Sunday, March 7, 2010
Fin Fang Foom!
He is without doubt Marvel's greatest monster. A product of the Cold War, Fin Fang Foom was a weapon, a sleeping mythical behemoth roused to defeat the Communist Chinese by the hero but then put down again when the deed was accomplished. Stan, Jack and Dick created a legend intentionally, and they created a monster that has stood the test of time, both in the story proper and in the greater memory of fandom.
It's hard to pin down why Fin Fang Foom is better than all the rest. But maybe it's the voice. The fact that he can talk and somewhat eloquently is maybe one reason. In the original story as he's surging forward at the hero, he constantly bellows threats as he advances assaulting the confidence on all levels. He is unstoppable and completely lethal. Talking was something none of the movie monsters could do. It gave a leering evil to Fin Fang Foom that they are missing. He almost becomes a blend of the classic giant monster and the more insidious yellow peril like Fu Manchu.
Whatever the reason for his success, Fin Fang Foom was first published in Strange Tales #89 and then reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces #2 (that's where I first encountered him). Later the story was reprinted again in Where Monsters Dwell and even years later in Monster Masterworks, an early Marvel trade.
Fin Fang Foom was folded into the Marvel Universe properly when he met up with and battled IT The Living Colossus in Astonishing Tales. Later his story was blended with the origin of Iron Man's arch nemesis the Mandarin. He also was linked in Thor to the Midgard Serpent. I learned putting together this post that he's even mixed it up with Iron Man in the movie-universe though in a comics story. These days too he's been shrunk to human size and works in a Chinese resturant -- Arrrgggh. (And you have to ask why fewer folks read comics these days.)
Whatever becomes of him though, whatever indignity he's forced to endure, I know that ultimately the unstoppable force that is Fin Fang Foom will prevail.