Characters Appearing: Ruler of Earth
Where Monsters Dwell #25
Issue(s): Where Monsters Dwell #25 (Journey Into Mystery #81, Mystic #10, Tales of Suspense #13, Strange Tales #85)
Journey Into Mystery #81
Tales of Suspense #13
Strange Tales #85
The main focus here is the story from Journey Into Mystery #81, two issues before the first appearance of Thor, which features The Ruler of Earth (ROE). It takes place in an alternate future, where the Cold War did not end in our lifetime.
This is in the distant year of 1990.
The UN was of course thrilled with the idea of putting a computer in charge of the world!
The computer was designed to look like a human, "because men always fear things which look different -- things which are not human". I'll leave it to you to decide how well they did on that score.
They also added a "tube" which "prohibits force as a solution to any problem".
Meanwhile, evil communists scheme to reprogram and corrupt ROE.
However, ROE is not so easily corruptible.
Now, what is this doing in 1973? The answer is that there were a couple of changes when this was reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell. The first was just to the coloring. That made ROE more awesome looking...
...and also added a little diversity to the human cast of the book.
But more substantially, the Communists in the story were updated to be Hydra agents. Note the change in the script as well as the replacement of the Commie stars with hastily scrawled Hs.
As with Monsters on the Prowl #24, i suspect this was done less for "bringing it into continuity" reasons and more because Communist boogeymen were less acceptable to Marvel's audience in 1973 than they were in 1962.
In truth, this story doesn't belong in my project even if we accept that the bad guys in this story are Hydra agents, because it still takes place in an alternate future. But Ruler of Earth does apparently appear in two subsequent Marvel stories: Journey Into Mystery #647-648 (Feb-Mar 2013) and Deadpool #20 (2014). I haven't read those and don't know if his appearance is explained as coming from an alternate future or something else, but i thought it wouldn't hurt to include this entry for now.
Also in this issue is a story about a man who takes misguided pity on an old woman that is harassed as a witch.
And then a Steve Ditko story that feels like a prequel to the Tim Boo Bah story from Amazing Adult Fantasy #9.
And lastly, the latest in a long line of men who don't know not to fuck with fortune-tellers.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Hydra actually would have existed at the time of the original Ruler of Earth story (Jun 62 cover date), but if the idea is that it takes place in alternate future, it might as well just be placed at publication date with no special considerations. If there are further clues about how this story could have taken place in the regular Marvel universe in Ruler of Earth's other appearances, i'll adjust accordingly.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The Ruler of Earth...another means to show how awesome Kirby is. (and its hilarious that he is two issues prior to Thor, thus he's a foreshadowing of the wildness in JiM in the near future...)
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 10, 2015 9:09 PM
I've been waiting so long for this :)
Posted by: cullen | August 10, 2015 10:14 PM
What if the Ruler of Earth story occurred in 1990 (per your timeline)? It would almost make sense, given the transition to "globalism" occurring at the time...
Posted by: cullen | August 12, 2015 2:17 PM
Well, i don't want to be making up my own continuity. That would imply that ROE was behind Glasnost and such in the Marvel universe. That might make for interesting fan fiction but it's not how i'd want to handle things for this project. Unless there's something in the Thor or Deadpool appearances that says otherwise, i think i have to take this as a glimpse into an alternate future.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 12, 2015 2:59 PM
Dick Ayers gets no respect. Whoever touched up the art for reprinting on the "Ruler of Earth" story scratched off the "Kirby & Ayers" signature on the opening splash, and replaced it with a hand-lettered "Art by Jack Kirby" scrawl. Now why do that? Kirby's signature was already there. No respect. It's just wrong. Marvel's newsstand reprints can never be trusted.
Posted by: Holt | January 30, 2018 7:34 AM
ROE's look was apparently the model for Master Mold's. I forget where I saw this pointed out.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 30, 2018 11:21 AM
*raises hand* i speculated about it here : https://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3&p=148&hilit=master+mold#p148
Has this been confirmed? Might be a job for Brian Cronin.
Posted by: cullen | January 31, 2018 1:42 AM
So the guy in the last reprinted story is sure Katrina's fortune-telling is nonsense, but he does think it's possible she can cast a spell on him and therefore takes precautionary measures against it?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 31, 2018 7:17 AM
They're both big, seated robots. Other than that, I don't see much similarity. Actually, ROE isn't even sitting. He's his own chair.
Posted by: Andrew | January 31, 2018 8:14 AM
Thanks, cullen. I'm sure you're my source.
They're both king robots, enormous in size, with large heads. ROE sits with his legs apart and arms outstretched, with his hands resting on his knees. He looks like a stern ruler delivering a judgement. Master Mold seems to stand up when he zaps Professor X, but he mostly stays seated, with legs apart and his hands resting on supports.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 31, 2018 12:18 PM
Also, both are Klassy Klasic Kirby Kreations. Again also, both are sitting in the classic Kirby skyfather "throne-sitting" position, exuding self-confidence and dominance over all they survey, through body language alone, and requiring neither words nor facial expressions to convey their auras of supremacy. Take Kirby's Odin, for instance, He could be sitting on a tiny tree stump, but He would still convey that Attitude, just like as if He was sitting on a throne.
Posted by: Holt | January 31, 2018 12:39 PM
Holt, Kirby even situates ROE on a snowy mountain summit, amid the clouds—like the gods of old. It’s just a throw-away detail in one panel, but the King always delivers something that enlarges the canvass of his story—and enlarges, too, the imagination of his readers.
Posted by: Chris Z | January 31, 2018 3:56 PM
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