Ask the Professor #3 — Skrulls

Mike B. from Phoenix (whom the Professor has known since he was just a wee lad) asks:
Phil, you look exactly the same as you did 10 years ago. To what do you attribute your lack of aging? Are you a clone, perhaps? Or, *gasp* a skrull? OK, so that isn’t a question about a storyline, character, artist, or trivia. How about we stick with the skrull theme and you tell us what ever happened to the skrulls the FF turned into cows, and if you think they will in any way be a part of the upcoming skrull invasion storyline.

Well, Mike B., The Professor is eternal; reading comics keeps him young (the rumor that the Professor’s youth actually is the result of dark occult ceremonies involving killing virgins — of which comic stores have, of course, an unending supply, all of whom live in their parents’ basements and therefore will never be missed — is clearly untrue. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!).

Er, um, evil laughter aside, let’s talk about Skrulls (the Professor is doing this off the top of his head, because he’s too lazy to look up any of the stories, so let’s see how close he can get):

The original Skrulls appeared in Fantastic Four #2, as four alien shapeshifters, and at the end of that issue Reed Richards had forced them to turn into cows, and hypnotised them into thinking they were cows, in one of those Stan and Jack ironic monster story endings. In later FF stories, it was established that there was a huge Skrull Empire out in space, and we got variations like the Super Skrull (whose power-supplying, physics-defying Energy Ray From the Sky was seen in the latest Illuminati book). The original four guys, though, just sat in the field chewing their cuds.

Then, along about the early ’70s, Roy Thomas and Neal Adams resurrected them, de-hypnotised them and used them to kick off the famous Kree-Skrull War in Avengers #92-96. If the Professor’s memory isn’t failing him, one of them died, and the others went back to being cows.

Then, even later, during John Byrne’s ’80s run on FF, he remembered the cows, and decided to write a story (in FF Annual #… 17?) about what happened to a town who drank the alien milk they were producing. The Professor really can’t remember how that story ended, except that it must have left the cows in place, because…

… in the ’90s, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, in some of their earliest work for Marvel, brought back the concept in the mini-series Skrull Kill Krew. Now, the cows had been slaughtered and turned into beef, and the unlucky humans who ate it gained… some sort of powers from the weird alien shapechanging cells they’d ingested, and went off to… um, kill any other Skrulls that might have been on the planet. The whole thing was too weird for the Professor (and apparently for most readers, too, since sales weren’t that good, and a promised sequel has never appeared).

So, assuming that all of that’s in continuity, the original Skrull cows are gone, but the Kill Krew could very well end up playing a part in next year’s big Infiltration crossover thingie, especially with their Skrull-fighting and sensing powers. Since the bodacious bovines (as Stan might say) or their spawn seem to have made an appearance in each decade of the Marvel Age so far, that would be, well, udderly appropriate.

About Phil

With 40 years of experience in comic reading, collecting and reviewing, English Professor Phil Mateer has an encyclopedic mind for comics. Feel free to ask Phil about storylines, characters, artists or for that matter, any comic book trivia. He will post your questions and answers on the AABC blog. His knowledge is unparalleled! He is also our warehouse manager, so if you are looking for that hard to find comic book, ask Phil!
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