Galactus is a giant, ancient, purple planet-eater who regularly shows up in Marvel Comics to make otherwise unstoppable superheroes panic and poop their pants. He’s often assisted by a herald, someone who scouts out suitable planets and then guards Galactus and his planet-mulching spaceship when things are going down.
These heralds are, more often than not, kidnapped or blackmailed into joining Galactus, usually having superpowers that the big guy wants for his own. The heralds are forcibly imbued with a little bit of the Power Cosmic, amplifying their original abilities, then sent out into the universe to find planets to turn into dinner.
Silver Surfer is the most famous of these heralds, as well as the most popular, the most powerful, and the most bald. But it turns out that working for Galactus is a lot like working for McDonald’s: there is a lot of turnover. Here are 15 Characters You Forgot Were Heralds of Galactus.
15. Aunt May
Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson, and Aunt May (no last name, like Beyoncé) are at the circus, sitting next to the Fantastic Four, who have brought along young Franklin Richards – the only one of the eight that has any right wanting to go to the circus.
Soon enough, though, Galactus shows up, and he wants the infinitely powerful Franklin. G-Money shoots a herald-making laser at the boy, but Franklin deflects it into May, because that is something he can do, apparently.
So now kindly old Aunt May is the Herald of Galactus. Even the big purple guy’s skeptical, but May – newly christened as Golden Oldie – finds Galactus a planet shaped like a Twinkie. Er, Twinkle (even Marvel won’t tangle with Hostess’ lawyers). Turns out there’s a celestial baker named Dough Boy floating around out there, making planet-sized pastries for Galactus to eat. May suggests that maybe this baker dude should be the new herald, everyone agrees, and Golden Oldie is sent back to Earth, where Franklin Richards hugs the Power Cosmic out of her, because why not.
14. Willie Lumpkin
Willie Lumpkin is the Fantastic Four’s mailman, and has been an important and involved staple of the Marvel Universe longer than anyone else on this list. Debuting in Stan Lee’s syndicated comic strip, Willie Lumpkin, in 1959, Willie was soon moved over to Marvel, delivering fan mail to the Baxter Building.
Along the way, Willie has dated Aunt May, helped the Fantastic Four fight supervillains, starred in his own A Christmas Carol parody, been played by Stan Lee in the least terrible Fantastic Four movie, and, yes, been a Herald to Galactus.
13. The Fallen One
The Fallen One was Galactus’ very first attempt at creating a herald, imbued with dark energy instead of the Power Cosmic. Problem was, the Fallen One was evil even by G-Money’s standards, so Galactus imprisoned him. He obviously busted out and immediately become an enemy of the big man.
Having control over dark matter, the Fallen One was incredibly powerful – but he still managed to lose a fight to Star-Lord once and get locked up in the Kyln. After breaking out of that prison, too, he went after Galactus again, only for Galactus to wave him off, teleporting him away to go be someone else’s problem.
That someone ended up being Thanos. He was a lot more receptive to a Galactus-hating madman and signed the herald on. The Fallen One became Thanos’ herald for a while, only to get killed while fighting a pair of gods for the Mad Titan.
12. Terrax the Tamer
A petty dictator and an alien mutant with the ability to move rocks around, Tyros was a world-class jerk on his home planet, and not much else. Then one day Galactus came a-knockin’, looking for a herald without any dumb morals to get in the way of his planet dooming. Galactus sent the Fantastic Four to nab Tyros, in exchange for his helping them squish the Sphinx back on Earth.
Once imbued with the Power Cosmic, Tyros became Terrax the Tamer. Aside from the requisite strength and invulnerability, he could now move entire planets around with his mind. He also got a sweet cosmic axe. Immediately he used those powers to fight the Fantastic Four, still upset he lost the first time. Things did not go better.
After leaving with Galactus, the power went to Terrax’s head and he bailed on being his herald, a couple times, even hiding in a black hole at one point. Later, he neglected to feed Galactus, weakening him, and then called on the Fantastic Four to take him out. Turns out sadistic, power-hungry madmen maybe aren’t the best henchmen.
Pyreus Kril and Gabriel Lan were Nova Corps members, back from exploring and on their way home to Xandar. Then Galactus showed up out of nowhere and stole away Gabriel, transforming him into his herald, Air-Walker.
Surprisingly, the two hit it off, with Air-Walker being the closest thing Galactus has had to a friend.
Unfortunately, Air-Dubs was soon killed by the inhabitants of a planet that didn’t want to get eaten. Naturally, Galactus transferred his buddy’s consciousness into an android body to save him. Only it turns out that G-Man wasn’t a fan of robots, so he booted Air-Walker to Earth to try and reenlist Silver Surfer. Instead, Air-Walker picked a fight with Thor and got a magic hammer through his chest.
But don’t worry, he’s rebuilt later by Firelord and Silver Surfer, to help them fight Galactus’ newest psychotic herald, Morg. Air-Walker was destroyed again, though, and his consciousness was absorbed into Galactus’ ship. But don’t worry again, because he was rebuilt one more time to fight in the Annihilation Wave, where he, uh, he got killed. For the last time this time, we promise.
So, hey, remember Pyreus Kril from the last entry? After watching his buddy Gabriel get abducted, Pyreus makes it his goal to track down Galactus and rescue his commander and friend. Galactus offers to tell him what happened to Gabriel (aka Air-Walker) in exchange for Pyreus becoming his new herald, Firelord.
Of course, this all happened right after the second time Air-Walker got destroyed, so that was some bummer news for Pyreus.
After a while, Firelord straight-up just asks Galactus for his freedom and Galactus acquiesces, as long as Firelord finds a replacement. He does (see next entry), then goes on to be an occasional superhero of his own, helping out Silver Surfer and Thor and fighting space pirates and planet-annihilating armadas, as one does.
9. The Destroyer
Previously on The Young and the Heralds: Firelord, loyal servant to Galactus, has decided it’s time to move out and get his own place. Galactus is fine with this, as long as Firelord finds him a new herald. Having sparred with Thor before, Firelord’s like, “I know, let me convince that Asgardian god to serve a planet-eating purple man!” Thor’s not willing, but he has his own idea. Together, the two of them offer the Destroyer, an enchanted set of Asgardian armor, to Galactus. He accepts and everyone goes their separate ways.
Galactus then gives the Destroyer sentience, so it can successfully hunt out planets. Things are going good, he’s fighting with the Fantastic Four, the way any good herald should, but then Loki steals the armor away while Galactus is distracted. Sadly, Galactus goes back herald-hunting once again.
Frankie Raye was the girlfriend of Johnny Storm. Then things got weird. Turns out, Frankie had accidentally been doused in the same chemicals that created the original Human Torch, so her father put a mental block into her head to keep her from knowing, and also making her afraid of fire, something that surely led to the demise of her and Johnny’s relationship.
Anyway, she eventually breaks the block, embraces her powers, and helps the Fantastic Four as Nova. Since it was a Tuesday, the FF ran into Galactus, with Nova volunteering to be his new herald. After witnessing the FF acting pretty cavalier about murder, Nova figured why not help an ancient alien eat planets?
And Nova was good at her job, leading Galactus to the Skrull homeworld. Later, though, she seemed to have a change of heart, getting fired by Galactus for sparing suitable, snackable worlds, just because they had people on them.
After Nova was fired, Galactus picked Morg – an executioner that had willingly executed his own people just because some other people had asked nicely – as his next herald. Morg even brought his own weapons. In case it wasn’t obvious from the genocide thing, this guy was a bad dude.
Anyway, Silver Surfer comes running up to Galactus, looking for Nova. But G-Money doesn’t feel like talking, so he sics Morg on the Surfer instead. The new herald very nearly beats the old one, scaring the pants off the Surfer. (If he wore pants, obvs.)
Morg is waaay too ruthless to be wielding the Power Cosmic for the Surfer’s tastes, so he recruits four other former heralds – Nova, Firelord, Air-Walker, and Terrax – to take Morg down. In the process, Morg fakes his own death and kills Nova, which is too dirty a tactic even for Galactus. The big man siphons away the Power Cosmic, allowing Morg to be killed by Terrax.
6. Johnny Storm
Johnny Storm has traded powers with his sister and is now running around calling himself the Invisible Boy. Coincidentally, an alien race has started turning planets invisible to hide them from Galactus, and the purple planet-eater is getting hungry. He recruits Johnny Storm to be his new herald, in the hopes that the Invisible Boy will be able to un-invisible the planets.
Johnny starts talking to Galactus, recounting G-Love’s life story and reminding him that he used to be a normal alien before the previous universe collapsed and he was imbued with all of its sentience. Maybe if Galactus can just get in touch with his humanity – alienity? – he’ll stop eating planets and everyone will love him.
Then Quasar punches Galactus in the face.
While Quasar, Galactus, and the rest of the Fantastic Four are fighting, Johnny blasts all of his Power Cosmic into an ion cannon, which blasts Galactus back into Galan. Next issue, no joke, Ben Grimm takes Galan to a bar. Hijinks ensue.
5. Iron Man
In the Avengers Assemble episode “Guardians and Space Knights,” Iron Man volunteers to be Galactus’ new herald in exchange for G-Man not devouring the Earth. All Cosmic Powered up, Iron Man leads Galactus on a wild space chase before finally settling on an uninhabited world. But, uh-oh! The world’s not uninhabited after all, and none other than the Guardians of the Galaxy are watching over it.
The Guardians attack Iron Man, the Avengers attack the Guardians, and then they all realize they’re heroes and suddenly everyone gets along fine. With the help of the Avengers, a weird-looking Star-Lord, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man shakes off the brainwashing and fights Galactus, somehow surviving a point-blank eye-laser.
Galactus shows up in cartoon form again in Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, where he’s voiced by John DiMaggio, otherwise known as Bender from Futurama.
The titular (and terrifyingly-named) Agents of the Supreme Military Agency of Super Humans are in Las Vegas when Terrax shows up, claiming the world for Galactus and preparing it for lunch. She-Hulk manages to knock the Tamer out and, in return, Galactus gives her the Power Cosmic after refunding it from Terrax.
With neither one of them happy with this arrangement, She-Hulk and Terrax hatch a plan to make things right again: a second fight. This time She-Hulk takes a dive, making it look like Terrax defeated the supercharged superhero even without his cosmic powers.
The Exiles jump into another dimension where Silver Surfer is evil and an all-natural Galactus runs around restoring worlds instead of destroying them. Surfer’s after Galactus, trying to get him to restore his home planet, Zenn-La, but the wooden Galactus doesn’t negotiate with surfers.
The Exiles rush to Galactus’ aid, but are no match for the Silver Surfer. Desperate, Sabretooth asks the world devourer to turn him into his herald, imbued with the Power Cosmic and going by the name Silver Sabretooth (even though he was very clearly gold). Sabretooth defeats the Surfer, and his teammates are impressed that Sabes isn’t as dumb as they all thought he was.
Sabretooth then asks Galactus if he’d like his power back, and the big man, so taken aback, obliges, letting Sabretooth go on his merry way, without even thinking about kidnapping him and forcing him into a life of servitude and genocide. Such a nice guy.
Unlike some of the other ridiculous pairings on this list, this one was one hundred percent in-continuity, appearing in Dazzler’s own self-title book. Yes, Dazzler was the Squirrel Girl of her day, often fighting villains she had absolutely no business getting involved with.
So, anyway, remember earlier when we mentioned that Terrax hid in a black hole? Well, Galactus wasn’t too pleased with that, so he abducted Dazzler and imbued her with the Power Cosmic, amplifying her mutant flashlight abilities. Since her powers were based on sound, Galactus turned up the bass on his spaceship sound system, giving Dazzler the ability to light up the inside of the black hole and find Terrax.
Tricked by Cyborg Superman into thinking that Galactus destroyed Krypton, Superman teleports into the Marvel Universe where he meets up with the Fantastic Four. They’re totally cool with Supes showing up, though, because this isn’t the first time he’s showed up in the Marvel Universe just to hang out.
Luckily for everyone, Galactus shows up almost immediately and decides to kidnap and brainwash Superman into being his herald. Reed’s all like, “Dude, you’re sending a guy whose own planet was destroyed to go and destroy more planets? That’s messed up,” but no one’s listening.
After Superman leads Galactus to an uninhabited planet, he finds another, inhabited world for second breakfast. The Man of Steel flashes back to Krypton and suddenly realizes that Reed was right: this is messed up. Supes snaps out of the mind control and teams up with Mr. Fantastic to reverse Galactus’ planet-eating machine, stealing power from G-Love and transferring it to the surface of the planet.
Galactus calls uncle, saying he’ll stop eating peopled planets if the heroes let him go. To show that he’s serious, Galactus poofs Cyborg Superman into a rectangle of metal, because that’s just the kind of guy he is.