As promised on my Some Fantastic Place blog, and in the wake of the rebooted FF movie, I wanted to post some more covers of Fantastic Four comics to try and identify what was so exciting about them in my younger years…

Marvel_Collectors'_Item_Classics_Vol_1_18These early reprint collections were a great introduction to the origins of the Marvel Universe and this story captures the urban drama/sci-fi blend of early FF adventures. This comic was bought in East Kilbride, when I was in primary school.

Maximus MoonKirby Kozmic: wide-screen adventures with “those nutty Inhumans ” and real-world events reflected in a 1969 moon landing tie-in. Like wild! All bought in Strathaven, while I was in primary school.

Sub-MarinerKirby’s gone, baby.I can remember looking at the letters page of this issue on a sunny day in my dad’s garden (aren’t they always?) and trying to picture baby Franklin in a Fantastic Five…

ThundraI didn’t realise this was a Steranko cover as a kid but I liked villain teams; still do. I’d seen Ben go bad before but Sue leaving here was, oddly, more disturbing. My intro to Thundra where I first learned the word “Ms.”

I read, in a desultory way, about three or four more US FFs in the period between 1972 and 75 but Kirby comics and Grell’s Legion held my real interest. Then circa 1975, the US Marvel drought was suddenly over.

Torgo salem's seven

I really liked this Galactus vs. the High Evolutionary story; Gorr the Golden Gorilla reminded me of (the ” real”) Hank McCoy. The Salem story featured some of the wacky Perez villain designs that would, in about three years, gain prominence in New Teen Titans.  It was also was my last colour FF comic of the 70s.  These were also comics I bought in Craig’s, in Strathaven, during my time as a pupil at the Academy.

I didn’t return to the FF until the Byrne Era, by which time  I was a student at Strathclyde-the first time. I became a devoted follower, despite the deadly, wordy prose style ( I don’t know why Claremont is lambasted when Byrne’s dry as dust style isn’t)

sideways skrull milk masque Phoenix

It was amusing to see the landscape style we knew so well from The Titans and Super Spider-Man in the US. The “Skrull milk” annual returned to the B-movie sci-fi roots of the comic.The She-Hulk was the first non-Kirby replacement member that really worked for me (since Crystal, anyway).  The mid-80s return of Jean Grey was audacious,  although it set a precedent for the resurrection of the honoured dead ( and paved the way for the terrible X-Factor title, a dreadful Ghostbusters riff).


In the late 80s, the FF was shaken up again as Reed and Sue departed ( and ended up as rather awkward Avengers, briefly). I thought the “Quicksilver as villain” plot was the most interesting thing to happen to the character for about twenty years.

F5 spider girl Fantastic_Four_World's_Greatest_Vol_1_4

Fantastic_Four_The_End_Vol_1_2At the very end of the Nineties, I got to see my childhood dream of a Fantastic Five ( although Stan and Jack would surely have found a better code name than “Psi-Lord”! Ugh!)

The Erik Larsen minsiseries World’s Greatest... returned to the comic’s  late Sixties heyday. Above, we can glimpse my favourite take on the Falcon, as, er, a falconer.

The 2007 FF The End series portrays a more mature Torch in a team of Avengers ( including that slinky lady Captain Marvel: a look I wish Carol Danvers had, rather than the military look she sports now. I believe this character might be Her aka Kismet aka Ayesha, the female Him/”Cocoon-Man”).

This series, despite the ominous title, is a joyful tribute to Stan and Jack with a cosmic scope that, I think, is the true secret of the First Family’s success.

(I enjoyed that so much there might be more…)

Coming soon: Blackmark; Talos of the Wilderness Sea; Moon Knight

All images presumed copyright of their respective owners


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