[ENGLISH] This month: Galactus. Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.
20TH ISSUE SPOTLIGHT—Enter: Galactus!
Special Note For My Readers: It’s been 20 awesome issues (if I do say so myself) that I have had the pleasure of writing this column and which I hope you have enjoyed. Please keep reading and exploring these many unique comic creations in an industry that builds magic into our young years and promise into our adult lives. Thank you all and without further fanfare, I give you…
The Devourer of Worlds
When I realized I was hitting a milestone, I knew I wanted to choose something special. It had to be a character who resonated with me personally and also with readers in a big way. Several characters made the final cut but in the end I thought what issue 20 needed was a being with some ultimate impact, a being who was memorable, and so powerful and different from the general comic fare that he demanded to be written about. Enter the great cosmic being, Galactus.
When first imagined by Stan Lee and Jack King Kirby, this 28-foot tall red-and-green (purple in later appearances) steel-glad giant with a penchant for snacking on entire planets appeared in issue #48 of Fantastic Four, circa 1966.
The background behind his creation can be traced back to a typical tactic used by Stan Lee since he first took over the reigns at Marvel Comics and rolled the dice on the superhero lot. Once again, even though it seemed the superhero set would fade out eventually as they had in earlier comic ages, Mr. Lee, went forward with the idea of such a ridiculously-powered supervillain that it would go beyond the edge of any powerful being previously seen in comics. The concept ended up presenting a being beyond even gods of mythical status, a being who feared no one but who could be feared by everyone.
What better way to make a new being like this terrifying than to have him eat worlds for lunch? The brilliance of the creation was galvanized with this habit because it permanently imbued in readers what Galactus represented: death to your planet. Of course while Lee and Kirby did intend to create an extreme villain, Galactus can also be argued to be a neutral presence in the universe.. Even though he destroys worlds and all of the life on those worlds, his intent is not destruction or conquest, enslavement of the population or any true personal gain. He simply needs to eat. The same way the people of those worlds consume cattle or grain or whatever food is native to their world which destroys life so that they can live. In this sense we can see Galactus as not only a being who is neither good nor evil but a macrocosmic representation of our own daily practices.
Kirby once said that we believe in superheroes because we believe in ourselves but we have some of the villain in us too and whether intentional or not by Lee and Kirby, we cannot overlook what we have in common with the world-eater.
Still, Galactus is unparalleled as a destructive force and this is where we part ways with him. He recruits and recreates herald after herald to find him one planet after another and consumes them without thought or care, wishing to satisfy only the needs of his own energy-hungry body. So we can safely classify him as a villain in comics, at least in the sense that he does what villains tend to do, even if he is not diabolical about it.
Galactus is a being of honor, however. He keeps his word, proven by the fact that when he promised Reed Richards he would not absorb Earth’s energy, he held to his promise until such time as he had the opportunity to be freed from that vow. But his word is his bond and as Galactus once said himself when pondering traveling through the galaxies alone: “What else does one have but his word?”
Finally, and wouldn’t you know it, Galactus proved to be as powerful an element in the comic industry as he was a Space God in the comics in which he appeared. This is simply because Galactus first appeared on the very last page of Fantastic Four #48 and says that the Earth is doomed. It was the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers because after that, even though a villain appearing on the final page of a story had been done before, the telling of comic stories through multiple issues became a regular practice after that. The effect set a standard which resounded to this day since that fateful issue in 1966.
It seems with a wave of his hand Galactus can indeed destroy whatever he wants but with some great Kirby art and Stan Lee wordsmithing, it seems he was also capable of creating something too. In this case, true serial entertainment in comic. That original story was called “The Galactus Trilogy” and may be considered one of the more important events in comics because of its effect. Galactus gave us more than a new character and a new way of telling stories, however, and even something more than a mirror into ourselves. He gave us what comics always can and should give us, a character who challenges us by showing
what we must overcome. He challenges us to see what kind of resourcefulness, what sort of answers we might come up with to save our world. We might all have different ways of handling a being like Galactus were he to knock on our planetary door but one thing is for certain, his arrival would be one beyond cosmic proportion.
James Parducci (www.jparducci.blogspot.com) is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.
Wet Linda: A Novel of Liquid Horror: Elemental and Suspenseful
Author Paul Parducci has unleashed a deeply psychological and supernatural horror. Focused characters swim through its chapters to meet their destinies even as powerful imagery sparkles on the pages like moonlight on the blackest mote. Wet Linda strikes a match against a young girls inadequacies igniting her need for a passionate affair with the supernatural realm, bringing forth a presence and a novel which both drip with terror.