Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Coming of Galactus

There are some characters in comics and in pulp culture that just resonate with me and none more so than Galactus the devourer of worlds. Created by the great Jack Kirby, Galactus just radiates "alien menace". More a force of nature than a true villian he was born at the moment of the big bang and exists as a kind of cosmic equalizer to life - his one purpose is to feed his hunger by searching out energy rich planets teaming with living creatures. Once found he consumes their energies leaving only a dead husk behind. How does a planet bound hero fight something like that especially when his ship blots out the sky and he himself stands 200 stories tall and is armed with the "power cosmic"? Well, by trickery or bargaining seemingly. When he approached Zen-la, a peaceful jewel of a planet it took the supreme sacrifice of one Norin Radd to save his world. He made a deal with Galactus to serve him and it was Galactus who turned him into the iconic Silver Surfer. The Surfer was the first of the heralds of Galactus whose main purpose it was to seek out energy rich worlds for his master to feed on. However, this also made the Surfer a character of great lonliness and melancholy especially when he was faced with the guilt that he helped in the destruction of so many living creatures. One of the great "sagas" in all comicdom occured when Galactus came to Earth and into conflict with the Fantastic Four. Seeing the nobility of humans fighting a hopeless cause turned the Silver Surfer against his master; a move that while saving Earth deprived the Surfer of the freedom of the stars. For a character used to soaring through the cosmos it was the cruelest of punishments. As we all know its suffering that makes for interesting literary characters. Marvel comics excelled at this in the 1960s with such characters as the Thing, the Hulk, and Spiderman. In my toy collection I have several version of Galactus so when I saw this Marvel Mighty Muggs figure I just had to have it and write about him. That helmet is pure Jack Kirby. How can you not love that design????

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