Marvel Comics’ latest event series, “Monsters Unleashed,” has arrived. As it unfolds, Marvel’s greatest heroes will face off against new kaiju-esque threats from outer space, along with a slew of the publisher’s most notorious monsters from its early days.
Unfortunately, many of those monstrous characters have fallen into obscurity over the years. If you’re wondering who some of these monsters are, fear not — CBR has you covered with a rundown of some of the series’ key beasts, from Grottu to Orrgo, Monstrom to Goom, The Thing from Planet X, and more!
Grottu, King of the Insects
First Appearance: Strange Tales #73 (February, 1960)
“He was born of the Atomic Age…A monster the size of a bull elephant and a thousand times more vicious! This was the living menace known as…Grottu, King of the Insects,” reads the beast’s introduction in his first appearance. Grottu, whose name translates to Demon, has the intelligence level of a human, in addition to being terrifying as a freakishly huge army ant in its own right.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #11 (September, 1960)
An alien that centuries ago sank beneath a swamp in Bayou Country, Monstrom is a hulking monster that one day emerged from the swamp, only to wreak havoc on fellow swamp-dwellers, such as a poor alligator, and its neighboring town, before it was chased back into its swamp by some Louisiana townspeople.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #12 (October, 1960)
A truly hideous half-man, half-ape that hails from an island called Borneo, Gorgilla is the missing link — a creature that fits the evolutionary gap between ape and man, somehow preserved in time in the mountains. Extremely intelligent, Gorgilla is best known for its brutal fight with a Tyrannosaurus Rex in its first appearance.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (November 1960)
Though best known today for his membership in the Guardians of the Galaxy (and his adorable baby form), Groot was originally a Marvel Monster that came from Planet X with the ability to control any wooded objects around him, including fellow trees and even wooded fences. Groot showed up on Earth to kidnap an entire village for the purposes of experimenting on it, though he was unsuccessful in his quest.
The Abominable Snowman
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (November, 1960)
Dr. Carl Hanson, in an unexpected twist, becomes the very monster he hunted — The Abominable Snowman. In his unending quest through the Himalayas to find the beast, Hanson grows into the monster, sporting a bushy beard and long hair. The ironic tale is one heck of an origin story, packed with hubris and pathos.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #15 (January, 1961)
A monster made up of pure electricity, The Blip is an extraterrestrial life form that traveled in a mission of goodwill from planet to planet saving civilizations, before he ended up in a worm hole and was inadvertently stranded on Earth. Driven off the planet by nasty humans, the Blip eventually manages to absorb enough energy from Earth to make it back to its home planet.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #17 (March, 1961)
In a Transylvanian village, a man named Ludwig Vandoom creates a monstrous statue to help bring business to his ailing wax museum, and in a freakish accident, the figure comes to life after being struck by a lightning bolt. Naturally, the villagers revolt against the monster, until an alien spacecraft appears over the village and Vandoom’s monster fights off the alien invaders ’til his dying breath.
Goom, The Thing from Planet X
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #15 (March, 1961)
Hailing from the monster-ridden Planet X, Goom traveled to Earth after he received a transmission from a scientist named Mark Langley who discovered the planet, hidden on the far side of Pluto. Attempting to prove that his mission was one of peace, Goom showed incredible feats of strength to illustrate his power and capacity for goodwill, until he was taken back to his planet by fellow aliens that deemed Goom an outcast to their society.
Googam, Son of Goom
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #17 (May, 1961)
One week after the appearance of Goom, Googam surfaced close to where his father landed on Earth, taking up residence at the Langley family’s home. Reaching maturity and peak strength, Googam prepared to kill the Langleys, until he was tricked into a game of tag that led him inadvertently into quicksand. Yes, quicksand.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #19 (May, 1961)
Sent to Earth in a mission to conquer the planet, Rommbu seemingly surrendered upon humanity’s refusal to comply, until a convict name John Hunter, who was on the run from the police, snuck onto Rommbu’s space ship. Demanding that the human lead him to a safe place, Hunter took Rommbu to an active volcano that unexpectedly erupted and killed the duo.
The Green Thing
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #19 (July, 1961)
The Green Thing is an extremely intelligent plant that was created when a botanist tested his new serum upon an unsuspecting weed. Growing into a human-like form and learning the ability to speak, The Green Thing attempted to conquer Earth, and was almost successful, until the botanist used his serum on another plant that fought the Green Thing as a force of good.
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish #23 (September, 1961)
An extraterrestrial with telekinetic abilities, Moomba hails from an alien race that attempted to conquer earth by appearing in the guise of wooden statues. Nearly successful in their conquest, Moomba’s race was driven off the planet by a shaman’s mystical potion. While the race was driven off Earth, they were successful in making civilization forget they had ever attempted to conquer the planet using their psychic powers.
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #22 (October, 1961)
Bruttu was a scrawny scientist-turned-monster named Howard Lindley. Wishing he was as strong as a comic book beast he admired, Lindley used an atomic accelerator to transform his physicality into the monster named Bruttu. Immediately perceived as a threat, and stricken with gunfire, Lindley was able to survive the attack thanks to his new form. Realizing the horror of his transformation, Lindley managed to go back to the lab and revert himself back into his (weakling) human form by thinking of the body he once despised.
First Appearance: Strange Tales #90 (November, 1961)
Belonging to an alien race two billion miles from Earth, the monster named Orggo single-handedly volunteered to teleport himself to Earth for the purposes of conquering the planet. Showing up at an American circus, Orrgo withstood a heavy attack from the U.S. military. Upon hypnotizing the entire world’s population, Orrgo was attacked in his sleep by a pissed off, hungry gorilla that seemingly killed him.
Cullen Bunn, along with Steve McNiven, Greg Land, Adam Kubert, Salvador Larroca and Leinil Yu, bring devastation to the Marvel Universe when “Monsters Unleashed” arrives in January.
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