Travis Herrick said:And wasn't Steve Rogers the artist of the Captain America comic for a while?
He was, and Rick Jones was the writer. Many of you will remember one of Marvel's "fifth week" events (or perhaps that should be fifth week "events") in which Marvel published issues of Marvel Comics as they would appear in the Marvel Universe. FF was more of a fanzine, they couldn't reveal any secret identities, etc. In the Captain America one, artist Steve Rogers (actually Ron Frenz, IIRC) was replaced midway through after leaving due to objections to Rick Jones' story. (I have that one filed with my Cap books rather than with the other fifth weeks.)
Back to the Hulk comic in FF, the Marvel Comics of the MU has since been portrayed as oportunistic, immediately securing a copyright (or trademark, or whatever) on every new costumed hero to appear. In this way, they beat their competitors to the punch, make a profit and don't have to pay royalties to the heroes themselves (not those with secret identities, anyway; the FF's situation is different). I'm sure Marvel Comics readers in the early MU never quite knew at first which comic books were based on "real" people and which were made up. I'm sure that's the case with the Hulk... and maybe even the original Human Torch for that matter.
He was, and Rick Jones was the writer.
(NORMAN OSBORNE IS ALIVE?!?!?)
Reviving this as a followup to the FF reprints thread I started a few weeks back. I'm going to do an entire re-read of all of the Kirby issues. I'll do my best not to get too repetitive on this thread (I know I was guilty of this on the reprints thread) .... what I'll try is a brief comment or two or each issue in this volume.
Fantastic Four #1 - One thing that jumped out at me was right on page one - Reed says "It is the first time I have found it necessary to give the signal! I pray it will be the last!" Talk about your throwaway lines! There isn't anything else in the issue to refers to any reluctance to use their powers, and as we all know, the FF were true adventurers, thrill-seekers even; Mark Waid (I believe) even coined a term for them - "imaginauts". The only thing I want to add was how much I love the panel on the last page with all of the monsters advancing. You can tell Jack had fun with that one.
Fantastic Four #2 - There had to have been lots of adventures between FF 1 and 2 - because every member of the team is well known by the general public (wasn't there a limited series 10 or 15 years ago that did that?). Some familiar Marvel tropes can be traced to this story: Marvel hero impersonated by a villain(s), MU public turns against hero, etc. I mentioned in this thread before that the Thing is scary in the early issues and it's really on display here. He's ready to take on the world, and even his teammates are discussing that they "have to" do something about the Thing, just like that nice family and Old Yeller! Ben has the right to be angry at the world though, and it's not helped by the rest of the FF always calling him "Thing" and not "Ben".
There's lots of action and suspense here, and the Skrulls with their shape changing ability are a great addition to the MU. Shame the ending is so-o-o-o-o lame. With all of their obvious advanced technology, they're fooled by comic book pages?
Kirby had done that "breaking the fourth wall" thing before. Way back in BOY COMMANDOS #1 (Winter'42), in the story "Satan Wears A Swastika", The Boys are believed M.I.A., and the company that publishes their adventures are real upset. Cameos in the story include Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Jack Schiff, Jack Liebowitz and Whitney Ellsworth.
I believe there was a running joke in the early F.F. comics concerning Rock Hudson. See, Sue Storm appears to be based on Doris Day. Crazy enough, the early Reed resembles Gerald Mohr, who was one of the leads n the sci-fi flick ANGRY RED PLANET, and later on, supplied the voice for Reed in the '67 F.F. cartoons series.
Fantastic Four #3 - Notable for the debut of the costumes (yup, they wore civvies in the first two issues), the Fantasti-car (the flying bathtub), and a blueprint of their headquarters (still referred to as "secret" and not named as the Baxter Building), but to me, this is the weakest of the first six issues. .I said previously that the story doesn't work unless Miracle Man is a mutant. Of course, at this point, the X-men and homo superior are almost two years away. What MM does in this story is just what original Brotherhood of Evil Mutant member Mastermind does: project illusions. At the end, Reed says Miracle Man had no powers and had just hypnotized people into seeing things that weren't there. How did that work when the FF watched some of his illusions on televison? Without any powers how could he hypnotize the entire city?
One fun thing about this issue is the art. There are lot of panels in the last few pages that are clearly Steve Ditko; if they're only inks (Ditko is credited as one of the inkers for the Essential, but there are no credits for this issue beyond "by Stan Lee & J. Kirby"), they overpower Kirby's pencils.
This is the first issue to end with a cliffhanger, as, after bickering with Ben throughout the issue, Johnny quits the team ("I had all the bossin' around I can take!") and Reed worries he will turn against mankind. It must have been torture to have to wait two months to find out what happens!
My thoughts from two years ago haven't changed upon the recent re-read:
- Issues 4, 5, and 6 are true classics. We get the first modern appearance of Namor, the first appearance of Doom, and their subsequent teaming. The Reed/Sue/Namor love triangle adds a lot of angst to the series. Doom's character is spot on from the get-go; he is chillingly evil in a way that the Silver Age Lex Luthor never was. Ben's courage in strapping a bomb to his back makes the reader want to cheer for him, maybe for the first time. These three issues, imo, are the first signs of true greatness of the series.
Similarly, I still feel that:
- The next five issues, unfortunately, are clunkers
I'll let that sit with you and comment on FF 12 later.
"Without any powers how could he hypnotize the entire city?"
This is something that got FORGOTTEN over the years with MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN.
In every story I read growing up, it was said he used "hypnotism".
But this is NOT quite true.
When I found out his origin, it turns out, MANDRAKE, just like DR. STRANGE decades later, had REAL SUPERNATURAL MAGIC powers!!!
And as it turns out, Mandrake's biggest "magic" trick was hypnotism. But it was MAGICALLY-ENHANCED hypnotism. In other words, he could hypnotize as many people as he wanted, from whatever distance.
But he put on like it was just talent he used in his stage act. He didn't want people to know he had REAL magic. (Many probably wouldn't believe it, but it was to his advantage not to let anyone know the truth.) I remember I flipped out when I found this out.