Just in time for Halloween, we’re back to feature all those creepy, kooky, and scary characters of comic book lore! This time, we’re going to take a look at monsters from the vaunted House of Ideas. So, enter, if you dare, for Comic Book Monsters 2012: The Mighty Merry Marvel Edition!
Comic Book Monsters – October 23rd: Fin Fang Foom
When talking about classic monsters of the Marvel Universe, it’s hard to not come around to Fin Fang Foom. While this character is hardly A-list material, he’s got some good stats on his side. First, he’s a giant freakin’ monster! How can you argue with that? Second, he’s often been something that’s been impersonated by other monsters (Mindelss Ones, the Midgard Serpent) for what I would like to say was simply effect. Third, he pre-dates the Fantastic Four at the tale end of Marvel’s heavy Stan Lee/Jack Kirby created monster era. He’s one of the few characters to come out of that stranger era of the company’s history to remain a big deal in the Marvel Age.
Fin Fang Foom got his name from a 1934 movie that Stan Lee once saw called Chu Chin Chow (boy that doesn’t sound like a horribly racist movie title). Lee threw him into the mix of the anthology title Strange Tales in the October 1961 issue (#89). This monster was more or less a Chinese folklore creature. He’s discovered by a young boy who is trying to escape a threat from Red China. He’s able to tease the monster enough to following him out of his cave and into the Communist encampment. There, Fin Fang Foom destroys the insurgents’ camp, and the boy is able to lead him back to the cave where he is put to sleep with a mysterious herb.
In a later appearance that came along in the mid-70s, he was attempted to be mind controlled to fight the Living Colossus, but he was able to break free of that and helps the Colossus to stop an alien invasion. He went back to sleep for a little while after that. Then, he was awoken again when he’s possessed by a demon. When the demon is exorcised, Foom returns to a safe place and goes back to sleep. I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Anyway, what’s later discovered is that Fin Fang Foom has a major connection to Iron Man’s deadly foe, the Mandarin. Turns out that Fin Fang Foom is not a dragon of lore, but instead an alien a planet called Maklu IV. When the ship lands in ancient China, the aliens, who were shapeshifters (man we’ve seen a lot of those in this year’s Comic Book Monsters), planned to take over the world by infiltrating the human race. Eons passed until the Mandarin found the Makluan ship and stole the ten power rings he currently possesses. Mandarin even uses Fin Fang Foom to take over a big chunk of China.
Fin Fang Foom is eventually killed, but has come back thanks to his spirit being practically indestructible. As the spirit finds a new body, he’s continued to do his thing. That is until all the rest of his race are found dead. At this point, the dragon decides it’s time to pack it in as a villain and reform. What better way to do that than to start following Buddhism? He, along with other former monsters, were even shrunk down to human size and hypnotically made to forget their powers. These other monsters he teams up with in the rehabilitation program, and the villainous Tim Boo Ba, who they have to fight, were all pre-Fantastic Four monsters created by Stan Lee.
It should be stated here that if you were to show this brief history of Fin Fang Foom to Thor, he’d have many points of contention. Thor claims to have the bones of the “real” Fin Fang Foom in a tomb in Asgard. Not sure if he’s referring to his battle with the Midgard Serpent who took the form of Fin Fang Foom to trick Thor, or if he just happened to beat another dragon that looked like Foom. Either way, I’m not one to argue with a god, but the evidence seems to be against Thor in this case.
We’re done for today. Tomorrow… DOOM!