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The Fantastic Four - the Key Issues

Updated on September 1, 2016

The Beginning

In 1961 then Marvel publisher Martin Goodman recognizing the success that rivals DC were achieving with their superhero team The Justice League of America asked writer Stan Lee to create a superhero team for Marvel, Lee and artist Jack Kirby created The Fantastic Four. The style of the comic book was somewhat different to anything that had been seen before with the team shown as a loving yet dysfunctional family. After a radiation accident in space four young friends are mutated into individuals with super powers, Reed Richards the genius of the group develops the ability to stretch his body parts to incredible lengths and becomes Mr Fantastic, his girlfriend Sue Storm ( Invisible Girl ) the power of invisibility and the power to project force fields. The youngest of the group Johnny Storm, Sues brother is able to transform into a flying human torch at his command of " flame on " and high school pal of Richards, Ben Grimm , mutates into a giant creature made of rocks known as the " Thing "..The Fantastic Four are still going strong today over 50 years after their conception, their comic book has introduced some of the most well known and popular characters and story lines in comic book history, lets have a look at some of the most important issues.

Fantastic Four # 1

The first issue of this famous comic book is released in November 1961 featuring the team battling with a giant subterranean creature emerging from the ground sent by their enemy The Mole Man. Behind Amazing Fantasy #15 which is the first appearance of Spider-man, Fantastic Four #1 is probably the most valuable comic book from the 1960s, with the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide ( 2012 ) giving it a price of $90,000 in near mint condition.

The 1st issue hits the news stands.
The 1st issue hits the news stands.

Fantastic Four # 2

In the second issue of The Fantastic Four we see the introduction of some characters who would go on to become major players in the Marvel universe, the shape shifting Skrulls, with the ability to take on human form and imitate any individual the Skrulls have caused chaos on Earth on more than one occasion.

The Four battle with the Skrulls.
The Four battle with the Skrulls.

Fantastic Four # 3

In issue three the team don their familiar blue costumes for the first time and we get our first look at the flying Fantasti- Car. The Fantastic Four headquarters in the Baxter Building are mentioned for the first time and strangely the Human Torch is drawn mistakenly with two left hands on the cover !

Fantastic Four # 4

The Sub Mariner was one of Marvel Comics most earliest creations, created by Bill Everett the Sub Mariner first appears in Marvel Comics # 1 from 1939 the first comic book released by Timely Comics who would go on to become Marvel. After the demise of super hero comics during the 1950s this issue would be the first time the character of Namor the Sub Mariner had been seen in the Silver Age of comics ( 1956 - 1969 ).

Don't let him get in the sea!
Don't let him get in the sea!

Fantastic Four # 5

One of most popular if not the most popular bad guy in comic books in this issue we see the very first appearance of Victor Von Doom the legendary Doctor Doom.

Fantastic Four # 12

A great collectable issue where the Fantastic Four confront The Hulk for the first time, The Thing would battle The Hulk on numerous occasions over the years (always popular issues with their first battle being in issue # 25) usually resulting in absolute carnage to the battleground used, this issue is often classed as the first Marvel crossover issue as there is a tie in storyline with Amazing Spider-man # 1.

The FF play hide and seek with The Hulk.
The FF play hide and seek with The Hulk.

The Galactus Trilogy

The story that has become known as the Galactus Trilogy takes place in three consecutive issues, issues # 48, 49, 50. Very popular with college students at the time the story tells of a cosmic being, the God like Galactus, who devours whole planets of their energy. Galactus has a herald who searches out planets for him to devour, the herald who is forced against his will to perform his task against the threat of his own planets decimation is Norrin Radd, better known as The Silver Surfer seen here in # 48 for the first time. The Galactus Trilogy is told in the movie Fantastic Four Rise of The Silver Surfer and the whole comic book series remains very popular and collectable among comic book fans today.

The classic cover to FF # 48, 1st appearance of Galactus and The Silver Surfer, and the 1st part of the Galactus trilogy.
The classic cover to FF # 48, 1st appearance of Galactus and The Silver Surfer, and the 1st part of the Galactus trilogy.
The Silver Surfer makes the cover of FF #50  the final part of the Galactus trilogy.
The Silver Surfer makes the cover of FF #50 the final part of the Galactus trilogy.

Fantastic Four # 52

An important book as it features the debut of the first black superhero in comic books, T'Challa king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda otherwise known as The Black Panther. Other black superheroes were soon to follow, The Falcon, Luke Cage, Black Lightning etc but Stan Lee and Jack Kirby deserve credit for being the first to introduce a positive black character.

T'Challa the Black Panther makes his debut in FF # 52
T'Challa the Black Panther makes his debut in FF # 52

Fantastic Four # 45

One of my own personal favorite issues Fantastic Four # 45 sees the first appearance of The Inhumans. The Inhumans still appear in Marvel comics today.

FF # 45 a classic Jack Kirby cover.
FF # 45 a classic Jack Kirby cover.

Fantastic Four # 10

I always loved this issue as the creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby appear in the issue as themselves, and Doctor Doom impersonates Reed Richards, there is something uniquely 1960s about this issue.

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    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Once again a great selection of key issues. There were so many big players who made their first appearance in FF this must have been a hard list to compile.