The original lava men?
August 30, 2006 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Did Marvel really invent mole men and lava men from scratch, or is there something that precedes it?

They just seem so much like older "Subterranian dweller" myths, that I keep expecting there to be a circa 1880 hollow earth novel with lava men or a spiritualist who claimed to channel mole men.

What sort of similar beings preceded the mole men?
posted by RobotHero to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Gnomes and dwarves?
posted by bshort at 11:55 AM on August 30, 2006

You might be thinking of "Morlocks" the subterranean humanoids from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, published in 1895.
posted by justkevin at 11:55 AM on August 30, 2006

Even within comics, Marvel (and jack Kirby in particular) were pumping out monster books like crazy before the FF broke, and lots of those monsters came up out of the earth. it's not an accident that the Mole Man appears in FF #1.
posted by COBRA! at 12:32 PM on August 30, 2006

Vril pre-dates Wells. Hollow Earth fantasies go back a long time. See also: Hell.
posted by meehawl at 12:33 PM on August 30, 2006

Forgive me for this hijack, but on the Season 1 DVD set of the Tick animated series that just came out, one episode is missing. That's episode 11, "The Tick vs. the Mole Men." Does anyone know if it's some disagreement with Marvel that's tying up the rights?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:04 PM on August 30, 2006

Superman and the Mole Men (1951)

Also, Mole Men in Tales to Astonish (1961)
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2006

But wait, there's more:

Mole Men Against The Son Of Hercules (1958)

The Herculoids and the Mole Men (1967)

The Mole Men Want Your Eyes by Frederick C. Davis, in Horror Stories (1938)

Moving on to Lava Men:

This "Vanguard History," apparently from 1964, has Lava Men and Tony Stark (and Bruce Wayne, among many), but doesn't seem to be Marvel-ous.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:31 PM on August 30, 2006

There is also the Shaver Mystery - Richard Shaver's tales of degenerate robots ("Deros") that dwell beneath the skin of the Earth and emerge to wreck havoc upon unsuspecting humanity. Amazing's editor, Ray Palmer, represented them as being based on fact, contrary to all common sense.
posted by SPrintF at 7:03 PM on August 30, 2006

Faint of Butt: That's what started me on this road. I was sure there were pre-Marvel mole men but couldn't think of a concrete example.
posted by RobotHero at 12:36 AM on August 31, 2006

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) features mud men who seem to share some features with the mole men you're looking for.
posted by biffa at 2:31 AM on August 31, 2006

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