Iconic cover announcing the first appearance of Galactus–but without actually depicting him!
Right on the heels of a 4-issue arc introducing The Inhumans (and, in fact, concluding that arc in the first few pages of #48), Stan and Jack introduce two of the most indelible, unforgettable characters in the history of Marvel comics:
Galactus and The Silver Surfer.
Along the way, Jack gets to draw the stuff that people love: Giant spaceships.
In addition, The Watcher comes down from the moon again and interferes. This marks his third appearance in comic books, and in 2 out of 3 of those appearances, he’s been interfering. That makes his track record worse than Captain Picard in terms of abiding the prime directive.
In this issue, he goes so far as to hide the Earth from Surfer to try to protect them.
Because Earth life is so much more interesting than other lives. Those aren’t his exact words, but that’s about the jist of it. Which is pretty funny, actually. If a reality gets high enough Watcher ratings, the Watchers will save it from cancellation!
On the other hand, it’s a little bit racist. And dude is a skinhead white guy, so there you have it.
On to the first appearance of Galactus:
He looks an awful lot like Jack Kirby’s later design for the New Gods. I never got into that series, but lots of folks say they dig it.
Not only do we meet the purple helmed planet eater—who, please note, has a “G” on his chest in the original Kirby design—but we also see The Punisher.
Yeah. Not the Frank Castle guy. This is the first Marvel character with that moniker. Far as I know, we never see him again.
Reed scares Galactus off by brandishing the Ultimate Nullifier, an ancient weapon.
At the end of the story, Human Torch goes to college where he meets his roommate: Wyatt Wingfoot.
The Fantastic Four, as we’ll see through reading every issue, have an unusually broad-based and interesting supporting human cast. Wingfoot, who eventually gets to sleep with She-Hulk, is a Native American, decathlon medalist, and martial arts expert who tags along on many future F4 adventures. But for now, he’s just a new dude.