Turner D. Century (Marvel)
Real Name: Clifford F. Michaels
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Turner D. Century wielded a flame-thrower concealed within an umbrella. He rode a bicycle that could fly through the air.
The eccentric criminal who called himself Turner D. Century was actually Clifford F. Michaels, the son of the chauffeur to multimillionaire Morgan MacNeil Hardy. Hardy was one of the men most responsible for the rebuilding of San Francisco as a major city after the 1906 fire, and owned a considerable amount of property there. Disturbed by what he viewed as the city's moral decline, in the 1960s Hardy led a political movement against alleged smut. Upon the failure of this movement, Hardy sold his property in San Francisco and retired to his vast estate in Marin, California. There Hardy himself raised Clifford Michaels, the orphaned son of his late chauffeur.
The young Michaels came to regard Hardy as his surrogate father. Hardy, now quite elderly, retreated into his fantasies about what he considered to be the idyllic America of the turn of the century. Hardy kept Michaels sheltered from exposure to the world beyond his estate, and taught him the moral outlook many Americans held in the early years of the Twentieth Century. Young Michaels watched in awe as Hardy had a life-size model of a turn of the century town constructed within his enormous mansion and populated with wax figures. Hardy also taught Michaels much of his considerable mechanical expertise. It was Hardy's hope that Michaels would succeed where he himself failed in restoring old-time moral values to San Francisco.
As an adult Michaels ventured into San Francisco, dressed as a man from the first decades of this century and calling himself "Turner D. Century." According to the plan he and Hardy had devised, Century began giving speeches around the city about the alleged moral decline of modern times. The news media gave Century a great deal of coverage, regarding him as a colorful eccentric, and made him appear to be a hero when he began taking vigilante action against small-time criminals.
However, Century decided that the people of contemporary times could not be saved, so he decided to abandon the plan he had devised with Hardy. Century decided to wreak destruction as the 1906 fire did, so that Hardy could build a new and morally superior San Francisco. Century began burning down anyplace that did not meet his standards of moral purity, including bars, rock clubs, and "adult" movie theaters. Century also believed that the people he held responsible for spreading moral corruption must be killed, as well as the members of the allegedly "impure" races. Hence Century began terrorizing San Francisco's Chinatown. Soon, he killed dozens of San Francisco residents.
The original Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) battled Century and tracked him down to the Hardy estate, where they fought again. Spider-Woman told Hardy what Century had been doing, and Hardy, shocked, asked Century to cease his campaign of terror. Century had used a flame-thrower within his umbrella to battle Spider-Woman, and as a result, the Hardy mansion was set on fire. Believing Century had ruined his dream of a moral rebirth for San Francisco, Hardy wanted to die in the fire. Century said he loved Hardy too much to let him die alone. Spider-Woman escaped the fire, believing both Hardy and Century had died.
But although Hardy indeed died in the fire, Century escaped. Century went to New York City, which he considered to be a city of sin and decadence. There he intended to activate his invention, the "Time Horn," which he claimed would unleash ultrasonic waves that would attack the central nervous systems of everyone under the age of sixty-five, killing them. As a result, only those people born in what Century considered more morally upright times would be left alive in New York City. Century was opposed and defeated by Spider-Man and Dominic Fortune. As it turned out, Century's Horn did not function as he had intended, and it did no more than induce temporary unconsciousness.
Century was convicted and sent to a mental institution, from which he soon escaped. To his own bewilderment, he found himself considered an outlaw and forced to associate with other criminals. Learning that various costumed criminals had been murdered by the mysterious Scourge, Century agreed to participate in a meeting at one of the secret "bars with no name," which were gathering places for costumed criminals, in order to plan strategy for dealing with Scourge. However, Scourge himself attended, disguised as a bartender, and slaughtered Century and all the other criminals present.
*See: The Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe: Book of the Dead Deluxe Edition #16*
First Appearance: Spider-Woman (1978) #33
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Captain America (1968)
#264 Deadpool (1997)
- 'The American Dreamers!'#319
- 'The Little Bang Theory'
#0 Iron Man (1968)
- 'You Only Die Twice'
Marvel Team-Up (1972)
#33 The Marvel Encyclopedia (2006)
- 'Yesterday's Villain!'
HC The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition (1985)
- 'The Marvel Encyclopedia'
#16 Web of Spider-Man (1985)
- 'Book of the Dead (Air-Walker to Death-Stalker)'#19
- 'Book of the Dead (Nuke to Obadiah Stane)'
- 'There, But For Fortune!'
Deadly Dozen (Marvel)(02 - Villains)
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