Impossible Man
The Impossible Man appears on the cover of Fantastic Four #176 (Nov. 1976). Art by George Perez
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceFantastic Four #11 (February 1963)[1]
Created byStan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Team affiliationsFantastic Four
Lethal Legion
Notable aliasesImpy
Herald of Destruction
The Improbable Guy

The Impossible Man is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Fantastic Four #11 (February 1963), and was created by writer Stan Lee and writer/artist Jack Kirby.[2] The Impossible Man has been featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as action figures, arcade and video games, animated television series, and merchandise such as trading cards.

The Impossible Man is a Poppupian from the planet Poppup and has shape-changing abilities. The character is primarily used for comedy, as he is portrayed as a lonely, attention-seeking alien that often annoys those around him, especially the Fantastic Four. Over the years, the Impossible Man created a wife called The Impossible Woman and also had a son named Adolf Impossible.

The Impossible Man has made various appearances in Marvel animated series, such as the 1978 and 1994 Fantastic Four series as well as Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes.

Publication history

The Impossible Man first appeared in Fantastic Four #11 (Feb 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. According to Lee in a 1970 interview, this "was the worst-selling Fantastic Four we've ever had". In Lee's opinion, the green alien on the cover was "too unusual and too frivolous."[3]

After a long absence, Impossible Man returned in Fantastic Four #175 (Oct 1976) and visited the Marvel Comics office. At the end of the story, he was adopted by the Fantastic Four. This time, the character became popular.[4] He remained a regular part of the comic until #195 (June 1978), when Sue told him that she was tired of him, and he turned into a bee and flew away.

Originally, there were no limits to Impossible Man's transforming abilities - he convincingly imitated Sue Richards in Fantastic Four #175 (Oct 1976) and President Jimmy Carter in Marvel Two-in-One #27 (May 1977) - but in The New Mutants Annual #3 (Sept 1987), he could only turn into something that was green and purple, and that limitation has stuck ever since.[5]

Fictional character biography


When the Impossible Man first appeared, he was different from previous guest stars in that he was not a villain. The team first meet him at the Flamingo restaurant when they are summoned there to investigate a disturbance. Written by Lee to be a prankster and hedonist, the Impossible Man claimed to belong to the alien race of Poppupians from planet Poppup in the "Tenth Galaxy", who all share a collective consciousness and the ability to shapeshift, as their planet is so dangerous they have the ability to evolve very quickly.[6] Seeking amusement, the character visits Earth for a vacation by turning himself into a spaceship, talking of a Poppup Tourist Bureau. After finding the superhero team the Fantastic Four and realizing nobody else on Earth has his power (therefore concluding he is the most powerful being on Earth), he constantly harasses them until they decide to ignore him and tell other people to do the same, forcing the Impossible Man to leave as he finds Earth so boring, and saying Earth will never get their tourist business. He gets his name after the Thing claims he is "impossible".[7]


The character does not appear again until 1976. Acting as a deus ex machina in a storyline involving the cosmic entity and world-devourer Galactus, the Impossible Man convinces him to consume his homeworld Poppup instead of Earth, causing Galactus to seemingly perish from 'cosmic indigestion'. Since the Poppupians were a shared consciousness they were happy to sacrifice their planet to stop Galactus, knowing that their culture would live on in the embodiment of its most adventurous member.[8] The Impossible Man then makes a humorous appearance at the offices of Marvel Comics, where he causes havoc until Stan Lee promises to give him his own title.[9]

He offers peripheral assistance to the Fantastic Four when they are trapped in the Negative Zone by the Frightful Four, a team of their enemies.[10] The Impossible Man impersonates Jimmy Carter, on the day of the Inauguration of Jimmy Carter. The Impossible Man briefly takes Carter's place to foil an attempt to enslave him during an adventure with the Thing and the cyborg Deathlok.[11] He later saves the Invisible Woman from a fall[12] and becomes fascinated with Earth movies.[13] When returning to the Baxter Building, headquarters of the Fantastic Four, the Impossible Man is surprised and defeated by the villain Klaw, who, in an alliance with the Molecule Man, attempts to kill the Fantastic Four.[14] During the course of the storyline, the character recovers and, courtesy of his abilities, mimics and defeats Klaw in turn[15] and assists the Fantastic Four in stopping the Molecule Man.[16] The character continued his trend of general disruption during a visit to Hollywood with the Invisible Girl.[17]


After helping the Thing defeat several villains at a party, the Impossible Man observes the Thing with his partner Alicia Masters and becomes lonely. The character then decides to reproduce - here an asexual process - by splitting in two. This creates fellow Poppupian the Impossible Woman.[18] The pair later attempt to recreate their race and create the Impossible Kids, with the entire "family" visiting the Thing.[19] When the Impossible Woman is missing, the character hires private investigator Jessica Drew to locate her,[20] and has an encounter with the mutant X-Men after stealing artifacts from Earth to settle a supposed family dispute with the other members of his race.[21]

More comedic adventures followed, with the Impossible Man engaging in a shapeshifting competition with Warlock,[22] causing havoc on an alternate universe version of Earth,[23] and trying to obtain the movie rights to the autobiography of professional sidekick Rick Jones.[24]


The Impossible Man finds and teases the cosmic being the Silver Surfer on two occasions, pleading for him to develop a sense of humor before battling the titan Thanos.[25] The character returns to Earth and causes more mischief,[26] encounters the hero Daredevil while looking for a lost child,[27] starts a bar fight,[28] watches the Eternal Makkari win a galactic marathon,[29] and invites various otherwise un-contacted heroes and supervillains to the wedding of Rick Jones.[30]

After a brief encounter with the young superhero team the New Warriors,[31] the character enlists the aid of mutant team X-Force to instill some pride in his children,[32] and enters into a wager with the alternate universe imp Mister Mxyzptlk.[33]


The Impossible Man and the Poppupians make a cameo appearance in Noh-Varr's origin story.[34]

The Impossible Man returns to Earth disguised as the Silver Surfer, and after teasing the hero Spider-Man warns of an alien invasion. The Impossible Man's race are also revealed to have survived, with their consciousness stored inside the character. With the aid of the Fantastic Four, the aliens and the newly reborn Poppupians are transported off world, merging into one race on Spider-Man's suggestion.[35]


Later during the Chaos War, the Impossible Man confronts Mikaboshi, trying to humor and reason with him while shapeshifting in various forms to divert him, but the Chaos King tires of him and brutally dispatches him. Impossible Man's last words are "I thought we were just playing around..."[36]

Impossible Man returns to Earth where he witnesses a battle between Hulk, Red Hulk, and Xemnu. Impossible Man uses his magic to combine Hulk and Red Hulk into the Compound Hulk. Impossible Man watches as the Compound Hulk fights Xemnu's minion Kluh (a smart version of the Gray Hulk).[37]

Impossible Man is later shown to have a son named Adolf Impossible who has many of his father's fantastic powers and has a much more introverted personality. This causes Impossible Man to label Adolf as "entirely too possible" and plead with the Future Foundation to accept him and allow him to grow as a person.[38]

Powers and abilities

The Impossible Man's unique physiology enables him to take on virtually any form via molecular manipulation, an effect commonly accompanied by a "Pop!" sound. He can mimic the properties of objects or humanoid beings at will. Almost every feature the Impossible Man copies another superhuman's appearance and their powers, such as Thor,[39] Klaw,[40] or even Wolverine.[41] He has the ability to travel through hyperspace across different universes, psionically levitate himself, and reproduce asexually. The Impossible Man and his mate are able to survive in the vacuum of space for months without sustenance by inducing a low-metabolic rate onto themselves.[42]

The Impossible Man possesses total knowledge of Earth's popular culture.

Other versions


Impossible Man appears in the spoof comic "Wha...Huh?" in the segment titled "What If Identity Crisis Happened in the Marvel Universe". He appears as a villain that few of the heroes remember.[43]

The Cross-Time Caper

The Impossible Man appears in Excalibur, during the Cross-Time Caper. He has populated an analogue of the Earth with multiple twisted versions of the superheroes of the Marvel Universe (such as Daredevil, the 'Man without Common Sense'). This version of the Earth is destroyed by Galactus, who deems it "Too silly to be allowed to exist", and deems the Impossible Man as "In your own way... as great a threat as the Phoenix". Once Galactus leaves, Impossible Man repopulates the planet effortlessly, allowing the mayhem to begin again. His powers in this reality generate a 'Pip' rather than a 'Pop'.[44]

In other media


Video games

Impossible Man appears as a mini-boss in Super Hero Squad Online.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Misiroglu, Gina Renée; Eury, Michael (2006). The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 9780780809772.
  2. ^ Markstein, Don. "The Impossible Man". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ Fingeroth, Danny; Thomas, Roy (2011). The Stan Lee Universe. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 97–102. ISBN 978-1605490304.
  4. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 90. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  5. ^ Cronin, Brian (June 14, 2019). "When The Impossible Man Got Stuck With the Colors Purple and Green!". Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  6. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  7. ^ Fantastic Four Vol 1 #11 (February 1963)
  8. ^ Fantastic Four #175 (Oct. 1976)
  9. ^ Fantastic Four #176 (Nov. 1976)
  10. ^ Fantastic Four #177-178 (Dec. 1976-Jan. 1977)
  11. ^ Marvel Two-In-One #27 (May 1977)
  12. ^ Fantastic Four #183 (June. 1977)
  13. ^ Fantastic Four #184-185 (July - Aug. 1977)
  14. ^ Fantastic Four #186 (Sep. 1977)
  15. ^ Fantastic Four #187 (Oct. 1977)
  16. ^ Fantastic Four #188 (Nov. 1977)
  17. ^ Fantastic Four #193-195 (Apr.-July 1978)
  18. ^ Marvel Two-In-One #60 (Feb. 1980)
  19. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #86
  20. ^ Spider-Woman #45 (Aug. 1982)
  21. ^ The Uncanny X-Men Annual #7 (Dec. 1983)
  22. ^ The New Mutants Annual #3 (Jan. 1987)
  23. ^ Excalibur #14 (Nov. 1989)
  24. ^ Avengers Spotlight #25 (Nov. 1989)
  25. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3 #33 (Jan. 1990) & #36 (Apr. 1990)
  26. ^ Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular #1 & 2 (Aug. 1990 & 1991)
  27. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #91 (Dec. 1991)
  28. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #97 (June 1992)
  29. ^ Quasar #58 (May 1994)
  30. ^ The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #417 (June 1994)
  31. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #162 (Sep. 1994)
  32. ^ X-Force & Cable Annual (Dec. 1995)
  33. ^ Silver Surfer/Superman (Nov. 1996)
  34. ^ Marvel Boy #5 (Dec. 2000)
  35. ^ Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #1-4 (May - Aug. 2007)
  36. ^ Chaos War: Chaos King #1
  37. ^ Hulk vol. 2 #30
  38. ^ FF vol. 2 #11
  39. ^ Fantastic Four Annual Vol 1 #3 (October 1965)
  40. ^ Fantastic Four #187 (Oct. 1976)
  41. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #31 (Apr. 1990)
  42. ^ The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 1 #5 (May 1983)
  43. ^ Wha...Huh? #1 (January 2005)
  44. ^ Excaliber Vol 1 #14 (November 1989)
  45. ^ a b c "Impossible Man Voices (Fantastic Four)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved December 20, 2019. Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources.((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  46. ^ "February 2014 premieres on Disney Channel / Disney XD". Archived from the original on 2014-02-02.