Val Mayerik was the medical examiner of Bywater, in the Merdeau County of New Orleans. He knew personally many of the town inhabitants, such as teacher Teri Richards. Mayerik commonly worked for sheriff Corely.
Several bodies were found in the local swamp, and Mayerik noticed that plantlife appeared in their bodies, but in at least three cases, it was not inserted in the corpse; instead, it grew from inside the bodies. Corely refused to allow Mayerik autopsy those bodies, and insisted that Mayerik filed them as alligator attacks. Mayerik, not knowing the real cause of the deaths, accepted and did not mention the mystery in his reports.
Corely mysteriously disappeared and, one month later, replacement sheriff Kyle Williams arrived. Mayerik was just working on teenage Billy James' autopsy and he phoned deputy Eric Fraser and sheriff Williams to give him a report. Following Corely's lead, Mayerik said that an alligator could have done the damage, and that the body was full of plants because it had spent the night in the swamp. Sheriff Williams, however, believed that the body had too many plants to have spent only one night in the swamp. This meeting was interrupted when local entrepreneur Frederic Schist phone and demanded the sheriff to join him. Williams left, but asked Mayerik for a complete autopsy of James.
Williams found Corely's maimed body: It was severely pierced and missing legs, arms and left eye, but it still had the insignia. When taken to Mayerik, the examiner recognized him instantly as Corely, and mentioned several alligator bites. While Mayerik was starting the autopsy, Fraser interrupted because Schist was demanding Williams' and Mayerik's immediate presence in his facilities, to perform security chief Steve Gerber's autopsy. Once there, Mayerik and Williams were aghast: Lots of branches and vegetables had grown from inside Gerber's body, killing him. Mayerik mentioned that this was similar to other cases which Williams did not know, and Williams forced Mayerik to talk about those other cases. Although Schist was there, he disregarded the information.
Mayerik later performed Corely's autopsy and found one bullet on his column. He diagnosed that the bullet, from a .45 revolver, had been shot at point-blank, probably by a person Corely knew and trusted, and that it was the cause of death. As this changed the Corely case, Mayerik phoned the sheriff office to report, but Williams was patrolling the swamp and Fraser had died; Williams had asked his friend Richards to stay there. Richards took the phone and friendly greets Mayerik, but Mayerik insisted he should talk with the sheriff. Mayerik agreed to reveal the information to Richards so she could report to Williams. Indeed, Williams left the sheriff's office and went to the swamp to look for Williams and tell him.
Powers and Abilities
- A component medical examiner, Mayerik can see unusual things in corpses, but he can also be intimidated to not report those in official reports.
- A smoker, Mayerik needs tobacco while performing autopsies or when he has to confess certain subjects.
- Forensic equipment, including scalpels, gloves and an apron. He has a wrist watch and an earring. His office has a telephone.
- In the film Man-Thing, Val Mayerik was played by Brett Leonard, who was also the director. The character was named after the real-life Val Mayerik, who had drawn some of the first appearances of the Man-Thing in the early 1970s in the comic book series Fear and Man-Thing.