This arc is notable for being, really, the first cosmic villain in the Marvel universe — and I think just in superhero comics in general. Yeah, like Mister Mxyzptlk is cosmically powerful, but he never tries to just outright destroy the whole Earth. There are different versions of how this trilogy came about, in part because Kirby and Lee later had a bad falling out and each tried to take all the credit for their co-creations. As for the Silver Surfer, Kirby wanted his space god to have an angelic herald but a fallen angel and came up with the look of the character.
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In , The Atlantic called it "the indisputable pinnacle of the so-called Silver Age of comic books". In , nearly five years after launching Marvel Comics ' flagship superhero title, Fantastic Four , Lee and Kirby collaborated on an antagonist designed to break from the era's archetypal mold of supervillains , and instead be a being of god-like stature and power. Galactus was simply another in a long line of super-villains whom we loved creating.
Doom , we felt the only way to top ourselves was to come up with an evil-doer who had almost godlike powers. Therefore, the natural choice was sort of a demi-god, but now what would we do with him? We didn't want to use the tired old cliche about him wanting to conquer the world.
There were enough would-be world conquerors in the Marvel Universe and in all the other comic book galaxies. That was when inspiration struck. Why not have him not be a really evil person? After all, a demi-god should be beyond mere good and evil. He'd just be don't laugh! And the nourishment he'd require is the life force and energy from living planets!
Kirby described his Biblical inspirations for Galactus and an accompanying character, an angelic Herald Lee dubbed the Silver Surfer :.
My inspirations were the fact that I had to make sales and come up with characters that were no longer stereotypes. In other words, I couldn't depend on gangsters. I had to get something new. For some reason, I went to the Bible , and I came up with Galactus. And there I was in front of this tremendous figure, who I knew very well because I've always felt him. I certainly couldn't treat him in the same way I could any ordinary mortal.
And I remember in my first story, I had to back away from him to resolve that story. The Silver Surfer is, of course, the fallen angel. When Galactus relegated him to Earth, he stayed on Earth, and that was the beginning of his adventures. They were figures that had never been used before in comics.
They were above mythic figures. And of course they were the first gods. Kirby further explained, "Galactus in actuality is a sort of god. He is beyond reproach, beyond anyone's opinion.
In a way he is kind of a Zeus, who fathered Hercules. He is his own legend, and of course, he and the Silver Surfer are sort of modern legends, and they are designed that way. In the nascent Marvel Universe, characters acted consistently, whatever comic they were appearing in. Their actions reverberated through every title. It was pure soap opera but on a cosmic scale, and Galactus epitomized its epic sweep. After wrapping up the Inhumans story of the previous issue, the story moves to the Silver Surfer as he soars through the Andromeda Galaxy , earning the attention of the Skrulls.
Terrified, the Skrulls do everything they can to conceal their world from the Surfer's perceptions, explaining to an inexperienced Skrull that wherever the Silver Surfer appears, his master, Galactus , cannot be far behind. Back on Earth , the Fantastic Four witness the entire skyline appearing to be engulfed in flame. At the Baxter Building , Reed sequesters himself inside his laboratory to analyze the situation.
The flames in the sky dissipate, giving way to an unending field of space debris. The powerful being known as the Watcher appears inside Reed's laboratory.
He explains that he is responsible for the atmospheric disturbances, for he has been attempting to conceal Earth's existence from the attention of the Silver Surfer.
He further explains that the Surfer is the advance scout of Galactus, a powerful cosmic being that consumes the elemental energies of entire worlds, leaving them as little more than dried, lifeless husks. The Surfer investigates the Watcher's debris field and finds Earth hidden beneath it. He flies to the roof of the Baxter Building and sends out a cosmic signal for Galactus.
The Fantastic Four race to the top of the building, and the Thing rams into the Surfer, knocking him off the building. In the sky above, Galactus' planet-devouring world ship emerges over Manhattan. The giant Galactus exits the ship and declares his intention to consume the entire world.
The Watcher tries to appeal to Galactus to leave Earth alone. When diplomacy proves not to work, the Human Torch and the Thing try to attack Galactus to no effect. The Watcher tells them to return to their base and he will contact them shortly. Galactus continues to assemble his planet-devouring device and the Watcher explains that there is a device upon Galactus' home planet that could stop him.
Meanwhile, the unconscious Silver Surfer wakes up in the apartment of Alicia Masters. She learns of the Surfer's mission and appeals to him to turn against his master and help save the Earth.
When the Fantastic Four begin attacking Galactus' almost completed device, the planet-eater sends his cyborg Punisher to keep them out of his way while he repairs it. Making use of this distraction and delay, the Watcher boosts Johnny's powers so that he may travel to Galactus' planet and retrieve the weapon they need to defeat the world-devourer.
Alicia convinces the Surfer to help save the Earth. The Silver Surfer arrives to attack his former master, giving Johnny the time he needs to return from Galactus' planet with the Ultimate Nullifier.
When Reed threatens to use it against Galactus, the planet-eater agrees to spare the Earth and leave if Reed gives him back the weapon. True to his word, Galactus leaves, but not before making it so the Surfer can never leave the Earth, by removing his "space-time powers".
After the battle, before the Silver Surfer can leave and come to know his sudden new home, Alicia thanks him for his help, causing the jealous Thing to think that she is choosing the Surfer over him. He quietly walks away, feeling nothing but rejection, before Alicia has a chance to introduce him with pride. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. The Atlantic.
Retrieved The Collected Jack Kirby Collector. USA: Viola, Ken. The Rosen Publishing Group: Stan Lee. This Monster! Who Wants to Be a Superhero? TV series. Abomination Absorbing Man A. Hermes J. Jack Kirby. Fantastic Four.
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Current Fantastic Four.
In , The Atlantic called it "the indisputable pinnacle of the so-called Silver Age of comic books". In , nearly five years after launching Marvel Comics ' flagship superhero title, Fantastic Four , Lee and Kirby collaborated on an antagonist designed to break from the era's archetypal mold of supervillains , and instead be a being of god-like stature and power. Galactus was simply another in a long line of super-villains whom we loved creating. Doom , we felt the only way to top ourselves was to come up with an evil-doer who had almost godlike powers.
Fantastic Four (1961) #48
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