Public Domain Super Heroes

Real Name

Baron Eric von Emmelman

First Appearance

Air Fighters #3 (December 1942)

Original Publisher


Created by

Bill Woolfolk & Carmine Infantino


Baron Eric von Emmelman was a German flying ace under the command of the Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofenshot) who was shot down on October 12, 1918, while fighting in World War I. He crashed in a mystical Polish swamp called Wausau, near the small town of Rodz, and was thrown from his plane. With a beautiful wife, and a newborn baby, the Baron had told his friends that he had everything to live for, and as he lay in the swamp, mortally wounded, he simply refused to die. Mother Nature came to his aid, and decided to save him from death, to transform the Baron into her champion against evil. Over 20 odd years, Eric's body merged with the "dreary vegetation" of Wausau to make him a massive humanoid plant that was forced to drain animals of blood in order to get oxygen. He targeted birds, dogs and livestock, but he usually did not attack men, unless they were evil. The Heap gained a fearsome reputation as it shambled throughout Europe and Asia.

In its wanderings, the Heap eventually met up with his wife, the Baroness von Emmelman, who had left Europe and become an international nurse, shortly after her husband's presumed death. Unable to communicate with his wife, he grabbed her, and she was accidentally shot by a Japanese soldier. After that, it was said that the Baron was in fact, the last of the von Emmelman line, though the fate of his child remained uncertain.

At some point, the Heap was deliberately shipped to the United States to wreak havoc. There he met a young boy named Rickie Wood in the small town of Lawndale. The creature became infatuated with the boy, who was flying a remote controlled German airplane. The Heap would not leave the boy alone, and although the boy knew that the Heap would not hurt him, Rickie grew disgusted and fearful of the creature, to the extent that he tried to destroy it on several occasions. Rickie learned that the Heap was obsessed by anything related to Germany or flying, because it reminded the creature of its human past.

Initially, the beast appeared to be dull witted and indiscriminate in its violence, but it eventually became clear that its targets were evil men. During World War II, it wound up flying a fighter against the Germans and going to Japan and China to fight against the Japanese. The Heap also came into conflict with the heroic aviators Skywolf and Airboy on several occasions, but these were usually due to misunderstandings. The Heap also battled villains such as the Black Baron and Half-Man.

The Heap was large and possessed superhuman strength. It was capable of withstanding a few gunshots or axe strokes without being impaired, and it was able to quickly heal any wounds that it did have. It was also capable of quickly rooting itself to the ground and blending itself into foliage. Although it was said to shamble, it was apparently pretty fast, and could even be stealthy when it wanted to be. It rarely made any kind of vocalization.

Public Domain Appearances

  • Airboy Comics #vol. 3 #9 - vol. 10 #4
  • Air Fighters #3
  • Psycho #2-7, 9-13

See Also