Almost everyone who is familiar with Silver Age Marvel comic books is familiar with the Fantastic Four. Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Human Torch, and the Thing, have become indelible fixtures of pop culture since the 1960’s. The Fantastic Four was actually created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby after the success of another superhero team was created, the Justice League of America (JLA), at their rival DC publishers. JLA brought together some of DC’s most popular superhero characters of the time, including Superman, the Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. In contrast, the first issue of the Fantastic Four brought together four previously unknown characters: a brother and sister, the sister’s husband, and the husband’s best friend.
While the JLA based stories on their confrontations with super villains, the Fantastic Four, like most of the comics of the Marvel Universe at that time, focused on characterization. Indeed, the combined superpowers of all four characters of the Fantastic Four were fewer than those of the JLA’s most famous member, Superman. When the JLA actually had to fight super villains, one got the impression that it didn’t really matter which hero fought which villain in any instance. It seemed like a smorgasbord of random match-ups, where almost any hero would have sufficed. In fact, a reader was hard-pressed not to imagine that Superman could not take care of most of the JLA’s foes all by himself. In contrast, the Fantastic Four were put up against villains of magnitude arguably bigger than those of the JLA, and the match-up was not only not in the heroes favor, but more often the villains. Take the example of Galactus, the world-devourer. The Fantastic Four were so puny in comparison that they were hard-pressed to even get the attention of Galactus. Comic book readers could easily imagine Galactus finishing off the Fantastic Four, and had no idea until they read the book how they could survive the confrontation.
Those who enjoy perusing Silver Age Marvel comic books for sale will appreciate the excellent characterization of the Fantastic Four family. Check out these Silver Age Marvel comic books for sale at Cosmic Comics.