This is the second half of this article. The first half is there.
Background data about Cyrus Gold didn’t emerge before the 1990s. By the 1993 Who’s Who, it had only been established that he was rich and elderly.
However, at least two stories published during the 2000s contribute elements that can be used with any version of Solomon Grundy.
Seven Soldiers (part 1)
This Grant Morrison epic series did… a lot of things. One of those was to explain what impossible factor animated Grundy in the first place.
This is a significant S P O I L E R. Since IMO Seven Soldiers works best when you have to piece things together rather than have them summarised.
Here goes :
- The first super-hero on Earth, millions of years ago, was named Aurakles.
- He left behind powerful artefacts called the Seven Treasures Of Man. These are archetypes, found in innumerable stories across time and space.
- One of these is the Undry Cauldron. It is the ur-The original, prototypical, exemplary version of something.witch cauldron, the alchemical athanor, the crucible of transformation and healing, etc.. It’s the root of multiple myths (esp. Celtic and Egyptian) about dead gods being resurrected in a special brew.
- The Undry Cauldron was lost in complex circumstances, involving the Shining Knight (Ystina).
- It ended up in Slaughter Swamp during the 1800s, or perhaps earlier. The endless waters of the Undry Cauldron seeped out and gradually “charged” the swamp. It turned it into a “soft place”, where time and reality stop being linear.
As to Cyrus Gold, he was a miser living in a swamp cabin in Slaughter Swamp. He was accused of the murder of several kids in the area, which may be the source of the swamp’s name.
Mr. Gold was lynched by a crowd out to avenge the slain children. Whether he actually was the murderer is unclear. Causality becomes hazy in Slaughter Swamp.
Seven Soldiers (part 2)
The Undry Cauldron’s fluids are the animating principle behind Solomon Grundy.
Similar waters were used by early European settlers in the US after they fled underground to create a strange, new culture. They reanimate the corpses of their own dead to become agricultural workers, until they wear out and fall apart.
These zombies are called “grundies”. Which is intriguing, since these guys well precede Solomon Grundy, and presumably the nursery rhyme. So there’s a small bit of unknown backstory here.
It can’t be the exact same water as that of Slaughter Swamp. The underground colony is deep under Manhattan, whereas Slaughter Swamp is in New Jersey.
But taking fluids from the Cauldron for magical purposes certainly has precedents. Such as, say, Mister Melmoth replacing his blood with those, to become immortal.
Seven Soldiers (part 3)
Slaughter Swamp being a “soft place” led to the renegade Time Tailor (Zor) at least partially basing there to manipulate Earth’s reality on pantemporal scale.
Slaughter Swamp thus was the place where the Newsboy Army was destroyed by the evil Time Tailor, who “recut” their fates into something terrible. But decades later, he was vanquished by Zatanna Zatara.
As to the Cauldron itself, it was eventually taken away from Slaughter Swamp by the Undying Don (Vincenzo Baldi).
Brightest Day, Blackest Night
This 2002 Green Lantern (Alan Scott) story seems to re-present the first, 1944 encounter between Alan and Solomon Grundy.
This retelling is too different – in continuity, genre, themes, etc.. Attempting to shoehorn the data from this story into this article would be a mess.
But one intriguing caption refers to Cyrus Gold as the “would-be leader of Gotham’s secret Mercury society, deposed in [an] attempted power play to rule it”.
I have not researched that yet, but it sounds like something you could plug back into the popular “Court of Owls” storylines.
Early Grundy isn’t drawn with a hulking physique. By realistic standards I wouldn’t call him gaunt either, but he’s more evocative of Boris Karloff (William Pratt)’s version of Frankenstein’s monster (in the 1931 movie).
His height was even more striking by 1940s standards. People were shorter back then. Beyoncé hadn’t been born yet, and thus couldn’t yet inspire the people toward greater heights.
His height in the art isn’t consistent, of course. In some panels he looks closer to 2.40m (7’11”). Given the inconsistencies I’ve used his official, Who’s Who values. They’re a reasonable compromise given other panels where Grundy doesn’t look *that* much taller than Alan Scott.
Wealthier people were horrified by his appearance, but the hobos were more like “wow, this guy sure is ugly”. This suggests that Grundy’s features do not look like those of an undead monster, but more like those of a human being in really bad shape.
Solomon Grundy is entirely white. There isn’t any pigment, and the art doesn’t use shading colours. This evokes fungal matter more than plant matter. Perhaps he smells somewhat mushroomy as well.
When he was revived in 1945, the “concentrated chlorophyll” made Solomon Grundy green.
Early on he wore a striped grey prison uniform. After he joined the hobos, they bought themselves suits with their ill-gotten gains.
How they managed to get a suit that fit Grundy wasn’t addressed. And one wonders how this clothing has managed to endure through so many assaults.
(There’s clearly something that protects, or perhaps more accurately regenerates, his clothes. Even very early on, he’s standing in a campfire and his shoes do not seem damaged).
Grundy can speak in simple English, with roughly correct grammar. He only speaks when necessary, though.
There are words and concepts he no longer recognises, but he’s capable of learning. And even from the get-go he knew enough to crudely navigate the world, such as the concepts of crime or money.
During their second clash, Grundy seemingly slew Green Lantern. This is when he rediscovered the concept of killing, and that he loved it.
Grundy even killed one of his gang mates. But the others managed to explain to him that he was supposed to kill his enemies, not his friends.
Solomon Grundy hates being touched, and will likely react with deadly violence.
During his 1945 return, Grundy was more clearly motivated by a will to power and dominance, with a copious side dish of murder. He was, in other words, evil.
In 1947, he noticed the role of super-hero costumes. He decided that costumed heroes were just like Green Lantern, and that he therefore wanted to kill them all.
As one can surmise, he especially despised GL. Grundy craved lethal revenge against Mr. Scott.
His diction, personality, instincts, etc. keep changing from appearance to appearance. Not, usually, by a whole lot – but it’s noticeable with a close reading.
The real reason is presumably that characterisation continuity wasn’t as important back during the Golden AgeSuper-hero comics from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.. But it feeds into later themes of Solomon Grundy recreating himself after each defeat.
“Yes. I stop him ! He is nothing to me. I do not learn yet why you fear him !”
“Paltry gold and jewels mean nothing… but your plans to rule others… dominate them…. appeal to me… amuses me… I-I… Solomon Grundy — Baron of New York ! Ha-ha-ha !”
“You dare challenge me ? I SMASH !”
“For the Justice Society I have but one message — DEATH !”
DC Heroes RPG
Solomon Grundy (1944)
|Dex: 06||Str: 11||Bod: 10|
|Int: 02||Wil: 01||Min: 05|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 02||Spi: 05|
|Init: 013||HP: 040|
Bonuses & Limitations:
Growth is Always On, Form Function and Already Factored In.
Immortal, Life Support (No Need to Breathe, Eat, Drink and perhaps others), Misc.: Grundy is immune to Green Flame effects as he’s partially made of wood.
Serious Rage, Strange Appearance.
Grundy’s STR is basically set to be as high as it can be without killing Green Lantern in one punch. Provided that Alan spends every Hero Point he can to survive, which he did seem to do.
The numbers are lower than Mayfair’s in World At War. Mayfair seemed to be aiming for the Roy Thomas depiction, but Grundy’s numbers keep changing.
(You can also see this effect at work with Alan Scott’s World at War stats, which are clearly those of a retconned version.)
Still, I drew from the Mayfair stats where feasible.
Grundy’s DEX seemed higher in his first appearance. But I’d assume it’s simply that Alan determined that it was much more effective to spend his HPs on OV rather than on RV and LDD when facing Solomon Grundy. Dat Lantrin is a smoit one !
BODY is kept low enough that being slain by being rammed by a steam-powered train is credible.
BODY 10 also suggests that Grundy could have been destroyed by multiple hits from, say, a 76mm M1 gun. But we have no material about that, as the National Guard is absent from the 1945 story. Presumably they still were deployed abroad.
Solomon Grundy (1945)
Same stats, but he’s no longer immune to Alan’s rings. Rather, the APs used get divided by 2, so a 10 APs effect would be a 05 APs effect against Grundy.
His Life Support is also less thorough, and he becomes susceptible to what could reasonably affect a plant.
He seemed to have fewer Hero Points, perhaps 030. And Green Lantern likely had more than he did back in ’44.
Solomon Grundy (1947, All-Star Comics)
His Physical Attributes now are DEX 07 STR 09 BODY 09.
Hero Points are about 055.
He also has Damage Capacity: 06 and unclear APs of Extra-Sensory Tracking, limited to “Green Flame” Green Lantern energy.
Regeneration: 03 isn’t clearly demonstrated. But it would help explain how the story flows. It also aligns with later depictions of the character.
Solomon Grundy (1947, Comic Cavalcade)
When he returns from the Moon, Grundy’s abilities are almost completely different.
All Mental and Mystical Attributes under 03 are raised to 03.
He has at least 21 APs of Teleport, but only to teleport himself toward something/someone currently observing him using Telescopic Vision and *possibly* Remote Sensing.
He has 05 APs of Chameleon, but likely needs time and focus to study the (physically present) person he’s going to replicate. Photographs also ignore this effect, like with the Monster.
He might have APs of Weaponry (Firearms), of Artist (Actor) and he seemed somewhat familiar with inheritance laws.
The Lantern could break Grundy’s Chameleon, and Grundy could feel the ring’s effects. It’s not clear whether Scott would have gotten RAPs using straight ring attacks, but Grundy seemed to assume that he would.
As noted in the History section he seemed to have some sort of paranormal perceptions, but it’s so vague we can’t hazard anything.
So, basically, entirely different character sheet – but not enough data to confidently write it up.
Source of Character: DC Comics found on the back seat of Goitrude.
Helper(s): Doiby Dickles, Darci, Butch Rosenbalm.
Writeup completed on the 17th of August, 2022.