to use to power his earthquake equipment. Back on the surface, Bob used explosives to direct a stream of lava from the volcano down to the ocean, where it formed a barricade, saving the city from the tidal wave. However Carol pointed out that the threat of Sub-Earth Man remained...
Comments: At one point during the story, while Bob is telling Sub-Earth Man where to set off his volcano, the human states that he has "directed Volcan to a spot beneath the ocean". Sub-Earth Man never actually told him this name (at least, not on panel), so this might be his real name, or it might be Bob, a geologist, giving him a nickname inspired by Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
Thanks to Jess Nevins for allowing me to use information from his excellent Golden Age Heroes Directory and his Guide to Golden Age Marvel Characters. Thanks also to Richard Boucher & Darrin Wiltshire @ PR-Publications for permission to use information from their equally brilliant collection of Golden Age Sites, PR Publications. Their knowledge of Golden Age characters far outstrips my own.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Submerman, a French aquatic hero
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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