by Dennis E. Power
(with much assistance from Matthew Baugh, Win Eckert and Chuck Loridans)
Robert Griffin was not as intellectually gifted as were his brothers John and Francis and this is probably the reason that he did not attend a university after graduating from Rugby. He however had a great ambition to be wealthy and to marry into the ranks of the aristocracy. He joined the British Army and fought in France and Germany during the Great War. After the war he knocked about in Germany for a few years, meeting becoming great chums with an ex-patriate named Peter Drury.
Drury had been educated at Aberdeen and Berlin and became an ardent Teutonophile. He had written against Britain's alliance against Britain. Robert Griffin was embittered at England for failing to make him an officer, citing his inability to follow orders and some unsubstantiated reports that he had participated in atrocities. After he failed to create a fortune in Germany, Robert Griffin bid adieu to Peter Drury and traveled through Asia. He created a budding financial empire based in Manchuria. Robert Griffin's main business centered on the sale of Russian weaponry to White Russians in Harbin and Chinese bandits in the Manchuria. Ultimately this was thwarted by an operative for the Kempei Tai, a little Japanese with annoying squeaking shoes. In a final showdown Griffin had the satisfaction of smashing the little man in the mouth with a rifle butt and broke all of his teeth, right before Griffin jumped off a burning gunboat. (1)
Robert Griffin was fished out of the water by the U.S.S. San Pablo.(2)He was set ashore and decided to leave China. He spent a year in the Philippines and two years in Australia. It was in Australia that he met Jasper and Irene Herrick. Jasper was a British Lord but one whose fortune had eroded. While their daughter was at the University, the Herricks had come to Australia hoping to find gold and refill the family coffers. They had not found any. Robert Griffin acquired a map to a diamond mine in Tanganyika. As a result of how he had acquired it, Griffin had to leave Australia immediately. He offered the Herricks half the diamond mine if they would finance an expedition. They saw the diamond sample and jumped at the chance.
It was 1930 when the Herricks and Robert Griffin went into the interior of Africa and discovered a mine where Griffin's map showed that there was one. Due to hardships and bad planning they nearly ran out of food and ammunition on the expedition back to Dar es Salaam. Robert Griffin suffered a severe blow to his head. Lady Irene would later state that it was a tree branch that fell and hit Griffin despite her cry for him to move. Although this is pure speculation, it actually quite possible that Lady Irene hit Robert Griffin over the head herself. Her reasons for doing this were, greed-she did not want split the diamonds with Griffin, fear- his treatment of bearers had proved he was capable of murderous violence and disgust--he had shown a most unwholesome interest in their daughter Julie after having seen her picture.
The Herricks left the comatose Griffin with a bearer who shortly thereafter abandoned Griffin and returned to the party. He told them that Griffin had died. The Herricks returned to England. Robert Griffin awoke with a splitting headache and no idea of how he had come to be in the African jungle. His memory of the last year of his life was gone. He wrote to his friend Peter Drury who invited him to visit Germany. Griffin lived in Germany and France for two years until Drury told him of a plan to make him wealthy. If they could get a hold of his father's or his brother's formulas they could write their own check.
Drury showed Robert some newspaper clippings that proved his brother Frank had access to such a formula and had used it to clear the name of his good friend Geoffrey Radcliffe. It amused Robert to steal from his righteous brother. When Drury went to England, Griffin felt compelled to return to Africa. He worked at various jobs in Nairobi one of which was working on the main shipping dock. A falling crate hit him on the head. He awoke not knowing where he was at but knew someone one trying to steal his diamond mine; he attacked his fellow workers. Overpowered he was confined to the Capetown Asylum for the Insane. Half-delusional he killed two interns and a male nurse with a knife and escaped up an elevator shaft.
The second blow
head had restored some of the memories that had been lost. He was
filled with a
burning need to get what was due to him and get revenge to those who
betrayed him. He also needed to make Julie Herrick his woman and marry
aristocracy he despised. Since he was a hunted fugitive he could not
himself aboard a ship bound for
The clerk said me meant no
that he knew the Al Akama had just come in. As the clerk went to get
The clerk returned with the
The clerk bundled up the clothing but felt something in a pocket. He pulled it out. It was a newspaper clipping with no clear date. The headline read Homicidal Maniac escapes from Capetown Asylum. Murders two internes and nurse in psychopathic ward. There was a picture with the caption, Robert Griffin. The legible section of the article said, "Robert Griffin, a dock worker, committed to the Capetown asylum for the Insane. He killed two internes and a nurse. He escaped through an elevator shaft. Police have laid down a dragnet and expect a swift capture."
As Griffin made his way to Shortlands, the ancestral estate of the Herricks. Jasper and Irene Herrick were meeting with their daughter Julie's fiancée, Mark Foster. Foster was a journalist and a grandson of Lady Ainsley. (3) Julie and Mark left to go to a dinner. Their car passed by Robert Griffin who stood in the bushes outside of the mansion, thinking about the upcoming confrontation.
The butler informed Sir and Lady Herrick that an old friend of theirs had come to visit. They were flabbergasted to discover that it is Robert Griffin.
The Herricks had truly thought he was dead or at least put on a good pretense of it. None of this mattered to Griffin. He wanted his share of the diamond mine, immediately. He pulled out an agreement signed by Griffin and the Herricks. This agreement gave Robert Griffin half the diamond mine. Sir Jasper told Griffin that it would be impossible to give him that sum. The diamond mine had played out and Jasper had made some bad investments. They were left with a little money but not much. Griffin said that he would take whatever they owned in the amount that he was owed. He also revealed to them his passion for their daughter Julie.
Lady Herrick gave Griffin a glass of drugged whisky. After Griffin had passed out. Lady Herrick convinced Jasper that Griffin was psychotic and could not be trusted with the money. They stole his copy of the contract and shoved him of the door. The Butler was told never to admit him again.
As he wandered in a doped stupor Griffin stumbled into a river and nearly drowned. He was rescued by a man who was fishing on the river's shore. The man was Herbert Higgins a cobbler. Herbert befriended Griffin. Griffin confided his tale to Herbert. Herbert convinced Griffin to get a lawyer. Herbert and the Lawyer visited the Herricks on Griffin's behalf. They attempted to blackmail the Herricks into giving up some money. The Herricks however were friends with the Chief Constable. The Herricks convinced the Chief Constable that Griffin was a blackmailing tramp. He told and Herbert that Griffin had by sundown to get out of his district. Frightened of legal repercussions Herbert sent Griffin on his way.
Griffin thought briefly about asking his brother Frank for help but thought that the sanctimonious prig would have turned him into the police. His fragmented memory suddenly remembered having written a recommendation to get his friend Peter Drury on Frank Griffin's staff. He discovered that Radcliffe Industries no longer employed Drury they did provide Robert Griffin with an address. It was not too distant from the Herrick's mansion. Robert Griffin figured that Drury had probably planned to put the squeeze on them as well.
Drury was not too happy that Robert Griffin had found his way to his doorstep. Drury had cultivated Griffin's friendship but only as a means to an end, to get access to the Griffin invisibility formula. Drury had been involved in the early German experiments with monocaine derived from John Hawley Griffin's original formula. The German High Command had gotten ahold of one of John Hawley Griffin's notebooks, the first one in the set of three. Attempting to recreate John Hawley's experiment in order to create in invisible army to help the German cause had failed. After the fall of the Kaiser the experimentation was ended and Drury retained ownership of the Griffin notebook.
During the mid-twenties in Germany, Peter Drury had joined the National Socialist Party. Although he had convinced Robert Griffin that his desire to create a safe invisibility formula was for personal gain and fame, in reality it was for the glory of the Reich. When Drury had used his friendship with Griffin to gain access to the current work on the invisibility formula, he had copied the work and substituted a vial of water for the invisibility formula. He then regretfully informed Frank Griffin he had to take a position elsewhere.
Drury had taken up residence in a secluded house where he conducted experiment undisturbed. Since his research was viewed a bit skeptically he was not given full support, especially since he wished to remain in England to carry the research out. He was however given a specially trained attack dog for protection. Drury was also given the additional assignment to watch the Herrick estate and report on the comings and goings of one Mark Foster. Foster was ostensibly a journalist but his relationship to Lady Jane Ainsley was troubling for the Reich. They believed that Foster was actually a British Intelligence Agent and used his relationship with Sir Jasper Herrick to gather intelligence on activities in South Africa and Tanganyika.
Drury knew the Herrick name from somewhere but did not know that they were the people Griffin had been involved with the mine business. Nor did he have time to follow Foster around so he let that part of his assignment slide.
Griffin asked what Drury was doing here. Drury told him working on the invisibility formula. He showed Griffin an empty cage from which dog barks emanated a parrot cage where an empty swing swung and parrot sounds came forth. Drury let in a barking dog but all that could be seen is the dog's collar. Drury also let Griffin know that this dog had been specially trained to protect him and would kill any one who attacked him.
Drury explained that he had experimented with invisibility on animals but needed to experiment on humans. Drury was certain he had licked the psychosis problem by changing the toxin's chemical make-up just enough so that the body would recognize them as potential threats, therefore the toxins would be kept to a minimal level by the immune response system. He also counteracted the higher hormonal levels generated by the serum so that the rage and anger responses would be neutralized by natural euphoric chemicals in the brain. One of his final improvements to the serum was that the mucal membranes and salivary glands would produce a secondary form of the serum which would coat and bond with anything entering the body in that manner. Therefore cold air, smoke and most importantly food would not be seen as if it were floating around in mid air.
Griffin asked why Drury had not tested the serum on humans as of yet. Drury said he had been waiting for the perfect person, someone who he could trust utterly. Someone like him.
Robert Griffin was reluctant to try it. Drury manipulated him into doing so. Accusing him of cowardice, painting a picture how Griffin could get revenge on those who had betrayed him and he finally brought up his fugitive status. Drury stated he would hate to turn him in but would do so if Griffin did not cooperate.
injected and was successful, Drury began making plans to contact the
the Reich, to use Griffin as an exhibit for the success of his project.
planned to leave the next day. Griffin demurred, stating that he would
go to Germany with a new identity. When Griffin returned back to
would need a new identity to get back into England. Drury agreed to
a new identity. While he made the arrangements, Griffin returned to
the Herrick Estate. In Sir Jasper's bedroom he terrorized Sir Jasper
signing a promissory note that gave all of the Herrick's wealth to
including the ancestral home of Shortlands. Griffin also told Herrick
intended to have Julie.
Herbert win his
was challenged by the loser, who took back his money. Herbert pretended
punch the man but
stood at the
bar and watched these events with a piercing look. He was taking supper
The next day at
Foster went to
upstairs sitting room and made a phone call to his grandmother Lady
Ainsley to get some information on the Invisible Men. Lady Ainsley,
she had not formally joined the League of Anti-Diabolists, had contacts
them, just as she had contacts with the Intelligence Service. Foster
for Intelligence but thought that the news of an Invisible Man might be
interest to both organizations. After the phone call he returned to his
Sir Jasper, having heard the vase break, had run out of his study to
was the matter.
that his serum was a failure after all, at least in the human tests.
it so that
Shortly after Drury had called the police, Foster visited the police to see if they had a line on this invisible man story. They told him about the prank call from Dr. Drury, that old crank who did those weird experiments. Foster convinced a policeman to accompany him to Drury's to investigate the call.
As it turns out
not dead but had suffered from extreme blood loss. Not having any
Sir Jasper was shocked to find Robert Griffin visible. He told Sir Jasper that he has come to take possession of his property. If Jasper knew what was good for him he would cooperate. Oddly enough, although he had forced Sir Jasper to turn everything over to Robert Griffin, he told Sir Jasper to call him Martin Fields, using his new identity papers. He stayed as their guest.
house was the
constant barking of Drury's dog that hunted
Shortlands and although he was surprised to find Robert Griffin
Herbert attempted to blackmail
The next morning at breakfast Foster discussed the Invisible Man. Griffin derided it as a fairy tail but as the conversation progressed, he began to blab about what power an Invisible Man might have, what deeds he could accomplish. This piqued Foster's attention.
Griffin took a
biscuit from the serving table he noticed that his hand was fading. He
becoming invisible again. He ran to his room claiming he had cut his
had Herbert deliver a message to Foster, asking him to meet him in the
cellar. The note stated that
Drury's dog attacked and
papers. In Shanghai, a small Japanese man read the article and saw the
accompanying photograph of Robert Griffin found it interesting, very,
interesting. He smiled revealing a set of gold-filled teeth. (6)
Click here for a Griffin family tree graphic
1.This was an early unrecorded adventure of Mr. Moto. Mr. Moto's adventures were recorded by John P. Marquand. His relationship to the Wold Newton family is discussed in Asian Detectives in the Wold Newton Universe.
3. Lady Jane Ainsley was a medical researcher who had ties to British Intelligence. She was most renown for her work on blood research. She was involved in the Armand Tesla incidents of 1918 and 1944. She later joined the League of Anti-Diabolists in 1944.
4. Peter Drury was involved with many odd programs during WWII and after. He used the resources of the United States fund his research with the intent of giving the fruits to the Third Reich as a consequence he was often instrumental in aiding United States research efforts in ways that kept Germany lagging behind. For more on his background. He was instrumental in the experiments of Dr. Cameron Sullivan, in the creation of the Super Solider program, in the formation of the Creature Commandos and a few others.
5. Robert Griffin's experience with transparency is told in Invisible Man's Revenge, Universal 1944
Moto would become further involved with the
1897 Invisible Man by H.G. Well (John Hawley Griffin. OIM Original Invisible Man)
1898 League of Extraordinary Men (John Hawley Griffin)
1922 Invisible Man (John (Jack) Griffin)
1929 Invisible Murderer with William Carpenter as the Invisible Man
1931 Invisible Man's Return (Frank Griffin----- with Geoffrey Radcliffe as the IM
1935 Invisible Man's Revenge (Robert Griffin) the IM
1938 Invisible Woman (Kitty Caroll)
1942 (twenty years after Invisible Man) Invisible Agent (Frank Griffin a.k.a. Frank Raymond)
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Geoffrey Radcliffe IM)
1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (Tommy Nelson IM)
1966 Invisibility Affair Willard Morthley and Kerry Griffin inventors of the OTSMID (Omnidirectional Total Spectrum Molecular Interpenetration Device) which can render objects invisible
1974 Daniel Westin becomes an Invisible Man
1998 Darien Fawkes surgically implanted with quicksilver gland to become an Invisible Man
1999 Sebastian Caine has a brief and deadly career as an Invisible Man as seen in The Hollow Man