How important is a villain that can create a dust of death, an army of genetically altered super-beings, a functioning teleporter, a means of power-enhancing life-support and he dresses up in a green, creature-themed costume?
He might sound like the ultimate Marvel villain, until you realize he named himself “The Asthma Monster” and that he could be defeated by regular inhaler usage.
The Asthma Monster – AKA Daniel Tyler of Midville, USA – was one of many characters introduced over the years for free comics intended as public service announcements. Not unlike the infamous Hostess ads, these often featured villains who were throw-away characters, intended only to get the main point across. Each give-away was usually co-produced by or made for the benefit of a specific non-profit organization or pharmaceutical company, in this case Allen & Hanburys, a division of Glaxo Inc.
Marvel doesn’t do these too often anymore, but have been known to create free comics to support the troops.
Debuting in 1988’s creatively-titled “Captain America meets the Asthma Monster,” this dastardly villain was little more than a costume-wearing thug, picking on the students of George Washington Elementary because he wanted other people to suffer the effects of asthma.
Anyway, Cap sent him packing but in 1989’s surprisingly-named “Return of the Asthma Monster,” he returned! Not only that, but it was revealed that he had previously created an Allergen Gang of Gremlin-like creatures, ranging from insectoid to mammal to bird to reptile, each with unique physical characteristics and powers, and each with human-like intelligence and sapience. Not only that, but he had a state-of-the-art teleporter too!
Hearing the Asthma Monster broke out of jail, Cap visits John Wilson and Ruth Johnson, the two kids who helped stop him the first time. Sure enough, the Asthma Monster teleported into Ruth’s house as soon as the trio of heroes arrived. They foiled his initial attack with Glaxo-brand inhalers, but he let the Allergen Gang fight them! Each critter has specific allergy-related powers and names, like Rugburn the dirty carpet monster, Dust Dragon the filthy ventilation monster, Furball the pet dander monster, the Mold Patrol flying monsters and… uh… Feather Boa, the…uh… feather boa.
They can’t all be winners.
Long story short, Cap defeats Asthma Monster again, and this time, despite his claims that only his specially-designed suit can keep him alive, Midville’s very own Dr. Franklin offers to help the villain control his asthma. Apparently, agreeing to use an inhaler was enough to convince the parole board that this man who caused incurable asthma in hundreds of men, women and children, attempted to murder Captain America and two other children, and made a violent escape from prison, deserved a second chance.
Ain’t that sweet.
Again, despite his goofy name and lack of a doctorate, this guy apparently created a life-sustaining suit, a teleporter, an gas that can cause asthma in those not prone to it, a host of freaky creatures and who knows what else!
On the other hand, it’s possible he had help.
Why hasn’t the character shown up again?
Well, there is that goofy aspect to him. Also, some fans apparently think he exists in an alternate reality, though nothing in the story indicates that.
How could the character be brought back?
As a reformed villain, he might be an interesting go-to guy for a hardluck hero or villain looking for some equipment. As a returning villain he could take on a new name and amp up his threat factor (hey, it worked for Paste Pot Pete). His gang of creatures could also come back, just to be a nuisance.
So much potential!