The Fantastic Four #1 (cover dated Nov. 1961), helped to usher in a new level of realism in the comic medium. The Fantastic Four was the first superhero team created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, who developed a collaborative approach to creating comics. This title would set the pace for the Marvel universe for years to come. It formed a cornerstone of the company’s 1960s rise from a small division of a publishing company to a pop culture giant.
The first 100 comics would bring the Marvel Comics such characters as Black Panther, the Inhumans, the Silver Surfer, the planet-devouring Galactus, the villainous monarch Doctor Doom, the sea-dwelling prince Namor, and the shape-changing alien Skrulls. The Fantastic Four would feature the growing pains of a family of superheroes with interstellar visits to other worlds and dimensions. The title would go on to display the talents of comics creators such as Roy Thomas, John Buscema, George Pérez, John Byrne, Steve Englehart, Walt Simonson, and Tom DeFalco, and they became the true first family of the age of comics.
Jonathan Hickman’s long run on FF titles are some of the best Marvel stories ever. Imagine if you will the Marvel Universe without the Fantastic Four title, well that is what has happened. Writer James Robinson and artist Leonard Kirk launched a new Fantastic Four series in February 2014 which ended in 2015 with issue #645. Fantastic Four has been pretty much absent from Marvel Comics for the past couple years. At the aftermath of the “Secret Wars” series by Jonathan Hickman which remade the MCU, the Thing is working with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Human Torch is acting as an ambassador with the Inhumans while the Richards’ family is working on traveling through and reconstructing the multiverse with the help of the Molecule Man (Owen Reece), originally from FF #20 in 1963.
Long story short, Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is said to have cancelled X-Men and Fantastic Four comics due to a dispute with Fox Studios over who owns the film rights to the characters. Perlmutter is said to be responsible for the death of Wolverine and the cancellation of the Fantastic Four comics, in addition to ordering the characters off from any marketing and promo materials. All this may be true but it is time to bring back the Fantastic Four as a comic title.
The Marvel University lacks depth without the FF. The roots of the MCU tree have grown from this super family. Appeal to old readers and new by bringing them back as a team and putting a good writer and artist on the title. The X-Men titles are making a comeback in new X-Men comics so it is time to renew the Marvel commitment to the Fantastic Four. I am sure fan involvement with letters and emails and visits to Comic-Cons played a part in helping bring back the X-Men to Marvel. I think it is time to push Marvel to reinstate the title Fantastic Four. Let me know what you think in the comments below and come back again to Comics Talk for more about the medium we all love comics. 🙂 Walt