As comic giant monsters go, Fin Fang Foom is one of the green-blooded aristocrats. Ranging in size somewhere between 32 feet and 100 feet (though he has been known to be reductive enough to sit in a park playing chess with Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four [in Scott Gray and Roger Langridge’s “Fin Fang Four”, Marvel Monsters 2005]), Foom is an alien being from the planet Kakaranathara in the Maklu system of the Greater Magellanic Cloud, who tries to maintain some semblance of his native grandeur despite the fact that his fellow invaders have long since been “domesticated” — adopting human appearance and integrating into human society. Generally speaking, Foom has preferred to rampage, smash buildings and threaten to destroy all human life on Earth — an occupation he refers to as “keeping the faith”.
Fin Fang Foom (whose real name is unpronounceable but translates as “He Whose Limbs Shatter Mountains and Whose Back Scrapes the Sky”) has the appearance of a Chinese dragon and hence is often referred to as such; though since he and his fellows first arrived on Earth in ancient China perhaps it’s fair to say that the classic Chinese dragon was inspired by his appearance in the first place — though this theory remains somewhat controversial.
Unlike most giant monsters, Fin Fang Foom is highly articulate, usually sprouting the sort of self-aggrandising threats that were popular among Marvel villains during the Age of Monsters (and beyond).
Though he would prefer to go around au natural, he’s generally been forced by the Powers-That-Be to wear less-than-awesome green or purple shorts (size CMLXXX plus-plus). These cause him some embarrassment and having them manufactured means he contributes significantly, against his will, to the wealth of several smaller Asian nations — so it’s best not to mention them at all when talking to him.
Foom was introduced to the world by that doyen of giant monster comicdom, the great Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Marvel’s Strange Tales Vol. 1 #89 (October 1961), where he was unwittingly used to defeat an army of evil, freedom-hating Communist invaders. He has since appeared with many of the Marvel superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and The Mighty Thor.
Since the Golden Age of Kirby, Foom has been drawn by such luminaries as Mike Mignola:
Jim Cheung :
… and Arthur Adams:
Moreover, his image has been immortalised in sculpture:
The Backbrain recently stumbled upon Fin Fang Foom (who had adopted one of his more diminutive aspects) at a yum cha restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown and took the opportunity to ask him about his auspicious career.
This exclusive interview will be posted shortly, once the burns have healed.
For more information on Fin Fang Foom, go here.
Note: all images are copyright © Marvel Comics and the respective artists. Where I have not acknowledged the particular artist it is because I did not know who it was and will gladly add an acknowledgment if someone lets me know.
Read Part 2: the Interview here.