The Impossible Man impersonates a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Artist: Michael Golden


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1963
Creators: Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist)
If this site is enjoyable or useful to you,
Please contribute to its necessary financial support. or PayPal

The Fantastic Four, created by the legendary team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, was more than just one of the seminal comic books of the 1960s …

continued below

superhero movement and the flagship of the Marvel Comics line. It was also a prolific source of new characters and concepts for the company. The Black Panther, Warlock, The Silver Surfer and many others started there and went on to series of their own. Not counting revivals (such as The Sub-Mariner, brought back in the fourth issue) and villains (such as Doctor Doom, introduced in #5), the first such character debuted in #11 (February, 1963). Tho his series was brief and long in coming, The Impossible Man was a unique and very memorable super guy right from the beginning.

(Unless you count Willie Lumpkin, their mailman, who appeared earlier than him in the same issue, but Willie had been seen before.)

Impy's function in that 11th issue was monthly menace. But he wasn't really a bad guy. He'd come to Earth from the planet Poppup just to have fun. The fact that he had a very annoying and somewhat destructive sense of humor was what made his defeat imperative. That, and the fact that, like Tom Terrific, he could be what he wanted to be — not just change shape, like Plastic Man, but take on many of the less likely aspects of the thing he was imitating, hence the name (which was bestowed on him by The Thing, as an expression of disbelief). For example, the method he used to travel to Earth was to become a spaceship.

The fact that he found it so easy to get Earthlings' goats made it all the more fun. That's how the group's leader, Mr. Fantastic, figured out how he could be "defeated" — ignore him. Everyone else went along with the program, so before long, Impy got bored and went home.

But he came back. Galactus ate his planet (which the Poppupians, to show how alien they were to human ways of thinking, didn't particularly mind), so he wound up as a refugee on Earth. Since Poppupians apparently reproduce by a form of mitosis, he soon had a family, first cloning off The Impossible Woman and then a brood of Impossible Kids. He's since conducted an ongoing rampage throughout the Marvel Universe, bedevilling whomever he pleases before moving on to bedevil someone else. His own series came in 1990-91, a pair of annuals titled The Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular.

Impy may or may not ever get an ongoing series. But whether he does or not, to the chagrin of Hawkeye, Cyclops, She-Hulk, Wolverine and all the others who got in the way of his sunlight and therefore were buried in the sand on the cover of his first Spectacular — and anyone else who might happen to get in his way or appear to be a source of amusement for him — it doesn't look like he's going away soon.


BACK to Don Markstein's Toonopedia™ Home Page
Today in Toons: Every day's an anniversary!


Purchase Marvel Comics Merchandise Online

Text ©2004-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.