Comic Book Podcast, Episode #026

The Fantastic Four & the Council of Noobs

*** Noobcast ***

  1. Who are the Fantastic Four
  1. The Golf Game

It was 1961.

Martin Goodman who was running things over at DC at the time, was playing golf with Jack Liebowitz or Irwin Donenfeld of Marvel Comics. Jack Liebowits is Stan's brother. During the game Martin was bragging about the success of DC's Justice League title. Rubbing in that their idea of a team of a superheros was awesome, and was doing gangbusters with the kids.

After the game, either Jack or Irwin came back to the office and told Stan what they had been told and sent him on his way with marching orders for Stan to create a Super Team book.

  1. Who’s Who

- Mr Fantastic had stretching powers, but he would be tortured over the fact that he had caused his families mutations by making them come along on his mission to space in the first place.

- Sue Storm was the love of Reeds wife and she would not only turn invisible, but could also create and control force waves, and bubbles.

- Johnny would spontaneously burst into flames!

- Now the Thing. The Thing was the most ingenious character out of the bunch. This is Reeds best friend. He not only would turn into a straight out monster, but on top of that, he had no chance of regaining his human form! He was stuck as a monster! Bens predicament is especially painful to Reed, who is continually trying to fix or cure Ben.

  1. Was it original? (JLA with a Marvel Spin)

JLA with a Marvel spin

ISN'T THIS ALL REDUNDANT TO WHAT WAS JUST STATED? At least it can be an addition to what we just said. It could be Incorporated into or added on.

Stan read the Justice league and thought "I can do this better". He noticed how the entire team was made up of great looking people that turned into better looking superheroes. All of their personal lives were perfect, and everyone loved them. Stan bristled at this. His team would Be different. Stan's team would go into space and get bombarded with cosmic rays and their powers would not always be awesome for them. Another big dynamic that Stan introduced was that they would be a family (this was GENIUS), and would face family problems.

Did Stan actually come up with the concept?

Kirby recalled events somewhat differently.

1990 interview"I would say that's an outright lie" Kirby claims he came up with the idea for the Fantastic Four in Marvel's offices, and that Lee had merely added the dialogue after the story had been pencilled

The visual elements of the strip were his conceptions. He regularly pointed to a team he had created for rival publisher DC Comics in the 1950s, Challengers of the Unknown.

"If you notice the uniforms, they're the same... I always give them a skin tight uniform with a belt... the Challengers and the FF have a minimum of decoration. And of course, the Thing's skin is a kind of decoration, breaking up the monotony of the blue uniform."

Lee and Kirby's contemporaries was "that Fantastic Four was created by Stan and Jack. No further division of credit seemed appropriate".

  1. Why was FF significant (contributions to the industry)

During their run on FF, Stan and Jack would come up with the "Marvel Way" of doing comics. Stan would write a plot and give it Jack. Jack would then flesh out the story and draw what he came up with, Jack would then give the pages back to Stan, and Stan would come up with all the dialog, connecting what Jack had done, and making it an entertaining and cohesive read. This process would set the standard for how Marvel books were done for over a decade. This was advantageous to them in the fact that the writer was then free to write multiple books per month.

  1. Other important runs through time

The FF has benefited from having some top talent work on it over the years. The list of creators reads like a who's who including

John Byrne, Steve Englehart, Walt Simonson, Roger Stern,Tom DeFalco, Art Adams & Mike Weiringo

  1. FF outside of comics
  1. Television:

The Fantastic Four have been the subject of four different cartoon television series. The first Fantastic Four series, produced by Hanna-Barbera, ran for 20 episodes from September 9, 1967–March 15, 1970. The second Fantastic Four series, produced by DePatie-Freleng, lasted only 13 episodes and ran from September 9, 1978–December 16, 1978; this series features a H.E.R.B.I.E. Unit in place of the Human Torch.

The third Fantastic Four was broadcast under the Marvel Action Hour umbrella, with introductions by Stan Lee; this series ran for 26 episodes from September 24, 1994–February 24, 1996. The fourth series, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, debuted on September 2, 2006 on Cartoon Network and ran for 26 episodes.

The Fantastic Four have made appearances on the animated children's series The Super Hero Squad Show. Different Fantastic Four members appear (briefly and with little or no dialogue) and are mentioned various times throughout the first season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Reed Richards is mentioned in the episode "Some Assembly Required" when Iron Man states that he and Richards are working to develop a new supervillain prison in the Negative Zone (as a result of the events of the two-part episode "Breakout"). Reed is mentioned again in the episode "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow" when the prison he and Stark (and, as revealed in this episode, Dr. Henry Pym) designed, named "42" because it is the 42nd idea that Richards, Stark, and Pym thought of to make the world a better place, is introduced and featured in an episode for the first time. In this same episode, a photo of the entire team is seen in the Avengers' mansion. The Human Torch and the Thing were seen helping the Avengers fight the evil forces of Malekith the Accursed in the episode "The Casket of Ancient Winters". Thing, voiced by Fred Tatasciore, only says his catch phrase, "It's Clobbering Time", in the episode. In the episode "The Private War of Doctor Doom" The Avengers team up with the Fantastic Four to Battle Doctor Doom. Here we see that the Baxter Building is shown in a similar style to the way it was shown in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes.

  1. Movies:

A movie adaptation of The Fantastic Four was completed in 1994 by B movie producer Roger Corman. While this movie was never released to theaters nor video, it has been made available from various bootleg video distributors.

Another feature film adaptation of Fantastic Four was released July 8, 2005 by Fox, and directed by Tim Story. Fantastic Four opened in approximately 3,600 theaters and despite mixed reviews grossed US$156 million in North America and US$329 million worldwide, weighed against a production budget of $100 million and an undisclosed marketing budget. It stars Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm/Human Torch, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing and Julian McMahon as Victor Von Doom/Dr. Doom, with Stan Lee making a cameo appearance as Willie Lumpkin, the mailman.

A sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, directed by Story and written by Don Payne, was released June 15, 2007. Despite mixed reviews, the sequel brought in US$132 million in North America and a total of US$288 million worldwide.

On 31 August 2009 Fox announced a reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise

  1. Video Games:

The Fantastic Four starred in a 1997 Fantastic Four video game.

The team appeared in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series video game, based on the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, for the Super NES and Sega Genesis.

The Thing and the Human Torch appeared in the 2005 game Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.

All of the Fantastic Four appear as playable characters in the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance with Doctor Doom being the main enemy. The members of the Fantastic Four are also featured in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, although the team is separated over the course of the game.

The Human Torch has an appearance in a mini-game where the player races against him in all versions of Ultimate Spider-Man, except on the Game Boy Advance platform.

The Fantastic Four star in games based on the 2005 movie Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel.

**** Geekcast ****

  1. Stan and Jack on FF

The first issue was published to great success. This would start Stan and Jack on a legendary run. Their run was important on two levels. The first is that this book would set the groundwork and foundation of all Marvel comic books to follow. They would use the book to create the Marvel Universe as we know it. Many of the concept they introduced are still there in Marvel continuity.

Note how this was a new line of books at the time, and imagine what someone today would have to do in in order to world build like Stan and Jack did. It was audacious. They introduced many things that are still prominent today. The Negative Zone, The Sub Mariner, The Black Panther, Skrulls, The Watcher, Adam Warlock, The Silver Surfer, and finally Galactus. By the way, the three Galactus books are considered one of the best stories in comic history, and its repercussions are still being felt today.

Then there is the run itself. Stan and Jack did 102 CONSECUTIVE ISSUES!  A mark unequaled until Bendis and Bagley beat it recently with Ultimate Spider-man. Now I love Ultimate Spidey, but with Bedis and his decompressed storytelling (it took until issue 5 before Spidey even put on the suit), to me it still doesn't equal Jack and Stan's run. Especially considering the both Stan and Jack were both working on a multitude of titles at the time.

  1. Fantastic Four Today

Clearly the FF should be the number one franchise forever. This was not the case. There have been times that ff has languished. Especially recently. And for a book that should be the flagship title of the Marvel U, at times it flirted with sales numbers worthy of cancellation. It lost its way.

Fast forward to today.

At its heart the FF should be a book that has BIG BOLD concepts, Big threats, and huge bawdy science fiction themes. Recently the FF has returned to that form. We owe it all to Jonathan Hickman. He writes stories that include (go into the "Council of Reeds" here), the FF base, the Baxter Building would be the home for a new school for genius children named the Future Foundation which has its own book by the way (FF), the death and return of the human torch, the negative zone, battles with Doom and the Celestials, the Infinity Gauntlet, and other BIG IDEAS. Hickman has done all of this without losing the family dynamic that is also so important to the title. The Future Foundation school has both Reed and Sue’s children in it as well as super smart moloids AND Dragon Man as a headmaster.

There are also intriguing concepts going on elsewhere in the book. Reeds father Nathaniel Richards has come back from the future to both warn Reed and lend a hand. Reeds little daughter Val has become friends with Doctor Doom (she actually calls him Uncle Doom), but even more intriguing is that future versions of the kids have come back and they are über powerful. They don't stick around but you just know there's a good story there.

This last issue of the Fantastic Four #605 showed us that the family and friend dynamic is still there as well. Now there are going to be spoilers here... (I will now go into the last issue synopsis.

If you don't want to jump into the regular series right now, I suggest and highly recommend getting collected versions of what will turn out to be a classic run that we are fortunate enough to be in the middle of.

Alt3red Egos Theme – “Understood By Your Dad” by Brad Sucks.