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Saturday, 17 July 2010
LITTLE-KNOWN "THIRD" FANTASTIC FOUR #1 COVER...
Published cover. Images copyright MARVEL COMICS
As most readers will know, there are two FF #1 covers; the cover as originally drawn (below - known as the "missing man" cover - though that should really be in the plural), which was the version most often utilized in MARVEL reprints up until the recent MASTERWORKS, OMNIBUSand Trade Paperback editions. Then there's the version (above) originally published in 1961.
This featured the addition of a policeman at the end of the street - and some alterations and additions to the passers-by on the right-hand side of the cover. Exactly who was responsible for the amendments is, at present, unknown.
Stat of original art by Jack Kirby & George Klein
Was it Jack Kirby or Dick Ayers who drew them? Perhaps Ayers inked over Kirby pencils, which would explain why he was credited as inker of the complete cover for many years, until George Klein came to be regarded as the man behind the embellishment duties. Perhaps one day we'll find out for certain.
What most fans don't realize however, is that there is also a third, hybrid, version (below). This was the reprint of FF #1 used for the GOLDEN BOOK & RECORD Set in the mid or late '60s. This cover had the original, unaltered passers-by as originally drawn by Kirby, but the policeman (a redrawn version) had been added to make it look like the original printed version from 1961. (The price, number and date had been removed though.) Interestingly, considering the debate about who inked the first issue, Dick Ayers is credited as inker on the back of the record sleeve - although his surname is misspelled as "Ayres".)