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At least his giant stone genitals are covered – Astonishing Tales #23

October 28, 2010

The Living Colossus had a short run in Astonishing Tales. It’s the story of a paralyzed man, Bob O’Brian, who, through mind transference, can inhabit and animate the body of a giant stone statue. There’s little to make it all that unique, but it has its moments.

Here’s a full-body shot of the the Living Colossus, just to give you a taste of the endeavor:

Maybe it’s just me, but the size of our hero, his attire, his bald dome and the palm treed locale remind me of that memorable panel in Watchmen of Doctor Manhattan zapping Vietcong. You know the one.

Anyway, I don’t have a ton to say about the Tony Isabella/Dick Ayers story (with some interspersed reprinted art from Jack Kirby and Ayers) in this issue — it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just it didn’t really grab me. What did get me was the appearance of this fella:

Folks, we have a Fin Fang Foom sighting!

Mr. Foom is, as you might expect, summoned by evil dudes who want the giant and ancient dragon to do all sorts of malevolent deeds. But when he stumbles upon the Living Colussus, who’s caught in the middle of a civil war between alien gargoyle factions (?!), the Foominator has a choice to make:

Whose side does he take?:

There’s something gratifying about watching an evil dragon punch, chop, kick and crunch his way to the side of good, no matter how temporary his white knight act may be.

When I read this, it got me to thinking about what an effective storytelling angle it is to have a villain become a hero. In pro wrestling, it’s called “turning face” — here’s a prime example from the WWF’s heyday, as the Big Boss Man turns his back on his manager, Slick, and the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, and in so doing comes to the aid of Jake “The Snake” Roberts:

It’s so relaxing to watch oversized half-naked men yelling and spitting at each other.

And everyone is familair with this classic “face turn” from the world of cinema:

Usually you need another villain to offer some reproach or insult to the bad guy that’s about to switch sides. You’ll find examples all over the place, so I won’t bog down this post by giving a catalog of them. Suffice it to say, it’s a great technique. It’s oh so basic, but oh so effective. Create a character that people love to hate, and it’s not too hard to make people simply love that same character. I’m not saying people love Fin Fang Foom, but some of the elements of the process are still there.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2010 12:14 am

    Wait! People do love Fin Fang Foom! And by people I mean me. But there are probably others!

    • October 30, 2010 12:33 am

      I was hedging my bets with that statement, but I’m gratified to know that menacing dragons can find love in today’s world.

  2. Edo Bosnar permalink
    October 29, 2010 4:48 am

    A big green dragon wearing Speedos. What’s not to love?

    • October 30, 2010 12:36 am

      It kind of begs the question — Do Foom and the Colossus get their undies from the same purveyor of giant garments?

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