I've been a fan of Marvel's monsters for as long as I've been reading comics. This discussion will be divided into two "phases." Phase One will be "The Monster Age" and will focus on monsters which will cross over into Phase Two, "The Marvel Age," particularly those who have a connection with the Incredible Hulk. I'll start with...

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GROOT – Tales to Astonish #13 (Nov 1960:

SYNOPSIS: Biologist Leslie Evans is not man enough for his shrewish wife Alice. On their way home from a party one night, her diatribe against his manhood is interrupted by the sighting of a UFO. She’s too tired for him to investigate, but the next day two of their trees are missing. Also a neighbor’s fence. Playing a hunch that the missing wood and the UFO are related somehow, Evans investigates and discovers Groot, an alien who looks like a tree absorbing all manner of wooded objects he has called unto himself.

He reveals that his mission is to capture an Earth village to take back to Planet X for his people to study. He describes how he will abduct the village in great detail. Evans reports Groot to the police, and the authorities believe the scientist for once. They try all manner of assault against Groot, including fire, to no avail, while Evans works in his laboratory and his wife berates him. Eventually he releases his secret weapon, TERMITES, and Groot is devoured overnight.

I can see now how a lot of these monster stories could be in continuity and still kept secret from the general populace. For one thing, only a handful of people know about most of them, and on the other, much of the “destruction” occurs in the alien monsters’ imaginations.

Oh, I forgot to mention that, after he defeats Groot, Evans' wife finally began to appriciate him... which probably lasted all of 15 minutes.

THE HULK XEMNU THE TITAN - Journey Into Mystery #62 (Nov 1960):

 SYNOPSIS: Joe Harper is another hen-pecked husband, an electrician, with a shrewish wife who never believes him. While driving by Blacktree Swamp, he spies a “metal creature” lying unconscious in the shallow water. He takes the creature back to his workshop and revives him with his electrical apparatus. Little does he know that Xemnu crash landed on earth the night before after having escaped from a prison planet.

Xemnu has the power to place anyone and everyone under hypnosis. His plan is to force the people of Earth to build a spaceship powerful enough for him to return to his home planet, a spaceship so powerful that upon blastoff it would destroy the Earth. He is so egotistical, though, that he needs someone to torment and impress, so he hypnotizes everyone on the planet except Joe Harper.

Using his knowledge of electronics, Harper causes the control panel of the spaceship to short circuit in such a way that it paralyses Xemnu. Then he sets the controls with only enough power to orbit the Sun, not destroy the Earth. With Xemnu imprisoned, seemingly for all eternity, the Earth’s population snaps out of its trance with no memory of what transpired. Joe does try to tell his wife what happened, but she doesn’t believe him. The only consolation he has is that the news reports a mysterious new satellite in orbit of the Sun.

I should mention that when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby interviewed Joe Harper for this story, they apparently got his color wrong. On the cover he is brown, on the interior pages he is orange, including his metal components. He should actually be covered with white fur and silver metal. Marvel correct the oversight when the tale was reprinted.

"I should mention that when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby interviewed Joe Harper for this story, they apparently got his color wrong.  On the cover he is brown."

It took me a few moments to realise that you were referring to Xemnu's color!  (Or, as I would spell it, colour).

Yeah, that's an improper referent. And I know better! What I should have said was, "When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby interviewed Joe Harper for this story, they got Xemnu's color wrong." Mea cupla.

WARLORD KAA – Strange Tales #79 (Dec 1960):

The story “I was in the Clutches of the Living Shdows” begins with mystery writer Phillip Lawson being interviewed on television on the subject of UFOs. The question under discussion is why there have been so many close encounters of the first kind, but not of the second or the third. Lawson speculates that perhaps the spaceships the spaceships have been hidden and the aliens are invisible, but he is ridiculed for his theories.

On his way home from the interview, he happens to observe a UFO landing. These particular aliens are two-dimensional shadow creatures who have, indeed, been hiding their ships. They have been gearing up for an invasion for some time by having each of their warriors masquerade as a human’s shadow. Lawson is captured but escapes, using one of the creatures as a parachute, which incapacitates it.

He addresses the United Nations but the delegates are reluctant to believe him at first. Then he convinces them to turn off the lights, but their shadows do not disappear. With their plan revealed, humanity is able to defeat their opponents before the invasion even begins, but Warlord Kaa escapes, vowing to return.

NOTE: This seven-page story was not featured on the cover, not even a blurb. I wonder if Phillip Lawson is any relation to Walter Lawson, the scientist whose identity was assumed by Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree…?

For some reason, this reminds me that there was an astronaut called "Parker" in an Eternals comic, that I decided was Peter's cousin.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I wonder if Phillip Lawson is any relation to Walter Lawson, the scientist whose identity was assumed by Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree…?

Speaking of which, didn't you do an Eternals read-through once, or was that on the old board?

That was on the old board. I went through all of Kirby's 1970s work in threads titled "Jack Kirby's [title]" at the rate of once comic a day, five days a week, for like two years.

Oh, god, I'm sorry. When we moved, we really had to.

As to this thread, I'm enjoying it, but one thing would make me enjoy it more: Could you list where the characters makes their transition into the Marvel U proper? I remember when, for example, Xemnu and Zzaxx found their way into Hulk/Defenders, but with the rest I need my memory jogged.

"Could you list where the characters makes their transition into the Marvel U proper?"

That's "Phase Two." Keep reading. ;)


"I remember when... Zzaxx found [his] way into Hulk"

Ooh! You made the same mistake Hulk did when he encountered Blip in Hulk Annual #5 (i.e., mistook him for Zzaxx). Zzaxx debuted in Hulk.

Speaking of which…

THE BLIP – Tales to Astonish #15 (Jan 1961):

The unnamed radar operator of the Oakville airport notices a strange blip on his screen. The next day, no one in town has any electricity. Even cars and battery-powered transistor radios do not work. Suspecting the two things are related (and equipped with an “electronometer”), he sets out to find the source of the drainage and discovers an alien being composed of electricity hiding in a nearby cave. The alien, Blip, is a peaceful traveler (for a change) on a mission of good will. Passing through a wormhole drained his energy, and he made an emergency landing on Earth to replenish his strength.

Meanwhile, the townsfolk have taken to the woods with a portable dynamo to get their current back. (I question the science of this tactic, but…) They find Blip and the radar operator and panic. The man pleads for their safety, but they accuse him of being a traitor and turn on him. This action angers Blip and he saves the man from the angry mob, then he uses their dynamo to recharge himself. Then he leaves Earth in disgust.

Ironically, the mob drove away a being who could have taught them much. They conclude that wonders await them among the stars if only they can be worthy, and vow to remember the lesson they have learned.

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