Brown: Fantastic Four reprint will slake fans’ thirst
Even if you’re a longtime comic fan, I bet there’s a lot you don’t know about the Fantastic Four.
Did you know Reed Richards was a Second World War hero? That Ben Grimm’s Thing used to turn back to human form about once an issue?
That Sue Storm was once torn between her two great loves, Namor the Submariner and Richards?
You’ll find the answers to questions like these in Essential Fantastic Four Volume 1.
I recommend the black-and-white trade paperback that reprints the first 20 issues of the famous quartet’s adventures beginning in 1963 in light of Marvel’s decision to metaphorically put the superhero family on the shelf.
The move comes as the former House of Ideas relaunches its universe after a disastrous Fantastic Four big-screen adaptation last year.
Bad blood between Disney, which owns Marvel, and Twentieth Century Fox, which owns the film rights, means there won’t be a Fantastic Four title for the time being, even though some of the characters continue to have ongoing adventures, like Grimm in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy. Which makes sense, since the Thing always yearned to explore the stars.
Reading the earliest Stan Lee/Jack Kirby work on the title will not only slake your thirst for FF content, it will also help you to understand their later exploits — particularly during Canadian creator John Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four in the 1980s.
Byrne’s handling of the characters was a major tip of the hat to the so-called Marvel Age.
Of course, another option would be for the comic publisher to just sell the characters outright to another company, instead of putting them on the back burner.
I, for one, believe the FF would make a startling addition to the DC stable.
How’s that for a creative solution?
Dan Brown moderates the monthly graphic-novel book club at London’s L.A. Mood comic store.