|I was eight years old when I first discovered The Fantastic Four with issue #3, cover dated March, 1962 (released two to three months earlier:)|
When I first saw this cover, I couldn't tell the good guys from the bad guys, but, of course, they were all good guys. The Fantastic Four was different from any comic book I'd ever read and it became my favorite and remained so for several years. Created by the great team of Stan Lee, writer and Jack Kirby, co-plotter and pencil artist, the Fantastic Four brought characterization and family fun back to comics, traits that were missing from their competitors on the newsstands.
You see, the Fantastic Four was not just a super-hero team, they were a family: Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards, the leader, the father figure, a genius more at home in the laboratory than in social gatherings, Susan (the Invisible Girl) Storm, beautiful, shy and Reed's romantic interest, Johnny (the Human Torch) Storm, Sue's kid brother, reckless & fun-loving, and Ben (the ever lovin' blue-eyed Thing) Grimm, Reed's best friend, loyal but with a short temper fueled by his monstrous condition.
Yes, they were a family and they acted like one with Johnny playing practical jokes on Ben, Ben having temper tantrums, Reed lecturing them and Sue fretting over it all. But when the chips were down, whether in battle against Dr. Doom, the Sub-Mariner, Galactus or any of their other myriad opponents, they stuck by each other, not because they were a family but because they truly valued each other.
I had serious doubts that I would enjoy the new Fantastic Four movie. The trailers and previews I had seen didn't impress me and the two reviews I saw were not encouraging, one calling it "not fantastic." Well, I'm happy to report that I loved the movie. Fantastic Four captures the essence of the comic book's Lee/Kirby years and is fun, fun, fun. From "flame on" to "it's clobberin' time", my forty-four year wait for this movie has been rewarded and I'm already anxious for the sequel.