Real Name: Galan
Occupation: Planet Destroyer
Identity: Known throughout the universe, including Earth
Legal Status: None
Former Name: Galan
Place of Birth: Planet Taa
Marital Status: (as Galan) Unknown, (as Galactus) None
Known Relatives: None, although Galactus has spoken figuratively of Eternity and Death as his relations
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Mobile, via his worldship, throughout the known universe
First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #48
History: Galactus is the sole survivor of the universe that existed prior to the creation of the current universe. Originally Galactus was a humanoid named Galan, who was born on the planet Taa, a paradise-like world whose civilization is said to have been the most advanced of any of the known universe of that time.
However, this universe was in its final stages of collapse. Originally, this universe had been a "Cosmic Egg," a primal sphere of disorganized, dense, compact primordial matter. The sphere underwent a "Big Bang," an explosion that hurled the matter outwards, where much of it eventually condensed into stars and planets. This universe expanded in size for billions of years, and then contracted over the following billions of years. All of the matter of that universe was plunging towards a central point, where it was collapsing into a new "Cosmic Egg."
Taa's civilization was one of the last still in existence. Lethal radiation caused by the death of this universe was wiping out life on nearby planets. Galan, a space explorer, was dispatched to travel through the cosmos to find a means of saving Taa, but he found none. The radiation then killed off all but a tiny fraction of the population of Taa. Knowing their deaths were inevitable, Galan proposed to the remaining survivors that they die gloriously by traveling in a starship straight into the "Cosmic Egg." As the starship approached its destination, radiation killed all the passengers except Galan, who strangely found himself filled with new energy.
The sentience of the dying universe, contained within the "Cosmic Egg," prevented Galen and his starship from being destroyed by the "Egg's" tremendous gravitational forces and heat. (Presumably, this was a previous incarnation of Eternity, the embodiment of the life forces of the current universe.) The dying universe's sentience contacted Galan, telling him that they both would die, but that both would be reborn, and that Galan would thus become Galactus, ravager of worlds. The "Cosmic Egg" absorbed Galan into itself.
There is no way of determining how much time passed between the death of that universe and the creation of the current one. But finally the "Cosmic Egg" underwent another "Big Bang," thus creating the current universe. Eternity and Death, the ethereal embodiments of the new universe, were created in this "Big Bang," and the being that had been Galan was simultaneously hurled outward in his recreated starship. (It is because all three were created simultaneously that Galactus refers to Eternity and Death as his siblings.)
The nascent Galactus drifted in his starship for eons as life began to come into existence in the universe, including the races that would give rise to the Elders of the Universe. Eventually the nascent Galactus's starship was sighted by one of the Watchers, an ancient race of beings who had undertaken to observe the events of the universe. This Watcher, who was not Uatu, the Watcher who observes Earth, drew the starship down to his planet to study it. There he learned that the being within it had vast, growing power, and would eventually have to consume worlds to satiate his hunger for energy. Realizing the danger the nascent Galactus posed to the cosmos, this Watcher considered destroying the being before he harnessed his full power, but instead decided to abide by the Watchers' oath of non-interference, and let the nascent Galactus depart in his starship.
The nascent Galactus learned how to use his vast power, and created a suit of armor to help him regulate it. He then transformed the starship into a kind of incubation chamber, where Galactus spent centuries evolving into his current form. Finally, the incubation ship drifted into orbit around the inhabited planet Archeopia. The Archeopians themselves did not disturb the strange ship, but years later a marauding space fleet, nearing Archeopia and thinking Galactus's ship to be a weapon, attacked it. Galactus, his incubation finished, emerged, destroyed the fleet, and then, hungering for energy, consumed the biospheric energy of Archeopia. A small fleet of Archeopian ships managed to escape, but all life on the planet was destroyed. (The Archeopian race would later be fully exterminated by the living planet Ego).
Over the following millennia Galactus built himself an immense starbase, the world-ship he calls Taa II, which engulfs the Archeopian solar system. Galactus also sought out planets rich in certain unknown energies that he consumed to sustain his life. During these many millennia Galactus consumed only planets uninhabited by sentient lifeforms, except for Archeopia, and many centuries passed between his "feedings.''
However, as ages passed, the intervals between feedings decreased considerably in length, and Galactus found himself needing to consume worlds inhabited by sentient races if he could find no other worlds possessing the energy he needs in time to sustain himself. Galactus has succeeded in suppressing his sympathy for intelligent beings like himself when he was Galan, and, believing himself to be a higher kind of being than they, is willing to destroy their lives to continue his own. Moreover, he is aware that he was created to fulfill an as yet unrevealed purpose that he believes will ultimately compensate the universe for all the destruction he wreaks.
At one point Galactus threatened to destroy the planet Zenn-La, home of a civilized race. One of that world's inhabitants, Norrin Radd, persuaded Galactus to spare the planet by volunteering to become his "herald" and search out uninhabited worlds for him to consume. Galactus agreed, and transformed Norrin Radd into the Silver Surfer.
Eventually, however, Galactus grew determined to consume the energy-rich planet Earth. The Surfer rebelled as a result, and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four thwarted Galactus by threatening to use an alien device called the Ultimate Nullifier on him, a weapon that could kill even Galactus. Galactus was forced to vow to spare Earth, and he punished the Surfer by erecting an energy barrier that prevented the Surfer from leaving Earth.
Despite his pledge to Richards, Galactus returned several times to Earth to consume it, but was always narrowly thwarted. Meanwhile, he consumed numerous inhabited worlds throughout the known universe to sate his hunger, and was feared as a menace to all known star faring races. Galactus also took on a succession of new heralds.
During his last attempt to destroy Earth, Galactus had gone so long without "feeding'' that his energies were severely waning, and a large number of Earth's superhuman defenders actually succeeded in defeating him in battle. Galactus lay dying from lack of energy, but Reed Richards saved his life. The grateful Galactus pledged his friendship to Richards and sincerely gave his word never to attack Earth again. Galactus has steadfastly abided by this oath ever since. During this visit to Earth Galactus recruited his latest herald, Nova.
Galactus continues to prey upon other worlds, and recently he destroyed the Skrull throneworld, thereby plunging the Skrull Empire into chaos. There is an account of a far distant alternate future, in which man no longer exists on Earth, and Galactus, therefore no longer feeling bound by his oath, consumes it at last.
At some point afterward, Galactus was targeted by the alien organization Elders of the Universe, who believed his death would trigger a Big Bang and recreate reality. His former herald, Silver Surfer, saved him.
Galactus was believed to have developed romantic feelings for his herald Nova. When Nova finally rebelled as his herald, Galactus created another in the alien Morg, who ultimately murdered Nova on his own volition. Morg in turn was defeated by the collection of his heralds, leaving Galactus alone again.
More recently, Galactus' appetite became such that he would only eat on planets of sentient life. He began to consume more and more frequently, developing a mania. He created a new herald, Red Shift, to help him succeed in this. He approached Earth once more, and had to be driven off by a large contingent of Earth's superheroes, and Red Shift was defeated. Finally, he was repulsed by the Silver Surfer, who agreed once more to become Galactus' herald and to search for planets, this time of sentient life to consume. Almost immediately, the Silver Surfer led Galactus to the homeworld of the Shi'ar Empire, perhaps the most technologically advanced in the known universe, in hopes they would have the forces to repulse the planet devourer. The Shi'ar quickly joined with other races and several of Earth's superheroes to battle Galactus. During the conflict, the Silver Surfer managed to turn Galactus' own energy-siphoning machines on Galactus himself, fatally weakening him. Galactus died, warning that the madness which had consumed him was a precursor to another greater horror. As he passed away, Galactus was converted to energy by his own planet-destroying machines. As Reed Richards noted, the energy would radiate forever outward, so he could never again reform.
Galactus' death allowed the being known as Abraxas to emerge from the concept of Eternity that embodies destruction. He soon began to cut a swath of terror through various alternate realities, including the murder of other versions of Galactus. He used the head of Galactus to target and home in on the prime reality Earth and to plant a mole in his version of the Herald known as Nova. On Earth, Abraxas attacked Uatu the Watcher and stole half of his signature medallion. Abraxas taunted the Fantastic Four with the inevitability of his coming, enticing the team to search for the Ultimate Nullifer, the clues to the location of which were scattered among alternate realities. Ultimately, the Four found the Nullifer when Abraxas suddenly appeared and stole it from them. Abraxas called forth an army of Novas to attack Earth, but the Fantastic Four held no hope of defeating him. Instead, Franklin Richards, the son of the Four members Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, combined his cosmic powers with those of his sister Valeria, resurrecting Galactus and thus restoring balance to Eternity, at the cost of burning out his powers. Galactus took the Nullifer from Abraxas, giving it to Mister Fantastic, who used the weapon, destroying himself and Abraxas. The result served to re-create reality in which Abraxas never existed, and since all that was had ended, all that is was realigned, allowing Mister Fantastic to survive along with all those who died in Abraxas' reign of terror.
Height: 28 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 18.2 tons
Unusual features: Galactus's height diminishes by as much as 10.9 feet when he is greatly in need of life-giving energy.
Although Galactus is usually represented in humanoid form, each sentient being perceives him having a form resembling his own. Hence, humanoids see Galactus in humanoid form, while a Skrull, for example, would perceive Galactus as resembling a Skrull. Although as Galan, Galactus was indeed a humanoid; his true current form is unknown. It is unclear why beings from different sentient races perceive him differently.
Strength Level: At full power, Galactus possesses Class 100 strength, enabling him to lift well over 100 tons, and he can use his vast power to increase his strength immeasurably beyond that. However, Galactus invariably relies on his energy powers in combat rather than his physical strength.
Known Superhuman Powers: Galactus possesses cosmic power beyond the abilities of human beings to measure. Galactus is able to use the vast energies within him for an incalculable number of effects. Some of his most rudimentary abilities are the molecular restructuring or conversion of matter, the projection of energy with enormous concussive force, the teleportation of objects across space or even time, and the erection of invincible energy-screens and force fields. Even his heralds, whom he has endowed with a small fraction of his ever-renewing power, are able to manipulate matter and energy in ways far beyond human comprehension.
Galactus wears a full-body suit of armor constructed from an unknown extraterrestrial metal that permits him to regulate and control his personal energy. If he were to remove the armor, the vast cosmic energies that empower him would run rampant, with the potential to turn him into a small sun.
Galactus requires unknown energies obtainable only from a certain type of planet in order to sustain his life. The suitable type of planet need not be one where life is present, but it must have the potential to support life. Although he is able to extract and absorb this energy himself, he generally employs a complicated array of equipment to perform the conversion process for him. The equipment is not only more efficient than he is, but also enables him to avoid the needless expenditure of energy involved in the process. Sometimes Galactus drains the energies he needs from a planet while still leaving it barely habitable. Other times he destroys all life and water on the planet in the process, leaving its surface devastated and barren. Most often his feeding process destroys the planet, reducing it to space rubble. When Galactus was newly born in his current form, the energy of a medium-size Earth-like planet was enough to sustain him for over a century (using Earthly measurements of time). Now, for unknown reasons, he needs to feed about once a month. His body totally converts the energy he absorbs for its life functions and bodily activities without any waste products.
Galactus is telepathic, able to scan the thoughts of any mind he has yet encountered, no matter how alien or advanced it was.
Weapons: Galactus often employs a robot called the Punisher, which possesses great superhumanoid strength, to battle adversaries whose power levels do not rival his own.
Transportation: Although Galactus is capable of space travel via his own power, he disdains the needless expenditure of power and prefers to travel in starships of his own design.