From the mid to late 1950s through to the early 1960s, Marvel wasn't about men in tights. It was about MONSTERS!
Mostly very big ones. With names like Fin Fang Foom and Tim Boo Baa and Grottuu and Zzzutak and Xemnu that Stan Lee probably had fun coming up with, and cool visual designs by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others.
Like most of Marvel's pre-Fantastic Four characters, these guys were largely ignored for years, but over the decades many of them have been reintroduced to the modern Marvel Universe. The giant alien dragon and Iron Man enemy Fin Fang Foom and the alien tree guy Groot are probably the two most prominent examples.
A second wave of monsters came in the 1970s, when the Comics Code eased up on the subject of "classic monsters," allowing Marvel to introduce its own versions of guys like Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Golem, and the Zombie. Technically, Marvel's Frankenstein debuted in the 50's, but he's best known from his 1970's comic series.
It should also be noted that Marvel got the license to publish a Godzilla title in the 70's, written by Doug Moench, wherein the big guy got to fight the Avengers and the original Champions and S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as assorted brand new Kaiju created for the book.
- Aliens Are Bastards: Many of the monsters of alien origin arrived to Earth with the intention of taking it over.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: They came in all shapes and sizes, some alien while others originated on Earth.
- The Bus Came Back: Many of them hadn't been seen in decades, yet several returned for the Monsters Unleashed event, helping Earth's heroes against the Leviathon tide.
- Comic Book Death: Like so many movie monsters, these guys have a tendency to die at the end of their stories, only to reappear in a new story years later without any real explanation.
- Kaiju: Many of them debuted around the time the Godzilla and other giant monster movies were all the rage, and they're giant creatures of various origins.
- Large Ham: Like most Silver Age creations, monsters that could talk were pretty loud and bombastic.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Some of them aren't really evil.
- Rogues Gallery Transplant: Most of the old school monsters who have returned to prominence have done so by becoming associated with a particular modern character. Fin Fang Foom is now an Iron Man enemy, Xemnu is one for The Incredible Hulk, and Spragg is one for She-Hulk; and Groot is now a heroic member of the new Guardians of the Galaxy.
Alter Ego: Carl Hanson
Notable Aliases: Big Carl
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (November, 1960)Adventurer Carl Hanson was in Calcutta when he heard a man talking about a photograph he found of the Abominable Snowman. Upon stealing the photo, Carl Hanson went to the Himalayas with the photograph where he plans to obtain money upon catching it. Though nobody at the Himalayas would help him as they advise him to get rid of the cursed photograph. As Carl Hanson climbed the Himalayas, his hair grew longer and longer until he resembled the Abominable Snowman. His mind then became addled as he dropped the photograph.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Looks like a huge yeti.
- Name's the Same: Not to be confused with the Inhuman named Yeti (who looks like a yeti), or with the honest-to-gosh yeti that are to be found in the Himalayas of the Marvel Universe. Or with Yetrigar (see below).
- Was Once a Man: He was once a man named Carl Hanson who became a Yeti by a cursed photograph.
Alter Ego: Shzzzllzzzthzz
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #15 (January, 1961)An electric entity who was part of the Marvel Monsters.
Brute That Walks
Alter Ego: Howard Avery
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery #65Howard Avery is a skinny scientist who wants to bulk up by taking a formula of his own creation. In the case of Howard Avery it makes him a gigantic furry monster which goes on a rampage.
First Appearance: The Sensational Spider-Man #13Immensely powerful bird-like creature, worshipped by the Fall People, awoken from millennia of sleep by global warming, fought the Hulk, arrived in the Savage Land where Spider-Man and Ka-Zar were fighting Stegron and Roxxon Oil.
- Feathered Fiend: Looks like a giant chicken or cockatrice.
Creature from the Black Fog
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #23 (November, 1961)One of the many Marvel Monsters. The Creature from the Black Bog was stalking the lagoons in America.
Alter Ego: Vlad Dracula
Notable Aliases: Count Dracula, Justin Drake, Dr. Vlad, Vlad III the Impaler, Dagon, Count Orlok, Alucard, Dondora, Frank Drake, Drake
First Appearance: Suspense #7 (March, 1951)Marvel's version of the king of vampires. He's come into conflict with a lot of Marvel superheroes over the years, particularly Doctor Strange. His title also saw the debut of his enemy Blade the Vampire Hunter.
Alter Ego: Elektro-1
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #13 (January, 1961)Elektro was a giant robot in the Marvel Monster Age. He has a Mighty 32K Computer Brain. Is a member of the (sadly non-canon) parody team Fin Fang Four.
- Killer Robot: A huge and destructive robot.
- One Steve Limit: No relationship with the WWII robot nor the Spider-Man villain.
- Robo Family: In Fin Fang Four, he's in a romantic relationship with the Fantastic Four's robot receptionist Roberta, and hopes to marry and settle down with her one day. It's very sweet.
Fin Fang Foom
Alter Ego: Fin Fang Foom
Notable Aliases: He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains and Whose Back Scrapes the Sun (translation), Serpent, Fin Fang Fool
First Appearance: Strange Tales Vol 1 #89 (October, 1961)
An alien dragon who landed on Earth in ancient times but was awakened in the 20th century to conquer Earth.
Alter Ego: None
Notable Aliases: Frank, Adam, Creature, Frankie, Monster
First Appearance: Menace #7 (September, 1953)
The infamous monster-creation of Victor Frankenstein. The Monster roams the Marvel Universe and has encountered a number of Marvel heroes and villains over the years.
- Frankenstein's Monster: He's the original and the best known.
- Monster Mash: He has been part of several other monster-themed teams, like the Legion of Monsters, S.T.A.K.E. and the New Fearsome Four.
- Super Team: Though it's ambiguous, it certainly appears that in the 1960's he was a member of the super hero team the First Line.
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (November, 1961)
Giganto is one of the Mole Man's pets from Monster Isle. Giganto appears on the cover of the legendary Fantastic Four #1, squeezing the Invisible Girl, who is unable to turn invisible fast enough.
Alter Ego: Joseph "Joe" Timms
Notable Aliases: The Golden Brain
First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 1, #121A number of individuals have appeared as the Glob. The Glob is a mute, undead and unliving being.
- Expy: Of the Heap, a golden age comic character whose origin was someone falling into a swamp and becoming a swamp creature.
- HeelFace Turn: At least for a time, he was a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos, dealing with other supernatural threats.
- One Steve Limit: Shares a codename with the mutant Robert Herman. That said, this Glob debuted several decades before Robert Herman.
- The Voiceless: Since he longer has a mouth to speak. With the Howling Commandos he was outfitted with an electronic voicebox, which allows him to communicate with the team.
- Was Once a Man: Joseph Timms was a petty criminal who escaped from prison, to be with his dying wife. Joe Timms ran into the Florida everglades, only to sadly drown in the marshes. Decades later after the the Hulk accidentally spilled radioactive waste, Joe Timms was resurrected as a swamp creature now called the Glob.
Alter Ego: Sumner Samuel Beckwith
First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 2, #389
Notable Aliases: Gojira, King of the Monsters
First Appearance: Godzilla: King of the Monsters #1Yes, that Godzilla. He stomped across North America in the 1970's and got into tussles with the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Champions, S.H.I.E.L.D. and (thanks to time travel and briefly getting shrunk) even Devil Dinosaur! Tony Stark even built a giant robot named Red Ronin (see below) to fight him. Nick Fury's SHIELD buddy Dum Dum Dugan got stuck with the unenviable task of trying to reign him in, without much success.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #103 (December 1971)
- "Gog just want home."
Gog is a Tslin that was discovered by Kraven the Hunter who named him after a Biblical giant. Kraven used Gog to help build a kingdom in the Savage Land. Gog has had runs in with Spider-man, Ka-Zar and Hercules, even being as muscle in the third incarnation of the Sinister Six. Later on it's revealed that Gog was a family pet, that was sent to Earth from a dying world
Notable Aliases: Son of Goom
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #17 (May, 1961)Googam is an alien child, the son of Goom from Planet X.
Notable Aliases: The Thing from Planet X
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #15 (March, 1961)Goom is a gigantic alien entity from Planet X (probably not the same "Planet X" as Groot). He possessed a wide variety of physical and mental powers as well as advanced technology.
Notable Aliases: The Monster of Midnight Mountain; Mr. President
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #12An expedition seeking the "missing link" between humans and apes arrived at the island of Borneo. The members of the expedition are attacked by a Tyrannosaurus Rex but are saved by Gorgilla, the name given to the 20 foot tall ape-man. He was a friend and arguably full member of Ulysses Bloodstone's team the Monster Hunters (see below), as well as a member of the (sadly non-canon) parody team Fin Fang Four.
Notable Aliases: The Living Gargoyle
First Appearance: Strange Tales #74 (April 1, 1960)One of the Marvel Monsters from the 1960's. Gorgolla was the leader of an invasion force from Stonus V.
- Our Gargoyles Rock: He's a gargoyle from outer space.
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #271 (October, 1984)Created by John Byrne as an homage to the giant monsters of Marvel's past, Gormuu is a giant alien invader that Reed Richards encountered and fought before he became Mr. Fantastic.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (November, 1960).A "flora colossus" (that is, giant tree person) from Planet X. Or rather, an entire race of them, since they all apparently go by the name Groot. A particularly nasty Groot attacked Earth in the 1960's. A much more benevolent Groot is now a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. You can read more about him on his own page.
Grottu, King of the Insects
First Appearance: Strange Tales #73 (February, 1960)An ant mutated by a nuclear explosion, becoming gigantic, intelligent, and verbal.
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery #67 (April, 1961)A scary, hulking alien sent to Earth as a peaceful ambassador, he develops amnesia and is promptly attacked by humanity. When he finally recovers his memory and remembers his mission, he tells everyone that he really did come in peace, but now he's going to leave because we attacked without reason and we suck. Hard to blame him, really.
- First Contact Faux Pas: His diplomatic mission failed. His amnesia didn't help, but we were total jerks to him.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: We attacked him just because he was scary looking, not because of anything he'd done.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: He initially doesn't remember who he is or how he came to be on Earth.
- Utopia: His home planet of Pacion Rex is peaceful and happy.
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #24 (December, 1961)
The Insect Man was a member of a civilization of subterranean giant insectoids. He was actually the child of scientists in his community who found the subterranean craft of U.S. Army Sergeant Mason and took him home as a pet.
It the Living Colossus
Notable Aliases: Living Colossus
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #14 (February, 1961)
It, The Living Colossus was a statue which the alien Kigors first animated, often falling under the control of Dr. Aloysius Vault; Robert O'Bryan foiled several of Vault's attempts to steal It.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Sadly, It got destroyed when Dr. Vault took control of it (er, It) and picked a fight with the Incredible Hulk.
- Flight: It possesses the ability to fly. Doing so is purely psionic in nature, and as such, it exerts a severe strain on It's command intelligence.
- Golem: It is a statue animated by mind transferral of alien Kigor.
- HeelFace Turn: Eventually became good and tried to help others.
First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #23 (September, 1941)
A giant, semi-humanoid shark creature worshipped as a god by the Zambiji Tribe, who appeased him with human sacrifices. Fought and slain by Aarkus, the Golden Age Vision, who claimed Kai-Mak was the last survivor of a prehistoric race of such creatures.
- Fish People: A shark guy.
- Giant Animal Worship: A giant shark guy worshipped by a local tribe.
- Golden Age Of Comic Books: As a 40's monster, he pre-dates most of the other critters on this page.
- Human Sacrifice: The Zambijis had to placate him by feeding him people.
- Last of His Kind: Aarkus speculated that Kai-Mak was the last of his species.
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #18 (June, 1961)
Kraa the Unhuman was a mutated human and a member of the Wabuzi tribe, in Africa. He was mutated by the explosion of an atomic bomb caused by Soviet Soldiers. Kraa was mistaken for the mythical "The Seeker of Vengeance" and attacked the Russians that caused his condition.
Alter Ego: N'kantu
Notable Aliases: The Mummy, Captain Ace Bandages, Ba'ka Mumiya
First Appearance: Supernatural Thrillers #5 (August, 1973)N'Kantu is a mummified African tribesman with heightened strength and dexterity. He is also considered immortal due to his "life" of over 3,000 years.
- Scary Black Man: Well, not noticeable now that he's a mummy, but he was an African tribesman and stands at 7'6"/229cm tall, and the scary part is pretty obvious.
First Appearance: Amazing Adventures #2 (July, 1961)An alien Space Cop from a yellow-skinned, vaguely frog-like species. His people can disguise themselves as humans or other beings, with the caveat that their shadows still look like giant frog guys. Manoo first came to Earth pursuing a criminal from his planet, enlisting the aid of a young human in the chase. Years later, a criminal from Manoo's race, also calling himself Manoo, wound up on Earth; it is unclear if this was the same character, or an unrelated member of the same race.
- Frog Men: Most noticeable when you can see his legs.
- The Shadow Knows: You can identify a disguised member of Manoo's race by his shadow, which doesn't change.
- Space Cop: The original Manoo was a police officer on his homeworld.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Implied to be an illusion rather than actual shapeshifting.
First Appearance: Legion of Monsters #1 (September, 1975)A monster-like creature and a member of the Legion of Monsters.
Monster From the Lost Lagoon
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #97 (April, 1970)A fish person who turned out to be from space. Basically Jack Kirby's take on the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Notable Aliases: The Menace from the Murky Depths
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #8
Monstro was created by unknown origins but was speculated to be a mutation from atomic weaponry. It appeared and attacked a Soviet country coastal town, so they sought aid from an American professor named Mark Faraday who came over and investigated the Monstro. The scientist investigated Monstro but deemed he would shrink back to normal size within 24 hours, which he did.
- Giant Squid: Except is an octopus instead of a squid, but truly gigantic.
Notable Aliases: The Dweller in the Black Swamp
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #11 (September, 1960)Marvel Monster whom threatened humanity!
Notable Aliases: Orrgo the Unconquerable
First Appearance: Strange Tales Vol 1 90 (November, 1961)About a millennia ago it was said a creature had fallen from the sky. It was Orrgo who quickly conquered humanity and elevated his position to godhood. However, his rule didnt last too long: soon Ulysses Bloodstone came along and defeated him.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: He's an alien conqueror yet doesn't believe in magic while at S.H.IE.L.D.'s Howling Commandos.
- HeelFace Turn: For a time he served at the Howling Commandos.
- Mission Control: Since his size made him too obvious, he was assigned to coordinate and communicate with the Commandos.
- Monochromatic Eyes: His eyes are completely blank.
- Reality Warper: Orrgo's race seemingly has the power to mentally alter reality.
Alter Ego: SJ3RX
First Appearance: Godzilla: King of the Monsters #6 (January 1978)
A piloted giant robot that Tony Stark built to fight Godzilla. In principle, Red Ronin would indeed be handy for fighting monsters, but in practice, he tends to get snuck into and controlled by people who aren't supposed to be there.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish Vol 1 19Rommbu was an alien warrior from the Fourth Galaxy that chose the planet Earth as its next conquest.
Spragg the Living Hill
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #68 (May, 1961)
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #17 (March, 1961)
In a village in Transylvania, Ludwig Vandoom wanted to create a star attraction for his failing wax work museum. Despite the protests of the superstitious townsfolk, Ludwig Vandoom created the fearsome, giant wax figure of a monster and put it on display. During a freak thunderstorm, lightning struck the monstrous wax figure and miraculously bringing it to life. Smashing out of the museum, the monster was attacked by frightened villagers.
Werewolf By Night
Alter Ego: Jack Russell
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight #2 (February 1972)
Poor cursed Jack Russell is Marvel's take on the werewolf legend. You can read more about him on his own poor cursed page.
Alter Ego: Xemnu
Notable Aliases: Living Hulk, Xemnu the Titan, Richmond Wagner, Amos Moses
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery Vol 1 #62 (November, 1960)
Xemnu is an alien who has attempted to conquer the Earth several times. He has the ability to mind control others to do his tasks. These days, he generally gets in fights with The Incredible Hulk, and hence is detailed on the green goliath's Characters Page.
First Appearance: Godzilla: King of the Monsters #10 (May, 1978)
A frozen, prehistoric protohuman who got thawed out and mutated by atomic radiation and grew to be very, very large. He first fought Godzilla (he lost, because well, he was fighting Godzilla), but has returned to stomp around and fight other heroes occasionally since then.
Alter Ego: Simon William Garth
Notable Aliases: Dead-Dude, Mister Dead-Guy, Mister Mummy, Mister Stinky, Si
First Appearance: Tales of the Zombie #1 (July, 1973)Killed by his gardener Gyps and brought back from the dead by means of Voodoo, Simon William Garth unwillingly became the Zombie.
- And I Must Scream: Whoever had the Amulets of Damballah could control without him being able to do anything about it.
- Healing Factor: He can sustain physical damage as any other person, but he can magically regenerate from these injuries if given enough time.
- The Needless: Being dead, Zombie has no need to eat, sleep or breath.
- The Undead: As indicated by his name, he's a zombie reanimated using voodoo magic, meaning he doesn't infect others if he were to bite them.
- Voodoo Zombie: Simon Garth was cursed by a voodoo cult to shamble under the control of whoever came across the Amulet of Damballah.
- Weak to Magic: Zombies are vulnerable to the voodoo which gives them animation.
First Appearance: Strange Tales Vol 1 88 (September, 1961)Created by magical paints, Zzutak was a construct of comic artist Frank Johnson.
- Dumb Muscle: Zzutak had no mind of his own, responding only to the commands of the Aztec medicine man.
Fin Fang Four
First Appearance: Fin Fang Four #1Strictly a humor title. In one very un-official continuity, Reed Richards exiled most of the early Marvel Monsters to Monster Island, and started a social program to shrink and civilize those of them who actually wanted to enter human society. The four who took him up on his offer were Fin Fang Foom, Elektro, Gorgilla, and Googam. Now human-sized, the four of them have occasionally and reluctantly teamed up to fight... well, mostly threats that were annoying them personally, but if it helps out the humans too, that's okay.
Howling Commandos II
First Appearance: Shogun Warriors #1A trio of giant robots built by aliens but piloted by humans, created to protect the Earth from giant monsters created by the aliens' enemies.
- Merchandise-Driven: Based on a line of toys, in turn based on the anime robots Raydeen, Combatra, and Dangard Ace, though this comic's storyline bears no resemblance to their original animes.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Somewhat surprisingly, despite the fact that the Shogun Warriors toyline did include a Godzilla toy, and Marvel was publishing a Godzilla comic at the same time, and both titles were written by Doug Moensch, and the villain Doctor Demonicus showed up in both books, the three robots never got to meet Godzilla in the comics. The licensing agreements between the two properties just couldn't mesh.
First Appearance: The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July, 1973)A dhampir (half human, half vampire) who has dedicated his life to hunting vampires. He's very good at it. You can read more about him on his own page.
Alter Ego: Douglas Birely
First Appearance: Godzilla: King of the Monsters #4 (November, 1960)
A Mad Scientist who specializes in creating giant monsters to help him take over the world. He's had great success with the making-giant-monsters part; not so much with the taking-over-the-world part, but so it goes. Although he's tussled with mainstream heroes like the Avengers from time to time, he's best known for getting into fights with Godzilla and the Shogun Warriors (see above).
The Mole Man
Alter Ego: Harvey Rupert Elder
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (November, 1977)Subterranean-based foe of the Fantastic Four, and probably the best-known giant monster handler in the world. The ruler of both Subterranea and Monster Island. You can read more about him here.
The Monster Hunters
First Appearance: Marvel Universe #4 (September, 1998)
A team that operated in the days before the Fantastic Four's debut and worked to protect civilization from the then-rampant giant monster attacks. The members included Ulysses Bloodstone, Doctor Druid, Makkari of The Eternals, and Zawadi of the Wakandas, with Gorgilla (see above) basically as Team Pet.
- Action Girl: Zawadi is a warrior woman from Wakanda, who has sampled the heart-shaped herb of the Black Panther.
- Hunter of Monsters: A team of them! It's in the name! And what they do! Well, except for relatively nice monsters like Gorgilla.
- I Have Many Names: Makkari has kept so many aliases over the years that it gets confusing. The Golden Age Marvel hero who went by the names Mercury and Hurricane? That was him. He's also gone by Mac Curry and Jake Curtiss. And, of course, as an Eternal, in ancient times he got mistaken for the god Mercury.
- Meta Origin: Their introductory story tried to provide one for many of Marvel's old guard giant monsters by declaring them to be genetic creations of the Deviants.