Cosmic Marvel May continues with a look at the Devourer of Worlds, GALACTUS! Hope you’re hungry, because we serve up a planet-sized platter of issues for you!
- Thanks to PuchiCon for fantastic panel
- Background (2:52)
- Galactus created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966)
- Galan of Taa was an explorer of the universe that existed before the Big Bang – when the universe collapsed during the Big Crunch, he merged with the Sentience of the Universe, and was reborn in this universe with an insatiable hunger – he consumes an entire planet, Archeopia
- Creates a herald, the Fallen One, who rebels against him – his next herald was Norrin Radd of Zenn-La, who becomes the Silver Surfer
- When the Surfer approaches Earth to warn the planet of the coming of Galactus, the Fantastic Four lead the defense, and are able to repel him with the Ultimate Nullifier – Mr. Fantastic later sends him the Negative Zone to eat uninhabited planets
- Secret Wars – he attempts to consume Battleworld to get the Beyonder to remove his hunger, but he is foiled by Dr. Doom
- Gets turned into a star by his own consuming machines – this releases Abraxas, who creates so much destruction and chaos Franklin & Valeria Richards are forced to revive him to help them defeat Abraxas
- Attempts to feed on the Infinity Gems, but that releases another destructive being
- Heads to Asgard to find an item to satiate his hunger – Odin agrees to let him have it once Asgard is no more
- Forced into his incubator by the Ultimates, and emerges as a Lifebringer instead of a devourer – this throws off the cosmic balance, and several celestial beings attempt to return him to his former state
- To help defeat Hank Pym/Ultron, Galactus consumes a world overrun by Ultron drones – this revives his hunger, and the Surfer returns as his herald to help him find uninhabited planets
- Drained by Thor and turned into a bomb to destroy the Black Winter, a being that consumes entire universes
- Issues (6:26)
- Galactus. The Devourer of Worlds. The Harbinger of Civilization’s End. And…an eco-friendly sustainable farmer? It would normally be hard to fathom the inner workings of the mind of someone who is quite literally the actual sentience of the universe that existed before ours. Fortunately, Galactus helps us out quite a bit by being more than a little chatty about himself and his motivations with the lesser beings he encounters in his travels. A few of his issues have stayed very consistent over the decades:
- 1) A very complicated and often unhealthy relationship with his food, and his eating in general. Galactus does not enjoy the act of devouring worlds. It has never been an act that brings him pleasure. He simply has to do it in order to survive. Prior to becoming the Lifebringer, he displayed several tendencies that might be thought of as eating disorders in someone who was not a cosmic entity. In Secret Wars, he declares to the Beyonder that his fondest wish is to not have his constant hunger anymore, to be free of the need to eat. On several occasions, it’s been made clear that he often starves himself as long as it’s possible for him to stand it in between his meals. When confronted by beings and civilizations who don’t want to be destroyed and who beg him to find another planet to consume, his constant refrain is that there’s simply no more time to do that; he has to eat this planet right now or he’s going to die.
- 2) Guilt and the constant struggle to suppress it. One of Galactus’ standby replies to anyone who questions the ethics of his consuming inhabited worlds filled with intelligent beings is that if their very survival depended upon stepping on an ant hill, they wouldn’t hesitate. Galactus sets himself above and beyond the reproach or judgment of anyone who is not a cosmic entity. In both his role as the Devourer of Worlds and as the Lifebringer, he fulfills a cosmic purpose as the universe’s sustainable farmer, weeding out the life that has passed its apex and the civilizations not strong enough to mount a resistance to him, knowing that he will one day put all of the cosmic life energy he consumes back out into the universe, seeding dead worlds with the beginnings of life to start all over again. And yet, despite that, he was once a mortal, and he does have a conscience. He goes through periods where he tries to limit himself to uninhabited worlds, or worlds without intelligent life, but it’s the equivalent of a liquid diet for him; it just doesn’t provide the same nourishment. In the famous Fantastic Four #257, he has to have a sit-down with Mistress Death when he basically decides to starve himself completely over the sadness of all the life he’s taken, and begs Death to kill him. Most of the time, he just does his best to not think about it, the way most of us try not to think too much about how the food on our table doesn’t just magically appear at the grocery store. (17:23)
- 3) Trouble finding, hiring and keeping good help. Galactus is so much better off when he has a herald in his service finding worlds for him to eat. But he’s had a really bad run of luck with them. He had such a bad experience with the Fallen One that he didn’t create another one for eons before the Silver Surfer, who managed to break through the blocks Galactus put on his morality enough to rebel. He really liked Airwalker, but Airwalker liked him back enough to sacrifice himself to save him. Firelord he never even really got to know before dismissing him. Finally he decided what he really needed was a sadistic killer who enjoyed destroying inhabited worlds. Predictably, Terrax tried to kill Galactus and take his place. Frankie Raye just wouldn’t budge on the whole “no inhabited worlds” rule. Morg was way too good at the job, lined up worlds for Galactus to eat faster than he could eat them. Then he tried two heralds at once for a while, that didn’t work out. The man just really doesn’t seem to know what it is he really wants from an employee, which seems to be why he keeps finding incompatible candidates for the job. (24:55)
- Break (35:06)
- Treatment (36:09)
- In-universe –
- Out of universe – Focus on addressing eating disorder and general health (38:04)
- Skit (44:42)
- Hello Galactus, I’m Dr. Issues. – GREETINGS DOCTOR.
- When Adam Warlock said I’d be doing work for cosmic beings I wasn’t quite expecting this. – YOU HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY BEINGS OF POWER BEYOND COMPREHENSION. THIS CARRIES WITH IT INCREDIBLE RESPONSIBILITY.
- Seems like I’ve heard that before… – THE HERO CALLED SPIDER-MAN HAS MADE IT SOMEWHAT OF A MANTRA.
- So how can I help you? – I KNOW YOUR SPECIALITY IS MENTAL HEALTH, BUT YOU ARE EXPERIENCED IN PHYSIOLOGY, ARE YOU NOT?
- I am a psychiatrist, so I have knowledge of human biology. Having said that, I’m not really sure how that would apply to a celestial being of phenomenal power. I don’t think there’s even a remote chance of analogous internal systems. – I AM LESS CONCERNED WITH THE BIOLOGY AND MORE FOCUSED ON THE MENTAL CONNECTIONS TO THE PHYSICAL FORM.
- Alright, I can’t believe I’m asking this, but what can I do to help you? – I NEED TO GO ON A DIET.
- Umm… excuse me? – I MUST FIND A WAY TO SATIATE MY ETERNAL HUNGER FOR THE SAKE OF SENTIENT BEINGS.
- Oh boy… so, I appreciate you seeking my input, but I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HELP YOU HERE. – YOU CAN PROVIDE ME WITH SUGGESTIONS TO CREATE MENTAL BLOCKS TO ABATE THE COMPULSIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE HUNGER.
- That’s… I… that is not even close to what I am trained in. Much as I would love to help you, I don’t even have the first inkling where to start. – MIGHT YOU HAVE AN ASSOCIATE WHO IS TRAINED IN SUCH MATTERS?
- Sorry, I don’t know there’s much of a call for “cosmic dieticians”. – PERHAPS YOU KNOW OF SOME FREE-RANGE OPTIONS?
- How would that even work? – A PLANET OF SENTIENT BEINGS WHO DESIRE TO ASCEND TO A HIGHER PLANE, ALL OF WHOM HAVE THE FREEDOM TO STAY OR LEAVE. I HAVE NOT FIGURED OUT ALL OF THE LOGISTICS YET, I WAS HOPING FOR YOUR INPUT.
- I’m sorry, I…wait, have you seen the commercials for that medication that wasn’t originally designed for weight gain, but people started taking anyway? -THE IMPACT OF A MINISCULE SPHEROID WOULD NOT SATIATE SUCH A STATE
- No, but the premise is similar to what I’m thinking. You need a new setpoint. Change the order of what you eat and when, then maybe some sort of suppressor, and…hmmm…how does one do bariatric surgery on a cosmic scale? – MY PHYSICAL FORM HAS NO KNOWN CONSTANTS. I AM WHATEVER FORM IS COMPREHENSIBLE TO THE SPECIES VIEWING ME.
- Then we’re going to need an endoscopy tube the size of a space station. Route the last veins of our coal mines to neutralize your digestion from the start. If we combine that with the theoretical particles generated from a Hadron collider, we could force a controllable black hole inside you that would just as easily pass out what you eat. – AND WHAT WOULD EXIT THIS TUBE? WHAT MANNER OF ENERGY OR MATTER IS CREATED FROM THIS EXPERIMENT?
- I’m not a physicist, but I think it could reset whatever goes through back to the original point of its existence…like, before the big bang or whatever, I’unno -YOU ARE WILLING TO TAKE A CHANCE ON EXISTENCE AS WE KNOW IT JUST TO RECREATE IT FROM MY HUNGER?
- Well, when you put it like that…*snaps fingers* or, orrrr…after you eat, and there’s this new hole…can you eat that? -EAT…MYSELF? THE HOLE?
- I mean…what if you came out on the other end? What would you be like? – YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO NAVIGATE CONCEPTS FAR BEYOND THE PRECEPTS OF YOUR MORTAL BRAIN. TAKE CARE, DOCTOR, THAT YOU DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF INTO A STATE FROM WHICH YOU CANNOT RECOVER. OR DO SO. EITHER WAY, GALACTUS WILL PERSIST.
- Would you, though? How do we know you wouldn’t become an infinite digestive loop feeding on itself for eternity, without the need for more outside worlds? You gain a steady state, nobody else gets devoured…fair trade. – YOUR MORALITY OPERATES ON A SCALE INFINITESIMAL TO ONE SUCH AS GALACTUS. THESE CONCERNS ARE AS IMPORTANT TO ME AS THOSE OF AN ANT ARE TO YOU. THERE ARE FAR GREATER UNIVERSAL THREATS AT RISK IF THE COSMIC BALANCE IS DESTABILIZED. BEFORE SUCH AN EXPERIMENT PROCEEDS, I MUST PONDER THE EFFECTS ON THE UNIVERSAL SCALE. I WILL CONSULT WITH THE LIVING TRIBUNAL, ETERNITY, AND THE COSMIC COUNCIL.
- And eat rocky planets for fiber…but not Uranus, because it’s too gassy. -THIS IS TRUE. ALTHOUGH THIS ENCOUNTER IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED, YOU HAVE ENHANCED THE POSSIBLE FUTURES OF ALL THAT WILL EVER BE. THIS WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.
- Ending (50:43)
- Recommended reading: Galactus Trilogy
- Next episodes: Nova (Richard Rider), Miguel O’Hara
- Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network
- Steve Harvey “One Man” – Doc (30:04)
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