In 1975, Amsco (a division of MiltonBradley) released a Marvel World adventure playset with highly detailed chipboard cut-outs of the Marvel Comics buildings and characters. You can read more about the set and see pictures HERE.
A complete set is very rare and expensive on the second-hand market, but if you are lucky, you might be able to find individual character pieces. They character pieces are also extremely hard to find. I just picked up this Galactus piece on eBay, but it was the first time I had ever seen it for sale. It is 3″ tall, 2.5″ wide (at the base) and about 2mm thick.
Although Galactus didn’t have a lot to do in the 1991 Marvel event, The Infinity Gauntlet, he did end up playing a much more prominent role the following year in its sequel, The Infinity War, written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Ron Lim.
In issue 1 of the Infinity War, Galactus discovers that the cosmic entity known as Eternity has been left in a catatonic state by some unknown power. He and his herald Nova, then embark on a mission to find out who is responsible. Needing guidance “through the dimensional labyrinth” he must travel, Galactus enlists the help of Dr Strange in the crossover issue, Dr Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #42, which then crosses over into Silver Surfer #67.
Through out the next few issues of The Infinity War, Galactus (along with his crew of Nova, Dr Strange, and the Silver Surfer) searches across many planes of reality in search of the source of this unknown power, helping Earth’s heroes along the way as they fight their own battle. He even at one point enlists the assistance of Gamora (against her will and much to her chagrin) to help him free Eternity’s core essence, which it turns out was bound by Magus.
Although The Infinity Gauntlet is the stronger story, The Infinity War is fun because of Galactus’ involvement. I would recommend it with the warning that the 6 issue series alone isn’t very good since many of the events take place in the other books that crossed over with it, so it would be good to read as many of those periphery books as possible.
There were four particularly cool moments in this event that showed us a glimpse into Galactus’ powers…
1. When Galactus first visits Dr Strange, he creates a molecular barrier above and beneath himself “which renders all that happens inside it invisible to human onlookers below.”
2. When Galactus is recruiting Dr Strange to help him discover the source of what Eternity’s catatonic state, rather than explain everything that has happened, Galactus cups his hands around the Sorcerer Supreme and uses his Power Cosmic to place all of the information in Strange’s head (an event so exhausting that it causes Strange to pass out).
3. After having his Star Sphere destroyed by Magus, Galactus uses his Power Cosmic to return it all back together as good as new.
4. In order to awaken Eternity, Galactus bonds with Gamora and sends her into the cosmos that is Eternity. Their minds are bound together and Gamora has an aura around her in the shape of Galactus. He explains that linked like this, he can use her as a conduit for his vast might without putting himself in any danger- her life, however, is worth the risk because she is a “mere mortal who would not be greatly missed is anything were to go awry.”
BACKGROUND: While making preparations to consume a planet called Caraner, Galactus was confronted by one of its inhabitants – a “fearless, bloodthirsty and completely amoral” executioner named Morg. Seeing that this executioner lacked the compassion and conscience that had been the downfall of his last herald, Nova, Galactus spared Morg’s life and selected him to be his new herald. Rather than seeking out uninhabited planets, like his predecessor, Morg leads his master to planets that are teaming with life – a practice that prompts the Silver Surfer to gather the previous heralds of Galactus to confront this new threat, resulting in the deaths of both Nova (at the hands of Morg) and Morg (as the hands of the ruthless Terrax The Tamer).
Galactus later resurrects Morg who serves him for a short time before being enslaved by Tyrant (a being Galactus had created eons earlier) and ultimately is killed while attempting to defend his master from his captor.
POWERS AND WEAPON:
“Morg could gather, channel and manipulate large quantities of Cosmic energy. He also possessed the accumulated mystic powers of the destroyed planet Bastion, which helped augment his power cosmic.” (Marvel Universe Wiki)
Morg also wielded a double sided ax that could shoot cosmic energy blasts.
This is the Art Adams cover to Marvel Saga #25, telling the origin of the Silver Surfer. Since this tells the story of the Silver Surfer, it is no surprise that it Galactus appears quite a bit inside (collecting material from Silver Surfer #1 and the Galactus Trilogy).
Pencils by Jim Lee, inks by Danny Miki.
The PGCA is the Promotional Glass Collectors Association – an association of people who collect “collectible cartoon and character drinking glasses.” These collectors have regional and annual gatherings and conventions where they buy, sell and trade collectable glasses. This Galactus/Silver Surfer glass, from what I can tell, was available exclusively at the 1999 convention in Grayslake, IL.
I have only ever seen this once on eBay and I bought it then. I think I paid around $20-$30 for it. This picture is of the first and only time I have used it as an actual drinking glass…
Last year Hasbro released a set of Marvel Legends as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive. And best of all, the set came in a box that looked like the Galactus Engine from the Thanos Imperative book the mouth of the engine that opens up to showcase on of the figure inside behind plastic.
And just like with everything, people took this exclusive collection as an opportunity to make money off of their fellow geeks. So luckily I got myself an empty box off of eBay to hang in my office.
If you want to read about the origin of Galactus, I would refer you HERE where I have previously discussed the comic books: The Origin Of Galactus, Galactus: The Origin, and Marvel Sage #24. Those issues collect stories from previous comics together as one comprehensive story of Galactus’ Origin. But most of the material those books draw from can be found in the pages of Thor #126, 168, and 169 where the story was first told – which is what I will be reviewing in this post.
Thor #162 picks up mediately after the events in the previous two issues of that book (Thor 160 and 161), where Galactus had battled both Ego the Living Planet and the son of Odin himself. After returning to Asgard, Odin warns Thor that they have not seen the last of the Devourer of Worlds. To make his point about how truly dangerous Galacus is, he pulls up some scenes from Galactus’ history on his Spacial Screen, a large monitor that allows them to see past events.
Through the Spacial Screen, we see a few glimpses of Glaactus’ story. But to get the rest, we have to wait 6 more issues. In Thor #168, the son of Odin is out in outer space hunting down Galactus to finish what they had started that last time they had met, when suddenly his ship comes to a stop…
Thor immediately attacks Galactus but is held back by an invisible forcefield Galactus refers to as a “Galatian barrier”. No, Galactus isn’t interested in fighting, he just wants someone to talk to – to tell his story…
And through the remainder of Thor #168 and Thor#169, Galactus does tell his story. The story of how he used to be a man named Galen who lived in the universe that existed before our own. He tells of how his universe was destroyed and how he was the lone survivor who became the being we now know as Galactus the devourer of worlds.
As I have said before, you can find a more detailed account of the origin of Galactus in several places, but the best parts to me in reading this original account, were the bits between the history, where Galactus is talking to Thor.
And this is my favorite panel from issue #169…
These are great issues – written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby (inks by George Klein) at the height of their careers.
I loved the Baby Galactus variant cover Skottie Young drew for 2013’s Fantastic Four relaunch and this cover he did for 2014’s Silver Surfer #1 is just as great. So cute!
This Marvel Legends Masterworks mini statue from 2006 is based on the John Byrne cover for issue 244 of Fantastic Four. The It is called “Everyone Versus Galactus” just like it said on the cover. Galactus measures 8.5 inches tall with the individual heroes about 1.5 inches from head to toe.
It’s a fun little statue and I especially like how close it is to the John Byrne art. I used to see a lot on eBay going for anywhere from $60 to $100, but I don’t see it for sale all that frequently these days, so maybe it is becoming more scarce.
There were a few cards in the 2008 Marvel Masterpieces trading card set that featured Galactus, but this one is the worst. In fact, it is the worst Galactus trading card in my entire collection because of the way the image was cropped. You can only see part of his hand, part of Dr Doom, and a microscopic FF in the distance. So terrible.
But it turns out that the full art by Steve Rude (that you can see tiny on the back of the card) is actually a really beautiful painting. Check it out…
Because the dates of the 1981 calendar sync up with the dates of 2015, the website Andertoons has scanned in the 1981 Marvel calendar for you to view and print out a copy for yourself. Very cool. Thank you Andertoons. Here is the Month of November showcasing the Silver Surfer and featuring Galactus…
FIRST APPEARANCE (AS FRANKIE RAYE): Fantastic Four #164 (1975)
FIRST APPEARANCE (AS NOVA): Fantastic Four #244 (1982)
BACKGROUND: As an on-again-off-again girlfriend to Johnny Storm and a part-time superhero (fire powers), Frankie Raye had been around in the Fantastic Four comics for several years before she offered her services to Galactus in order to spare the Earth in Fantastic Four #244.
Nova served as a loyal herald for 10 publishing years (1982 – 1992). She had an interesting relationship with her master, eventually privately expressing feelings she was developing for him and at times, we even saw hints of Galactus’ feelings toward her, like when he would act jealous about her relationship with his former herald, the Silver Surfer. At first Nova was cavalier in her duties of leading her master to devour inhabited planets, but later, with encouragement from the Silver Surfer, she strove to lead him to only uninhabited planets, resulting in her being dismissed as a herald in the Herald and killed by her replacement in the Silver Surfer storyline, “The Herald Ordeal” .
POWERS (from Fantastic Four: Marvel Encyclopedia):
- Manipulation of cosmic energy in the form of fire
- Near invulnerability to injury
Earth X was a 14 issue mini series that was published in 1999 telling the story of a dystopian future of the Marvel Universe. There’s a lot going on in the story and a lot has already occurred before the story starts, but here are the basics: 1. A few years back, the Terrigen Mist was released into earth’s atmosphere giving every person on earth super powers. 2. The Watcher is now blind and has recruited Machine Man to help him watch everything (with most of the story being told from their viewpoint). 3. A young man who calls himself the Skull has the power to control every mind he comes in contact with and is taking over the country. 4. Most of the Marvel heroes are either dead, retired, or otherwise indisposed. 5. Years earlier, Reed turned Galactus into a star.
I’ll jump to the chase: This book is not an easy read. In fact I found it quite tedious to finish. The writing was monotonous and full of exposition (including 4 to 8 pages of boring text after each issue), made changes to Marvel continuity too many times, and the one that bothered me the most is how Uatu was portrayed as a total dick – which felt very off-character to me.
But it wasn’t ALL terrible – there were a few really interesting things that we found out through the series that were summed up in the final issue…
“Many years ago, the Celestials impregnated the planet Earth by placing their seed within it. This seed, over hundreds of thousands of years, fed off that planet’s natural resources and grew. This is how Celestials reproduce. They then take the indigenous life-forms on a planet and empower them, mutating them to unknowingly protect the egg growing within the planet’s core. These mutated protectors were Earth’s heroes… its legends and champions of virtue… Left to their own devices, the Celestials would grow in numbers to rule the universe. As it is, there’s only been one being in creation who was able to keep their expansion at bay… Galactus traveled to planets impregnated by the Celestials and consumed the embryos growing within.”
So yeah, I didn’t like this book, but I kind of enjoyed the final issue, where the Celestials come back to Earth to hatch their new offspring and then Galactus shows up to stop them. Oh, and remember how Galactus was “transformed into a star” years prior to this story, so then who is this Galactus? Well, it turns out it is Franklin Richards who has basically become the new Galactus, which is pretty cool. How and when that happened, I am not clear on – it was explained, but ugh. I didn’t get it and I gave up trying to wrap my head around this crappy book.
Anyway, like I said, it had a couple of cool concepts in it (even if the explanation of Galactus and the Celestials was a retcon), but over all, I mostly hated this book. Oh well. Good thing I picked up the trade at a second hand store for $5. It could have been worse – I could have paid cover-price for the issues.
I got this beautiful commission from Marvel artist, Mitch Breitweiser at the Salt Lake Comic Con last September. Feel free to be jealous.
So you want to read the Galactus Trilogy (the first Galactus story arc from 1966) but you’re not sure how to get your hands on it? Well here are a few options…
1. The original issues - You could buy the original issues of Fantastic Four #48-50, but your looking at spending at least $250 for reader copies.
2. Marvel’s Greatest Comics #35-37 - In 1972, they reprinted the trilogy in the pages of Marvel’s Greatest Comics issues 35-37. You should be able to collect all three of those issues for around $20 +shipping on eBay. Plus that cover for issue 36 is awesome.
3. Fantastic Four Omnibus #2 - A more economic choice might be to get the second Fantastic Four Omnibus – a 7.5 x 11 inch oversized hardcover that collects Fantastic Four issues 21-60 and Annual 2-4. This collection should cost around $60 – $80 new. It’s on Amazon today for $65.
4. Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four #5 - Maybe you want something a little smaller? Well you could always get a copy of Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four volume 5. It collects Fantastic Four issues 42-50. It is out of print, but you should be able to find it in hard or softcover for around $20 – $35. Here is a link to it on Amazon.
5. Essential Fantastic Four #3 - Marvel Essential collections are black and white preprints on newsprint paper. The Essential Fantastic Four Volume 3 collects Fantastic Four issues 41-63 and Annual 3 & 4. You can usually find this paperback collection for around $5 (used) to $15 (new). Here is a link to it on Amazon.
6. Silver Surfer: The Coming of Galactus - In 1992 Marvel published a trade paperback called Silver Surfer: The Coming of Galactus that collects just the original trilogy. You usually find that on eBay for less than $10 plus shipping.
7. Fantastic Four Treasury Edition #2 - The last collection I know of that reprints the Galactus Trilogy is is Marvel Treasury Edition #2. Which was published in 1974 and is 10 x 13.5 inches. I just found out about this over-sized comic that collects Fantastic Four issues 6, 11, and 48-50. I love this huge format and it still has that old-timey coloring and paper look to it. You should be able to find this on eBay for around $10 – $40 (depending on quality)
Before he became a herald of Galactus, Terrax was an alien warlord called Tyros on a moon called Birj. Galactus chose a powerful and cruel tyrant to be his new herald because he did not want another herald with a conscience like his last three. In Fantastic Four #211 (Terrax’ first appearance), the Devourer of Worlds explains: “Always before my heralds have been men of morality! And thus their moral natures have forced them to betray Galactus who they served! …You who know what it means to conquer and rule will not be swayed by the beings Galactus must destroy.” And so Galactus gives his new herald the Power Cosmic and a new name: Terrax The Tamer.
Terrax relished his new power and continued in his ruthless and selfish ways. He would often conquer and destroy a planet’s population before he even summoned his master. Although he wasn’t moral, he was rebellious and self-serving, which led to problems between Galactus and his new herald. After a battle on earth, Galactus finally stripped Terrax of his Power Cosmic in Fantastic Four #259, but he continued to appear in comics for years after that.
POWERS AND WEAPON:
- Terrax already had a natural telekinetic ability to manipulate rock and earth, before he became a herald of Galactus. Once he did receive the Power Cosmic, those earth manipulation powers were augmented at least a hundredfold.
- In addition to giving him super human strength, speed, stamina, and the ability to fly, Galactus also granted him a flexible rock-like shell that covered his body making him impervious to the temperatures and pressures in outer space.
- Terrax wields a cosmic axe that can emanate waves of destructive force and project force fields.
Here is a French reprint of Fantastic Four comics I got off eBay. The issue (issue 99/100) reprints three Fantastic Four comics in black and white on newsprint, including issue 210 from the In Search of Galactus storyline.
Above is the French cover of FF #99/100 next to the original cover of issue 210. Below is a panel from both the original English version and the French reprint.
In July 1997, Marvel had an event called Flashback Month where most of their books went back in time and told a story that took place before around the time of their origin story. In Flashback Silver Surfer -1 (minus 1), written by J.M. DeMatteis, Stan Lee is the narrator and he tells us a story about when he was a younger man and he was abducted by little grey aliens. While aboard the alien ship and shortly before being returned to earth, he met a woman who had also been abducted, a nurse named Henrietta Rose. The story then follows the Silver Surfer who is told by his master Galactus to investigate a mysterious “energy surge” out in space.
When the Surfer finds the source of the surge, he finds that it is the ship of the little grey aliens who were experimenting on Henrietta (or maybe Henrietta herself was the source – that wasn’t clear). He then helps rescue the woman and sends her back to earth.
This issue was not the best. The art by Ron Garney (pencils) and Bob Wiacek (inks) was beautiful and reminiscent of Moebius, but the story didn’t make a lot of sense – it was supposed to be told from Stan Lee’s memory, but the majority of the events took place outside of what Stan witnessed in the story. Most of all it seemed like an origin story for Henrietta Rose who went on to appear in four other issues of Silver Surfer that year. Galactus is in it for about 4 pages, but as I said, the best part of this book was the art.
Cataclysm is a large crossover event that took place in the Ultimate Universe in 2014, following the events of the 2013 series, Hunger, where Galactus and the Gah Lak Tus swarm attack the Ultimate Earth. The continuity wasn’t great between the books, but here is the reading order as it best makes sense to me…
Cataclysm: Spider-Man 1
Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand 1
Cataclysm: X-Men 1-3
Cataclysm: The Utlimates 1-3
Cataclysm: Spider-Man 2-3
Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand 2-5
Cataclysm .1 bridges the gap between the Hunger series and Cataclysm. It tells what happens when Ultimate Vision, a robot created to warn planets of the threat of Gah Lak Tus, finds out that Galactus is headed towards the earth.
Cataclysm: X-Men could easily be skipped in the over-all story of Cataclysm. The X-Men see Galactus and escape to a pocket dimension but are followed by a ton of Gah Lak Tus drones. The three issues are basically the X-Men fighting the Gah Lak Tus drones in that pocket dimension with some help from Rick Jones (Captain Marvel).
Cataclysm: Ultimates could also be skipped over in my opinion. The Ultimates are in Belarus when they discover that there’s a cult who worships the Gah Lak Tus swarm that has brainwashed the entire population into attacking the Ultimates. Not only that, but the swarm is also infecting the people like a virus and taking control of anyone it comes in contact with, including the Hulk.
Cataclysm: Spider-Man – When Galactus lands on earth, one of the first things that happens is Galactus completely destroys New Jersey and starts setting up his equipment to consume the planet. The people in New York. Much of New York is also damaged and the people are looting and panicking. Thhis three issue series follows Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Cloak & Dagger, Spider-Woman, and other heroes as they try to protect and save the people in the midst of the chaos that Galactus is causing.
Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand is the core story of this event. Galactus is causing destruction and chaos all over New York. After trying their best at fighting him with force, they soon retreat to come up with a strategy. Spider-Man teams up with Reed Richards (who is a villain in the Ultimate Universe) to cross over into the regular Marvel Universe to get intel on Galactus. Once they return, the heroes do their best to once again stop the Devourer of Worlds. The X-Men, The Ultimates, the rest of the heroes and even Reed Richards all pitch in together to fight this threat they cannot even fully comprehend. But is it enough? Does anyone survive? You should read it to find out.
Cataclysm isn’t a great crossover event. Most of what happened in the books felt like filler to me. But the story that took place in the five issues of Ultimates’ Last Stand was a fun read. If you are a completist like me, you’ll want to get them all (even if for the Galactus book covers alone), but if you are just interested in reading the story, then just read the Last Stand issues which are written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Mark Bagley.