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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Saved by Faulty Science!

Every day this August I’ll be spotlighting strange but ultimately endearing comic stories, one a day (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of past installments of this feature.

Today we look at Strange Tales #80 and the debut of Gargantus and how he was defeated by…odd scientific principles!

The story was likely penned by Stan Lee, but we don’t know for sure (as there is no records for the issue). The art is by Kirby and Ditko.

Here is the story of Gargantus…

Ah, our atmosphere, messing up monsters for years!

By the by, I also love how the creature is called Gargantus on the cover and on the title page, but in the story he changes between Gargantus and Gigantus seemingly willy nilly.


By the by, I also love how the creature is called Gargantus on the cover and on the title page, but in the story the people call him Gigantus.

Not quite: he calls himself Gargantus, then changes it two panels later to Gigantus, then the humans call him Gargantus again. He’s like the “Prince” of monsters…

where did he get his shorts and learn to speak English?

Art by Kirby and Ditko? That’s freaking me out!

I think Stan Lee was trying to channel the twist from War of the Worlds but kinda dropped the ball or was just rushing.

I’m impressed with the usage of the word “sibilant,” even if they did misspell it.

I’m glad I recently realized you occasionally post retroactively. I wonder how many posts in the pasts I’ve missed due to not realizing this.

randypan the goatboy

August 30, 2011 at 11:53 am

maybe the two add up to his full name Gigantus gargantuas…sounds like a description of wiley coyote in a road runner cartoon

Technically, this isn’t really all that bad a science…


Giant monsters of this size ARE implausible. Now, the story is more than a little shifty in its ability to portray the problems realistically (since the monster would instantly notice the extreme strain it’s under when out of the water’s bouyancy, rather than being just fine for several hours and then collapsing all of a sudden), but it’s much better science than a giant monster NOT dying because it’s too big.

Yes, Peter is right. I remember reading about the square-cube law in either the Science of Superheroes or Physics of Superheroes, one of those books…forget which one. It described why Giant Man and other growing heroes would not work in real life.

Ed, I’m betting that Fin Fang Foom washes his shorts in the ocean above Gigantus/Gargantus and occasionally a pair gets loose and drifts down. Maybe Fin writes his name in the waistbands and G/G decyphered the language.

The creature’s size, ability to breathe out of water, and tolerance for different pressures are all problems. As Peter noted, any reaction should happen immediately, not hours later.

Note also that the creature wears swim trunks. Not only that, but special swim trunks with an opening for the tail. Another little-known fact is that the further down you go, the more clothing options are available.

Rob – yeah, the reaction should have happend much sooner I think. That’s why I say he was probably going for a War of the Worlds thing, where in that book the aliens die well into their invasion because they have no resistance to earth germs, but he screwed up because while sickness takes a while to take hold and kill you, the square-cube law doesn’t.

The story is a cross between “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and “The War of the Worlds.” Stan must’ve been out of original ideas that month.

Another problem: The creature is described as half-reptilian, which doesn’t help, since reptiles breathe air. “Half-fish” would’ve been better.

I figure the creature was gurgling its name, which was halfway between “Gigantus” and “Gargantus.” Hence the alleged typos. Please send me a no-prize, Marvel.

It might not be the square cube law that got him (since that’s generally ignored in comics anyway), and as far as oxygen content goes, our air is far more rich than deep sea water, which is why we use lungs instead of gills (whatever Giganticaurus is using here).

BUT he may have surfaced too quickly and given himself the bends! Since he is invulnerable to Nike missiles it may be that he just didn’t feel the terrible pain usually associated with the bends and only noticed something was wrong when his heart or brain got a giant nitrogen bubble in it and killed him.

And he’s Fin Fang Foom’s cousin, from the no-neck side of the family.

Why was Gargantus/Gigantus able to survive on land as long he could?

Why were Marvel’s monsters always depicted wearing trunks?

@ David Fullam
Why were Marvel’s monsters always depicted wearing trunks?

To hide their enormous penis. Ask a simple question…

This is what’s always amused me about the Silver Surfer. Galactus transformed him into a silver omnipotent being with silver trunks! Or, based on some later artistic representations, with no trunks at all meaning his penis was removed during the transformation.

Personally I’ve always imagined that, without self-censorship/ comics code, Silver Surfer and all these monsters would be viewed as they are supposed to be – butt naked with their junk hanging out all over the place. Silver Surfer, especially when he was Galactus’ herald was so removed from humanity that hiding his penis wouldn’t even occur to him because he’s above such trivial concerns (such as Dr Manhattan).

On a personal note I can’t remember the last time I ever pondered so much about Superhero genitals?

I figured they could have just smoothed them over, like a doll. Guess that might have ticked off the code a little too much. That would still be monster nudity.

Oh My God.

It’s wearing underpants!

Well, he’s from an undersea civilization of intelligent talking creatures, so there’s no reason they can’t have underpants (“Yes, my pants are fashioned from the finest fishskins! My woman loves them!”)
Stories like this had awesome Kirby covers and deadly dull execution.

Ah, the deep-sea explorer smokes a pipe. Great way to keep your lungs healthy for those long hours in a pressurized environment. And by the way, congratulations on your air-tight pre-mission checklist. Locating a stowaway on a vessel the size of a Mini Cooper…heck, who can be expected to get it right every time? By the way, not to tell you your job but creatures get SMALLER not larger as you go down, professor. But heck, if Stan the Man didn’t know, why would you?

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