ITEM! Lets talk about Galactus — possibly the single greatest villain to hassle the FF since Aunt Petunia’s hair dresser! As befits most of the achingly archetypal Lee-Kirby creations, the true origin of the World Devourer has long since been shrouded by the murky mists of time. But I doubled up on my St. John’s Wort this morning just for you, Frantic Front-Facers, and in an unprecedented rambling of rambuncious recall, I’m going to dispel some of the muddled myths that have grown up around the creation of the Big G.
Back in the day, Jolly Jack used to ride the train into the Mighty Marvel offices once a week or so to drop off pages, and we would confab on our next set of cosmic comic creations on calamitous cab-rides to the Seawane Club. This was well past the point where I would have to type up sizzling plot synopses for Jacko. Usually, I’d just say something along the lines of “Next ish, let’s have Dragon-Man fall in love with Sue and Reed’s bridge club,” and Kirby would come back a couple of weeks later with 22 pages of the next serialized sensation.
Now on this fateful day, I supposedly said something along the lines of “Let’s have the FF meet God.” Think about that. Does that really make any kind of sense to anyone? God? This was 1966, pilgrim. Can you imagine how a story about the Fab Four meeting the Almighty would’ve gone over in the 1960s Bible Belt? Yeesh! That the worst idea in the entire history of bad ideas anyway. Not that it stopped later writers from trying it out for size (thought you snuck that one past the Old Man, didn't you, Mark Waid!). But me suggesting to Jack that we have the FF meet the Good Lord in 1966? I don’t know how these stories get started in the first place, unless it’s me repeating it a few hundred times over four decades.
What I actually suggested to Jack was that we bring back one of our past creations from the old Monster Book days to imperil our Fabulous Foursome. I said, “Let’s have the FF meet Goom!” Jaunty Jack seemed enthusiastic about the idea of revisiting the ever-green, never-corny world-conquering-alien theme again, and off he went to pencil our next Marvelous Masterpiece.
Imagine my shock when Jack showed up a week later with the pencils to FF #48. I mean we all knew that as titanically talented as King Kirby was, he was terrible, I mean unimaginably horrendously, unfathomably terrible at issue-to-issue continuity on character designs and costumes. But even so, who in their right mind could forget a gigantic grey pumpkin-head like Goom (he of the truncated tusks)? Jack must have, because he willy-nilly redesigned the character as a Techno-Kirby cosmic prospector (complete with a ball cap bill built right into his space helmet) with a huge English “G” on his chest. I think the Silver Surfer was supposed to be the ner-forgotten Googam, Son of Goom (Tales of Suspense #17, natch).
Obviously it fell to Ol’ Smiley to try and dialogue his way out of this merry mess as eloquently as possible. The result? Another literary Lee-Kirby masterpiece for the ages. To paraphrase the nearly-late great Paul Harvey, “... and now you know the rest of the story.” ‘Nuff Said!