Monday, 30 July 2018


Published cover.  Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

As most readers will know, there are two FF #1 covers;  the cover that was published in 1961 (above) and the cover as it was 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, OMNIBUS and Trade Paperback editions.

The published version 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".)


Side-by-side comparison


Dave S said...

Of course the big mystery about FF #1, other than who inked the interiors, is who tied Reed up on the cover...?

Kid said...

No mystery, DS - it was 'Sergeant Symbolic'.

Dave S said...

I've just noticed today that the first place I saw the FF1 cover, the 190s Origins of Marvel Comics book uses the "missing man" cover, which means I must never have seen the original cover til much later.

And, as I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn, when I flicked through the Origins book this morning, for a moment I felt like I was back on a bright sunny day in the early 80s, spellbound by my best friend's copy of the book (which he very kindly lent to me. If he hadn't, I probably wouldn't be reading this, or any other comic-related blog right now!)

Kid said...

Yes, the Origins book (which I first bought in 1975) used the 'missing man' cover, but it didn't even follow the original colour scheme, which was a shame. (I'd first seen the cover artwork when it was used as a pin-up in The Mighty World Of Marvel #1.) The original published cover didn't re-appear until the paperback Masterworks and Omnibus editions, if I recall correctly, a few short years ago.

Colin Jones said...

I think I first saw the cover of FF #1 in The Complete FF #1 in September 1977 because those reprints of the original stories always included the original covers too. But I don't know whether it was the 'missing man' cover or not - to be honest I couldn't care less about such trivial details, it's only the FF and the monster that matter anyway.

On a completely different subject - Kid, do you have any opinions on the recent revival of vinyl LPs? My local Tesco now sells a small selection of vinyl (but far more CDs). I recall you saying you'd be happy if Brexit led to a return of the old Imperial money so you must equally welcome the revival of interest in vinyl, yes? I assume you've replaced all your Jim Reeves CDs with vinyl versions?

Kid said...

The Complete FF used the 'missing man' cover, CJ. As for vinyl LPs, I don't see the point these days, because unless they're 'snap, crackle and pop' free, CDs have them (and cassettes) beat all hollow. Actually, you got that last part backward - I already had Jim Reeves on vinyl, but updated them to CD years ago (still kept the vinyl though).

I remember someone I know insisting that it had been proven that vinyl gave a better sound than CD, but actually there's debate over that from professional sound engineers and musicians, who prefer the sound of CDs. I emailed a link to one such article to the person, but he never responded to it. Doesn't like to be disagreed with it seems.

I think that a lot of people who grew up with vinyl prefer it and imagine a better sound, but I think that belief springs from the nostalgic association with their youth and the 'procedure' of playing a vinyl record. By that I mean taking it out of its outer and inner sleeves, placing it over the spindle, then watching the record revolve as it plays. I sort of miss that too, but what I don't miss is the crackles, pops, and jumps. CDs can be programmed to play in a specific order, and it's easier and quicker to jump to a favourite track. So CDs for me every time.

I notice that you're now sporting a new avatar which was only recently created, CJ. A lot of your old comments are now showing as 'anonymous' - what happened?

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I didn't know my old comments are showing as anonymous!

I created a new google account (and new avatar) in late June and deleted my old account so maybe that's why my previous comments are 'anonymous'?

Kid said...

I've noticed one or two still showing under your name, but most of them are now credited to 'anonymous'. Why a new account at the expense of your old one?

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