Stan Lee's Wildest Works
In celebration of Stan Lee's 100th birthday, check out some of his wildest works, including Trull the Unhuman, Stilt-Man, the Knights of Wundagore, and more!
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During his time as a writer, scripter, and editor, Stan Lee told thousands of Marvel stories with his creative collaborators. Those stories laid the foundation for the modern Marvel Universe with timeless tales that introduced a generation of pop culture icons, as well as some of comics’ strangest and most surprising ideas.
To celebrate Stan “the Man” Lee’s 100th birthday, we’re taking a look back at some of the wildest stories he ever worked on, which continue to reverberate throughout the Marvel Universe.
Long before Groot joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, another member of his alien race—also named Groot—debuted as “The Monster from Planet X” in TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #13 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers. After landing in a forest on Earth, this Groot grew to a giant size by absorbing nearby trees and wooden objects. Proclaiming himself to be the Monarch of Planet X, Groot planned to use his plant-controlling powers to ensnare a small town in a net of tree roots and take it back to his homeworld for study. However, a scientist named Leslie Evans foiled Groot’s plans and seemingly killed the alien with a specialized breed of wood-eating termites.
THE HOUSE OF SHADOWS
During one of Doctor Strange’s earliest adventures, the Master of the Mystic Arts investigated the House of Shadows, a supposedly haunted house, in STRANGE TALES (1951) #120 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. However, this was no ordinary haunted house. After a reporter disappeared while exploring the house on live TV, Strange confronted the entity that was seemingly within the house and learned the house itself was a creature from another dimension that came to Earth to observe humanity. After saving the reporter from the surprisingly resilient house, Strange banished it to its home dimension. Recently, the House of Shadows resurfaced and now serves as the living headquarters of Moon Knight and his allies.
The Marvel Universe has plenty of heroes and villains with high tech suits of armor, but none of them measure up to Stilt-Man, who developed a suit with telescoping legs that can send him 290 feet into the air. In DAREDEVIL (1964) #8 by Stan Lee and Wally Wood, he used his magnificent height to steal money from a helicopter as it took off and to vacuum up valuables from the patrons of a rooftop party. After Daredevil struggled to bring the villain down, Stilt-Man accidentally used a shrink ray on himself that made him microscopic. In his many subsequent appearances, Stilt-Man has shown heroes like Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Iron Man that he remains a serious threat.
To prove his bizarre theory that every living thing on Earth has intelligence, an unnamed scientist traveled to a deserted island to test an experimental serum that could increase a plant’s sentience in 1961’s TALES OF SUSPENSE (1959) #19 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers. However, that serum backfired spectacularly when it turned a weed into the super strong, telekinetic Green Thing.
The plant monster immediately attacked the scientist and even crushed a tiger shark in its roots after being led into the ocean. After the scientist sprayed a more complex Ignatius Rex plant with the serum, that plant evolved into a new creature that crushed the Green Thing. While the Ignatius Rex plant stayed on the island, the Green Thing returned years later after being summoned by the monster-controlling Inhuman Kid Kaiju during MONSTERS UNLEASHED (2017).
RED GHOST’S SUPER APES
Even before they had superpowers, the Red Ghost’s Super-Apes were an impressive group of primates. Debuting in FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #13 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko as assistants to cosmonaut Ivan Kragoff, the Super-Apes were able to operate his spaceship, repair his vessel, and use firearms. But after being exposed to the same cosmic rays that gave the Fantastic Four their powers, Mikhlo the gorilla developed super-strength, Peotor the orangutan developed magnetic powers, and Igor the baboon developed shapeshifting abilities. Along with the intangible Red Ghost, the Super-Apes went on to menace the FF, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the rest of the Marvel Universe for years.
EGO THE LIVING PLANET
Featuring one of Jack Kirby’s most striking designs, Ego the Living Planet debuted as part of a collage in THOR (1966) #132 by Stan Lee, Kirby, and Vince Colletta. Hailing from the mysterious Black Galaxy bio-verse, the self-aware Ego absorbed spacecraft and planets until he set his sights on the rest of the universe. On behalf of the nearby Rigellians, Thor faced Ego, who created waves of mindless humanoid "Anti-bodies" to face the Thunder God. After a bitter fight, Thor ultimately summoned a cosmic storm and unleashed a thermo-blast that defeated Ego and sealed him in his bio-verse. Nevertheless, after that fight with Thor, Ego went on to become a major player on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe.
TIM BOO BA
Many of the monsters that menace the Marvel Universe are giants, but Tim Boo Ba is different. Originally from what is now known as the Microverse, Tim Boo Ba was a world-conquering despot who ruled without mercy. However, he seemingly perished in a great flood during his debut in 1961’s AMAZING ADULT FANTASY #9 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
As the end of that story revealed, though, the massive Microverse flood was caused by a few drops of water falling onto a boy’s model planet in the regular-size world. Since then, Tim Boo Ba has resurfaced and made several unsuccessful attempts to invade humanity’s world.
The shapeshifting Skrulls may be one of the most famous alien races in the Marvel Universe, but their debut took a bizarre turn in FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #2 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and George Klein. To prepare Earth for an alien invasion, four Skrulls posed as the Fantastic Four and tried to ruin the team’s reputation. After defeating this Skrull advance team, the real Fantastic Four warned the approaching invasion force away by making them think that the monsters that appeared in Marvel’s comics were real. After that plan worked, Mister Fantastic made the imprisoned Skrulls transform into cows and hypnotized them into believing that they really were cows. Although the Skrull cows were supposed to live out their lives in peace, the aliens were eventually used for milk and beef, which contaminated the food supply and turned some of those who consumed their byproducts into the Skrull Kill Krew.
THE SCARLET BEETLE
During his early days as Ant-Man, Hank Pym met one of his strangest foes, the Scarlet Beetle, in TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #39 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. After being exposed to radiation from an atomic experiment, the Scarlet Beetle was transformed from a regular insect into a telepathic revolutionary who tried to get his fellow insects to revolt against humanity.
While fighting Ant-Man, the mutated beetle used Pym Particles to enlarge himself to human size and ordered his army to attack. However, Ant-Man and his loyal ants stopped the Scarlet Beetle’s forces with honey, water, and pesticide. After defeating the Scarlet Beetle, Ant-Man shrank the creature back down to its normal size and temporarily reduced its intelligence.
FIN FANG FOOM
Sporting one of Marvel’s most memorable character names, Fin Fang Foom went from one-off appearance to Marvel mainstay after debuting in STRANGE TALES (1951) #89 by Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers. Fin Fang Foom was awakened from a centuries-long sleep by a teenager named Chan Liuchow, who wanted the dragon-like alien to take on an invading army. While chasing the teen, Fin Fang Foom went on a rampage that destroyed the army, even using part of the Great Wall of China like a whip. Although Liuchow sent Foom back to sleep with a special herb, the alien later returned to regularly menace heroes like Iron Man and the Hulk.
TRULL THE UNHUMAN
While most of Marvel’s monsters have imposing physical forms, Trull the Unhuman posed a different kind of threat in TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #21 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers. After his spaceship crashed onto Earth and severely injured his body, Trull’s spirit possessed an experimental steam shovel that was near his jungle crash site. After a short rampage, Trull ordered everyone near the site to gather materials to help him understand and conquer the world.
As he terrorized the people, Trull worked out complex math by writing in soil with a tree branch and even built a functioning television out of nearby materials. However, Trull was ultimately defeated when an elephant attacked and destroyed his steam shovel body. During CIVIL WAR II (2016), Trull resurfaced in New York, where he joined Damage Control.
THE KNIGHTS OF WUNDAGORE
As the High Evolutionary, scientist Herbert Wyndham has used his genetic expertise to create all sorts of bizarre creatures. His strangest creations, the Knights of Wundagore, debuted alongside him in THOR (1966) #134 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Vince Colletta. Like the other New Men, the Knights of Wundagore began life as regular animals before the High Evolutionary gave them humanoid appearances and human intelligence.
With personalities and moral codes based on the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Tagar, Sir Ossilot, Sir Lepard, and the others rode robotic atomic steeds and took on Man-Beast, a violent, highly evolved wolf creature, alongside Thor. After defeating the Man-Beast, the Knights of Wundagore remained by the High Evolutionary’s side as his exploits took him to the far corners of the Marvel Universe.
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