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MAKE MY MORT! Marvel’s Grey Gargoyle

Everybody must get stoned!

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First appearing in Journey Into Mystery #107, French chemist Paul Pierre Duval synthesizes a previously undiscovered chemical compound with horrific results.

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Duval discovers his chemical exposure has “permanently turned his right hand into living stone!” Not only that, anything said hand touches also turns to stone for a period of one hour. Driven mad at the prospect of having to wipe lefty for the rest of his life, Duval grabs a conveniently placed cape and mask (this is the Marvel Universe, after all) and begins an exciting new career in the field of crime.

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It’s not long before Duval, now calling himself the Grey Gargoyle, gets bored with robbing banks and sets his sights on swiping something bigger, namely Thor’s hammer. Grey Gargoyle is convinced the hammer holds the secret to Thor’s immortality (it doesn’t) and that stealing it will confer that power to him (it won’t). Comedy ensues.

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A series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Thunder God causes Duval to rethink the whole “wanting immortality” angle and he decides the life of an industrial saboteur might be more to his liking. This gives him a much wider selection of heroes to embarrass himself in front of.

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Right about now some of you are saying “Grey Gargoyle? A Mort? No way!” And I might even agree, if it weren’t for some compelling evidence. If it pleases the court…

1. Gimmick-based powers.

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As we’ve seen in previous installments of this column, gimmick-based powers are the hallmark of the Mort. Now, turning anything you touch to stone is a damn sight better than whatever the hell Zarrko the Tomorrow Man’s powers were supposed to be, but it has its drawbacks as well. For one, it’s not permanent — if you turn Thor to stone he’s only going to revert back to normal in an hour or so and kick your ass up around your shoulder blades. Also, stone is heavy. I’d imagine being made of out it would slow you down quite a bit. You’re not going to be climbing any ladders or sneaking up on an enemy any time soon. Still, his “paper airplane trick” is pretty awesome.

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2. Alliterative Name.

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Alliteration had been standard-issue for comic books since their inception, but by the 1960s the practice was going out of vogue. Sure, you had your Matt Murdocks and Peter Parkers, but on the whole the approach was considered outdated and hackneyed. Even so, a fair share of alliteratively named Morts still managed to appear: Rainbow Raider, Wingless Wizard, Paste-Pot Pete, as well as entire Mort teams like the Terrible Trio, Batroc’s Brigade, and the Circus of Crime. Grey Gargoyle is definitely part of that grand tradition.

3. Underpants.

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His costume consists of a cape, mask, boots, gloves, and underpants. I should think this speaks for itself. Jury’s in and the verdict is: MORT! Cool powers aren’t enough to save Duval from his worst enemy: himself. He’s a chronic underachiever who should have accomplished something by now. After all, he was smart enough to discover the chemical that transformed him into stone in the first place. Perhaps he could find other applications for it: he might start a paving company, or use it to combat erectile dysfunction. There’s potential there is all I’m saying. With more realistic ambitions and judicious use of his power, Grey Gargoyle might actually be a successful criminal, but his ego and greed are his undoing.

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It’s crazy we’ve yet to receive a Grey Gargoyle figure in Marvel Legends. He has a great look that would translate beautifully into action figure form. Fwoosh customizer Raybot thought so too.

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Hats off to Ray, this is a picture-perfect representation of Grey Gargoyle. From the pitted, stony texture of his skin to his funky halter-cape, every detail is spot-on. And dig that expression! It’s pure Duval. You can practically smell the cheese and stinky French cigarettes on his breath!

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Ray uses the old Sentry/Black Panther body to great effect — it actually looks better here than on either one of those figures. The lifeless surface really pops thanks to the meticulous use of washes and dry brushing; this Gargoyle truly appears to be made of stone.

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Grey Gargoyle has already had a figure — waaay back in the old Iron Man Animated Series line — but he’s long due for the Marvel Legends treatment. He’s a classic Marvel villain with ties to some of it’s biggest movie stars: Duval is ready for his closeup! So how about it, Hasbro? Make My Mort!

Thanks to Raybot for allowing us to feature his Grey Gargoyle. Check out his other fantastic customs here: http://thefwoosh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31950

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