Cover of Tales of Suspense #12 (November 1960), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by George Klein, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek
Ever notice how lots of the titles of Marvel Monster-era stories are direct claims to fame? "I Created the Colossus!" "I Am the Living Ghost!" "I Created...Sporr! The Thing That Could Not Die!" "Only I Know When the World Will End!!!" Yeah, yeah, yeah, Stan...just like modern times, even back in the Atlas Age it's all about you. I bet you're gonna tell us next that you alone know the dread secret of Gor-Kill, the living demon, huh?
Splash page from "I Alone Know the Dread Secret of Gor-Kill, the Living Demon!" in Tales of Suspense #12 (November 1960), plot by Stan Lee (?), script by Larry Lieber (?), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Dick Ayers, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek
I'm probably not spoiling anything by telling you that "dread secret" is actually pretty darn obvious: Gor-Kill is made of water. And not that artisanal, three-bucks-a-bottle water: he's made out of good old-fashioned natural crystal-clear mountain stream water. Yes, long before the backlash against the ecological damage bottle water does to our world, Gor-Kill was kickin' it old school!
Frankly, I don't know why he wasn't just called "Hy-Dro," or "Ahh-Kwaa," or "Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens." What I do know is that he's terrifying this tiny Balkan village where the streets are paved with gold and people climb up on rooftops just for the heck of it. Awooooo, spooky water monster came from the sea or from the dam! But they don't realize he's made of water. Stupid peasants! Dr. Frankenstein was right, you all deserve to die!
How do you fight a water monster? Well, your attack plans have to be fluid arghhhh no I'm sorry for that one
The entire membership of The Guys with Unusual Ties bands up to battle Gor-Kill! Even Ramon, the guy who didn't have a tie but who had a cool green and yellow shirt, so they let him in anyway.
Only one man in the entire village realizes the deadly, moist truth of Gor-Kill! Ah ha, so that's why the story is titled "I Alone Know the Dread Secret of Gor-Kill, the Living Demon!" Y'know, I think more wacky crackpot conspiracy theory books oughta be titled like Marvel Monster stories. "I Alone Know the Dread Secret of the Kennedy Assassination!" "I Alone Have Seen That Jet Fuel Cannot Melt Steel!" "I Alone Know That Vaccinations Cause Autism!" Oh, if only it were just you, Jenny McCarthy.
The severed talking heads of the village elders are immediately sent to scoff at the obvious solution! Although, to his credit, Professor Xavier looks merely vaguely skeptical.
Two days of continuous water attacks by Gor-Kill have battered the once peaceful community into helplessness! I think we can all agree that this was perhaps not the best time for ruler Victor von Doom to declare "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"
So 'round about now you're thinkin' what I am: science ways to destroy Gor-Kill. Let's see: we could deoxidize him to redeuce him to separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules! Or, we could shoot big flamethrowers at him until he turns into steam and floats away! Or, we could reduce the pressure in a big jar so that he flows into it against his will!
Eh, heck with up. Let's jus' blow him up with dynamite.. Boom! It's a sure-fire method of destruction, because as we all know, booms have never created anything.
Twist ending? Well, sorta. Our narrator may have alone known the dread secret of Gor-Kill, the living demon, but nobody believes him, and he gets locked up in the hoosegow for improperly using the town's cache of dynamite that they were saving for, I dunno, the beginning of World War I, I guess. Insert your own Law and Order thunk-thunk! here:
Haw haw! It's funny because he's incarcerated!