Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016's Biggest Loss

Many people are lamenting 2016 as a terrible year because of the death of some people, or election results, or what have you. And that's fine.

But for me 2016 was terrible because it was the first full calendar year without a Fantastic Four comic book since 1960.

And goddammit, I miss the Fantastic Four.

I've talked about this often enough before, so I won't belabor the point. But the Fantastic Four is why I read comic books. And it's not the same without them.

Think about this: that Galactus-forsaken abomination of a Fox movie is more recent than the most most recent Fantastic Four comic.

Yet still, apparently out of nothing but poor misguided spite, Marvel refuses to publish any new FF material, and has gone so far as to stop hawking any merchandising with, and photoshopping them out of classic posters and t-shirts.

Well, that's been an effective tactic, eh, Marvel?

I miss the Fantastic Four.

And, no, having Johnny Storm hang with the Inhumans, or Ben Grimm hang with Guardians Of The Galaxy, is nowhere near enough.

By the way--is it just me, or does the thought or Johnny and Medusa being a couple make you go "eeewwwww!"?

But if Marvel wanted to re-launch Marvel Two-In-One, I wouldn't say no.

It's perhaps particularly telling that, even though the Inhumans and Guardians were both heavily involved in Civil War II, neither Johnny nor Ben made a single appearance. I guess arbitrary corporate edicts outweigh even block-buster event crossovers...

I even miss the chromium-cover-Sue-having-a-boob-window-shaped-like-a-4 era...

Even during the dreaded Heroes Reborn era, well, at least there was an FF comic.

And of course, they returned...

Lordy, I miss the FF.

Maybe if someone mentioned to Marvel that they're going to be in danger of losing the trademark to "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine"??

Maybe if this guy paid a visit to Ike Perlmutter...

So 2016 will go down as the year with no Fantastic Four...

...let's hope that someone comes to their senses during 2017.

Because does anybody really believe that the Ultimates or the U.S.Avengers or Champions could save the Earth if they had to?

I really, really miss the Fantastic Four.

So Marvel...please?

10 comments:

Linneman said...

The truth. You speak it. There's some weird politics on this one. Seriously, shouldn't Marvel just want our money?

Matthew E said...

I see the lack of a FF comic as roughly corresponding to DC's lack of a Legion of Super-Heroes comic. Both groups represent the kind of future that it's difficult to believe in anymore: the FF as the present-day trailblazers of a bright future, and the LSH as the ultimate destination. But we don't have a future anymore; we just have Donald Trump. Which may be both the reason why Marvel and DC aren't publishing the FF and LSH, and the reason why they should.

Smurfswacker said...

I'm not up to date on Marvel comics...I wearied of them during the Pockets era and never returned. Are you serious--they are REMOVING the FF from existing posters? There has to be some contorted legal BS behind this. Is it related to the hassle a few years back over movie rights? Damned strange.

Simon Dyer said...

I'd put money on the Ultimates. The USAvengers victories are most likely going to be pyrrhic and the Champions? Not without some much resented adult supervision.

Warren JB said...

Matthew, much as Trump is like some kind of nightmare, I don't think the blame can be pinned on him for this one, unless Marvel had actually built Doctor Doom's time machine back in 2015. I'd say it's more like the kind of conspiracy theory surrounding the X-Men at the current time: they don't have the Marvel-owned movie licenses, they're not part of the grand movie 'phases', and I'd guess the dreadful movies they were featured in didn't keep interest in their comics afloat as much as Iron Man or the other Avengers. (If reports about the decline of comics sales are to be believed)

And the decline of hopeful, futurist comics in favour of gloom disguised as 'grit and realism' goes back to 2004 at least, when someone decided superheroes distrusting and beating eachother up over multiple consecutive events was the best thing ever. Crap as Civil War and it's successors may have been, I guess someone was buying all those tie-ins to see how crap they really were. Though personally, I think it's the latest hump since the Miller/Moore imitations in the 90s, which just went into a few troughs since then - like phases of an ice age.

If that's even halfway accurate, the writing's been on the wall for the FF for years. Not that it makes things any easier to swallow.

Though second Smurfswacker: are they really airbrushing the FF out of things? That seems an especially cynical and drastic step. Is it featured online anywhere?

Wes Carter said...

Thanks Snell. I hadn't read the FF in quite a while, but knowing the trouble Marvel is going through to distance themselves from their first family is frustrating, distressing and just plain stupid. It all seems so petty...

Mista Whiskas said...

Couldn't agree more, well said. And what great covers!

snell said...

Thanks to everyone for the kind words.

For those who asked, we don't have any confirmed facts on this issue, just lots of third-had rumor and scuttlebutt. But it tells a consistent story.

Ike Perlnutter, reclusive billionaire, is CEO of Marvel (& the biggest single stockholder in Disney), was said to be extremely vexed by their inability to get the X-Men & FF film rights back from Fox. Allegedly he would complain that putting out comics featuring those characters was just providing free marketing to Fox films. So an edict was sent out saying no more FF merchandising--many 3rd parties have confirmed the fact that they were no longer allowed to make FF things, although they were given no reason. And the FF was cancelled. And while the X-books sold to well to cancel, their role in the Marvel Universe was to be deemphasized, and Inhumans played up as a replacement.

Again, all unsourced rumor. But then there was this T-shirt, first among several instances of the FF being removed from pre-existing Marvel merchandise. In 2015, Marvel released a number of shirts & posters of the original 1980s Secret Wars, to promote the 2015 event. And look at that, Reed, Ben and Johnny are suddenly missing from the new one.

So, yes, a nonsensical, childish reaction. The existence of FF comic or merchandise wouldn't have made a dime's difference to the fate of that terrible FF movie. Yes, Marvel is shooting themselves in the foot. That's what happens when you let billionaires run things based on pique.

Prof. Chronotis said...

If I wasn't already your biggest fan, this post would've done it. All I can say is, "me too me too me too" and revel in the gorgeous covers you chose to illustrate your point. And thanks also for the additional info here, unsubstantiated though it may be. I can't think of any other reason why they'd be disloyal to their own brand, to the title that started it all. It's certainly the title that started me reading comics, and the characters that still have the most cherished place in my mind and heart.

Tricks boy said...

Bring Back the fantastic four!