Sunday, 7 May 2017

FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST PART FIFTY-THREE - FANTASTIC FOUR #234...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

'Twas on one of the upper floors of Glasgow's VIRGIN
Megastore in 1981 that I bought the above issue of The
FANTASTIC FOUR.  I couldn't say off the top of my head
when I'd last read a copy of the FF, but it'd been a good while,
probably back in the '70s.  This was the number that brought
me back into the fold, and I soon tracked down the previous
two issues (the start of JOHN BYRNE's reign) from a
shop called WONDERWORLD in Bournemouth.

Altogether, John Byrne wrote and drew 62 issues (and
plotted what would've been his 63rd if he'd not moved over
to DC to reboot SUPERMAN), plus two annuals, and, in my
famously humble opinion, the FF hadn't been so consistently
good since the days of STAN & JACK.  This was the issue
that drew me back in, and guess what?  The world would
never again be the same - for me anyway.

1981, eh?  A whole 36 years ago, yet it seems like only
three or four at the very most.  The pics in this post were
scanned from the original comic I got back then, which is still
in the same condition as when I got it.  If only I were in as
good shape as the mag, I'd be a whole lot happier.

Got any memories of this issue?  Then why not use a
few seconds of your allotted 15 minutes of fame and share
them with us in the comments section?  Go on, we're a will-
ing audience who'd love to read your reminiscences!



14 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I had this issue too and, like you, John Byrne revived my interest in the FF. For the next couple of years I bought every issue of Fantastic Four but by late 1983 I had stopped reading comics, not returning till 2007. But I feel I got out at the right time as Byrne went too far by changing the FF's costumes and bringing in She-Hulk etc - Marvel was losing its' way by the mid-80s so I don't feel like I missed anything by dropping out for 24 years.

Kid said...

I didn't mind the change in costumes too much, CJ, as they were only 'negative' (not in the sense you mean) versions of their originals, although I'd have preferred them to remain unchanged. The one thing I didn't like was Johnny and Alicia falling in love, so I was glad when a later creative team made 'Alicia' a Skrull. I suppose Ben being replaced by She-Hulk was in order to avoid continuity problems between the FF and Ben's own mag, but a simple 'This tale takes place before the events in...' panel would've done for me. Overall, 'though, I really enjoyed the majority of Byrne's FF run.

John Pitt said...

Make that all three of us who had this one, lads!
But.... my memories of this were practically the same as every other FF of that time, - dropping my kids off at school, then doing the rounds of the newsagents in our town, trying to make sure that I didn't miss anything!

Kid said...

Did you ever tell the newsagent the comics were for your kids, JP, or did you own up to them being for yourself?

John Pitt said...

Either I told them or they guessed, but every shop that sold them knew me, as I used to buy so many AND browse through them in the shops!
Plus, as I'm so OCD, I used to tidy their comics shelves up every day, as I went through them! Ha ha! ( Must have thought I was bonkers! - And they'd have been right! )

Kid said...

Well, we're ALL bonkers, JP, 'though it manifests itself in various ways. When I'm standing at the counter in the post office or bank, I start tidying up their leaflets and stuff. Even in the doctor's waiting room, I have to tidy the out-of-date magazines that lie around in disarray. Just like you, I tidy up the shelves in newsagent's shops when I'm looking at anything. Weird, eh?

John Pitt said...

AT LAST! - A kindred spirit! And here was me thinking that I was the ONLY one!
Kid, - RESPECT!!
:-)

Kid said...

I think there are millions of us, JP, but some of them are shy about declaring themselves as bonkers. Me, I've no shame!

John Pitt said...

I have NEVER felt embarrassed or ashamed of buying comics as an adult, but, can you top this?
When the US DCs and Marvels came in, I would first sort all the same titles and put them together, so that I could choose the very best issue of each title, then put them back in the racks/on the shelves - in alphabetical title order!
I am only bearing my soul to you, mind! I wouldn't tell the whole world!

Kid said...

I always go through the comics to pick the best one as well, JP. And don't worry - the whole world doesn't read this blog anyway. (Actually, going by my stats, it DOES - not EVERYONE in the whole world, but just about every country.)

spirit of 64 said...

This was such a great issue. Byrne's issues up to around 255 were great, after that they became less inventive. The negative zone storyline was dull, and turning Sue into Malice was almost as bad as the Johnny/ Alicia storyline. In all, after an excellent start, Byrne ruined the FF for me, the only element of his later tales I enjoyed was his handling of She-Hulk.
ps once Marvel decided to do the Johnny/Alicia thing they should have stuck to it. The sign of a good writer is making the imposible/improbable/bad ideas work. Marvel even flummoxed the re-do, with Alicia written out of the strip, and confused storylines over the skull warrior woman who impersonated Alicia (sorry can't remember her name). It also started the current terrible trend whereby any writer who doesn't like what came before changes it by having hero/ supporting character being unveiled as skrull/ impostor/ whatever. So much mucking about is done with the fundamentals that no-one ends up caring about the characters anymore. Sorry about the rant, but the FF used to be my favourite comic!!

Kid said...

FF was my favourite comic too, '64, and I wouldn't disagree with most of what you say about Byrne's later issues, although they were still entertaining to a degree. I think the Johnny/Alicia idea was just wrong from the start because, despite Byrne's view to the contrary, it changed the dynamic of the team. What's worse, it also made Alicia seem a bit superficial, prepared to abandon Ben for anyone who'd give her a bit of attention. When Byrne first took over, it was as if he'd turned the clock back to the spirit of the first 20 issues in many ways, while still including the best of the later elements. Once he drifted away from that, my interest was sometimes in danger of drifting away too, but I stuck with it. I'm not convinced that making Alicia a Skrull impostor was the start of the trend of writers changing whatever they didn't like, mainly because that seems to have been Byrne's philosophy from the start. He pretty much dismissed every issue between Jack's last and Byrne's first as being a waste of space, much to the annoyance of creators before him. Anyway, creating X-Factor and bringing back Jean Grey from the dead pre-dated the Alicia/Skrull revelation, so it wasn't the first on that basis alone. But, hey - thanks for the thought-provoking comment.

spirit of 64 said...

Thanks and you are spot on with the Byrne and Alicia comments!

Kid said...

Shucks! Well, I do try.

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