Solomon Grundy is a zombie supervillain who has clashed with many heroes over the years, including Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America.
Cyrus Gold was born some time around the early 19th century. In the year 1895, he had carried on an affair with a local prostitute from Gotham City named Rachel Rykel. According to Rykel, she was pregnant with Gold's child, and sought to extort money from him for her silence. Cyrus met with her for a secret negotiation at Slaughter Swamp, several miles outside of Gotham. When Gold refused to yield to blackmail, Rachel's pimp, Jem, dashed Cyrus across the back of the head with a shovel. They buried Gold in the swamp, content that no one would ever come looking for him. Over the span of fifty years, Gold’s body interacted with the detritus and sour vegetation of the swamp. Through an as of yet unknown process, Cyrus Gold's corpse transformed into a rotting, vegetative undead monstrosity that the world would soon come to know as Solomon Grundy. Note: In Pre-Crisis Earth-Two continuity, Cyrus Gold was murdered in the year 1894. In Post-Crisis continuity, his death took place in 1895.
Earth-Two Version's History
In 1944, Cyrus Gold's corpse was reanimated as a huge shambling figure with almost no memory of its past life. Gold murdered two escaped criminals who were hiding out in the marsh and stole their clothes. He showed up in a hobo camp and, when asked about his name, one of the few things he could recall was that he was "born on a Monday". One of the men at the camp mentioned the nursery rhyme character Solomon Grundy, and Gold adopted the moniker.
Strong, vicious, and nearly mindless, Solomon Grundy fell into a life of crime — or, perhaps returned to one according to his scattered residual memories — attracting the attention of the Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Grundy proved to be a difficult opponent, unkillable (since he was already dead) and with an inherent resistance to Scott's powers (which could not affect wood, a substance of which Grundy's reassembled body was now largely composed). Their first fight ended when Grundy was hurled under a train. The second battle with Grundy involved Green Lantern and his fellow members of the Justice Society of America tracking him across the country, depositing Grundy on the moon once he was defeated. A subsequent battle between the two ended up with Lantern burying Grundy in 1947.
At this point, he was pulled back to 1941 by the time-travelling criminal Per Degaton, who had enlisted the aid of several super-villains to capture the Justice Society of America on December 7, 1941 (the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor). The All-Star Squadron came to their rescue, and Grundy was then thrust back to the moon where he remained for over two decades.
Grundy eventually mastered the use of stored up emerald energy he had absorbed over the years from his several battles with his arch-foe, and returned to Earth to battle Lantern, Hourman and Doctor Fate. At this point, he had temporary mastery over all wooden objects, however he subsequently lost this power over time. 
He was briefly a member of the Injustice Society of the World. In the interim, he had battled the combined might of both the Justice Society, and later their counterparts the Justice League, nearly to a standstill, when he developed an affection for a lost alien child. Soon after, Grundy crossed over from his Slaughter Swamp prison on Earth-Two to Earth-One where he encountered that Earth's Superman (see more details below).
Grundy went on to afflict Green Lantern and his teammates, including the Huntress who was the first female for whom he developed an affection. After Solomon Grundy was rescued from a glacier by Alan Scott's daughter, Jade, Grundy became loyal to her and, for a while, was an ally of Infinity, Inc. Eventually, this affectionate relationship turned to tragedy as the villainous Marcie Cooper a.k.a. Harlequin of the Dummy's Injustice Unlimited, used her illusion powers to disguise herself as Jade. Harlequin manipulated Grundy to attack the members of Infinity Inc., one by one. She convinced him to press the unconscious Mister Bones's bare hand against Skyman; since Bones's skin constantly exudes a cyanide-based compound, this quickly led to Skyman's death. This was the beginning of the end for Infinity Inc., and for Grundy's quasi-heroic career.
Earth-One Version's History
The Earth-One Grundy arose when the Parasite used an enhanced crystal to metabolically hasten the growth of residual cells left over in the sewers from when the original version had crossed over from Earth-2, which became a new, much more bestial version. During a clash with Superman, it was determined his might was too much a match for the Man of Steel, so Superman flew the monster to an alien world inhospitable to all save the hardiest life forms. There, under the planet's reduced gravity, the Earth-One Grundy was appeased when Superman gave him a cape to wear as the zombie propelled himself through the air mimicking his one-time adversary.
This version repeatedly plagued Superman for years until, during an encounter wherein multiple Grundys were spawned, Superman and the Swamp Thing both encountered the clones. Soon, Superman obtained a compound from S.T.A.R. Labs which caused the Grundys to become inert, in effect killing the seemingly unkillable man-thing. Swamp Thing attempted to cry out for Superman to stop, as he believed Grundy to meet the definition of life, but Swamp Thing was unable to express this, due to a lack of vocal cords.  Meanwhile, the original and second templates existed. This version of Grundy was retroactively erased from history after the revamping of Superman in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Combined Earth's Continued History
Green Lantern and Solomon Grundy would clash many times over the years, though he would also square off against other DC heroes, including Batman. One storyline ("The Long Halloween", #12) involved Grundy and a newly-disfigured Harvey Dent striking up an odd friendship after Dent escaped to the sewers to plot his revenge on Sal Maroni, the man who pitched the acid into his face.
Grundy's next major appearance was in Starman, lurking in Opal City's sewers. Jack Knight befriended Grundy, who had taken on an innocent, childlike aspect. Grundy also became friends with previous Starman Mikaal Tomas, sacrificing himself to save Mikaal from being crushed by a collapsing building. When Grundy appeared again, he had returned to his malicious persona; the joint efforts of Jack Knight, Batman, Alan Scott and Floro were needed to stop him.
The origins of Grundy's resurrection come from the fact that the Parliament of Trees, a high council of Plant Elementals, tried to turn him into the newest Plant Elemental. However, the process was missing one vital piece: fire, as a Plant Elemental cannot be fully created unless it died in flames. Since Grundy's death did not involve fire at all, the process was not complete, and he became a sort of half-functional Plant Elemental. Grundy has been seemingly destroyed on several occasions, only to rise from the swamp again in a new incarnation. Each version of Grundy has been somewhat different from the last, depending on the medium used to dispatch him (and the drawing style of the current artist. The original Grundy, for example, had prominent front teeth). Some have been truly evil; some much less so. Some versions are more mindless than others; some are actually moderately intelligent, recalling the literate, well-spoken Frankenstein monster of Mary Shelley's novel.
Anti-Matter Earth Post Crisis Version Solomon Grundy had a counterpart in the Anti-Matter Universe's Earth called Sir Solomon Grundy and was a member of Cluemaster's Justice Underground. Sir Solomon Grundy is a distinguished, poised mountain of a man. During an aerial bombardment of Dover, he was blasted to life out of the white rock. Sir Grundy appears to be identical in physical appearance to our own Solomon Grundy with the exception of a trimmed mustache and a small goatee. In keeping with his educated personality, Sir Grundy dresses himself as a 19th-century Englishman would, and speaks accordingly. His super strength and invulnerability made him a formidable hero, until Ultraman rendered him inert on a Saturday.
Prior to Infinite Crisis, he was mind controlled by Gorilla Grodd into attacking Batman and Superman by President Luthor for the bounty of 1 billion dollars in Superman/Batman. Batman was able to stop Grundy. While no specifics were given, Solomon Grundy was also coerced into joining the Secret Society of Super Villains. He participated in the final strike against the Secret Six. Ragdoll II encountered Grundy in a doorway. However, Ragdoll II asked Grundy to see his real face. Ragdoll's scarred face related to Grundy, and Grundy went on to turn against the Secret Society. The aftermath of that battle was inconclusive, but Grundy evidently survived, as he was last seen in a murky swamp in JSA Classified. In it, he was convinced by Icicle to help Wizard, who was in trouble.
After helping Icicle free Johnny Sorrow from Prometheus's cosmic key, Grundy stayed with the newly formed Injustice Society. What their new motives are and what role Grundy will play are unclear.
It is known that Grundy hid out for a time in the Arrowcave, the long abandoned former headquarters of the Emerald Archer, Green Arrow. While searching for artifacts of his former life, Oliver and his former ward, Roy "Arsenal" Harper, stumble onto Grundy's new hideout. The story, "Grundy No Like Arrows in the Face!", is found in Green Arrow (vol. 3) #18. Ollie notes that this version seems much more violent, and manages to kill him by choking him with the string to his broken bow. In Green Arrow (vol. 3) #53, "Solomon's Revenge", Ollie helps Dr. Chrissie Cavendish, a S.T.A.R. Labs employee, who claims she is the great, great granddaughter of the man the monster spawned from, to find and cure him. Her cure, however, warps her into a monster much worse than Grundy. Ollie subdues the new monster, and leaves Grundy to be. It is not known if Grundy is still using this building.
In Infinite Crisis #7, Solomon Grundy was seen fighting against the Blood Pack in the Battle of Metropolis, until he was vaporized by Superboy-Prime's heat vision, which apparently killed the Blood Pack and destroyed Grundy's current incarnation.
Solomon Grundy returned in the Justice League of America series. He is depicted as intelligent and sophisticated seemingly serving as the brains behind a complex operation to willingly transfer Professor Ivo's immortality to Grundy. The story is on-going.
Seven Soldiers and the Grundymen
In Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers series, the Witch-People of Limbo Town (who are descended from the immortal Melmoth) bury their dead, and later dig them up, at which point they become animate and are used as slave labour. These zombies are called "Grundies" or "Grundymen", and resemble Solomon Grundy. It has also been established that the Spawn of Frankenstein is partly animated by the immortal blood of Melmoth, making him a Grundyman.
Since Melmoth gained his immortality from the Cauldron of Rebirth, which he found in Slaughter Swamp, it is likely that this is also the explanation for the reanimation of Solomon Grundy.
In Other Media
- Solomon Grundy made his small-screen debut in 1978 on the Hanna-Barbera animated series Challenge of the Super Friends. Voiced by actor Jimmy Weldon, Grundy distinguished himself from his peers due to his Appalachian-inspired accent. In manner and aspiration however, he bore many similarities to his comic book counterpart. Grundy first appeared in the premier episode entitled "Wanted: The Super Friends", where he joined twelve other infamous villains as part of the Legion of Doom. Like many of his evil cohorts, Grundy typically lured members of the Super Friends into a trap, usually while wearing various disguises (which consisted of little more than pullover latex masks). Grundy was one of the few Legion members whose canonical comic book nemesis (Green Lantern (Alan Scott)) was not a member of the Super Friends.
- In 1979, Solomon Grundy appeared as a live-action nemesis for the first time. On January 18, 1979, NBC aired a television movie called Legends of the Super-Heroes. Actor Mickey Morton played the role of Solomon Grundy, who functioned as a crony under the leadership of the evil sorcerer, Mordru. Mordru equipped Grundy with a special workman's cap, and sent him out undercover working at an automobile repair shop. The cap altered Grundy's appearance, making him unrecognizable to others. Throughout the movie, various super-heroes approached the auto-garage asking the disguised Grundy for information. Invariably, Grundy would accidentally remove his hat, negating it's effects, and thereby exposing his concealed identity. He fought several established heroes and even managed to capture the Black Canary, Huntress and Hawkman. By the end of the film, Batman and Robin succeeded in rescuing their defeated colleagues and apprehending Grundy. Due to the target viewing audience of the film, Solomon Grundy was portrayed as more of a loveable goon, rather than the menacing misanthrope commonly seen in the comic books.
- In 2002, Solomon Grundy appeared on the WB animated series Justice League. Voiced by veteran character actor Mark Hamill, Grundy appeared as a member of the Injustice Gang in the two-part episode “Fury”. The leader of the Justice Gang, a deposed Amazon named Aresia, recruited Grundy to aid her in the theft of various Amazonian gemstones. Aresia used the stones to facilitate a plague that attacked only members of the world’s male population. Grundy later returned with his Injustice Gang cohorts (now led by Lex Luthor) in the two-part episode, Injustice for All
- In 2004, Justice League changed it’s title and format to include a larger roster of heroes known as Justice League Unlimited. Solomon Grundy returned in the episode Wake the Dead terrorizing a college campus in Louisiana. Hawkgirl, Aquaman and Doctor Fate arrived on the scene, and Hawkgirl attempted to temper Solomon Grundy's mad rampage. Failing that, she was left with little choice but to end Grundy’s tortured existence once and for all. This incident represented one of the few occasions where an animated series killed off an established noteworthy character.
- An altogether different version of Grundy was referenced in the Grundy's Night episode of the 2004 animated series The Batman. In the episode, the Grundy character was treated as a local boogeyman and urban legend. A being calling itself Solomon Grundy rose from the dead on Halloween night and began terrorizing the citizens of Gotham City. By the end of the episode however, it was revealed that this version of Grundy was in fact the shape-changing former police officer Ethan Bennett, aka, Clayface (though the episode ends with what is presumably the real Grundy rising from the swamp, and the real Solomon Grundy makes an appearance in the spinoff comic The Batman Strikes! in a story where he rises from the swamp to protect it from pollution).
- Solomon Grundy is a minor villain in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Diedrich Bader, who also voices Batman in the series. He first appeared in the teaser to Night of the Huntress!, where he tried to replace his brain with that of a scientist, but was foiled by Batman and Black Canary. In The Color of Revenge!, Robin stops him from robbing a bank in Bludhaven. He was also one of the villains summoned by Bat-Mite to fight Batman in Legends of the Dark Mite!
Batman: Arkham City
- Main article: Solomon Grundy (Batman: Arkham City)
- Main article: Cyrus Gold (Graham Shiels)
- Main article: Butch Gilzean
Powers and Abilities
- Superhuman Strength: Solomon Grundy possesses tremendous strength and stamina, the level of which varies with his different incarnations. Sometimes he can be held by a group of normal humans, on other occasions, even Superman has not been able to defeat him.
- Superhuman Stamina: Grundy can perform physically strenuous tasks for an indeterminate period of time before tiring.
- Mystical Invulnerability: The weird elemental energy that imbues his form with pseudo-life makes him virtually indestructible - he is impervious to bullets, fire, and extreme cold, and can survive indefinitely without food, water, or oxygen. The only thing that has ever been able to hurt him, was the Mist's special toxins, developed to take out Grundy's plant tissue body.
- Resurrection: Even when he is destroyed, he has always been reborn sooner or later. The soul of Cyrus Gold enjoys his pseudo-life through Grundy, even though Gold's whole personality is never present in Grundy's "life". Grundy's personality differs from incarnation to incarnation, but he seems to retain some memories of his experiences from one time to the next.
- Energy Absorption/Manipulation: Grundy has also proven to be able to absorb certain forms of energy and manipulate them at will. This ability has always been subconscious to the point of being accidental, though, but it would suggest that Grundy is even more powerful that he has the intelligence to realize.
- Plant Control: The version of Grundy that ended up on the blue planet gained normal human intelligence, and made contact with the Green, thereby being able to control the planet's plant life.
Assumed to be on par with Superman's. Grundy's upper strength levels have fluctuated depending upon his present incarnation.
Grundy's below average intellect makes him easy to fool and manipulate. In addition, in Arkham City, he needs electricity funneling devices to continue to function, meaning if his electricity is denied, he will end up being weakened and eventually knocked unconscious. In addition, in the same game, his heart is also his weakness, destroying it would result in him shutting down for good.
- There are several individuals who claim kinship to Grundy's human alter ego, Cyrus Gold. None of them however are confirmed to be direct relations. It is known that Cyrus Gold was a married man at the time of his death in 1894 (or 1895 by some accounts). Records show that he carried on an affair with a woman named Rachel Rykel - a woman who claimed to be pregnant with Gold's child. A possible descendent of this issue, Karin Rykel, appeared outside Slaughter Swamp nearly a century later. Ironically, Karin Rykel was ruthlessly murdered by Solomon Grundy. Some time later, a scientist for S.T.A.R. Labs named Chrissie Cavendish claimed to be Cyrus Gold's great-great granddaughter. All of Chrissie's accounts concerning Gold's history and personality contradict previously established facts. She saw Gold as a philanthropic genius, who developed a serum which unfortunately transformed him into Solomon Grundy. In lieu of Cavendish's biased ideals towards Grundy, as well as her questionable sanity, any information that she provides as it relates to Solomon Grundy is considered unreliable.