An epoch in comic book history

Every time I see this image, I remember the awe I felt gazing at the cover of Fantastic Four #39 at age 12, only partly because it was finding old friends after too long a wait. We had moved to a town with no comic books, and it had been 15 months between the story of the Infant Terrible (#24) and rediscovering the F.F.

And here they were, powerless, uncertain, and with Doctor Doom looming over them in the background as Daredevil went first, the only blurb on the cover a title: “A Blind Man Shall Lead Them.”

We rejoined the story just as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were starting a most amazing and creative year on Fantastic Four. From this iconic start through issue #52, a baker’s dozen of stories brought us a definitive comeback victory over their greatest foe, Dr. Doom; a three-part series where beloved Benjamin Grimm left the group and turned on his friends; a magical introduction to a race of Inhumans; the coming of Galactus and the Silver Surfer; a heartbreaking classic one-act story, “This Man, This Monster”; and finally the introduction of Black Panther. What a run!

I have become an old man in his old easy chair, not yelling “You kids get off my lawn” but rather “Why can’t anybody make a decent movie out of the world’s greatest comics magazine?!” Sam Raini trusted his source material and Spider-Man changed the movie industry. (OK, X-Men went first, but OMG that first Spider-Man movie …)

The director who mines these 13 issues of Fantastic Four — like the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies did — and is true to the spirit of the characters — like the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies are — could finally create the Fantastic Four movie that longtime Marvelites like me have been waiting for.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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