TheButcher wrote:From Amazon:
Fantastic Four: 1234 [Hardcover] October 19, 2011
Patrick Meaney wrote:Fantastic Four: 1234 was written at the tail end of Morrison’s Day-Glo Years, during his brief period writing for Marvel in the early 2000s. Grant has spent the vast majority of his career writing for DC Comics, but he had a roughly four-year sojourn at Marvel during the “Nu-Marvel” era when Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas reinvigorated the Marvel brand and brought the company out of bankruptcy. It was a time when Marvel experimented with a variety of different series and gave a wide berth to prestige creators to work on their books. At its best, this led to wonderful, experimental titles like Peter Milligan’s X-Force and Morrison’s New X-Men. Over time, the experimental spirit wound down, and the company returned to big crossovers and safe books, but a lot of the best Marvel stories ever published came from that early 2000s era.
Robert Steibel wrote:This month’s column will run from Thanksgiving through Christmas, and since many of you will be spending time with family and friends, I thought I’d do something fun this month. Let’s take a look at Fantastic Four Annual # 6, the book featuring the birth of Franklin Richards. My thanks to the owner of the original art in this book, Tod Seisser, for posting several pages from that story at comicartfans.com, and thanks to Tod for recently taking the time to scan a few more images from the book so that I can show them to you here. The Kirby scans at Tod’s comicartfans page were cleaned up using photoshop so the margin notes have mostly been digitally removed; the image above is from the original artwork without retouching so you can make out Jack’s directions for Stan Lee. Unfortunately in a lot of the late-60s art most of the notes were chopped off during production, so all we have are partial-notes like these. I could have titled this column “Let There Be Life,” but I chose “And the Danger’s Even Larger…” because that is what it says in the fragment of Jack’s directions underneath the final panel of the story.
Robert Steibel wrote:FF Annual # 6 is a memorable moment in the history of comics. This book (and much of the art of that era) captures a spirit of hope and optimism that may seem naive today, but back in the late-1960s anything seemed possible and those unlimited possibilities are what artists and readers wanted to explore — like Jack’s FF exploring the Negative Zone. This book symbolizes the beginning of a new life: Franklin Richards represents the creation of a new generation of comics heroes. But it also marks the end of an era in comics — Jack would stop giving Stan Lee new characters he could take credit for creating after this book. Kirby and Lee would fight a kind of cold war over the remaining years of the 1960s, Lee refusing to give Kirby credit and compensation for his role as a writer, Kirby holding out hope he could get a writer credit on his books and promised royalties on his creations from Martin Goodman. After FF Annual # 6, the FF stories are still fun, and the artwork is great, but that long parade of new characters grinds to a halt. Because of that, I think you could argue this story represents the pinnacle of Kirby’s Fantastic Four story arc. This is the high point, and Jack may have planned it that way.
FF Annual # 6 is a story about family, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, and love. I could think of no better story to share with you as we all spend time with family and friends during the holiday season. I usually end this column reflecting on Jack’s service to his country during the Second World War, but I don’t want that aspect of the column to become redundant and in this case anti-climactic, so I’ll simply wrap this one up by wishing you all a happy holiday season.
“God bless us, every one!” ― Tiny Tim, from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843)
Chris Arrant wrote:With the words “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine” emblazoned on each cover, Fantastic Four has shown itself to be a trendsetter and a trailblazer in the world of comics – and we’re not just talking Marvel. Taking the ideas of super heroes from classics like Superman, Batman and Green Lantern and positing it for a new age, creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby dreamt up an extended family of heroes gifted (and cursed) with superpowers that make them stand out from everyone around. This duo gifted these characters with personalities, mannerisms and souls that in many causes out-stripped the specialness of their super powers (although they’re definitely special!) and in a single swoop defined Marvel Comics for decades to come.
But with that awesome inception, Fantastic Four left some big shoes to fill, especially for other creators coming in to write Marvel’s First Family. But just as the first issue bucked trends and created new ideas, the creators who came since and brought their own ideas to Lee & Kirby’s classic characters found new ways to make the Richards family seem real. Although we tried limiting our list to four this week, the immense back catalog of Fantastic Four begged for one more, so here are five FF stories that are great starting points into their world.
Rich Johnston wrote:evrlvnbluidthng Apologies for giving BleedingCool an amount of credence even equal to the weight of a single electron, but please start my heart again and tell me that Marvel isn’t cancelling “Ultimate FF” and “Fantastic Four” to snub Fox or for any other reason.
It is amazing how many of you guys asked some version of this question this morning.
And I can hear Rich counting the nickels from your page clicks.
From Tom Brevoort‘s Tumblr there. And I would like to assure Tom that I am on a fixed salary.
So, yes. More. When I first heard the story, albeit from a Marvel source, I thought it was ridiculous.
That Marvel Comics were to cancel their Fantastic Four comics (though still using the characters in other titles) as a deliberate snub to Fox, currently producing the Fantastic Four movie. With the belief, from on high, that any publication of Fantastic Four comic books only helped Fox Studios at the expense of Marvel Studios. And while X-Men were just too popular comics to cancel, the Fantastic Four… wasn’t. So both comics would be dropped.
There was flimsy evidence to back it up. That the Marvel 75th Anniversary project had no Fantastic Four on the cover, despite being Marvel’s first superhero team, and the core of the modern Marvel comic. I was told that Fantastic Four imagery had been taken down at Marvel’s offices. And then certain very chatty people in the past suddenly clammed up when this was mentioned.
Well, this morning another shoe on the caterpillar dropped. An artist who I have been asked not to name, told me,I do a number of sketch card projects for Upper Deck and Rittenhouse using Marvel characters. The most recent projects from both companies, one billed as Marvel 75th Anniversary, gave specific guidelines to NOT use any FF characters or supporting cast such as Dr Doom, Galactus, Surfer, Skrulls etc…
So… what do we think?
Another source close to Marvel tells me that this is all coming from Marvel CEO and largest Disney shareholder Ike Perlmutter, who has been known to take these kind of things very personally indeed.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that Marvel has a very different relationship with Fox than it does with Sony.
Axel Alonso wrote:One thing I'm curious to get your opinion on -- you were the editor on "Fantastic Four" for many years, before passing the reigns to Mark Paniccia for the most current run. We now know the book is ending, at least temporarily, in early 2015. The fact that it's coming to an end at this point is interesting to me, because there was a real outcry at just the notion that it might end a few months back -- as I'm sure you were aware. Yet it also seems that no matter the quality of the book, or the type of high-profile creators working on it -- just looking at writers alone, the series has seen James Robinson, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, Mark Millar in recent years -- the sales haven't necessarily translated in a huge way. Is that a source of some internal frustration or vexation within Marvel, in that it does seem to be something of a tough nut to crack?
Brevoort: I don't know if it's a source of vexation, per se. All it really means in the final analysis is we didn't come up with the story and the hook that galvanized enough people. All through the runs that you've talked about, we've had good sales, up and down, all the way through that. It's not like anybody has been terribly disappointed by them. But in terms of "Fantastic Four" being "the" book that it was in the '60s, it hasn't been that in a very long time. It seems like there could be a time where any other book can become that. "Guardians of the Galaxy" is suddenly a top book, and has not only one spinoff title, but a whole Whitman's Sampler of spinoff books, because that just happens to be the zeitgeist of those characters.
I think all it means for "Fantastic Four" is that for all the talented people involved -- and I'll include myself in that -- we just haven't found an idea that connects with a massive audience yet. And that's fine. That happens. In the '60s, "X-Men" was a cancelled title, and in the '90s, "X-Men" was 34 books and the biggest selling thing in comics. Everything goes through cycles of up and down. The Fantastic Four, the characters and the concept, is plenty excellent. There's nothing wrong with it. We just need to find the right approach, the right creators, the right story, that really makes people sit up and take notice.
In terms of what you were talking about in the beginning, about people reacting to it going away, I see it as very akin -- I remember this firsthand -- to the chatter when it came out in the '80s that "The Flash" was going to die in "Crisis," and his book was going to be canceled. There wasn't an Internet then, but everybody in what was then fandom bemoaned this and was horrified by it, and was upset by it, and you would ask them -- "When was the last time you bought 'The Flash'?" And it would be, "Well, I haven't bought 'The Flash' in like six years, but I was always really comforted by the fact that it was still there." Well, that's kind of your answer. You like the comfort of a thing being there, but you're not engaging with it. That may mean that a lot of other people aren't engaging with it as well, and it may be time for it to take a rest until you can make it shine again.
Certainly, it did not hurt Thor. There was no "Thor" book for a couple of years. And when Thor came back, it was a big event. Granted, he came back on the cusp of the wave of "Civil War," but really, JMS and Olivier Coipel but that character back on the map in a big way, and the sales showed it. The same sort of thing is true of anybody's characters, really. And "Fantastic Four" is no different.
Albert Ching wrote:Before we get to fan questions, the big entertainment news of the past week has been the "Fantastic Four" movie -- obviously that's a 20th Century Fox production Marvel didn't have direct involvement in -- emerging as a critical and financial disappointment upon release. I'm curious as to how this might affect the way the Fantastic Four are viewed internally at Marvel. I imagine there are three outcomes: This will make Marvel less likely to unveil a new "Fantastic Four" series, due to the notion it's a tainted property; it'll make Marvel more likely, because they want to prove to the world it's a viable concept and how to do it; or not affected at all, and that plans will just continue the way they were.
Not affected at all. We have our plan. Whether the movie was a hit or a failure was irrelevant to us. We've got great stories to tell in the coming year, and "Secret Wars" sets the stage for them.
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