You know what never gets old? Zombies. There’s just something about hordes and hordes of the undead, that makes our skin crawl. DC must have thought the same thing when they created Solomon Grundy. Having most of the characteristics of a zombie, but the strength of 20 normal men, Grundy has made a name for himself as a villain to be feared. He has done battle with the Justice League, The Justice Society of America, and has even had some gruesome battles with Batman and Superman. He is virtually un-killable, reemerging from the very swamp he was killed in every time he dies, which sets him apart from other DC comics villains.
Since he can’t really “die,” there are many versions of Solomon Grundy, with each version a bit different than his last. Some are oafish and funny; others are brutal and cunning. His ghostly white hair, huge sunken black eyes are things of nightmares, and his journey has spanned several decades. He may not be a main-event level villain, but his inclusion in both “Arrow” and most recently the “Gotham” season 3 finale, proves that Grundy isn’t going away anytime soon. Without further ado, here are some of the most fascinating things about DC’s resident Walking Dead!
15. HE IS OLD
The character of Solomon Grundy first appeared in “All American Comics” #61 in October 1944, just in time for Halloween. He was originally created by writer Alfred Bester and artist Paul Reinman, as a villain. He’s had many incarnations, spanning several decades, and has been a regular in DC Comics since the Golden Age, appearing many times in animated form. It’s surprising that he has yet to make his silver screen debut, even though other DC villains such as Bane, Sinestro, and The Riddler have, considering Grundy was created first. Nevertheless, the legend of Solomon Grundy shambles on, hungry for carnage and determined to destroy anyone who get in his way. Few characters have stood that lengthy a test of time, but it’s clear that Solomon is here to stay.
14. HE IS GOLD
The man known as Solomon Grundy was actually born Cyrus Gold. He has many origins, but in the most popular version, Gold was a wanted criminal who didn’t shy away from violence and other bad deeds. He was considered a very evil man who would stop at nothing to achieve wealth and power. One day after a heist, he is betrayed by his own men, and murdered in cold blood. Not wanting the body to be found, the men tossed Cyrus’ body in Slaughter Swamp, seemingly never to be found again. Decades passed and soon a corpse resembling Gold shambled out of the swamp and went straight to a life of crime, murdering the first person he saw. Those who assume Cyrus Gold was gone forever were dead wrong.
13. HE’S FROM A NURSERY RHYME
When Gold’s body reanimated, he had lost all memories of his prior life and had a much lower intellect. Still, Gold continued to walk the earth until he was attracted by a nearby campfire. Sitting around the campfire were criminals, hiding in plain sight, one of whom noticed the disheveled Cyrus and asked him his name. With no memory, all Gold could espouse was “I was born on a Monday.” This reminded the man of an old nursery rhyme titled “Solomon Grundy.”
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday,
That was the end,
Of Solomon Grundy
12. HE VEXED GREEN LANTERN
Solomon made his debut in the Golden Age of comics, and was written as a villain for that era’s Green Lantern, Alan Scott. After rising from Slaughter Swamp and taking the name Solomon Grundy, he impressed some nearby criminals with his super strength and invulnerability. They christen him their new leader and immediately go on a crime spree. This catches the attention of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, who tries to use his ring to thwart the monster.
The ring proved ineffective and Grundy escaped. Determined to find out the identity of Solomon, Alan overhears a radio broadcast claiming the only evidence found at the crime scene was a silver ring with the name “Cyrus Gold” engraved on it. After yet another unsuccessful attempt at capturing Grundy, Alan Scott confronted him at a train yard and defeated him by throwing him into the path of an upcoming train.
11. HE’S PRETTY SWAMPED
It was said that when Cyrus Gold was thrown into Slaughter Swamp, the mystical elements dormant in the water caused Gold’s body to go through some tremendous changes. As Solomon Grundy, Cyrus possesses super-human strength and stamina, making him a force to be reckoned with. His reanimated body also fused with the wood in the swamp, making him invulnerable to Alan Scott’s Power Ring (The Golden Age Green Lantern’s ring could not affect wood).
His powers are said to be based in magic, and thus he is able to be constantly reborn due to the elemental energy that imbues his form with pseudo-life. In some stories, Grundy is what’s considered a plant elemental like Swamp Thing. This means he can use the swamp as a means to regenerate and gain more power.
10. HE WAS ORIGINALLY FROM EARTH 2
Continuity can be a tricky thing in comics, especially for the more seasoned characters in DC’s lore. When the Silver Age of comics emerged, DC decided changes to its Golden Age continuity would be explained as having occurred on a parallel Earth. Golden Age heroes like Alan Scott’s Green Lantern lived on Earth-2, as did all their continuity and villains. Silver Age heroes like Hal Jordan or Barry Allen inhabited Earth- 1 alongside DC mainstays like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.
This still didn’t stop Hal from assisting Alan Scott in a battle against Solomon on Earth-2. The appearance of an Earth-1 Lantern made Grundy wonder if there was another Grundy on Earth-2. With his curiosity piqued, Solomon traveled to Earth-1 and battled Superman, cementing his place on Earth 1. When Crisis on Infinite Earths merged the DC Universe into just one Earth, the other Grundy was (perhaps oddly) never spoken of.
9. HE IS DC’s HULK
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and when it comes to comic books, DC and Marvel have been flattering each other for years. When Grundy first appeared in 1944, he was a large, hulking monster with little verbal skills. He is quick to turn to anger and his simplified mind makes him easy to get frustrated. He uses his super strength to tackle foes but when he is blinded by anger, he’s unstoppable. Sound familiar?
Twenty years later, Marvel Comics creates The Hulk. Although Stan Lee, Hulk’s writer and co-creator, cites Frankenstein,as an inspiration for the Hulk’s creation, Lee was dead-set on creating a hero who, despite his best efforts, hurt those around him. Grundy, despite his faults, is rarely malicious and is often manipulated by smarter villains to hurt others. GRUNDY CRUSH! HULK SMASH! Did we mention The Hulk was originally grey?
8. HE HAS DIED (AND RETURNED) MANY TIMES
Solomon Grundy is best described as a zombie. Seeing as he is basically just a corpse said to be revived by magical elements, his physical form can be destroyed, although not easily. Grundy has been burned alive in a blast furnace by Batman, he has been torn apart by 350 mph winds courtesy of Red Tornado, and has even been impaled by the big blue boy-scout, Superman.
Grundy has been seemingly destroyed on several occasions, only to rise from the swamp again in a new incarnation. Each version of Grundy has been somewhat different from the last, depending on how he was killed before. Some incarnations are docile and dimwitted, others are malicious and murderous, so every time Solomon dies, you never know which Grundy will rise. That is what makes Solomon Grundy so unpredictable, you never know which incarnation you are dealing with… until it’s too late.
7. HE’S IN THE SUPER FRIENDS
If you are a classic cartoon fan, you are probably familiar with Solomon Grundy from the “Super Friends” cartoon. In it, Grundy was a valued member of the Legion of Doom, which debuted in 1978, and was led by Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor assembled 12 supervillains in order to form the most powerful and sinister group ever. In each episode that they appeared, the Legion of Doom would enact a nefarious plot against the Super Friends, only to be easily defeated by the end of the story.
In some episodes, they would escape capture through a last-minute escape plan often contrived by Luthor. Other times, the Legion of Doom would end up apprehended. Grundy, in this incarnation, is a bumbling oaf, although his strength and his invulnerability are his biggest assets. He is there as a foil for Superman, Batman, and the Green Lantern and was voiced by Jimmy Weldon.
6. HE OWNS A NIGHTCLUB
In the comic “Superman Beyond,” which takes place in the same futuristic timeline as “Batman Beyond,” Solomon reemerges with dangerous motives. Going by Mr. Stone, this reincarnation has incredible strength, even rivaling that of Superman. He owns a night club called Vanity and is much more malicious than previous versions He tells Clark that he is “upper management now” and that Metropolis is his for the taking. In search of power, he aligns himself with Lex Luthor’s daughter, Lucinda Luthor, who plots to kill The Man of Steel with Solomon’s help.
When an asteroid belt full of kryptonite orbits earth, Grundy claims he can finally kill Clark once and for all, and pummels him mercilessly. He easily manhandles Clark, but is ultimately stopped by a visibly older Bruce Wayne. The two fend off Solomon and his men, and escape within inches of their lives, leaving Grundy frustrated and defeated.
5. HE ATE THE RED TORNADO’S ARM
In the 6-part Justice league of America story arc “Tornado’s Path,” The Red Tornado, who is an android, is tricked into inhabiting a human body by Solomon Grundy. Grundy admits to masterminding the plan to place Red Tornado in a human shell. This is meant to cripple him and slowly rob him of his health and powers, although a mishap let Tornado keep his ability to create powerful winds.
Grundy has Red Tornado android body infused with super powered objects, creating an invincible shell to house his soul so he can never die again. Now in his weakened human form, Red Tornado tries to defend himself but is no longer a match for Grundy’s superhuman strength. He is battered, beaten, and to add insult to injury, Grundy rips off one of Tornado’s arms and EATS IT! Despite his injuries, however, he manages to kill Grundy with F-5 level winds.
4. HIS MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE
Although Solomon is virtually unstoppable, one of the weaknesses most of his incarnations possess is a limited mind. This not only makes him easy to manipulate, trick, or fool, but also leaves him vulnerable to mind control tactics. He is often used by a smarter villain to get the job done; however, on rare occasions, Grundy is outright mind controlled to do so. In the comic “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies,” Lex Luthor puts out a bounty of one million dollars, promising the fortune to the person that could capture the two heroes.
Never shy to violence, Gorilla Grodd, a telepathic gorilla, uses mind control and Solomon Grundy to claim the bounty for himself. During this time, Grundy can be heard speaking with a higher intellect as he is merely a vehicle for Grodd. He almost drowns Batman but is foiled by The Dark Knight as Grodd ultimately loses control of Solomon.
3. HE IS FRIENDS WITH BIZARRO
Everyone deserves to have a friend; someone to pal around and hang out with. Finding that friend can be difficult and when you are a nine-foot-tall undead behemoth, it can be damn near impossible. That’s why it was special to see the friendship between Solomon Grundy and Bizarro, Superman’s imperfect clone. Bizarro is the complete antithesis of Superman, even down to his intelligence.
When Grundy and Bizarro first meet, Bizarro tries his best to talk with the monster and offer his hand in friendship This angers Grundy, who attacks Bizarro for touching him. The two battle all over the city before crashing through a greenhouse, causing a flower pot to land on Bizarro’s head. The two find this hilarious and choose to stop fighting one another. With the ice now broken, Bizarro steals a hot dog cart and the two enjoy a meal as they watch the sun set.
2. HE IS A MARTYR
Since he is constantly being reborn, Grundy isn’t always evil. This is especially true in the “Justice League” animated series episodes “The Terror Beyond” (parts I & II). In these episodes, Grundy agrees to help Aquaman and Dr. Fate take on mystic monster called Icthultu. In return, Grundy just wants the one thing he truly lost: his soul. Hearing that Icthultu steals souls, Grundy is convinced that Icthultu has his, and forces his way inside Icthultu.
After making his way to Icthultu’s brain, Hawkgirl and Grundy fight a creature that is guarding it, managing to destroy the beast, but Solomon is mortally wounded. Hawkgirl races to him, and he asks her to find his soul. Angered, Hawkgirl attacks and kills Icthultu. She then comforts Grundy in his dying hour, saying that his soul is waiting for him in heaven. He passes on, smiling, knowing that he finally got his reward.
1. HE WAS ON ARROW AND GOTHAM
Solomon Grundy is noticeably missing from most live-action DC titles, so most of his appearances have taken place in animated form. That’s why it was so special to see an unstoppable goon named Cyrus Gold in Season 2 of “Arrow.” Although never called “Solomon Grundy,” it was fun to see Cyrus appear. The episode even mentions the English nursery rhyme, “Solomon Grundy,” stating that it’s about the seven stages of life.
RELATED: Get more info on all things GOTHAM
More recently, Cyrus Gold has appeared in the season 3 finale of “Gotham,” or was he always there? After being shot in the head by Babs, a henchman named Butch is revealed to be still alive, albeit in a coma. His nurses were then overheard talking about how he changed his name from Cyrus Gold to Butch Gilzean for reasons unknown. Will we see finally get our Solomon Grundy as we know him in “Gotham” season 4? Here’s hoping!
What else do YOU know about Solomon Grundy? Let us know in the comments!
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