It! The Living Colossus

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It! The Living Colossus
LivingColossus.jpg
It! The Living Colossus gets his own short lived miniseries starting with Astonishing Tales #21.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Tales of Suspense #14 (Feb. 1961)
Created by Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Robert "Bob" O'Bryan
Abilities Superhuman strength
Flight
Ability to command intelligence which was forced back into its original body

It! The Living Colossus (Robert "Bob" O'Bryan) is a fictional character in comic-book published by Marvel Comics. Initially a statue animated by a hostile extraterrestrial, he first appeared in the science-fiction anthology series Tales of Suspense #14 (Feb. 1961), in a story drawn by Jack Kirby (writer unknown). He was revived in Astonishing Tales #21 (Dec. 1973) by writer Tony Isabella and artist Dick Ayers as the protagonist of a short-lived feature, in which he was animated by a wheelchair-using special-effects designer.

Publication history[edit]

It! The Living Colossus debuted in the 18-page science fiction story "I Created the Colossus" in the anthology series Tales of Suspense #14 (Feb. 1961), published by Marvel Comics' 1950s and early 1960s forerunner, Atlas Comics. Penciled by industry legend Jack Kirby and inked by Dick Ayers, and scripted by an uncredited writer, this "Marvel pre-superhero" monster returned for a 13-page sequel story, "Colossus Lives Again", by the same art team, in the by-now Marvel comic Tales of Suspense #20 (Aug. 1961). The two stories were reprinted in, respectively, Monsters on the Prowl #17 (June 1972) and #25 (Sept. 1973).

The character was revived in Astonishing Tales #21 (Dec. 1973) by writer Tony Isabella and artist Dick Ayers, who both drew and lettered the stories. The feature ran four issues, through #24 (June 1974).

Isabella said in 2001 that after the Theodore Sturgeon story "It!" in Supernatural Thrillers #1 (Dec. 1972) had sold well, "Came the word from on high that Marvel should do a regular 'It!' series". Marvel already had an It-like swamp monster in Man-Thing, so, "looking over the sales figures for recent issues of Marvel's giant monster reprint books, we discovered the issues which reprinted the 'Colossus' stories by Jack Kirby [Monsters on the Prowl #17 and 25] sold much better than the other issues which had been published around the same time".[1]

In 2009, Isabella elaborated, saying editor-in-chief Roy Thomas

...wanted to give me a series to write and knew I was a monster-movie fan. He asked for my input on our new 'It', and that's when I learned [the "Colossus" sales information]. I pitched him on the new 'It' being a continuation of those stories, though in my original pitch, the special effects-man hero of the second Colossus story had married his actress sweetheart and already started a family with her. Any member of the family would have been able to activate and control the Colossus. Roy steered me to the more dramatic premise of the hero being paralyzed.[2]

Assessing the series, Isabella said, "It was an honor working with Dick Ayers, one of the original 'Big Four' artists of the Marvel Universe. However, I don't think Dick was at his best here. He wasn't being treated very well by Marvel and it was showing in his work".[1]

In an unusual storytelling technique for the time, Isabella made longer stories than the budgeted 15-page tales by inserting reprint panels or pages from 1959-61 pre-superhero monster stories. "I could expand the page count of the 'It!' stories while including backstory which would have otherwise eaten up some of those new pages".[1]

Had the series continued, Isabella said in 2009, "subsequent stories would have featured Goom and Googam ... and a team-up with [the superhero] Thor to stop an invasion of Earth by the Storm Giants of Norse legend".[3]

The character perished in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #244 (Feb. 1980), a fill-in issue, though it was rebuilt in a story the following decade. Writer Steven Grant recalled,

[Editor] Al Milgrom suggested It, mainly because he’d already enlisted Carmine [Infantino] to draw the story, and we both very fondly remembered all the superhero and sci-fi stories Carmine drew at DC in the ’50s and ’60s featuring giants, with an emphasis on giant feet. ... So Al suggested using It, Marvel’s most expendable giant character of the day. No longer sure which of us decided it was time to grind him into dust-Dust-DUST, but I do remember that was an intentional friendly rib at Jim Shooter’s Korvac storyline in Avengers.[vague][4]

Fictional character biography[edit]

It! The Living Colossus was an immense, 100-foot-tall stone humanoid statue constructed by Moscow sculptor Boris Petrovski to protest against the oppressive nature of the Soviet government. It became animated initially by the mind transferral of an alien Kigor and rampaged briefly through Moscow after being attacked by the military. When the rescue party arrived, the Kigor abandoned the Colossus and returned to its home-world, leaving It inanimate.[5] The statue was later transported to Los Angeles, California and reanimated by the Kigors, who used it to attack the U.S. Army. The Kigors were defeated by Hollywood special-effects designer Bob O'Bryan and the statue was rendered inanimate.[6]

An accident later robbed O'Bryan of the use of his legs, compelling him to use a wheelchair. The statue was stolen by the evil Doctor Vault, who reduced It in size from 100 feet (30 m) to 30 feet (9.1 m). It was then animated by the mind transferral of O'Bryan, and It battled Vault's minions and escaped.[7] It then battled Granitor and alien invaders from the planet Stonus V. Alongside Fin Fang Foom, It defeated the invaders.[8] However, It then battled Fin Fang Foom and became controlled by the villainous Doctor Vault.[9]

O'Bryan was later cured, and married Diane Cummings. As It, he battled the Hulk. The statue became controlled by Doctor Vault, and was totally destroyed in battle with the Hulk, reduced to dust.[10] It was rebuilt as a robot,[11] for use by O'Bryan in his films. Later, the original It was reformed by O'Bryan under the control of Lotus Newmark.[12]

After a battle with Doctor Doom, It was lost in the Pacific Ocean near the Galapagos Islands. O'Bryan lost his connection to both his normal body and the Colossus, and his body was left in a vegetative state. Five years later, Deadpool assisted O'Bryan's niece in retrieving the Colossus from the ocean floor and restoring O'Bryan's mind.[13]

The Initiative[edit]

O'Bryan is being considered as a "potential recruit" for the Initiative program, according to Civil War: Battle Damage Report.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Bob O'Bryan becomes It through mind transferral into an animated stone statue, its composition altered by the alien Kigors. It has tremendous superhuman strength, as well as superhuman stamina and durability, and the ability to manipulate gravitons for flight. As a statue, It could survive underwater without air. However, It has a vulnerability to nerve gas or knockout gas, forcing the command intelligence back into its original body. There is also an unrevealed time limit for the command intelligence to remain in the statue.

Other versions[edit]

Reed Richards made a duplicate of It using the "Ionic Inanimate Matter Converter". It was sent to oppose the Cosmic Cube-empowered Dr. Doom.[14]

Another duplicate of It, as well as a second, brown version of the creature, fought on behalf of the terrorist front organization H.A.T.E., defending the secret State 51 installation from the Nextwave squad.[15]

Other characters[edit]

There have been other characters in the Marvel Universe known as "It". These include:

  • Roger Kirk, was known as "It" (and also "The Thing That Couldn't Die"), in Supernatural Thrillers #1. Kirk had died in 1929 and became a swamp creature created from the reanimated human corpse and vegetation which accumulated around his skeleton. It murdered those around it until it fell into a stream, which washed the skeleton clean.
  • An operation of Roxxon was known as "I.T." and was run by Albert DeVoor. I.T. went under different alias on each world in an effort to ignite a nuclear war between mainstream Marvel Earth (as Inter-Looking Technologies), Earth-A (as Inter-Related Technocracies) and the Fifth Dimension (as Inter-Politan Thermodynamics) in order to generate power for Polemachus (see Arkon). This occurred in Fantastic Four #160-163.
  • In House of M: Fantastic Four #1, Ben Grimm, the only survivor of the ill-fated space shuttle flight of Reed Richards and his crew, was captured and named "It" by Victor von Doom and was a member of the Fearsome Foursome.
  • In Tales to Astonish #92-93, a robot of unknown origins was called "It the Silent One". It was activated on the ocean floor and battled Namor. It was destroyed after a collision with a submarine.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Comic Book Artist #13, p. 100
  2. ^ Tony Isabella interviewed in Millsted, Ian (October 2009). "It! The Living Colossus". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (39): 69. 
  3. ^ Isabella in Millsted, p. 71
  4. ^ Buttery, Jarrod (February 2014). "Hulk Smash!: The Incredible Hulk in the 1970s". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (70): 18. 
  5. ^ Tales of Suspense #14 (Feb. 1961)
  6. ^ Tales of Suspense #20 (Aug. 1961)
  7. ^ Astonishing Tales #21 (Dec. 1973)
  8. ^ Astonishing Tales #22-23 (Feb. & April 1974)
  9. ^ Astonishing Tales #24 (June 1974)
  10. ^ The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #244 (Feb. 1980)
  11. ^ Wonder Man Annual #2 (1993), Marvel Comics Presents #169 (Early Dec. 1994)
  12. ^ Avengers Two: Wonder Man & the Beast #2-3 (both July 2000)
  13. ^ Deadpool Team-Up #895 (March 2010)
  14. ^ Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Comic Magazine #12 (Jan. 2002)
  15. ^ Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #11 (Feb. 2007)

External links[edit]