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February 5, 2010

Unsung Characters of Comicdom: Megalith

Megalith

Megalith is the second best character that Neal Adams has ever created, falling slightly behind Skate-Man for the top slot. Neal’s artwork and stories have always held a special place in my heart, and this comic is no exception. I first read Revengers #1 when I was 10 years old (the first appearance of Megalith), while riding home on the school bus. This was ultimately my first exposure to a comic that wasn’t produced by DC or Marvel (Continuity Comics). It belonged to a classmate, and I asked him if I could borrow it. He agreed, and I thumbed over it repeatedly when I arrived home (post my daily after-school ritual of consuming large amounts of PB&J and milk, while watching the Super Mario Bro Super Show, of course). What resulted was a fascination with independent comic books, and an obsessive preoccupation with the obscure characters contained therein. These infatuations would ultimately culminate with the debut of this column some twenty years later.

Now, when it comes to costumes, Megalith doesn’t get any points for originality (not even from a hardcore Neal Adams fan). His outfit is an odd amalgam of Thunderbird (X-Men) and Ultra boy (Legion of Super Heroes). But, in his defense, he puts a creative twist on this ensemble by rocking some tight-ass jockey pants and boots. Otherwise, the character and the story are as rock-solid as Megalith’s pectorals. Thank you for joining me again, for a very special Unsung Characters of Comicdom, featuring one of my all time favorite heroes, Megalith!

Name: Joe Majurac
Alias/ Codename: Megalith
Powers: Innate advanced intelligence, mild psychic abilities, Metaphysically enhanced strength which allows him to run faster, jump higher, and lift more. Bullet resistant muscle tissue (ammunition can still penetrate the skin). Unnatural bone mass which enables him to break most solid objects.
Weapons: Gauntlets, and massive banana-hand fists.

Day one: 55 Lbs

Origin: In an attempt to earn both academic and athletic scholarships, young Joe Majurac spent his entire youth pumping iron and studying hard. In addition to his normal weight training, he lifted a baby calf every day, and as the animal matured, his strength grew exponentially. Eventually, he was able to effortlessly lift the twelve hundred pound heifer without assistance. Joe had a fruitful childhood on his family’s farm, and his future seemed to offer unlimited promise. That is, until the bank foreclosed on his father’s estate. Strapped for cash, a solution came in the form of a man named Karl, who offered a financial bailout in exchange for Joe’s participation in the Olympics. Thrilled at the chance to save his family’s farm and win the Gold for the USA, he agreed to relocate to a remote compound in Germany where he would train for five years. Two years into his training, Joe’s hopes began to diminish as his fellow students, trainers, and teachers became cold and unresponsive to his attempts at assimilation. Most everyone at the compound either spoke German and/or Russian. Even after learning their languages, they refused to interact with him. During his stay at the facility, Joe had written over a hundred letters to his parents. He became concerned when the last letter that he had received from them was censored with entire paragraphs blacked out. He confronted Karl about the strange letter and demanded a flight home immediately.

Day three hundred and sixty-five: 1200 Lbs

Unfortunately, Joe was denied that privilege. In exchange, he was called a slacker, and told to, “train harder and learn harder!” When Joe became irate, Karl pulled out a pistol and promised to kill his parents if he didn‘t cooperate. From that point forward, Joe submitted to the whims of his captors, and trained harder than he ever had before (which is saying a lot!). Motivated by a grim determination, his silence haunted his trainers. In secret, Joe continued training in his personal quarters. Until one night, he achieved the impossible, and created a metaphysical link between his body and mind. Still not satisfied with his achievements, he continued to work towards perfecting his body and mind. In addition to what he had learned in private, Joe proceeded to excel in all areas of his traditional training. His goal was to achieve unprecedented physical and mental superiority.

During his captivity, Joe used his enhanced psychic abilities and foresight to send advice to his parents about good investment opportunities. This made them a fortune, but it was the only communication he was allowed to send home. In his third year of training, Joe was called to the director’s office to perform acts of strength in front of a group of Russian government officials. They had agreed to pay large sums of money in exchange for Joe to serve on the Russian Olympic Team (this story took place during the Reagan administration, so this was a serious offense). Joe was furious, and he broke free from the training camp by crushing a wall made of cinder blacks with his bare hands. He escaped, squeezed into some spandex, and became the hero known as Megalith!

Allies: After arriving at the compound, Joe was given a German Shepherd as a gift and companion. He named him Rosco Two (there’s no mention of Rosco One in the story, but I assume it was the calf), and during his stay at the compound in Germany, the pup was his only friend. When Joe realized that something was afoot at the camp, Karl murdered Rosco Two in cold blood by pumping his pooch full of bullets while he watched. This traumatic event caused Joe to go into shock, triggering a numb and unbridled determination. Using Rosco’s death to fuel an internal inferno, Joe eventually forged himself  into the ultimate physical specimen known as Megalith.

Karl

Antagonist: Karl is the director of an agency that’s basically a front for a human trafficking ring. He recruits desperate young men by means of deception, and holds them captive in a remote facility, later selling them to the highest bidder. During Megalith’s escape from the compound in Germany, he attacked Karl and gave him a near fatal concussion. In retaliation to Megalith’s escape, the organization stormed his parents house and killed them. This act only made Megalith a more dangerous foe, because he was crazy with grief and had nothing to lose.

Continuity Comics (now Continuity Studios) set a new standard for modern comic books by incorporating more grit, sex, and violence into their stories. Eventually, Image Comics successfully reintroduced this concept into mainstream comics. In hopes of remaining relevant in the midst of a changing industry, DC and Marvel soon followed suit. Megalith didn’t have such a profound effect on the publishing community, but he definitely left a lasting impression with me.

Josh Jones
josh@comicattack.net

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4 Comments



  1. For some reason I just couldn’t click with Megalith as much as a friend of mine did though what he had accomplished was akin to what some martial artists state as the perfect balance between mind and body which is what he tried to sell me on at the time because of my love for martial arts, the whole premise just never won me over, great spotlight on the character though!


  2. Billy

    Another great look at a little known character JJ.


  3. Kristin

    Such dark, tortured characters you’re always reviewing!
    Is there something you’d like to tell us? 🙂



  4. “Sorry guys, I can’t go to the game. I gotta work out.”

    “But Megalith, the gym is closed on Sundays.”

    “That’s ok, I lift this calf in my back yard. It’s all good. See you later!”

    lol



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