Bridging the Golden Age of Timely Comics in the 1940’s and the explosion of the Marvel Universe in the 1950’s, Atlas Comics veered away from super heroes and branched out into other genres like romance, crime, Westerns and humor.
And monsters—oh did they have monsters.
You can read more about the Atlas Age of comics, but all this week we’ll be counting down the 10 most memorable and menacing monsters that appeared in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, TALES OF SUSPENSE, TALES TO ASTONISH and elsewhere before the likes of Thor and Iron Man made the scene.
Let us know what you think on Twitter @Marvel by using the hash tag #Marvel75
10. THE COLOSSUS
9. THE STONE MEN
7. HUMAN ROBOT
First Appearance: TALES TO ASTONISH #13
Why He’s #2: “Though he’d likely never say so himself—primarily because he can’t—Groot overshadows most other monsters in the Marvel Universe. Strong as a willow and resilient as a thistle, he’s done battle with the Badoon and the Cancerverse, cheating death on numerous occasions by regenerating from a tiny sprig. His exploits with Rocket Raccoon and the Guardians of the Galaxy solidified his star status, but his earliest roots may surprise a Johnny-come-lately. Back in 1960, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers envisioned him as the cruel antagonist of TALES TO ASTONISH #13. Then an alien invader bent on harvesting test subject from the human race, Groot eventually succumbed to a termite colony. Another villainous duplicate did battle with the Hulk years later. The noble protagonist we now know first surfaced in the wake of the Annihilation crossover event, the last champion of a proud family tree. A largely silent sidekick to a wise-cracking space pirate, the modern Groot shrugged off his malice in favor of adventure. He’s no less intimidating, of course. His mighty, oaken clothesline can condemn any opponent to a sudden arboreal stop. He is the Sequoia of Marvel monsters. He is a bona fide movie star. He is Groot.” – Paul Montgomery
Digital Comics Spotlight: ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST – STAR-LORD #4
First Appearance: STRANGE TALES #89
Why He’s #1: “Was there ever any doubt about who would claim the title of Marvel's top monster? Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in STRANGE TALES #89 back in October 1961, Foom is one of Marvel's most enduring—and versatile—monsters! In his first appearance the giant dragon was manipulated by a plucky teen into fighting Communism. He has since been pitted against occultists, fellow monsters like It, the Living Colossus, and—of course—super heroes.
Digital Comics Spotlight: IRON MAN #274
Share your thoughts on Twitter with the hash tag #Marvel75 and keep up on Marvel’s 75th anniversary celebration at marvel.com/75