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Theodore Sallis (Earth-616)

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Quote1 Whate'er you fear is shadow mist! All worlds are dream and sleep. Become this truth, sweet fated child, and God is yours to keep. Quote2
-- Man-Thing src


Allegedly, before Earth was formed, a creator being from before time spawned the Fallen Stars, each an embodiment of one of its thoughts. On Earth, the creator made a woman, Cleito, representing the nature of reality. Cleito spawned Adam K'ad-Mon, the first Man of Lineage, and their birth site became the Nexus of Reality. Descendants of K'ad-Mon served as Nexus guardians, but over time the Men of Lineage became less concerned with this mission until eventually one man abandoned it completely: Ted Sallis. [citation needed]

Early life

Dr. Ted Sallis was a biochemistry professor at Empire State University. The sheltered Sallis had no knowledge of his destiny and preferred books to people. The United States Army recruited him into "Project Sulfur," which sought a means to survive bio-chemical warfare. Sallis developed "Serum SO-2," which granted immunity to all known toxic biochemicals, but its mutagenic effects would have transformed people into monsters. [citation needed]

Ted's friend, the free-spirited girl Sainte-Cloud, convinced him to denounce the Project, shutting it down before any serum was produced. Ted proposed to Sainte-Cloud, but she refused due to their many differences.[citation needed]

Returning to teaching, Sallis fell in love with one of his students, Ellen Brandt, a naïve and impassioned girl of nineteen. The two eloped following a secret affair. After their honeymoon, they visited the fortune teller Madame Swabada, who foretold a catastrophic change[4]. Sallis was then reassigned to "Project: Gladiator," a S.H.I.E.L.D. research program based in the Florida Everglades and aimed at re-creating the lost Super Soldier Serum that had created Captain America. [citation needed]

Working separately from his colleagues, including Dr. Wilma Calvin and Dr. Barbara Morse, Sallis modified his SO-2 formula as the basis for a new Super-Soldier Serum. The subversive organization AIM wanted the serum and conspired with a bitter Ellen, whom Ted had neglected since their honeymoon. [citation needed]

Upon completing his new serum, Ted committed its formula to memory and burnt his records. When Ellen led Ted into an AIM ambush, he fled and injected the only existing sample of the serum into himself just before his car crashed into the swamp. He should have died, but the magical energies of the swamp combined with the serum to transform him into the hideous creature later known as the Man-Thing. His intelligence rapidly fading, he slew the AIM agents and horribly burned half of Ellen's face. Unknown to Sallis, Ellen had been pregnant.[5][6]

Recovered by Project Gladiator agents, she underwent surgery that repaired her face, but it proved temporary. After giving birth, she gave her son up for adoption and began punishing herself for her crimes by surrendering to alcohol, drugs, and carnal indulgence. Maddened by the face she saw in the mirror, Ellen ended up in Massachusetts' Rosewell Mental Hospital, eventually restored to sanity by the enigmatic mystic Sorrow.[citation needed]


After wandering through the swamp for a time he stumbled onto the Writer's Mansion and Man-Thing and Sallis appeared to be separated and Sallis was looked after by the family that lived there. However, this turned out to be an illusion conjured by The Writer who was using Sallis to finish his book by bringing the characters to life.[7].

AIM again tried to obtain Sallis' formula, but was foiled by the Man-Thing and Ka-Zar.[8] Man-Thing made the swamps his home and became the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities. Its magic made the swamps a focal point of bizarre activity, attracting super-beings such as Wundarr [9], who thought Man-Thing was his mother, and the Molecule Man.[10] Alongside Dakimh the Enchanter, Jennifer Kale, Howard the Duck, and Korrek the barbarian warrior of Katharta, the Man-Thing foiled a series of plots to use the Nexus to merge all realities by Thog the Netherspawn, demon lord of the realm of Sominus, and the Congress of Realities.[citation needed]

The Man-Thing in some sense befriended Richard Rory[11], Ezekiel Tork and his pet Dawg[12], and fought Franklin Armstrong Schist and Professor Slaughter[13]; the religious zealot Foolkiller[14]; the Critics, afterlife agents seeking to judge the fate of suicide victim and clown Darrel Daniel[15]; the natives of La Hacienda, home of the Fountain of Youth, whose waters nearly cured the Man-Thing and horribly mutated Schist before his death;[13] the Glob, Yagzan, and the Cult of Entropy;[16] the Si-Fan, alongside Shang-Chi;[17] and the Gladiator, sent to recover Sallis' formula by Death-Stalker.[citation needed]

Schist's wife Vivian hired Dr. Dane Gavin to capture or kill the Man-Thing; he chose the former, placing Man-Thing on display in the New York Museum of Natural History, where visitors' fears sent the Man-Thing on a berserk rampage through the city until Dr. Gavin and Schist's daughter, Carolyn, took him back to the swamp.[18] Man-Thing later faced the manifested hate of Maybelle Tork,[12] the Demons of Liberation (embittered scarred war veterans)[19], and the reality-altering Brian Lazarus.[20]

Wandering into the Port Everglades, the Man-Thing was trapped on the Marietta cargo ship and caught up in a two-century-old curse involving the satyr Khordes, the immortal crew of the pirate Captain Fate, and oceanographer Dr. Maura Spinner. Maura was a reincarnation of the former captain of Fate's crew, whom Fate had traded to Khordes in exchange for his treasure. Mistaking the satyr's benevolent intent, Maura had slain Khordes, who cursed them all. After helping convince Spinner to accept her destiny by the resurrected satyr's side, Man-Thing returned to the Everglades.[21]

The bog beast then joined old allies Korrek, Dakimh, and Jennifer Kale against the extradimensional sorcerer Klonus and warrior Mortak[22]. In a weird twist of fate, a Man-Thing-shaped candle (created after his New York rampage) was drugged and given to Ted Sallis' former love interest Sainte-Cloud by her jilted lover Chuck, causing her to see Man-Thing hallucinations; exposed to the drug himself, a terrified Chuck badly burnt his face on the candle.[23]

After surviving an assault from his one-time victim Jackson Hunter[4], the Man-Thing halted the Mad Viking's rampage.[24] He then heeded the tortured spirit of student Edmond Winshed, taking vengeance on Edmond's former tormentors.[25] Captured by townspeople and thrown into a sewage treatment plant, Man-Thing escaped and slew the Mad Viking, ending a violent book-burning crusade by the Viking and Olivia Selby.[26]

Now able to survive longer away from the swamp, the Man-Thing was brought by Richard Rory to Georgia, where he escaped. He fought the demon Ehrthold,[4] the soul-stealing Scavenger and his demonic creator Thog, whose Nightmare Boxes threatened to plunge all reality into madness until the positive wills of Ted Sallis and Steve Gerber contaminated the boxes, foiling Thog, whom Man-Thing incinerated.[27] Alongside Ghost Rider, Morbius, and the Werewolf as the Legion of Monsters Man-Thing helped destroy the enigmatic Starseed, actually a would-be savior of humanity.[28]

After again fighting the Molecule Man alongside Iron Man,[29] the Man-Thing was captured along with the Glob by the Collector, who pitted them against the Hulk before they rebelled and escaped. Man-Thing later helped psychic Andrea Rodgers restore her fragmented personality, helped thwart the inane cosmic menace Bzzk'Joh, drove off D'Spayre, destroyed Jude the Entropic Man and Victorius, allied with the Cult of Entropy (narrowly missing a chance to regain his humanity), and encountered the extradimensional Micronauts.[citation needed]

Sallis' mind was nearly restored by Dr. Karl Oheimer's cerebral regeneration therapy for a CIA project; but the army suspected enemy involvement and tried to protect Sallis' serum by attempting to rescue Oheimer, who was slain in the process. The sentient Man-Thing slaughtered all others involved, but once back in the swamp his mind faded. Another experimental project briefly transported him to the Himalayas, where he encountered a Yeti race descended from Cro-Magnons. [citation needed]

The sorcerer Baron Mordo returned him to the swamp, restored Sallis' mind and used him as a pawn against Dr. Strange in a plot to destroy Earth, but Jennifer Kale helped the Man-Thing throw off Mordo's control and foil the plot, though Sallis' mind again faded. [citation needed]

After aiding Howard the Duck against the mad monopoly of Kong Lomerate, the Man-Thing befriended Sheriff John Daltry and Barbara Bannister, alongside whom he again met Captain Fate and opposed yet another Thog plot. This time, Sallis was cured and writer Chris Claremont took his place as the Man-Thing, destroying Thog. Dr. Strange restored Claremont, but Sallis' curse returned and proved irreversible. The Man-Thing was possessed by Unnthinnk, one of the demon coven called the Six Fingered Hand, who battled the Defenders in a massive plot to take over Earth; the Six Fingered Hand turned out to be pawns of the Hell-Lords in a scheme to use the Nexus in an aborted attempt to merge Hell and Earth.[citation needed]

Alongside Thor he opposed the Man-Beast and the Bi-Beast, then briefly served as a pawn of the mad sorcerer Ian Fate, leading to another rampage through New York. Back in the swamps, Sallis refused an offer from the demon Eblis to become human in exchange for his mortal soul. The government's Project Glamor developed a version of Sallis's formula, planning to attack Russia with super-soldiers, but these warriors were destroyed by the Man-Thing and others. Another Sallis serum derivation, SS-8, was used by Daemian Wainscroft, mutating his son Deke into a powerful form until being functionally lobotomized by the Punisher.[citation needed]

Alongside the Hulk, the Man-Thing encountered a new Glob, and was later nearly destroyed by the Deviant Ereshkigal when she used the Star Brand to access the Nexus in an effort to rule all reality. Another writer with reality-warping powers used the Man-Thing to complete his final story in the last seconds of his life. Shortly thereafter, the Man-Thing was one of the Daydreamers joining Franklin Richards on a surreal journey to accept Onslaught's seeming destruction of Franklin's parents, who had actually survived in the Counter-Earth of a pocket realm created by Franklin; however, Ashema the Listener, a Celestial who would help Franklin retrieve Onslaught's victims and establish Counter-Earth as a real planet orbiting opposite Earth, obliterated the Man-Thing in order to stop him from blocking access to the pocket realm.[citation needed]

Re-created via the combined energies of an Asgardian Norn Stone and the recent breaching of the dimensional barriers, the Man-Thing's form was briefly usurped by mailroom employee Carl Shuffler, who was removed by Spider-Man using instructions from the virtually omniscient Authority.[citation needed]

Recent dimensional travel had shattered the Nexus of Realities, and Dr. Strange recruited Ellen Brandt to help Man-Thing restore it. In the process, the Man-Thing was possessed by K'ad-Mon, the history of the Men of Lineage was revealed, and Sallis learned that his relation with Ellen was predestined to restore his hereditary mission. Ellen, the Man-Thing, and K'ad-Mon recovered Nexus fragments from within the maddened Devil-Slayer, from Howard the Duck (despite the opposition of Mahapralaya and a revived Cult of Entropy), from Cleito herself in ancient Atlantis, and from a Nexus-created planet that Ellen had to destroy to save reality.[citation needed]

Their efforts to restore the Nexus were opposed by the Fallen Star Mr. Termineus, the embodiment of finality, who had visited the young Ted Sallis over the years. Termineus had captured Ellen's long-lost son Job Burke and trained him as his disciple in a plot to destroy all existence. Devil-Slayer united the remaining Fallen Stars, including K'ad-Mon and Sorrow, to stop Termineus. Using the power of the final Nexus fragment, Termineus succeeded in shattering the healing Nexus, wiping out all reality.[citation needed]

However, Sallis' nature as the Man of Lineage (combined with his love of Ellen) allowed him to briefly maintain the dream of existence; he joined forces with Job, who rebelled against his mentor, to re-imagine the creator's dream that had formed reality. All existence was restored, with Ted and Ellen inhabiting the Nexus itself, while K'ad-Mon retained control of the Man-Thing. Job returned home with his adoptive parents to live his life and prepare for his future destiny. Termineus began to plot anew to bring about the endgame, but as it was he who had involved K'ad-Mon in this struggle, he had to deal with bringing about his own failure, due to his inability to relinquish the love in his heart for his former wife, Sorrow. [citation needed]

Shortly thereafter, the ancient Scrier mutated one of his cabal into the Outrider to seize the Nexus. Spider-Man helped foil this plot, and Ted and Ellen drew the consciousness of the Nexus down into the Man-Thing, merging into a powerful collective being. This merged being left the earthly sphere, becoming the new Nexus, and the magic of the swamp re-formed the Man-Thing's original form, apparently instilling it with the residual memory of Sallis' consciousness. Continuing its subconscious mission to defend the swamp and Nexus, it incinerated botanist Owen Candler, creator of the Salvation Seed and the Union, which had threatened to replace humanity with plant simuloids; slew a mad scientist who tried to use the Man-Thing in experimental emotion therapy; and even opposed a universe-menacing, virtually omnipotent Thanos enhanced by the Heart of the Infinite. Eternally cursed with a monstrous form, barely aware of its past or surroundings, the Man-Thing remains the most startling slime creature of all.[citation needed]


The Man-Thing was recently slashed in half by Ares of the Dark Avengers and "bagged and tagged" since then, however he was seen protecting the Moloids who are collecting and spiriting away the Punisher's body parts, after he is dismembered and decapitated by Daken, acting on the orders of Norman Osborn.[citation needed]

After Norman Osborn was deposed during the events of Siege, Man-Thing was moved to the Raft. There, Hank Pym studied it and created a device which used Man-Thing's connection to the Nexus of All Realities to enable Luke Cage's Thunderbolts to teleport anywhere in the world. He was inscribed with the 'World Song' by Satana.[citation needed]

Using the Nexus of All Realities, Man-Thing was able to escape the Raft and run amuk around New York City. Howard the Duck, along with She-Hulk, Nighthawk, and Frankenstein's Monster went in search of him in an attempt to stop him.[citation needed]
Giant-Size Man-Thing Thunderbolts Vol 1 162

A Giant-Size Man-Thing.

Returning to the Thunderbolts, he helped during an invasion of Chicago by absorbing the hordes of monsters sent to destroy it. This caused him to become giant-sized. Satana extracted a bulb from his old, burnt out body.[citation needed]

Fearsome Four

Fear Itself Fearsome Four Vol 1 1 Textless

Fearsome Four

During the Fear Itself event, Howard the Duck formed a team called the Fearsome Four with She-Hulk, Frankenstein's Monster and Nighthawk to stop the Man-Thing who found himself driven to an uncontrollable rage, caused by the immense levels of fear generated by the Serpent's hammer-wielders across the world.[30] Facing various alternate universe heroes and the Psycho-Man, brought to Earth by the Man-Thing's connection to the Nexus of All Realities [31][32] The Four were eventually able to confront their own fears and calm the Man-Thing, bringing an end to his rampage and saving the world, before going their separate ways.[33]

The Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D

After his escape from the Thunderbolts and handling by the Fearsome Four, the Man-Thing was captured and entered into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s S.T.A.K.E. sub-division. While on their inaugural mission, the Howling Commandos were in combat with a viral plant infection. Multiple of these infected individuals joined together to form a larger being. This was cause for Dum Dum Dugan to call in for Man-Thing to be dropped into the fight. He then proceeded to fight off the enlarged being and defeat it using his burning touch. Sadly due to this the idol they were sent to retrieve was destroyed and their first mission was both success and failure.[34]


  • Immortality: Man-Thing is able to regenerate itself by drawing material from the swamp it dwells in, and is virtually immortal. It's porous form is resistant to most physical attacks because it's not entirely solid; a fist or a bullet will usually pass right through it. He is also able to pass through many fences by oozing through the gaps in the chains.[citation needed]
  • Empathy/Acidic Secretion: As the Man-Thing, Ted's "brain" is no longer centrally located as when he was human: mutated analogs of his brain cells are unevenly distributed throughout the volume of his head and torso. Inhuman in its functions, his "brain" is incapable of reason, thought, or long-term memory. The Man-Thing does have a sensory apparatus, the location and nature of which is unknown, which is able to empathically sense the emotions of other organisms. Unless stimulated by external emotion, the Man-Thing remains inert. Sensing emotion, he will seek out its source, his pace determined by the intensity of the emotion. Mild emotions provoke "curiosity," causing him to draw near and "observe." Violent emotion will provoke him to seek out the source and attack it. He does not possess emotions himself. Violent emotions in others cause him some form of extreme discomfort, which produces a physical reaction on the surface of his body. In response to emotional provocation, his body produces fuming sulfuric acid which can cause severe burns when in contact with the flesh of emoting beings. When the being ceases to radiate emotion, the Man-Thing's body ceases production of acid, and secretes a mild, soapy mucus that tends to neutralize the acid. The Man-Thing will only attack a being that emotionally provokes him.[citation needed]


  • Biochemistry: Ted Sallis was a noted biochemist.
  • X'zelzi'ohr: When Man-Thing was granted speech again he spoke the language of X'zelzi'ohr , the universal language. Everyone heard him in a way they were accustomed to, meaning he spoke "normal" to the likes of Satana and Moonstone, but was concise and to the point for Ghost, a lewd Englishman to Mr. Hyde, and a total thug to Boomerang.[35]

Strength level

  • Able to lift at least 2000 pounds but has fought foes as powerful as the Hulk so at times his strength may be able to increase past this.


The Man-Thing is dependent on the swamp environment for vitality; if removed for a significant length of time, he lapses in dormancy..




Tends to wander using own feet. Hank Pym, as part of the Thunderbolts under Luke Cage, installed a device in Man-Thing that uses his connection to the Nexus of All Realities to allow the Thunderbolts to teleport anywhere in the world. Man-Thing does not control or steer the teleport (Pym's technology does), but he must travel with it.


Uses claws to slash at opponents or uses acid secretions triggered by fear.


  • Fear #13; 19
  • Giant-Size Man-Thing #4
  • Man-Thing #1; 12, 16-22.
  • Midnight Sons Unlimited Vol 1, No. 8 January 1995; A Kynd Of Magick; Featuring: Scarlet Witch
  • Marvel Team-Up Vol 1, No. 4 December 1997
  • Marvel Comics Presents Vol 1, No. 1-12 1988; Elements of Terror

Discover and Discuss


  1. Thunderbolts #155
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #10
  3. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #5
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Giant-Size Man-Thing #5
  5. Savage Tales #1
  6. Marvel Comics Presents #164
  7. Marvel Comics Presents #165-167
  8. Astonishing Tales #12-13
  9. Fear #17
  10. Marvel Two-In-One Vol 1
  11. Man-Thing #2
  12. 12.0 12.1 Man-Thing #9-10
  13. 13.0 13.1 Man-Thing #2-8
  14. Man-Thing #3-4
  15. Man-Thing #5-6
  16. Giant-Size Man-Thing #1
  17. Master of Kung Fu #19
  18. Giant-Size Man-Thing #2
  19. Man-Thing #11
  20. Man-Thing #12
  21. Man-Thing #13-14
  22. Giant-Size Man-Thing #3
  23. Man-Thing #15
  24. Man-Thing #16
  25. Giant-Size Man-Thing #4
  26. Man-Thing #17-18
  27. Man-Thing #19-22
  28. Marvel Premiere #28
  29. Iron Man Annual #3
  30. Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #1
  31. Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #2
  32. Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #3
  33. Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #4
  34. Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
  35. Dark Avengers #176
  36. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #10
  37. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 7

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