Monday, May 17, 2010

FF Re-read: The Fantastic Four #3 (March 1962)

"The Menace of the Miracle Man"
Script by Stan Lee 
Pencils by Jack Kirby 
Inks by Sol Brodsky 
Letters by Art Simek 

Something really amazing happens this issue, as the book and its characters take over the book in the last half and start to run away with it, leaving behind a pretty pedestrian plot.

But first, there is some interesting stuff to talk about early on in this issue, starting with the cover, which announces the arrival of both the Fantasti-Car and the superhero costumes. It also is the first issue to feature the famous slogan “The Greatest Comic Magazine in the World!!” And for some reason, I’ve always been aware of a major anatomical error in Jack Kirby’s drawing of the Human Torch that was mentioned in the Overstreet guide listing for this issue. Before I had a reprint or chance to look at a copy of this issue, I was always curious what it was and a bit unimpressed when it turned out to be that the Torch has two left hands. I’m sure this was just a mistake on Kirby’s part, not caught by him or Stan Lee due to the speed with which they were cranking out material at the time. 

It’s also interesting to note that this was not the original cover. The rejected one — reproduced in a lot of places, including the second Marvel Masterworks volume of Fantastic Four — was more in line with the monster-hunters, investigators of the unknown vibe of the first two issues. There also are original, inked pages that show Sue and Reed wearing masks as part of their costumes, which sported a different logo with a stylized “FF” instead of the numeral 4. (You can see those images here.) These images make it clear that there was a lot of back and forth going on about how far to take Fantastic Four into superhero territory.