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Bomba (Monsterbus p.302)

Another triumph from Kirby! But it looks like Lee ruined the ending again.

First, the good news: this is (in my opinion) a classic.

  • A fresh new idea, 
  • a completely different kind of monster, 
  • a new exotic location, 
  • great art, 
  • a story driven by personality: Bomba was irritated by American attitudes, and it was this, not any hurry to conquer the earth, that drove the story. 
  • rational heroes
  • and real brain food: why do we assume that aliens will target Americans or Europeans? This alien preferred the company of Amazonian people. 

This is an excellent example of how Kirby writes: he described his method in interviews: he would immerse himself in a situation without any plan, and let the situation dictate what happened next. This story is like that, it really feels believable and natural to me. I love every frame!

Now the bad news: the ending is obviously changed. The final panel art is not how Kirby drew planets. And the final dialog is classic Stan Lee: it adds nothing, merely restating what we know, yet in the most extreme way possible. The repetition of a question is pure Stan. The penultimate frame dialog is probably edited as well: it's wordy, builds up to the new ending, and merely explains what we were already told.

The original ending would have explained how Bomboo died: that mystery was the climax of the story, and the natural way to end. No competent writer would build up to that point then not explain it at the end. Almost certainly the hero used some wire from the plane as a lighting rod, and the thunderstorm did the rest. But that means he technically killed someone, and Lee may have felt this was a "scene of excessive violence" as prohibited by the Comics Code. Most people would disagree that a dramatic lightning death was excessively violent, but Lee was editing for young children so would not want the hero to dramatically kill someone who was thought (at the time) to be human.