|According to Marvel Comics, this is also what happened to several hundred pages of original art.|
I miss the days when comic book writers would come up with new foes just based on whatever happened to be on their desk at the moment. The Calculator! Paste-Pot Pete! Clock King! Calendar Man! Staple Hands! Photo Of My Wife And Kids Man! Captain Desktop Golf Game! And, of course, The Living Eraser!
Originally debuting in Tales to Astonish vol.1 No.49 ("The Birth of Giant-Man" November 1963), the Living Eraser is an agent for an other-dimensional plane, set here to abduct our atomic scientists so as to steal the secret of the atom for his own warlike world. Among the scientists he abducts are a pair of notable nuclear physicists, inventor and superhero Hank Pym, and a hot dog vendor. I assume that's because scientists get hungry.
|Why don'tcha try going through the wall vagina?|
More precisely, the Eraser informs the reader that he'd been sent to Earth by The Supremor of Dimension Z, which is a thing I can't believe anyone would say with a straight face, even in the Silver Age. The people he represents seem to be lacking a little by the way of abstract thinking, though. Having maintained visual surveillance on Earth for centuries by way of enormous wall-clogging screens, no one in Dimension Z thought to just look over any atomic scientist's shoulder and make a note of what he was writing down. Instead, they just abduct scientists and nag them out of atomic secrets.
The charm of the Living Eraser lies in the fact that he employs the comic book medium for his signature super-power. What "erasing" a human being might look like in real life - or even represented on a movie screen - is up for special effects artists to figure out, but a partially wiped out figure on a comic page is practically what the medium begs to happen.
The effect was consistent between the Living Eraser's first appearance and his return in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One No.15 ("Return of the Living Eraser" May 1976), a story in which the living vampire and occasional Spider-Man opponent Morbius spent a whole issue literally just trying to drink blood from every single character who appeared onscreen. This is literally the entirety of the plot; Morbius starts by trying to drink the blood of Ben Grimm's girlfriend Alicia Masters, then gets kicked out of her apartment and tries to drink blood from some hobos, then goes to Dimension Z and drinks blood there. It's like the Zagat's Guide to Blood Drinking Locales.
It's in the hobo-strewn alley that the Living Eraser makes the scene, apparently working his way up the chain of atomic scientists by erasing a few homeless people first. Start with the homeless people, work your way up to the atomic scientists, maybe grab a couple sandwich artists along the way in case you get hungry.
The Living Eraser is a fascinating villain simply because so few villains use the medium of comics themselves to define the scope of their powers. He'd be a great character to bring back, possibly teamed up with someone who shot zip-a-tone out of a cannon and a living asterisk whose mere presence had to be cited in a little yellow caption box in the bottom of the panel.