The Fantastic Four: Celebrating 80 Years Of Marvel

The Fantastic Four Battle Mole Man

From Marvel Comics

Some might think that the rebirth of the super heroes at Marvel with FANTASTIC FOUR #1 rang an immediate death knell for the giant monsters who had ruled the roost for the previous few years, but that’s not quite the case. In fact, the two carried on side by side for a while.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 marks an interesting merging of the two genres as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby pitted their brand new first family of comics up against, you guessed it, giant monsters. Just look at the cover if you don’t believe us!

The issue from 1961 began with each member of the team already equipped with their powers out in New York City until a mysterious figure sent out a Fantastic Four flare that grabbed their attention. Upon the group getting together the reader discovered that Reed Richards called the meeting. After recounting their cosmic ray-filled trip to outer space that granted them amazing powers, the quartet focused on the task at hand: stopping The Mole Man from sending his enormous monsters surface-side to destroy nuclear plants.


The 7 Best Fantastic Four Fantasti-Cars

Franklin and Valeria Richards may have traveled through space and time, but in this week's FANTASTIC FOUR #11 by Dan Slott, Paco Medina, Kevin Libranda, Paolo Villanelli, and Juanan Ramirez, they face a new force of nature: the Department of Extra-Normal Motor Vehicles!

The very first version of the iconic vehicle debuted on the cover to FANTASTIC FOUR #3 in 1962 thanks to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!

The team flew in the bathtub-like craft home from Miracle Man's performance before readers saw it split into four platforms that each team member could fly around in. Over the years, the team has returned to this version more than a few times, including immediately after making their way home after HEROES REBORN! More recently, Thing and Torch used this version to ride around when they starred in MARVEL 2-IN-ONE (2018)!


The Complete Fantastic Four #5 October 26, 1977 Marvel UK

Written by Gerry Conway. Cover art by John Busecma and art by Joe Sinnott.

Rumble On Planet 3; The Thing; The Fantastic Four Fight Back

The Complete Fantastic Four was a weekly title launched by Marvel UK on 28th September 1977, and ran for 37 issues until 8th June 1978. The first 36 page issue gave away a free gift of a plastic snap together model of a Boeing 747, while the second gave away a free Boeing Clipper boat plane model. Early issues contained just two reprint strips; early '70s Fantastic Four reprints continuing from their run in Super Spider-Man and 'classic' '60s reprints beginning with Fantastic Four #1 in the backup slot. In later issues, a third strip was included, 'The Invaders'. Following the title's cancellation, both the Fantastic Four and the Invaders moved into the pages of Mighty World of Marvel Vol 1.

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A Fantastic Four Wedding Retrospective

From Marvel Comics

Reed Richards and Susan Storm had been romantically linked for most of the FF’s early years. Still, it was a surprise when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby actually let them get married. However, the ceremony wasn’t without its complications. Doctor Doom wanted to get his revenge on Reed and the team by sending nearly every villain on Earth to break up the wedding. Fortunately, the X-Men, Doctor Strange, and the Avengers were all on the guest list, with Spider-Man also swinging by for an assist.

In terms of spectacle, none of the subsequent Fantastic Four weddings have outdone the first one. Lee and Kirby also couldn’t resist including themselves among the well-wishers for the happy couple, even if they couldn’t get past Nick Fury to attend the reception.


Every Fantastic Four Costume Ever

From Marvel Comics

While they stand among Marvel Comics' most historic figures, the Fantastic Four's ideology has proven them to be the most forward-looking and aspirational unit at the House of Ideas.

They mean so much to the Marvel Universe; the First Family have personally introduced 8% of all Marvel characters into existence. But they’re not only heroes in the conventional sense, they’re also explorers, inventors, and pioneers. And in a major way, they’re fashion icons.

The Fantastic Four has been around for 50 years, and over the course of that time, they've tweaked and changed their look to adapt to the times and reflect the state of the world that they are so instrumental in building. The team’s had so many iterations and compositions over the years that it’s important to remember that despite the Four’s status as the rock upon which Marvel was built, they’ve always been changing and adapting and growing.


Fantastic Four #88 July 1969 Marvel Comics

Script by Stan Lee. Pencils by Jack Kirby. Inks by Joe Sinnott. Cover by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.

"A House There Was!":

A jubilant Fantastic Four reunite with baby Franklin and Alicia after their episode in Latveria ended last issue! Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny, and Crystal are ready for some rest, relaxation, and house-hunting! Following a realtor's tip, the Invisible Girl leads the team to a contemporary house located in a secluded forest. Seems like a strange place for a modern house. But everything goes smooth as Reed and Sue move in and then sit down for their first meal with Johnny and Crystal. However, shortly thereafter everything goes dark! The foursome are suddenly blind! Who owns this house?! Could there be a mole inside? Or perhaps more specifically…a mole man? Last 12¢ issue. (Notes: This issue is the third appearance of (the still unnamed baby) Franklin Richards. The Mole Man previously appeared in Uncanny X-Men 34.)

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Replacement Roundup

From Marvel Comics

Marvel’s First Family may be the Fantastic Four, but while there are four core members -- Reed and Sue Richards, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm -- there have been numerous close friends and associates that have filled in as one of the official Four, usually on a temporary basis, and sometimes a more permanent one. In FANTASTIC FOUR #3, available now, it looks like there will be one big family reunion!

Though the team always eventually returns to those four family members (plus Franklin and Valeria Richards), here are some of the heroes (and villains!) that have been members of the Fantastic Four over the years.

When Sue first became pregnant with her and Reed’s son, Crystal, of the Inhuman Royal Family, joined in Sue’s stead for a time. As the Fantastic Four aided this mysterious and secretive race of superhumans on numerous occasions, the FF and the Inhumans were very close. And none were closer than Johnny and Crystal, who had crushes on one another. Naturally, Johnny was quite enthusiastic about Crystal filling in for Sue. This wouldn’t be the last time Crystal would join the FF -- she joined the team again in FANTASTIC FOUR #305, when Reed and Sue took a leave of absence to take care of their powerful and unstable son, Franklin.


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