Monday, October 6, 2014


Comprising no small portion of the truly gone and forgotten – but outstanding - characters of American comics are the many monsters which populated the ranks prior to the re-ascendance of the super-hero genre in the 1960s. Goo-Gam, Goom, Zzutak,Lo-Karr, Sserpo, Spragg, Bombu, Nev Schulman and, of course, Fin Fang Foom – every one of them, the royalty of scaly, alien monsters from outer space who exist only to conquer.

"In fact, how did you get in here?"
Not to be forgotten is MOOMBA (short for “Monster Roomba”), an oft-reprinted veteran of the Atlas-era Marvel comics. Debuting in Tales to Astonish, the 100% organic Free Trade conqueror from beyond space and time also showed up in Chamber of Thrills and Creatures on the Loose (not to mention having the honor of being the first creature killed by Marvel’s newly-acquired Angela character. No word on when Tony, Mona and Jonathan might show up), showing a staying power that’s all too innuendo-laden considering that he’s made of wood.

Moomba’s story begins as all do monster stories do – the turbulent years of puberty! No,wait, I mean “With a nameless white male dickhead protagonist talking utter shit.” In this case, it’s a displaced Caucasian playing the role of Great White Hunter from a cabin in the middle of the wilds of Africa. When the market for his purloined lion heads and other animal trophies begins to falter, he’s convinced by one of the largest exporters of native art on the continent to start collecting native doodads and geegaws which he can sell to collectors across the world. You know, stealing stuff, basically.

B’Wana Opportunist actually makes a pretty decent turn as an art and antiquities collector (we call those “thieves” these days), trading “beads and trinkets” and occasionally flour for hand-carved statues. Still, when he comes across a twenty-foot tall behemoth of a wood carving in the middle of the woods, he decides to haul off with it, owner-be-damned. This is a helluva time to start a shoplifting career, fella, you might want to start off with a pack of gum.

What Moomba says before he holds a human.
Aiming to hack the statue to pieces and nail it back together later (artsy!), our narrator Nameless Cracker discovers that the statue – is alive! Moreso, it’s MOOMBA, leader of an alien tribe of psychic, flying creatures who are made of some sort of dense wood which is invulnerable to flame, bullets and water – no need to use a coaster on Moomba!

“On the world from which I come, all life is made of wood, even as yours is made of flesh and blood” he explains, unnecessarily, “But my people are stronger, wiser … that is why I have brought an army here to conquer you puny humans.” This was exactly our rationale for the war in Iraq, you know. Yet, from Moomba, I somehow believe it.

Moomba and his army of objets-de-art turned invading army spring to life, leaping from the shelves of collectors and marching out of the Tiki Room in Disneyland, and quickly prove themselves the masters of Earth’s weapons. Shrugging off bullets and overturning ocean liners with ease, the wooden weirdos meet their match in a humble tribal witch doctor, “Katu” of “The Balubbi Tribe” (close enough, I guess). Katu has a magic powder which paralyzes and kills the invading aliens, which is all the impetus the big cowards need to turn themselves into a spaceship and fly away from the planet forever. Hey, who am I to judge, maybe I would too.

It's Open Mic night for Moombanian stand-ups.
Although Katu is hands-down the hero of this story, he vanishes as soon as Moomba and his Moombunnies are fast on their way back to Moomtropolis, but not before he orders Moomba to use his tremendous mental powers to erase the knowledge of the invasion from the minds of men. Is this to spare humanity the trauma of a terrible invasion? No, it’s because Katu doesn’t want to impede the trade in African artifacts, of which people might now be rightly suspicious.

So instead what we end up with is a world where no one remembers the invasion, but time jumped forward a week, someone stole a shit-ton of handcarved art and also tons of motherfuckers and a couple ships were submerged violently. Someone’s gonna notice eventually – after all, the narrator fills himself in on the missing week by checking his diary. I have to assume the invasion managed to get on the news, or at least someone musta taken a photo. I don’t know why he had the world mind-wiped, Katu might’ve been better served by having Moomba brainwash the world into collecting tribal art like Pokemons.

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