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Woodgod: The Marvel Comics Return No One Demanded! | CBR

This is “I’ve Been Here Before,” a feature that deals with a term that I coined called “nepotistic continuity,” which refers to the way that comic book writers sometimes bring back minor characters that they themselves created in the past as characters in their later work (we’re talking after a break of at least two years or so). This is not an insult, it’s just interesting to note it when it occurs.

Today, we look at Bill Mantlo’s dedication to one of his lesser-known creations, Woodgod.

Woodgod debuted in 1976’s Marvel Premiere #31, in a story by Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen and Klaus Janson, which opened with the bizarre centaur-like creature known as Woodgod wandering around a deserted town…

We soon learn that Woodgod was genetically engineered by a married pair of scientists, with Woodgod considering the main scientist his father…

While Woodgod was the size of a grown man, he was still at the intelligence level of a small child. When the townspeople found out that some Doctor Frankenstein-level stuff was going on, they freaked out and attacked the farm where the lab was. It just so happened that the scientists were also working on a powerful nerve gas for the government and when it was let loose, it wiped everyone in the entire town out…

The military showed up and Woodgod kicked their collective butt and they left him there in the deserted town…

Mantlo picked up the story a few months later in Marvel Team-Up #53 (by Mantlo, John Byrne and Frank Giacoia), where the Hulk found his way into the abandoned town and fought with Woodgod for a while. Spier-Man then showed up at the end of the issue, as well, caught between the two dim-witted brutes (Spider-Man saw some stuff go down while on his way back home from a team-up with the X-Men)…

In the next issue, the military showed up again and captured Spider-Man, Woodgod and the Hulk

In the next issue, the government planned to pull a Planet Hulk with Woodgod, sending him into outer space. Spider-Man helped free Woodgod and Hulk, but Spider-Man was sent into outer space himself in the process, with Hulk and Woodgod then going their separate ways.

Three years later, Rick Jones, Betty Ross, Doc Samson, Rick Jones and Fred Sloan (the Hulk’s biographer) are all at Ross’ hunting cabin when they accidentally shoot a centuar-looking being. In Incredible Hulk #251 (by Mantlo and Sal Buscema), Woodgod shows up and he knows the guy that they shot!

Woodgod takes them to his people, known as the Changelings…

And we discover that Woodgod found his “parents” work and found a way to create a whole society of creatures like him…

Things look bad, though, when the humans are alleged to have killed one of the Changelings.

In the next issue, Woodgod realizes that it was all a plot by one of the other Changelings to wrest control of the group from Woodgod. Once things were settled, Woodgod let the humans go, but Fred Sloan decided to stay behind…

Woodgod would later return in Mark Gruenwald’s Quasar run, but Mantlo had left Marvel by then, so he never returned to the character.

If anyone else has a suggestion for a future I’ve Been Here Before, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

In their look at characters whose creators brought them back after years of disuse, CSBG spotlights the unexpected return of Woodgod.

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