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.