Sunday, 11 April 2021

A 'FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST' REPOST: THE WAY IT BEGAN...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

I bought my original copy of the above mag - FANTASTIC FOUR #126 - in a newsagents in Hamilton, Scotland, on Friday, October 6th 1972.  I should've been at school, and would've been if not for the fact I'd already been off ill for a day or two and there was no point in going back on the last day before the weekend.  I therefore remained absent, and - as I was feeling slightly better as the morning wore on - my father took me with him when he journeyed into Hamilton on some errand or other.


I also picked up another copy of The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #1 that afternoon (released only the Saturday before), the second issue being due out the next day.  I well remember the fun I had comparing JACK KIRBY's version of the FF's origin with JOHN BUSCEMA's - it sure was difficult to decide on just which interpretation was best, although Big John's was a tad more dynamically rendered.  Having said that, he was channelling Jack's solid storytelling principles through his own style, so Kirby deserves a share of the credit, I suppose.


This was ROY THOMAS's first issue as regular scripter of the FF.  He'd written some fill-in stories before, of course, when STAN LEE was on vacation, but this was his 'debut' as the quartet's ongoing scribe now that Stan had been promoted to president and publisher with little or no time for writing.  At least, that was the plan, but Rascally Roy's increased duties as newly appointed editor-in-chief meant that he soon had to turn the regular scripting chores over to someone else.  (Step forward twenty year old boy-genius, GERRY CONWAY.)


This issue was intended to be a new beginning for the fabulous foursome, and the title managed to offer some respectable stories before losing its impetus somewhere along the line.  Eventually, the comic began to tread water, until writer/artist JOHN BYRNE came on board with issue #232 in 1981.  His 'Back to Basics' first issue succeeded in revitalising the flagging series and managed to restore some much-needed credibility to the title's famous front-cover tag-line - "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!"  FF fans everywhere were mighty grateful.


However, with that landmark 126th issue back in 1972, the heady hint of promise hung heavy in the air, and - for a while at least - the expectations of the faithful were not disappointed.

10 comments:

McSCOTTY said...

I don't recall this story/comic but I always enjoyed John Buscema FF more than most others. I wonder how many homage versions of Kirby's FF issue 1's there are?

Kid said...

That's a good question, McS - I imagine there must be quite a few by now. This issue, with some revision to the dialogue and captions, was later made available as a 'book and record' set. If you'd like a CD of the record just let me know - or it's on the blog somewhere if you just fancy a listen.

Dave S said...

Off the top of my head, I can think of three John Byrne homages to the FF #1 cover: an issue around #260, with only the Thing and the Torch fighting the Mole Man's monster, a Marvel Age cover with JB himself in place of said monstrosity, and West Coast Avengers issue (#53?) with the Whackos in place of the FF.

Kid said...

And there's also the What If issue where they didn't get their powers, DS. I thought McS was referring to the retellings of the actual origin though, not necessarily just the covers.

McSCOTTY said...

Hi sorry I meant the actual covers Kid as Dave mentioned. It's amazing what you can find on the web - below is a link to an article on the Fantastic Four issue 1 homage covers, around 29 of them (I love the Skottie Young cartoon one lol) just shows the power of Kirby's original cover.


https://sidekickcomicgear.com/homage-covers/fantastic-four-1-homage-covers/

Kid said...

Before I even look at the link, I've remembered another one (which I've got) - Married With Children. Yeah, there was a comic, and the cover parodied FF #1.

Colin Jones said...

Ben Grimm accepts his monstrous new form way too easily and in reality he'd probably suffer some kind of nervous breakdown. Yes, I know I'm taking it all too seriously :D

Kid said...

Well, his angst was sort of glossed over in order to pace the action aspect of the strip, CJ, but it was touched upon from time-to-time in subsequent episodes. When you think about it, all four of them adapt to their 'alterations' just a tad too readily.

B Smith said...

Hey, when a guy decides five minutes after his "alteration" that he's going to call himself Mister Fantastic, I think you can take it that he's adapted to it in no time flat!

Kid said...

Well, at least he picked a name that reflected his modesty, BS.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...