Thursday, June 30, 2011

Secret Origina!

The Truly Secret Origin of The Watcher!

Old school Marvel fans are well acquainted with THE WATCHER, that well-intentioned alien observer who can't seem to keep from meddling in the affairs of earthlings. Uatu, as he was later christened, first appeared in Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963), when the superhero team was on the moon, battling a ghostly Commie and his team of intelligent apes. [Even in those days it was a hard premise to swallow.]

How many of you know that Uatu wasn't the first big bald guy in a hospital gown to go by the name of Watcher and set humanity straight? In fact, three years earlier (May, 1960), the original Watcher, Codin by name, made his first and only appearance. As you'll see, this Watcher wasn't sworn to non-interference. On the contrary, the Watcher band was formed specifically to meddle in the affairs of everyone in the universe. Their mission was to prevent the discovery of the "Forbidden Formula," a liquid which, if mixed, would cause "the entire galaxy [to] EXPLODE!"

The stuff must have been easy to make, because Watchers headed off the deadly manufacture "eighty times a day" all over the galaxy. That's what I call job security.

Anyway, from issue 18 of Charlton's Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds here's the only adventure of the original Watcher, told in just five awkwardly written and indifferently drawn pages. I believe the penciller is Lou Morales. Obviously the inker is Vince Colletta.

By the way, I sincerely doubt Stan Lee was cribbing ideas from Charlton comics in 1960. This was surely another of those strange coincidences that happen from time to time in a high-volume industry like comics.

1 comment:

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I don't think Jack Kirby always knew where he got his inspiration, though. So either he threw it in or when Stan Lee came up with the basic idea, he used parts of a remembered visual?