Sunday, September 07, 2008


In my opinion Marvel's greatest title of all time was not "Fantastic Four" or "Spiderman," but the comic that preceded them: "Tales of Suspense." No wimpy guys in tights here, but rather original stories of giant Kirby monsters on the rampage, different monsters in almost every issue.

By far the two best Tales of Suspense stories, the ones that towered over all the others, were "Goom" and it's sequel, "Googam, Son of Goom." I bought these off the newsstand when I was a kid and I remember thinking, "This is great! How are these guys ever going to top this?" Well, they didn't. Nobody did.

Thanks to a much-appreciated gift from John K, I was able to have Goom with me when I was recovering from surgery this week. Goom helped to keep my sanity during that ordeal. The only problem was that I found myself laughing so much that my stitches threatened to come apart. That's OK, Goom was worth it. If my scanner was up and running I'd scan it for you, but alas, I'm forced to rely on the inadequate images available on Google.

The story goes something like this: A young, idealistic New-Age scientist believes that hidden planets exist in the Solar System which we can't see. Being a trusting soul, he figures the creatures who live there must be incredibly nice guys who'd love to share their knowledge with us, so he sends radio signals to them revealing the exact location of Earth. Little does he know that he has just revealed our whereabouts to the biggest asshole in the universe: GOOM! Goom can't believe his luck! He immediately gets in his spaceship, which looks like a giant parakeet, and heads for the Earth to conquer it.

Goom lands in the wimpy scientist's backyard and begins threatening him and his wife. Goom rips up rose bushes, breaks things, and causes people to devolve into babies, all the while spouting lines like "For I am Goom,", "It is I, Goom!", Fools, it is useless to flee Goom!", "Cower before the all-powerful Goom!", "I can run faster than you, I'm taller than you, and I can out-think you!", and "Watch me rip apart this bicycle!" He gets the scientist to invite the world's leaders to his house for a peace conference, and when they show up, Goom threatens to eat them if they don't declare him the Supreme Ruler of Earth. I won't spoil it by revealing what happens next.

Goom is finally gotten rid of, but in the sequel we are informed that Goom left behind a giant baby in a cave. The baby is an even bigger jerk than his dad!

Of course a lot of this over-the-top dialogue style comes from "Brain from Planet Arous," one of the best and most cheesey sci-fi films of the 50s. This movie had a big influence on me, and when I first got a job in the animation industry I wanted to stick conquering brains into every story I worked on.


Anonymous said...
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Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Bruce: I'm not really a fan of Alex Ross, but thanks for reminding me about Tales to Astonish.

Nothing about knitting now that I've got my original hormone balanse back. Unfortunately I haven't regained my health yet. I'm still bleeding all over my frequent changes of clothes and have lots of other post-op problems. Where did I ever get the idea that surgery was a simple matter? It really isn't.

lastangelman said...

Here's the real cover of Fantastic Four:

Bitter Animator said...

Poor Googam is just a baby - he hasn't even got teeth yet.

I once had surgery that resulted in a constant stream of blood dripping into my stomach. In a drugged-up haze, I projectile-vomited black conjealed blood all over the walls, pretty much covering a whole room.

At the time, I thought it was pretty funny but others present likened it to something from Nightmare on Elm Street.

I hope your recovery is quick.

Anonymous said...

Note: Sorry, but I had to delete my comment, Eddie. I had broken all of the rules of grammar, so I’m placing my comment with the corrections. I hope you don’t mind.

As much as I love the original Marvel superhero line-up, I have recently been glued with the "Tales of Suspense" & “Tales to Astonish” series, mainly for the engrossing tales and the ensemble of omnipotent villains.

Some of the monsters, robots, & aliens are very original, and just as funny looking, I might add.

Anyway, these old comics were fun, suspenseful short stories. Most of those had never followed any continuity, so you can start off at any issue without feeling like a dummy, unlike for today’s comic books.

Sadly, as much as I want to pick up the Omnibus edition of Tales of Suspense, instead of the original prints, all of the panels have been digitally re-colored and re-inked, and very poorly at that.

By the way, Eddie, it’s good to hear that you’ve regained your health and wellbeing, so in celebration to that, I’ll show you this neat cover that was illustrated by a painter named Alex Ross. It’s a recreation of the cover of The Fantastic Four, issue #1:

Hope you're still using that old “Theory Chair”, and I’m looking forward to your next post on the properties of knitting.

From an aspiring animator/ artist

Anonymous said...

I make an apology for your health, and in respect to that, I hope you’ll accept my request for forgiveness & make a safe recovery. From what I understand, constantly bleeding like a leaky water bottle sounds far from fun, and relentlessly changing clothes is even less.

It didn’t help matters that I showed you something that I thought you wouldn’t like, but I naively posted it anyway.

With dearest respects,

From an aspiring animator/ artist

Adam Tavares said...

Ever read the 'Weird Science' or 'Weird Fantasy' lines published by E.C. in the 50s? The stories are kind of in the same vein.

PJS said...

That sounds like the best story ever! It'd be great to see it sometime when you're able to scan it. I'm dying to see him rip apart that bicycle!!!

Anonymous said...

Man this sounds hilarious! I sure wish I had this great stuff when I was a kid... the comics had already been gone to hell by then.

Anonymous said...

So the famous Marvel superheroes that came after "Goom" were a compromise? And masses of humanity worship the watered-down stuff and do not know "Goom?" Somehow, that makes perfect sense.

John Howard said...

I'm not a comics historian, but I think that eventually Tales of Suspense morphed into... Iron Man I think(or the Incredible Hulk?).

And there were so many genres of comics back in the day! I was shocked when I found out that there were even romance comics.

I'm thinking aloud now, but I like the idea that someone can be imaginative enough to have Grade A heroes/monsters/etc. that are used for an issue or two as mere throwaway characters.

Anonymous said...

Hey Eddie, I want to buy an original Don Martin drawing and perhaps some other original classic cartoon art, do you know any reputable places where I can do this? Cause I dont trust ebay, moneys no object

Anonymous said...

You know, Eddie, I remember seeinig Goom (or at least a character like Goom) in a crappy modern comic book from Marvel. It was just f#@king pathetic.

Here's the story from what I remember: the Human Torch and Spider Man are working together for some God forsaken reason I can't describe yet, but the Human Torch brings forth a monster named Goom. Except this Goom is more of a culture drunk idiot (he speaks in the monosyllabic third person, but in broken English). In all, it was a really crappy comic, and one of the characters even uttered the phrase "Yo, MTV Raps!"

That's all I got to say about Goom. Other than that, it's great to see you doing more posts.


pappy d said...

I hope your convalescence is a little more comfortable today. Get well soon!

That must have been a golden age; new Kirby monsters in every issue! He was a Niagara Falls of fascinating freaks & monsters & no one did adolescent rage like Kirby. Stan Lee's greatest contribution to art may have been to piss Jack off.

Jack & his partner, Joe Simon also created the romance genre in comics.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: 6 months ago I came across a Don Martin fan site where the owner was selling off his collection. Try googling it.

handel said...

Hiya Eddie Ed Ed!

Great post! REALLY GREAT! I am afraid that I have to disagree with you my friend! I think the best stories were in the old EC comics! Now those were great!! Although "tales" were pretty good to.

I have a query for you Mr Eddie.
A conununununundrumdrum if you will.

I have these jeans you see. They are fine jeans, as far as jeans go.
The problem (if it is indeed a problem) is that they have a little too much material in the crotchy area. Not noticable when standing but my problem is that once I sit down, all the fabric bunches up in my "how ya doin" region.
My connununundrum is, while it is quite embarrassing, I would be lying if I said that I didn't like it. It is a real ego lifter, and I don't have to use the whole "sock" thing.

The only real problem is that I keep poking at it.

What would you do my mad eddie?

Need help.

Thanks Eddie! By the way, I used to be a student of yours and i always thought that you were the grooviest! I mean the cats pajammiejams!



Lester Hunt said...

"Thanks to a much-appreciated gift from John K, I was able to have Goom with me when I was recovering from surgery this week."

Wow, that's a real friend. Get well, Eddie!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Handel: EC, of course! I forgot! My favorite EC story was Feldstein and Wood's "My World!" The lap tent pole is unfortunately incurable.

Wow! It's great to hear from a former student!

Anonymous said...

They did something like that on futurama!

Kali Fontecchio said...

I <3 GOOM.

Traven said...

Eddie, you have to see this:

Trevor Thompson said...


You ever watch 'Mystery Science Theatre 3000'?

You'd probably get a kick out of it.

- trevor.