Issue(s): Tales Of Suspense #20, Strange Stories of Suspense #13, Journey Into Mystery #4
Cover Date: Aug 61 / Feb 57 / Dec 52
Title: "Colossus Lives Again" / "The One Who Watches!" / "I'm Drowning!"
Jack Kirby / Gene Colan / George Roussos - Penciler
Dick Ayers / Gene Colan / George Roussos - Inker
As is often the case for stories from this period, the writers are uncredited.
It, the Living Colossus is one of the few Marvel Monster Age characters that merited a sequel. The only other that I know about is Xemnu/Titan/Hulk, and i guess Dr. Druid/Droom (Like the other two, the Colossus' name keeps getting changed; in this story, he's just "Colossus"). I don't know why a big animated statue was more popular than, say, Fin Fang Foom, but it does seem to be the case based on the rare sequel in the 60s and the fact that he got his own short-lived series in the 70s shortly after his stories were reprinted in Monsters on the Loose.
I'm always interested in the degree of "continuity" (in the basic sense) of these early books, and this really is a direct follow-up of the original, although after the initial set-up, the scene from the first issue is quickly abandoned.
The alien that animated the statue in the previous issue returns home and suggests that Earth is a good place for an invasion.
Meanwhile, the Soviets send the Colossus to an international fair as a "symbol of our national progress". The aliens return and possess the status en route, and the Colossus dives into the sea, giving Kirby the opportunity to let a weird incidental eel steal the show for a panel.
The Colossus arrives on America's West Coast (which kind of makes you wonder where the Soviets launched him from).
In any giant monster movie, the human cast is always a boring distraction, and that's true here. We've got a love triangle between actor Grant Marshall, actress Diane Cummings, and a sad special effects guy named Bob O'Bryan.
But O'Bryan saves the day by building an even bigger monster and tricking the aliens into abandoning the Colossus to posses his monster instead (in this story, everyone knows that it's aliens inside the Colossus. In the previous story, it was a mystery to everyone except the sculptor). Then, when they're all inside, he blows up his creation.
This, and the Marshall's cowardice, is enough to convince Diane that she's been wrong about Bob.
Marshal, Cummings, and O'Bryan will all be regular members of It's series in the 70s. O'Bryan will become handicapped and wind up possessing the statue himself.
Again, odd for the personality-free Colossus to be so popular (relatively speaking). This story also has the usual anti-commie stuff and way over-dramatic romance elements, but it's always fun to have Jack Kirby draw cool aliens and a giant statue-monster smashing stuff up.
The Monsters on the Loose reprint also includes a weird story about a guy who gets tricked into watching a swamp monster forever...
....and a prisoner who accidentally electrocutes himself trying to escape.
Quality Rating: C+
Historical Significance Rating: 2 - Second appearance of It, the Living Colossus
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
- In the Monsters on the Prowl reprint, the recap of the Colossus' first appearance references "issue #17" which is a reference to Monsters on the Prowl #17, which reprinted Tales Of Suspense #14. I'm very curious to know if the original had a footnote.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Monsters on the Prowl #25
Maybe the Soviets launched it from Vladivostok.
Taboo, a giant mud monster, also had a return appearance. And of course there was Googam, son of Goom...
Interesting that this is now the second alien menace defeated by building a second, larger (fake) monster to scare it away.
Apparently, this was considered a viable defense plan in the 60's. It's surprising no one tried to build any giant animatronic monsters for, say, the Vietnam War.
...unless, of course, that's what Walt Disney was working on when he died of MYSTERIOUS CAUSES (lung cancer? PSSSHT. Sounds like a COVER UP to me!)
Having the biggest gun is a common recipe for supposed safety, naive as it is. I guess it was even more true in the early 1960s.