published by Marvel Comics
in Champions #14
It is the 1970's and America is in the grip of fear. Not from the
Communist menace that sits on distant shores plotting its downfall.
Not from the revelation that leaders in the highest levels of
government may be corrupt. Not even from the sudden inexplicable
fame of J.J. Walker, Erik Estrada, and The Love Boat. No,
fear comes in the form of a group of tiny insects that are moving
like a buzzing juggernaut from the depths of South America: the
For years, America was told that it could expect to be overrun
within a few years by a group of Africanized Brazilian bees who
don't take crap off of anyone. They were reported to have stung
to death a number of persons in South and Central America during
the 70s and to have been migrating north toward our shores. Movies
were made depicting the horror that would befall the U.S. when these
bees with attitude arrived.
Never ones to miss out on a current affairs topic like this,
Marvel Comics introduced Fritz Von Meyer, ex-Nazi scientist
who had escaped to South America and begun experimenting with
bees. The experiments involved exposing a swarm of bees to
radiation from an uknown meteor. Von Meyer was obviously not a
student of 1950's monster movies as anyone one who has spent anytime
watching those knows that such experimentation will end badly. In
Von Meyer's case, the bees grew in intelligence and savagery and
began to sting him, even through his protective gear. The ray also
caused the bees to trade in their pollenation fancy for a more
carnivorous diet, as they began to consume his flesh. Von Meyer
realized that his end was in sight, but at the last moment, he
lashed out and grabbed the queen bee. With the queen in his control,
the rest of the bees settled down and began to obey Von Meyer.
The result of the attck was that Von Meyer was now a being composed
of bees surrounding his skeleton. Von Meyer's intellect still
existed despite his lack of flesh and he decided to use his new
form to attack the United States, because obviously that is what
a guy composed of bees would do.
Von Meyer, who now called himself Swarm, attacked the headquarters
of the short-lived Los Angeles superhero team, the Champions. Using
large mutant bees that grown to the size of cows and streams of bees
ejected from what used to be his arms, Swarm fought the likes of
the Black Widow, Iceman, Hercules, and the original Ghost
Rider. The fact that this rag tag group of heroes was able to
defeat him, by capturing the queen from Swarm and tossing her
far away so that the bees followed depriving him of a corporal form,
shows that Swarm will never be challeging villains like Doctor Doom
and Thanos for a spot as a major villain.
Months later, Swarm was revived by a bunch of intelligent
scientists at Empire State University in New York who thought
exposing the skeleton of a villain composed of bees to a bee hive
was a good idea. Fortunately, one of the students at ESU is Peter
Parker, the Amazing Spiderman. Spiderman fought the Swarm
eventually defeating him.
The villain has not been heard of for many years, but whether or not
he ever returns is still uknown. For in the immortal words of a
famed bee expert: You never can tell with bees.