ITEM! Your Uncle Stanley has been taken somewhat to task of late for all the Brian Michael Bendis-bashing, so I thought I’d make some amends by pointing out that no idea is truly original, and even the Skrullicious Lee-Kirby classics borrowed ideas from previous Merry Marvel stories, Rod Serling, and maybe even Erma Bombeck. Heck, the idea of shape-changing aliens probably goes all the way back to ancient Greece with Zeus and that classic pick-up line, “Hey Lady, is that a swan in your lap, or are you just glad to see me?”
Well-read True Believers probably already know that the Dire Wraiths are the redheaded step-cousins of the Skrulls from the Andromeda Galaxy. But didja know that they had some even poorer, more-distant cousins? Check out the "Martians" (apparently Mars is easier to conquer than Earth) from Amazing Adventures #4 (Sept. 1961... four months before the Skrulls showed up in FF #2). Apparently these Skrull-like waffle-eared-ones lost their ability to shape-change somewhere along the Darwinian way. They had to resort to realistic rubber masks to impersonate humans! Still, the family resemblance is striking.
Three months later in Amazing Adult Fantasy #11 (April 1962, cover above), a whole ‘nother un-named branch of everyone's favorite metamorphic misanthropes show up and try to invade by shape-changing into the dominant species of planet Earth. There was just one snag... these Skrull cousins are really, really dumb. They didn’t even need Reed Richards' bovine intervention (hypnotizing them into unfortunate ungulates) to muff up their own invasions plans. I won’t spoil the ending, but you can read the whole story right here. Or better yet, get your own calamitous copy of the Amazing Fantasy Ominbus to check out these and other Silver Age classics!
So it’s true, Frantic Ones... everything old is new again. Yours Truly has been no less guilty than Bendy-Boy of recycling characters, plots and themes and regurgitating them into fan-boy orgies of cross-over collector classics in order to sell the next six months worth of books. Brian Michael "Continuity-Bending” Bendis is just walking around in my house slippers with his Uncle Stanley’s pipe the same as I did with others who came before me. Let he without sin cast the first Skrull! Or as Shakespeare said, “Why then tonight let us assault our plot...”