Vintage Voice: The Fantastic Four

Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created The Fantastic Four with intentions of revolutionizing the super hero world. Instead of focusing purely on the powers of the extraordinary people, the personalities and back stories were considered paramount to the story lines. These heroes with real stories and everyday attributes made a connection with the masses unlike any other characters before them. In November 1961, Marvel introduced the four heroes in The Fantastic Four #1. The comic took off instantly.

The intertwining lives of the superheroes also added a new complexity to the story. Mister Fantastic has the ability to stretch and reshape his body, which his alter ego is intelligent and clever scientist Reed Richards. Reed Richards is married to Sue Richards, who just happens to be the Invisible Woman. With the ability to control light waves and form force fields it comes as no surprise the “fantastic” traits run in her family. Jonathon Storm, Sue Richard’s brother, is known as the Human Torch. His abilities include control of all forms of fire while being impervious to it as well as flight. Lastly is Reed Richard’s best friend, Benjamin Grimm. The engineer and test pilot still blames Richards for his appearance as The Thing, but still uses his powers of strength and resistance to injury to help the group. What makes these heroes different than most is that although they have hero names and alter egos, they don’t try to hide either. They prove to be comfortable with all aspects of their lives, which was a new concept to the superhero industry.

The Fantastic Four came before a lot of the big time heroes we know today, including Spiderman, The Avengers, and X-Men. They were featured in a variety of cartoons, comics, and movies; one even just recently premiered earlier this month. The Thing had his own show, the group had their own movies and merchandise, and at one point the crew died only to be replaced by Spiderman, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and the intelligent version of the Hulk named Mr. Fixit. With the revelation of the original Fantastic Four alive, the newer crew was woven into the story lines. Interestingly enough The Human Torch and Spiderman become best friends as close as brothers, and a series emerged purely on their pranks.

As time passed and new heroes emerged, The Fantastic Four became less popular but remained a major influence throughout the characteristics of other superpowered people. Hopefully the release of the 2015 real action movie of the bizarre family will boost them into the spot light once again!

Be sure to check out the Fantastic Four merchandise in the store, along with some of their hero affiliates!

Sara Giarratano
Information Courtesy of whatculture.com

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