It, the Living Colossus, does his thing. Artist: Herb Trimpe.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1960
Creators: Stan Lee (or possibly Larry Lieber), writer; Jack Kirby, artist; Tony Isabella
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For a couple of years before getting into superheroes, the genre they've concentrated on almost exclusively for the past few decades, Marvel Comics used to publish …

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… non-series adventure stories about large, goofy monsters. Some of those monsters came back later to fight the superheroes — for example, The Incredible Hulk once had it out with a thing from another world that had been called "The Hulk" when it threatened the human race in Journey into Mystery #62 (November, 1960).

But only one of those old monsters ever became a superhero and got a series of its own. The Colossus, who first rampaged through an urban landscape in Tales of Suspense #14 (February, 1960), started fighting menaces rather than being one in Astonishing Tales #21 (December, 1973), under the expanded name of "It, the Living Colossus".

It was originally a 100-foot statue carved from granite by a Russian sculptor, Boris Petrovski, who had been ordered by the Communist rulers of his country create a symbol of the majesty of the proletariat. Instead, Petrovski created a symbol of the fearsome power of the Soviet government, but what the heck, the government goons liked It — until an alien from the planet Kigor came along and transferred his consciousness to It. Then It wrought horror and destruction through Moscow until the alien was picked up by others of his species, rendering It once more inert.

Six issues later, more aliens from Kigor came by, and took It over again. This time the havoc wreaking was done in Los Angeles, where the Russians had put their Colossus statue on display. This time, It was defeated by a Hollywood special effects man named Bob O'Bryan. Both stories were probably written by Stan Lee and definitely drawn by Jack Kirby (the team that created most of Marvel's 1960s characters, including The Fantastic Four, The Two-Gun Kid, Thor and many others), tho the script may have been by Lee's brother, Larry Lieber (who also drew The Rawhide Kid and the Spider-Man newspaper strip for years).

Those stories were reprinted in 1972 and '73, paving the way for the series. Writer Tony Isabella (Black Lightning, The Champions) and artist Dick Ayers (who had inked Kirby's work on the original stories) put together an origin story in which O'Bryan, now confined to a wheelchair because of an accident on the job, somehow learned to project his own consciousness into the statue just as the Kigor guys had done years earlier. He then embarked on a career of protecting the world from deadly menaces — including a couple of returnees from those old monster comics of the late 1950s and early '60s, specifically Gorgolla the Living Gargoyle (from Strange Tales #74, April 1960) and Fin Fang Foom (from Strange Tales #89, October, 1961).

But he didn't do so for long, because the series was just a little bit out of synch with what the average superhero reader likes in a comic book. In Astonishing Tales #25 (August, 1974), It was replaced by Deathlok the Demolisher, which was more to the fans' taste (lasting almost three times as long). The usual procedure for Marvel characters that lose their series is to guest star all over the place, but It wasn't seen again until The Hulk turned up in L.A. for a slugfest with It, six years later.

Since then, guest appearances have been few and far between. The fact that The Hulk pulverized the granite statue may have something to do with that. Even so, It was seen fighting The Avengers as recently as July, 2000, so apparently pulverization is no more an obstacle to a Marvel character's return than any other form of utter destruction.


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Text ©2003-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art ©Marvel Entertainment.