Last time, as you may remember we traced the origin of the contemporary Troll from Poul Andersons Three Hearts and Three Lions, to an obscure 1950s comic strip Marching Zombies, (which I'd picked up in The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics ) originally published in Black Cat Mysteries #31 Intrigued by the possibilities that the origins other D&D creatures might be lurking in I looked around some old comics archives online, and discovered this...
Yes, it's a strange mutant creature with the power to regenerate from a comic strip called "The Last Man on Earth", which appeared in Black Cat Mysteries #31 published in October 1951 - the exact same issue that gave the world Marching Zombies, . Regeneration of course being one of the basic features of contemporary gaming Troll not found in folkoric records. So it's not just the appearance, bur also the regenerative ability of Porl Andersons Trolls that migrated into D&D, (and from there into Warhammer and elsewhere into popular culture) both come from the exact same publication.
Like Marching Zombies the tale of The Last Man on Earth is quite an odd story, and it goes something like this:
In 1950s America, people are getting infected and mutating into Trolls and killing people, who are then resurrected as Trolls, perhaps foreshadowing the Bath Salt Zombie plague of 2012. One of these regenerating beasts is captured and experimented on, but eventually escapes, the Troll-disease spreads and it eventually takes over the whole human race. The last surviving human discovers a way to kill the Trolls (apparently gas, not fire, does the trick here) but unfortunately he has contracted the Troll-disease himself. Nonetheless, he then time-travels back to 1950s America in an attempt to stop the first Trolls, but as he is carrying the disease, he inadvertently causes the genesis of the Trolls in the first place, in exactly the kind of troll-zombie disease paradox one expects as soon as the worlds time-travel and disease are mentioned in the same story. Infact, just how this guy manages to invent and build a time machine entirely on his own in a post-Trollocalypse world is beyond me, but anyway.
Moral of the story? try to invent time travel before you contract Trollism and destroy humanity.
And here's a colour frame from Marching Zombies, which shows off their sickly greyish green hue:
Now if I can only find some special reference linking the destruction of trolls by fire, then the circle would be complete, and we'd finally have completed the mystery of where the non-folkloric fantasy troll originated...