In the early days of Marvel, there were only two comic series that really managed to captivate all readers: Spider-Man and, of course, the Fantastic Four. And even though, at the beginning, they didn’t have the complex storylines we see now, they were more like adventures against the enemy of the week, who could typically be a communist (it was the era), someone with extraordinary powers explained in a not-so-scientific way… or even Adolf Hitler himself.
Rays of hatred
“Do not dare to reveal his true identity after reading this comic!” warned the cover of Marvel’s First Family‘s issue number 21 while announcing the arrival of a new supervillain named The Hate-Monger. And indeed, very few could have imagined that by the end, they wouldn’t dare to reveal the secret identity… unless they wanted to be taken for crazy.
The Hate-Monger, a villain dressed in a pointed purple hood, reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan, shot “hate-rays” at people (and even at superheroes), causing riots and widespread hatred. “Foreigners, go back to where you came from, let’s show no mercy to those we hate!” he said in a comic panel. Again, this was in 1963. Sadly, we haven’t come that far in 60 years.
In the end, after the superheroes break free from the power of the hate-ray, the Hate-Monger dies, and it is revealed that Hitler was indeed under the hood. “The mad Führer! The most evil human being the world has ever known,” they commented in a children’s comic before declaring him dead. Obviously, as is often the case in comics, the Hate-Monger would return again and again, and he even ended up painting a swastika on Captain America’s shield.
His last appearance was a couple of years ago, so what seemed like absolute madness at the time has had continuity. After all, one can enter Twitter these days and get the impression that someone must have been shooting “hate-rays” here and there, right?