Ordered to create a sculpture that would glorify the Soviet Union, Russian sculptor Boris Petrovski defiantly carved a hundred-foot granite Colossus that reflected his view of the Soviet state as a cold, inhuman monolith. Just before the statue's unveiling, a crab-like Kigor extraterrestrial crash-landed nearby and sought sanctuary in the Colossus, projecting himself into the statue and bringing it to life. The Soviet authorities attacked it, and the statue went on a destructive rampage through Moscow until a Kigor rescue craft retrieved the stranded alien, leaving behind the inert Colossus. Becoming a Soviet propaganda symbol as originally intended, the Colossus was later sent to the U.S.A. as part of an international exhibition; but a group of warlike Kigors reanimated the statue and terrorized Los Angeles until Delazny Studios special effects expert Bob O'Bryan tricked the Kigors into inhabiting another giant construct which he had booby-trapped with explosives.
Later, embittered and wheelchair-bound after an accident, O'Bryan became obsessed with the statue, which represented the high point of his life. Around the same time, terminally ill criminal genius Dr. Aloysius Vault tried to seize the Colossus as his new host body, reducing the statue in size to make it more practical for this purpose. Opposing Vault's efforts, O'Bryan somehow projected his own consciousness into the statue and went on occasional forays as It, the Living Colossus. As It, O'Bryan thwarted Vault repeatedly and even saved Earth from the invading aliens of Stonus 5 with the aid of Fin Fang Foom. O'Bryan later regained his own mobility through intensive physical rehab and married actress Diane Cummings. When Bob animated It to battle a rampaging Hulk, Vault forced O'Bryan out of the statue and finally assumed control of the Colossus; but when a power-mad Vault attacked the Hulk, the monster smashed It into dust and Vault died of the strain.
The statue's legacy lived on: O'Bryan built a robot duplicate of It featured in the Return of the Living Colossus movie (and O'Bryan's assistant Otto Ranetti later built his own giant robot movie monster, Karrg). Criminal scientist Karl Malus adapted the same process used to animate the original Colossus when he empowered the protoplasm-animating super-being Coldfire. More recently, O'Bryan fell under the sway of crime boss Lotus Newmark, who had him reassemble the pulverized Colossus and pit it against her enemy Wonder Man; but Wonder Man's ally Beast freed O'Bryan from Newmark's control and the Colossus was rendered inert again.