Griffin (Marvel) (01 - John Horton)
Real Name: John Horton
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As a result of bionic surgery and injection of an experimental mutagenic serum, the Griffin has superhuman strength, durability, speed, stamina, and agility, with enhanced human reflexes. The Griffin has a chalk-white face resembling a lion's, hair resembling a lion's mane, pronounced canine teeth, sharp 1" claws on his fingers and toes, a scaled dinosaur-like hide, a 4' spiked prehensile tail, and wings with a wingspan of 18' from wingtip to wingtip. His wings enable him to fly at 150-160 mph; the weight he can carry in flight is uncertain, but the greater the weight, the slower the maximum speed he can reach. His claws and teeth can be used to rend flesh, wood, and possibly even soft metals. In his humanoid form he has the telepathic ability to command birds.
At least in the past, the Griffin's physiology is such that he mutates into a more powerful form whenever his present abilities are pushed to the limit. Increases in power are typically accompanied by a more bestial form, with a corresponding decrease in intelligence. These changes tend to remain long-term. He has been seen in the form of a humanoid lion, as well as in a quadruped form closely resembling a winged lion. In both of these latter forms he had the intelligence of an animal, and was unable to access his telepathic powers.
His costume is composed of synthetic stretch fabric and leather.
John "Johnny" Horton was born in Tacoma, Washington. He later became a punk in the New Orleans gangs trying to make a name for himself until a Chicago man used him for some local muscle. Impressing his employer, Horton wanted to be more than a cheap hood resulting in the Chicago man bringing him to the Secret Empire to be made into a supervillain. Horton didn't know what the Secret Empire does. An unnamed scientist/surgeon that works there followed the Empire's orders by surgically adding wings, a mane, and lion-like paws to his body as well as an experimental mutagenic serum. Empire's #1, #3, and #6 were present at this surgery. When Horton recovered, his face had become white and he's now a freak. Thus, he became the professional criminal known as the Griffin.
His first mission was to kill the Beast as part of the Secret Empire's campaign against the Brand Corporation. Griffin encountered Beast in his new furry mutation. During the struggle, Griffin was thrown off the building and Angel only to be attacked by Griffin and rescued by Beast. He later met with Linda Donaldson (Number Nine of Secret Empire) at her office in the Brand Corporation to discuss the case with Beast and his frustration of being turned into a monster.
His next mission was to kill Angel. In his battle with Angel, Beast wrapped his long arms around Griffin's wings causing them to crash into the ground. Griffin was taken away by the Brand Corporation guards (whom are presumed to be working for Robert Baxter).
While in jail, he began to mutate with the serum used on him where his mind went first and ended up developing fanged teeth, a powerful tail, and superhuman strength. He faked being sick and escaped. When he located and confronted the unnamed scientist that changed him, the scientist was thrown to his death when he was unable to tell Griffin where the members of Secret Empire are. The scientist was saved by Spider-Man and Beast and told them Griffin's origin before dying. With his telepathic ability to control birds, Griffin revealed himself and attacked Spider-Man and Beast until he was defeated on the Brooklyn Bridge.
He later fought Ghost Rider, Angel, and the Champions alongside Darkstar, Rampage, Titanium Man, and the Crimson Dynamo in Los Angeles. They defeated the Champions and imprisoned them in a cell within the San Andreas Fault until Darkstar released them and Griffin was defeated again. To push his powers to their limits, he attacked Spider-Man with a flock of seagulls and fled to attack Avengers Mansion only to find Wonder Man there. During battle, Griffin later mutated with a leonine face and lost the power of speech. Griffin was presumed to have perished in the Astro-Fighter ship fire.
When he was residing in the Adirondack Mountains, he fell under the control of Headlok who used him to attack the West Coast Avengers. He was calmed by Tigra and defeated and sent to the Vault.
During Iron Man's "Armor Wars," Griffin escaped with Mister Hyde, Titania, Armadillo, and Vibro. He was defeated and was re-imprisoned by Falcon and Demolition-Man. Griffin was seen in the Vault's Cell Block Five during Acts of Vengeance.
The Griffin joined Bullet and Orka in a breakout where he was stunned by Captain America's shield throw and Henry Pym's force blaster, and was apprehended again. He later participated in a mass escape from the Vault.
Later, his mind was reduced to an instinctual animal level. He pursued and fought Namor the Sub-Mariner where Namor had the advantage and defeated Griffin. Griffin ended up in Namor's custody as his steed. Namor used the Griffin to get to the Savage Land only to be ambushed by Super-Skrull disguised as Iron Fist. The Griffin helped Shanna free Namor and Namorita from Ward Meachum and the Super-Skrull.
Griffin is briefly seen in the 'Superhuman Rehabilitation Unit', a facility controlled by the Commission on Superhuman Activities. It is part of a deep 'hole' of cells. The front of each cell faces the others.
When Griffin was on Ryker's Island's prison, he was restored to a more humanoid state (presumably his intellect was restored). He was also among the inmates assembled by Electro during the impending breakout which is thwarted by the New Avengers.
Griffin has been hired by the Hood to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act.
First Appearance: Amazing Adventures (1970) #15
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Age Of Heroes (2010)
Amazing Adventures (1970)
#15 Avengers Academy (2010)
- 'Murder In Mid-Air!'
Avengers Spotlight (1989)
#26 Avengers Unconquered (2009)
- 'Tales from the Vault'
#22 Avengers: Deathtrap, The Vault (1991)
- 'The Final Battle!'#24
- 'The Hordes Of Hellfire!'#28
- 'Fall Of The Avengers!'#34
- 'Siege Begins Here!'#35
- 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes Reunited At Last!'
Avengers: The Initiative (2007)
#25 Captain America (1968)
- 'Avengers The Initiative Disassembled Conclusion'#28
- 'Poisoned Chalice'#33
- 'The Hammer Falls, Part 1 of 3'#34
- 'The Hammer Falls, Part 2 of 3'
Dark Reign: The Cabal (2009)
Dark Reign: The Hood (2009)
#1 Enter the Heroic Age (2010)
- 'The Devil in the Details'#5
- 'Chain of Command'
#3 Heroic Age: Prince of Power (2010)
- 'Fear Itself'#4
- 'All Versus All'#5
- 'Lost City'#6
- 'Black Rapture'
Heroic Age: Villains (2011)
#1 Iron Man (2005)
- 'Heroic Age Villains'
Marvel Comics Presents (2012)
Marvel Tales (1964)
#239 Marvel Team-Up (1972)
- 'Night of the Griffin - A Bat Days Knight'
#38 Marvel: Your Universe Saga (2008)
- 'Night of the Griffin'#78
Namor, The Sub-Mariner (1990)
#2 New Avengers (2005)
- 'Eagle's Wing And Lion's Claw'#2 (UPC Version)
- 'Eagle's Wing And Lion's Claw'#3
- 'Meeting of the Board'#13
- 'Reap the Whirlwind'#14
- 'A Child Is Waiting...'#15
- 'Into the Savage Land'#17
- 'Fire and Stone'#18
- 'Double Cross'
New Avengers Finale (2010)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z (2008)
HC vol. 04 Secret Avengers (2010)
- 'Earthmover to Guardians of the Galaxy'
#29 Secret Avengers (2013)
- 'A Council Of Masters'#30
- 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'#31
- 'Into The Void'#32
- 'To Hold Back A Black Hole'
Secret Invasion (2008)
#3 Siege: Captain America (2010)
- 'The Siege of Asgard - Intercepted'#4
- 'The Siege of Asgard - The Fallen'
Spider-Man: Breakout (2005)
The Champions (1975)
#7 The Mighty World Of Marvel (2009)
- 'The Man Who Created the Black Widow'#7 (30 Cent Variant)
- 'The Man Who Created the Black Widow'#8
- 'Divide and Conquer!'#8 (UK Edition)
- 'Divide and Conquer!'#9
- 'The Battle of Los Angeles!'#10
- 'One Man's Son is Another Man's Poison!'
#32 The New Avengers: Most Wanted Files (2006)
- 'A New Saga... Shadowland! The Fall of Daredevil has begun...'
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition (1990)
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Update '89 (1989)
#608 West Coast Avengers (1985)
- 'Siege: Ragnarok, Part 2'#609
- 'Siege: Ragnarok, Part 3'
#10 Women of Marvel (2011)
- 'The Search for The Thing!'
Women of Marvel Digital (2010)
X-Men Legacy (2008)
X-Men: To Serve And Protect (2011)
Hood's Criminal Syndicate
Masters of Evil (Marvel)
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