“Solomon Grundy, Born on a Monday, Christened on a Tuesday, Married on a Wednesday, Took ill on a Thursday, Grew worse on a Friday, Died on a Saturday, Buried on a Sunday. That was the end of Solomon Grundy.”– English Nursery Rhyme
While that might have been the end of Solomon Grundy in the rhyme, his story had just begun for DC. Who is this hulking undead beast? Does he want pants, too? Was that reference even caught by half the audience? We’ll find out those and more with Solomon Grundy Spotlight on a Sunday! (Ouch, that was bad.)
Born Cyrus Gold in 19th century Gotham City, the man who would be Grundy was a common criminal who ended up killed and left in Slaughter Swamp. (Who would besmirch the good name of such a place with murder?) Gold would spend the next several decades absorbing his swamp surroundings and become the
Swamp Thing undead creature that has the look of a man but elements of the swamp, such as sap blood.
Upon awaking, the man who would be Grundy was nearly mindless, and wandered into a hobo camp where he was heard to mutter “Born on a Monday,” which was when he was named Solomon Grundy. Thus named Grundy, what remained of Gold’s memories were of his criminal past, so Grundy decided the best thing to do with his new found strength and toughness was to commit crimes. When a giant, chalk white zombie goes around causing trouble, people take notice, especially super people like Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern. Grundy’s tie to the swamp made him partially wood, so Scott’s ring weakness to the substance made the fight difficult, but Grundy was slammed by a train.
Turns out you can’t keep a good (or bad) Grundy down. Beyond his hulking strength and toughness, when Grundy is destroyed he returns whole, but with possibly a different mindset and level of intelligence. You may get a gentle giant one time, but a horrible beast the next, possibly even a criminal mastermind, or someone who questions his own existence and what will happen when he dies next. The character is still very hard to kill; he survived two decades just chilling on the moon. Imagine being the first man on the moon and being greeted by Grundy mouthing “Born on a Monday” as he lumbered toward you as you placed a flag on the moon’s surface.
Grundy would oftentimes be found hanging out in sewers, such as Gotham or Opal City. During Harvey Dent’s transition into Two-Face, he’d ally with Grundy until Batman was able to stop Harvey’s plans. To make up for taking Grundy’s friend away, Batman gave him a Thanksgiving feast to eat. (Comics can have a rich guy in a bat costume give a turkey dinner to a giant zombie in a sewer and it’s a rather sweet event.)
In a more recent time when Jack Knight was the hero Starman, Grundy was in a pleasant and child-like mentality and was friends with the modern day Starman. Sadly, while saving Jack, Grundy died in the process only to return in a far more evil incarnation. Several heroes were needed to take down this newer, nastier Grundy. Poor guy.
It turns out that joke I made about the swamps turning him into Swamp Thing were sort of true. The forces that be that create Swamp Thing were going to make Gold into the next Swamp Thing, but he wasn’t killed by fire, which is necessary for the creation of Swamp Thing, so Grundy was born as a demi-Swamp Thing.
Grundy has a thing with dark places, and ended up living in the abandoned Arrowcave of the Green Arrow. Who, when he finally returned, had to subdue the enraged Grundy from destroying most of the Arrowcave’s contents. The two would meet again when a scientist claiming to be Gold’s descendent tries to cure him, but ends up a worse monster than Grundy. This new monster is subdued by Arrow and Grundy.
Another time, Grundy was manipulated by the telepathic Gorilla Grodd to kill Batman and Superman for President Lex Luthor. (What did I say about comics getting weird when you can have a telepathic talking ape get a zombie to kill a rich guy in a bat costume, and an alien for a president that is a mad scientist/crime lord.)
In one of the times Grundy returned as intelligent, he orchestrated the kidnapping of Red Tornado’s robot body. He does this to gain access to the technology of implanting his mind into a robot body, as this intelligent form fears death and wishes to not die out with Grundy. To regain his body, Red Tornado rips Grundy apart with F5 tornadoes.
As the Blackest Night was soon approaching, Gold reincarnated instead of Grundy. The Spectre and Alan Scott appeared to tell him he had seven days to find out who had killed him way back when in Slaughter Swamp to free him of his curse so that Grundy wouldn’t be around for what was to come. Gold learned that he was not murdered by anyone, he’d committed suicide, and thus there was no one else to blame for the creation of Grundy.
Grundy would become a Black Lantern since his status as undead qualified him for the ring, and he became a terror with one. Bizarro had to fight him, and the two had gotten along before with their simplistic world views earlier on in life. This allowed Grundy to regain control for a bit, and Bizarro was able to hurl his friend into the sun.
As of the new 52, Grundy will return as a thorn in the new Earth 2’s Alan Scott’s side. This reincarnating monster can go from misunderstood peaceful creature to a malicious and sadistic creep. Whatever form he takes, I think I’ve grown quite fond of him, and may he be in a form where he’s happy, maybe with some pants.
All-American Comics #61
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