When Galactus first appeared in Fantastic Four #48, it was clear to his creators that this new villain was going to be something special. Stan Lee wanted an opponent who was not driven by evil, but rather an insatiable hunger. Galactus does not kill out of malice; his motives are the same as a man dying from starvation. How can people who devour the meat of animals or eat plants that were once living creatures judge Galactus?
Galactus’ other creator, Jack Kirby, held a far more personal view on the character. To Kirby, Galactus was straight out of the bible, as was his Herald, the Silver Surfer. Jack Kirby was well-known for his love of mythological gods, as can be seen with Thor and the Asgardians. This would culminate in his creation of the New Gods when he moved to DC Comics.
Since his first appearance, Galactus has had his mysterious past filled out by numerous writers. He has battled many foes, created new Heralds, and devoured numerous planets. It’s time for us to dive into the fifty year history of this hungry demigod. From the time he was eaten by zombies to the truth behind his iconic design – here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Galactus.
15. He Was Eaten Alive By The Marvel Zombies
In 2005, Marvel ran a limited series set in an alternate universe, where a zombie infection breaks out among the superhero population. Called Marvel Zombies, its surprise success led to several sequels, and crossovers with the Army of Darkness comics from Dynamite Entertainment. Marvel Zombies was written by Robert Kirkman, who would later reach mainstream success with his series The Walking Dead.
At the end of the original Marvel Zombies series, almost the entire world is lost to the super-powered zombies. The last vestiges of humanity are hiding on Magneto’s space-station, Asteroid M, whilst the planet below is lost to chaos. the Silver Surfer arrives as the Herald of Galactus, and warns humanity of its upcoming fate. He quickly succumbs to the combined might of zombie Captain America, zombie Wolverine, zombie Iron Man, zombie Luke Cage, zombie Giant-Man, zombie Spider-Man, and zombie Hulk. By devouring the Silver Surfer, they have each gained a piece of the Power Cosmic, and are now stronger than all of the other zombies.
Galactus arrives and attempts to devour the energy of planet Earth. In a ironic (and well-deserved) twist, the zombies eat him instead. The same zombies who devoured Silver Surfer were now feeding on Galactus and his supply of the Power Cosmic. These seven then become the Galacti, a group of Power Cosmic wielding zombies, who travelled the universe looking for food.
14. He Is The Last Survivor Of Another Universe
Galactus is technically not a being from our universe. He existed before the Big Bang, and is the only being from his own dimension to have survived the creation of ours.
In the pre-Big Bang universe, Galactus was a space explorer named Galan. He was a native of the planet Taa, one of the most advanced worlds in existence. The society of Taa were dismissive of the fact that their universe was dying and that all matter was converging on one position (the Big Crunch). Galan discovered that the radiation pouring out from the Big Crunch was going to destroy everything in turn, and Taa’s people were next.
As the residents of Taa were killed by the radiation, Galan convinced a few of the survivors to fly into the Big Crunch, where they would either find an escape of their plight, or die a glorious death. The crew were killed as the ship entered the centre of what was now becoming a “Cosmic Egg”, where the next universe would be born. Galan survived, however, and he was reborn as Galactus. One of the first Watchers witnesses his birth, and forgoes the chance to destroy Galactus due to the Watcher’s oath of inaction.
13. He Turned Spider-Man’s Aunt May Into His Herald
Galactus has empowered several individuals with a fraction of his Power Cosmic, in order to make them his Herald. The purpose of the Herald is to seek out worlds for Galactus to devour, and to make any inhabitants aware of their upcoming fate. This was the original purpose of the Silver Surfer. After the Silver Surfer quit his job, Galactus chose others to be his Herald based on their personalities.
The most unlikely mortal to ever be chosen as Galactus’ Herald was Aunt May of Spider-Man fame. That’s right, Peter Parker’s doddering old Auntie was, at one point, one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe.
In Marvel Team Up #137, Galactus returns to Earth to seek a new Herald. He initially wants to empower Franklin Richards, but Aunt May steps in the way and becomes Golden Oldie, Galactus’ new Herald. The rest of the issue is a parody of the old Twinkie print ads that used to run in Marvel comics (where criminals would be foiled by heroes offering delicious Twinkies or Hostess Fruit Pies). In the end, Golden Oldie leads Galactus to an intergalactic chef who can bake planet-sized Twinkies that can feed his hunger forever.
It is revealed at the end of the story that the whole thing was a dream, which was a shame. Having Aunt May run off to become the Herald of Galactus is still better than Mephisto bringing her back to life by erasing Peter Parker & Mary Jane’s marriage in One More Day.
12. He Has A Daughter On Earth
In 2010, Marvel released a series called Galacta: Daughter of Galactus. It was revealed that Galactus has a daughter named Gali, who was living as a normal teenager on Earth until the Power Cosmic and its associated hunger awoke within her.
Unlike her father, Gali’s hunger did not need to be sated with the life of planets. She could gain sustenance from biological weapons designed by aliens (such as the Skrull or the Kree). As time went on, however, her hunger grew exponentially. Gali discovered a parasite within her that needed feeding, and one day soon, it would require the life energy of a planet.
At the end of the series, Gali was about to kill herself with the Ultimate Nullifier (the same weapon Reed Richards threatened Galactus with in his first appearance) in order to kill the parasite within her. Galactus appears and stops his daughter from taking her own life. He reveals that the parasite is actually another cosmic being growing inside of her, and that she was once the same thing within him. Gali’s hunger was due to the fact that she was pregnant.
11. He Was Beaten By The Dire Wraiths
Rom is an important series in Marvel continuity. It was a comic released in 1979, created to advertise a toy of the same name. Rom was a Spaceknight from the planet Galador who travelled the galaxy hunting a race called the Dire Wraiths, which take over planets by impersonating the inhabitants with magic. Only the weapon of a Spaceknight could reveal the Dire Wraiths’ true form.
In Rom #25, Galactus arrives on Rom’s homeworld in order to devour it. After the combined might of the Spaceknights was unable to repel Galactus, Rom used some information that he had learned on Earth. If you can offer information on a different planet, then Galactus will spare yours. Rom just happened to have knowledge of a planet that was ripe for eating – the Wraithworld, home of the Dire Wraiths.
Galactus travels to the Wraithworld. The poisonous atmosphere of the world manages to destroy the device that Galactus uses to quicken the process of devouring a planet’s life force. When he tries to eat the black sun of the galaxy, the Dire Wraiths send a dozen Deathwings – creatures of powerful magic, to stop him. They succeed and Galactus admits defeat, making the Dire Wraiths one of the few races to ever repel him.
For the fans who want to read these stories, the Rom series cannot be reprinted due to rights issues over the original toy. If you want to read this story, then you have to track down the original issues.
10. He Was Defeated By Doctor Strange
After suffering defeat at the hands of the Dire Wraiths, Galactus returns to Earth in a desperate hunger. He was at his absolute weakest, and was at death’s door. He was led by his traitorous Herald, Terrax the Terrible, who hoped that the heroes of Earth could overcome Galactus and free Terrax from his servitude.
Even in his weakened state, Galactus was still strong enough to fight the combined might of the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Thor. It wasn’t until Doctor Strange intervened that the battle turned against Galactus. Doctor Strange cast a spell on Galactus that caused him to scream and then fall unconscious. Doctor Strange revealed that the magic he had cast was called the “Images of Ikkon“, a spell that had shown him the ghosts of everyone he had ever killed. When you consider that Galactus has killed countless sentient lifeforms since the beginning of time, the spell is more effective on him than anyone else.
This scene was repeated in the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon, but Doctor Strange could not be used for legal reasons. Instead, Galactus was defeated by Ghost Rider, who used his Penance Stare in place of the Images of Ikkon. Terrible voice acting aside, this was one of the best moments of that whole series.
9. He Was Voiced By George Takei
Outside of the Westboro Baptist Church, is there anyone who doesn’t love George Takei? He is a beloved nerd icon and champion for gay rights, who has gained worldwide recognition for his social media presence. He played Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek: The Original Series, Kaito Nakamura on Heroes, and has been the announcer of the Howard Stern Show since 2006.
Alongside all of those recognisable roles, he also played the world devouring Galactus in The Super Hero Squad Show.
In the episodes “Last Exit Before Doomsday!” and “This Al Dente Earth”, the origins of the Silver Surfer as the former Herald of Galactus are finally revealed. Galactus is coming to the Earth for the first time, and it is up to the combined membership of the Super Hero Squad to stop him. Luckily, this show was a humorous cartoon aimed at kids, and so never took itself too seriously– Silver Surfer talks like a surfer dude, for example. If it was a serious show, then it might have been hard to listen to Galactus speak his proclamations about the destruction of all life… without hearing George Takei’s iconic “Oh My” in the back of your mind.
8. He Is The End Boss Of Marvel Vs Capcom 3
The Marvel vs Capcom series is one of the most beloved fighting game franchises of all time. It is a shame that they take so long to release new entries. The first game came out in 1997, its sequel came out in 2000, and the third game came out in 2011.
In Marvel vs Capcom 3 (and its updated release Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3), Doctor Doom teams up with Albert Wesker (of Resident Evil fame), in order to unite their two worlds into one. Galactus decides that this is a bad idea, and shows up to destroy this new planet. It is up to the player to stop Galactus, who is the end boss of the game. You have to use a team of three characters, chosen from the roster of the game, in order to accomplish this. Depending on your preferences, it might be up to Phoenix Wright, Frank West (from Dead Rising), and Rocket Raccoon to beat Galactus in a fist fight.
In Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, you could unlock a new mode where you actually play as Galactus. In “Galactus Mode”, you had to win six fights or wait for the timer to run out in order to win. If you succeed in using either of these methods, then Galactus will finally devour the Earth.
7. The Source Of His Power Is The Phoenix Force
When Chris Claremont became the writer on Uncanny X-Men, he decided that Jean Grey needed a power boost in order to make her more interesting. This led to “The Phoenix Saga”, a storyline where Jean would become inhabited by the Phoenix Force – a powerful entity charged with protecting the universe. The X-Men would soon be dragged into an interstellar civil war, where the evil Emperor D-Ken attempted to use the M’Kraan Crystal to rule over the universe. It took both the X-Men and the Phoenix to stop him.
The Phoenix would later be corrupted due to inhabiting a human being, and would become an evil creature known as the Dark Phoenix. This led to “The Dark Phoenix Saga”, which is considered one of the best X-Men stories of all time.
The Phoenix Force has reappeared in numerous different forms in the years since its debut. It was revealed that the Phoenix shares its origins with Galactus. The Phoenix was a creature from the previous universe, and it was only due to its influence that Galan was able to survive the Big Bang and be reborn as Galactus. The Big Bang allowed the Phoenix to be reborn in the new universe, where it would become the protector of life once more.
6. Thanos Once Turned Him Into An Elvis Impersonator
Marvel’s What If… series offers a unique look into different outcomes of classic stories. The first issue showed a reality where Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four, and all of the in-universe ramifications that such a change would have made. Later issues had stories like “What if Dr. Doom had become a hero?” and “What if Thor battled Conan the Barbarian?”.
The majority of the What If… stories had a serious, if slightly darker tone than normal (main characters tended to die a lot more, due to it being non-canon). The exception to this was issue #34, “What If… No One Was Watching The Watcher“. This issue contained several comedy stories, like “What if The Punisher was a Hall Monitor?” and “What if Howard the Duck was a Chicken?”.
The most memorable of the stories was “What if Thanos changed Galactus into a human being?”. In this story, Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet to turn Galactus into a human being and sends him to Earth. In his new form, Galactus is identical to Elvis Presley, in both looks and talent. He soon becomes America’s most successful Elvis impersonator.
At the end of the story, Adam Warlock comes to Earth and offers Galactus a chance to be returned to his previous form. He refuses, and continues to live on as the new Elvis.
5. He Is A Giant Tentacle Monster In The Marvel Mangaverse
With the help of the mainstream success of Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z, anime and manga series from Japan became available to the general public in America. While properties like The Avengers and X-Men might be big money spinners in the movie world nowadays, their comics don’t sell all that well. Meanwhile, manga series like One Piece and Naruto have sold over 200 million copies each since the late ’90s.
Seeing the success of manga sales outside of Japan, Marvel decided to create a new universe with a manga aesthetic. This would become the Marvel Mangaverse, which ran from 2000-2002 (with a second iteration running from 2005-2006). The series was drawn in a manga style, and some characters were changed to incorporate recurring ideas from anime. The Iron Man of this world was actually a teenage girl named Iron Maiden, who flew around in a giant robot.
In the Marvel Mangaverse, Galactus is a living planet. He resembles a giant red tentacle monster, with one large eye. It was defended by four sentries based on the Silver Surfer, Terrax, Nova, and Firelord. Unlike other iterations of Galactus who drain the life force from worlds, this one actually ate them whole.
4. He Might Actually Be Saving The Universe
During an interview with Wizard magazine, comic artist/writer Alex Ross was asked to come up with an idea for a dystopian future of the Marvel universe. His answer was so awesome that it led to the issue selling out, and convinced Marvel to actually produce it as a series.
Earth X was the product of Alex Ross’ idea. In this limited series, Black Bolt of The Inhumans released the Terrigen Mist into the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to the everyone on the planet gaining super powers. One of the revelations of this story is that the Earth is actually an egg for a Celestial. The Celestials are a race of godlike creatures who need to be kept in check in order to prevent too many of them being born. If the universe holds too many Celestials, then it will be destroyed and reborn. This was Galactus’ true purpose all along – the worlds he devoured where actually the embryos of new Celestials, and they needed to be destroyed in order to save the universe.
3. The Ultimate Version Of Galactus Is A Fleet Of Drones
With the success of the original X-Men and Spider-Man movies, Marvel decided to create a new continuity of comics designed to appeal to fans brought in by the films. In the year 2000, they created the Ultimate line of comics (starting with Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man), which offered a chance for new stories to be told without the burden of 40+ years of continuity to consider.
Over time, the other Marvel mainstays made their way into the Ultimate comics. In 2004, the Ultimate Fantastic Four series began, and it would not be long before their old foe Galactus would arrive.
In 2004, what became known as the “Ultimate Galactus Trilogy” began. The Ultimate version of Galactus was very different to his other iterations. “Gah Lak Tus” as he was known, was not a single being at all, but hundreds of spaceships with one purpose. When the Silver Surfer arrived on Earth, he was followed by a fleet of city-sized spaceships that exist only to wipe out all life in the universe. Gah Lak Tus sent psychic “fear” broadcasts to Earth in an attempt to make the population kill themselves, followed by a flesh-eating virus. Unlike the classic version of Galactus, who could be reasoned with, this new version only wanted to destroy Earth by any means necessary.
2. His Bizarre Appearance In Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer Was For A Reason
Until Fantastic Four (2015) took the crown, the worst film in the Fantastic Four movie series was considered to be the second one, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (even including the Roger Corman one, which was only made to extend the film rights). With the Silver Surfer confirmed to be showing up, fans wondered if the time had come for the big screen introduction of Galactus.
When the film was released, he did show up… sort of. The Galactus from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was unlike any that had been seen before. Unlike the big guy in a purple suit that fans are used to, this new Galactus resembled a large dark cloud that passed through space, devouring everything in his path. In a few shots, the cloud resembled the design of Galactus’ helmet. In some ways, this new version of Galactus is actually a lot creepier than the original, although fans were still disappointed over the change.
Had the film been more successful, a solo Silver Surfer would have been made. According to director Tim Story, the classic Galactus was being saved for Silver Surfer, and the cloud version was there to keep the reveal a secret.
1. He’s Not Actually A Big Guy In A Purple Suit
One of the big complaints about Galactus is his design. He is supposed to be a godlike alien that has travelled the cosmos since the dawn of time. So why does he look like a giant human in a silly purple outfit?
When Galactus was first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in the 1960s, there probably wasn’t too much thought put into the details. Galactus was never intended to have massive ramifications on the history of the Marvel universe, as such a thing did not truly exist yet.
After being repelled by the Dire Wraiths, a starving Galactus comes to Earth to feed. He is defeated by the combined might of Earth’s greatest heroes (with Doctor Strange dealing the knockout blow). Reed Richards ultimately decides that killing Galactus is wrong, and revives him with technology. Galactus would spare Earth… but would go on to devour other worlds, including the homeworld of the Skrull Empire. Reed Richards would be captured by aliens and put on trial – he was to be held accountable for the trillions who died after he spared Galactus.
The trial is ended when Galactus himself arrives. It is then revealed that Galactus looks different to each of the thousands of aliens from different planets. He isn’t just some dude in a silly purple outfit; he is a force of nature, and Galactus’ appearance is a reflection of a mortal mind trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.