I am the Bi-Beast! Stand where you are!

My skull-brother and I bid you welcome, strangers.

–The Bi-Beast, The Incredible Hulk #169.

The Marvel Universe has been plagued throughout its history by descendants of the Golden Age’s Heap. Large, hulking monsters may be found among Marvel’s heroes and villains, and among those characters who walk the line between good and evil. The Incredible Hulk, the Thing, and the Rhino rank among the more famous of these, but the outsized fists of the Bi-Beast also have left their impression.

Created by Steve Englehart, he (they?) take(s) the form of a hulking humanoid with huge, reptilian hands and dinosaurian feet. The most significant characteristic, however, are his two heads. One "skull-brother" contains the collected cultural wisdom of the race that created him; the other contains that species’ art of war. Each head has a distinct personality that reflects the type of knowledge with which he is associated.

Despite his organic appearance, the Bi-Beast is in fact an artificial construct, an android built by Bird-people as a kind of living library with enough strength to defend itself. The Bird-people themselves first appeared during the whimsical Golden Age of Comics, in connection with the 1940s hero Red Raven. They lived on a secret city floating "eight miles" above the surface of the earth and chose not to interact with humans. Later Marvel writers retconned them into an offshoot of the Inhumans, and the tale of their eventual extinction appeared in X-Men. Only the Bi-Beast remained and, in his first appearance (The Incredible Hulk #169), he slugs it out with the Hulk. Eventually, however, he forms a bond with the character, who shares with him a problematic split personality and endorsement offers from the "Big and Tall" store. Actually, it's a relationship of convenience: the Bi-Beast hopes that Bruce Banner (the Hulk's alter-ego) can fix the machines which keep him alive, while Banner needs the city's advanced technology to save his friend, Betty Ross. The villain Modok destroys the short-lived partnership, leading to the inevitable battle to the death. The Bi-Beast’s first appearance was supposed to be his last; he and the remnants of the floating city explode in that story’s incendiary conclusion.

Of course, he did not remain dead for long. It seemed the Bird-people had created a back-up. This Bi-Beast resembles the original, though his human characteristics have been emphasized over the dinosaurian ones. Either the Bird-people constructed him differently, or the artist took the usual view of continuity.

The Bi-Beast since has made a handful of appearances in Marvel comics, but has never become a major figure.

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