Tuesday, October 07, 2014

My Top 15 Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four Favorites

With the announcement of the impending cancellation of FANTASTIC FOUR-- which I don't have an issue with in and of itself as good stories have been few and far between and too many reboots have scarred the brand--I've been waxing nostalgic over what I would still consider y all-time favorite comic book series. I briefly had a complete collection of FF, stopping at # 414 as I didn't realize the original run would end just a couple issues later. The above is probably my all-time favorite with perhaps the best story of Doctor Doom, another character whose many appearances diluted his importance.

This was one I spotted in ads long before I found the book itself for a nickel in a junk shop. An atypical but wonderfully atmospheric story and Wally Wood redrawing Daredevil throughout! What's not to love?

One of the first of the older stories I read in MARVEL COLLECTOR'S ITEM CLASSICS, this one introduced me to the Sub-Mariner, here running a movie studio where the bankrupt FF attempt to make some money! Again, hardly a typical adventure.

The big one. Marvel really went cosmic with this one featuring The Silver Surfer and Galactus.

Another one i discovered in reprints--a great sci-fi story also well-adapted for the '67 cartoon series.

The first issue of FF I ever saw and my introduction to so many characters from Kirby's fertile imagination.

Took this PRISONER-inspired ish on vacation with me to North Carolina. A good story and some of Jack's best latter day FF art.

The wedding issue! In spite of less than stellar inks, this free-for-all was and is much fun to the hardcore fan.

As I was collecting back issues as I found them, I was reading them in all the wrong order. This one quickly became a favorite.

Another one with ads that intrigued me but one I wouldn't actually get until years after I first saw its cover.

I remember the day I bought this at the drugstore and stopping to read it in a parking lot before I even git home! Couldn't wait!

A truly epic, perhaps definitive Sub-Mariner/FF tale, later reprinted with additional tweaking by John Byrne!

My introduction to the concept of the Golden Age and also the word "original."

I remember being blown away by this cover while I was on my knees at Stegner's Drugstore looking through the just shelved new comics!

And finally I read this one, where Sue announces her pregnancy, while sitting in the car waiting for my Dad to finish a horseshoe match!

And here's the thing. All of these books still exist for me to re-read and others to still discover. They may seem simplistic compared to today's sophisticated plots and art but brother, comics don't GET any better than the original FF!



Craven Lovelace said...

I always enjoy your blog. I understand this is a personal list, but I don't know how such a list could not include "This Man... This Monster" from issue 51. :-)

Jerry Smith said...

Amen, Steven, great post! Love the Lee/Kirby FF. I'm reading the original stories in color in the latest FF Epic collection paperback. Can't wait for more volumes to read them all in order.


Steven Thompson said...

Easy to explain---I forgot it!!! Aargh. Definitely should be on the list!

Jonny Metro said...

The Fantastic Four has always been, and always will be, my favorite Marvel Comics title--and the Thing my favorite comic book character. My collection (a combination of back issues and TPBs) is far from complete, what with all the spin-off series, limited series, one-shots, etc...but I'm working towards it. I suppose the only upside to the cancellation is that my goal won't be continually slipping farther away, but still I find it sad. FF was once their flagship title--so many great characters were introduced and tested in its pages. I think Marvel has just had trouble finding a team who "gets" the characters, and who wouldn't rather be working on something flashy with an "X" in the title. I have faith that they will return some day. Probably shortly after Marvel regains the movie rights to the property...


James wellyousaythat said...

The Kirby/Lee FF was my escape from reality as a kid. These are peerless comic books. I like your list as it covers some major bases. I would have included the Slave planet issues:Ben Grimm Killer