By Chris Bramante & Ben Morse
All manners of heroes and villains inhabit the Marvel Universe, but they're not alone, for monsters too roam the Earth—and beyond.
Since the earliest days of Marvel, monstrous creatures big and small have been a hallmark of the House of Ideas. From Jack Kirby's classic work in the 1950's to present days chillers like MARVEL ZOMBIES 4, the strange and bizarre have always found a home at Marvel.
We asked some of our bravest editors and creators to share what Marvel monsters send shivers down their spines.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
JASON AARON (writer of WOLVERINE: WEAPON X):
Trull the Unhuman, Marvel's answer to Killdozer. If you don't remember Trull, just wait until GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S ON FIRE, when he makes his long-awaited—by me, at least—return.
JORDAN WHITE (Marvel assistant editor):
I am all about Xemnu the Titan. He's a big puffy alien mind-controller. How awesome is that? And he was originally called "The Hulk
," so that's a bonus. Thing is, I think he can be awesome, if used right. I am constantly trying to push for him to pop up in books as a dangerous manipulator. We'll see.
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Senior Editor):
Well, my favorite Marvel monster would have to be Fin Fang Foom, the dragon with boxer shorts! First, he's got a cool visual. Just doesn't look like the routine dragon. Second, he's got the greatest name in comics. Come on.
Third, he actually precedes FANTASTIC FOUR #1, so he precedes the Marvel Universe itself. In fact, there are whispered rumors that the entirety of the Marvel Universe is just a dream of Fin Fang Foom. If you read Steve Gerber's superb two-part series LEGION OF MONSTERS we ran about 15 years ago you'll see what we intimate just that with Fin's appearance in there. And whenever Fin's been in a fight with a Marvel character—and I say that because he really isn't a Marvel character—my money is on the big dragon. He's the best of the monsters!
ALEJANDRO ARBONA (Marvel assistant editor):
For pure winning looks, I might pick..."What? What? What was Gargantus
!" But when you have a veritable genius of a monster-maker like Jack Kirby cranking them out, it's a heck of a deep bench. I'm also fond of "Goliath
! The monster that...walked like a man!" And of course, king of the Kirby diaper-wearing monsters, Fin Fang Foom! Aah, how can anybody make up their mind? Xemnu the Living Titan...Goom...Rommbu..."A Monster at my Window!" But seriously, fans should stay on their toes for a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Kirby monster cameo in the pages of IMMORTAL WEAPONS #1!
MARC SUMERAK (writer of WEAPON X: FIRST CLASS):
I've got a real fondness for random bizarre Kirby monsters from back in the day. One of my favorites was a 12-foot-tall orange alien dubbed Poker Face from STRANGE TALES OF THE UNUSUAL #7, circa 1956. He was a freakish creature whose unexpected visit to Earth caused quite the media frenzy, but he himself seemed rather disinterested in the human race and the planet in general. We eventually find out that he had just won the Earth during an alien card game called Zanda—and he was less-than-thrilled with the quality his prize! Poker Face was never seen again after this story, but every time I hear the recent hit song "Poker Face" on the radio, his ugly alien mug pops into my head!
PETER DAVID (writer of X-FACTOR):
The Hulk, for obvious reasons.
BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor):
Greetings, True Believers
! It is I, Captain Cosmic, rocketing in from a vicious dogfight with those no good, stinky Badoon. You know, I've fought more creepy crawlies then you can shake an Infinity Gauntlet at, and the one that deserves a tip of the Nova helmet must be Groot, the size-changing, sometimes lumbering, always bellowing Monarch of Planet X. You just can't go wrong with a gigantic walking and talking tree. Friend to raccoons, ally of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and quite the fun drinking buddy. Okay, I'm off to clear the skyways of ne'er do wells. Onwards and upwards!
FRED VAN LENTE (writer of MARVEL ZOMBIES 4):
Why, my favorites are the new Midnight Sons: Morbius the Living Vampire, Jennifer Kale, Son of Satan, and Werewolf by Night, who battle The Hood and his Night Shift in MARVEL ZOMBIES 4 #2 on sale this week! I'm what's known as a "Hype Monster."
PAUL CORNELL (writer of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13):
Obviously, the answer, as with most questions, is Fin Fang Foom. And his pants.
KEVIN GREVIOUX (writer of ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL):
N'Kantu, the Living Mummy was probably my favorite Marvel monster just by virtue of the fact that the Mummy was my favorite monster from the old Universal films. I even dressed up as the Mummy for Halloween in 5th grade, so N'Kantu always had a special place in my heart.
ANDY DIGGLE (writer of THUNDERBOLTS):
I'd have to say Man-Thing thanks to a Marvel UK reprint I saw when I was a little kid, and Alfredo Alcala's black-and-white artwork creeped the hell out of me.
TONY ISABELLA (former writer of CAPTAIN AMERICA):
As anyone who read my short-lived IT, THE LIVING COLOSSUS series already knows, I loved the old Marvel monsters just as much as I loved the Marvel super hero comics that followed them. All thanks to Cleveland's own Ghoulardi, the wildly brilliant TV monster movie host who was my ticket to giant monsters from Godzilla to Them!
My favorite Marvel kaiju tale—"kaiju" is basically Japanese for "giant monster"—is "Fin Fang Foom." Penciled by Jack Kirby, inked by Dick Ayers, likely plotted and scripted by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, it's the
classic Marvel monster adventure. A quiet scholar, falsely branded as a coward, rouses the ancient beast and uses him to foil a Red Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
What a story! A giant monster smashing everything in its path, a Cold War backdrop, and a "geek" hero. It was both of its time and ahead of its time.
When it came time for me to pick one Marvel monster comic for inclusion in my "1000 Comic Books You Must Read"—arriving at bookstores in November—it had to be this one.
MICHAEL HORWITZ (Marvel assistant editor):
What's worse than being the Hulk's girlfriend and having a gung ho Patton for a dad? How about being experimented upon by scientists and turned into every feminist's worse nightmare. Thus was the fate of Betty Ross when A.I.M. turned her into Harpy, gifting her legs like a Perdue chicken, wings like a diseased pigeon, and hair that looked like she mugged Tina Turner.
MICHAEL AVON OEMING (writer of ARES):
I love Fin Fang Foom's visuals, although I'm not sure if I ever read any FFF stories! What a great shape to the character, it lends itself to so much stretch and pull that I love as an artist.
CHRISTOS GAGE (writer of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE):
My Devil Dinosaur fetish is well known, so I'll branch out a bit and admit I have a soft spot for Yetrigar, the giant Bigfoot from GODZILLA #10. Giant bigfoot! Now that idea is pure gold!
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor):
Important Update for all Junior Monster Spotters!
The pre-Marvel Kirby monsters were plentiful, but they each had definitive identifying characteristics. It is your duty as Junior Monster Spotters to memorize these tell-tale identifying signs, so as to remain ever-vigilant in the defense of our nation!
has tusks and underarm membranes. Googam
has a big meatball head.
is a living mountain. If you see him, run away—he cannot pursue you!
is the most vulnerable of all monsters. They tell you right on the cover that he dies.
is one big art correction to obscure the fact that he looks ridiculous on the inside.
isn't a monster at all, but the interplanetary call for rescue—the equivalent of our SOS!
Fin Fang Foom
is prone to using the Great Wall of China as a giant whip!
is all talk—despite his boasts, he can be conquered by an escaped circus gorilla!
is King of the Insects! Krang
The Mummy's Secret
is that he is vulnerable to common air!
Finally, if you see A Monster at Your Window
, do not panic. Simply go about your regular routine, and try not to startle or surprise him. He's as afraid of you as you are of him!
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