How the JLA inspired the Fantastic Four!

The JLA was selling well, so Marvel decided to do a team book of its own ... called The Fantastic Four! For the first issue's cover, they even had Jack Kirby copy the basic layout of the JLA's first adventure in Brave and Bold #28 by Sekowsky/Anderson. For the WHOLE story, see "FRED HEMBECK explains the real, true secret origin of the Fantastic Four" below!

FF #1: Most copied cover ever?

The cover of the first issue of FF, itself inspired by a JLA cover, inspired a truckload of "homage" covers through the years -- including: Fantastic Four #126 by John Buscema; FF #264 by John Byrne; and What If #36, also by Byrne.



Jack Kirby's
fantastic self-portrait?

Most people, including FF artist Jack Kirby himself, think the character who's the most like Kirby is The Thing.
However, in the early issue of FF pictured left, it seems clear that at least in the beginning, the character who LOOKED the most like Kirby was Reed Richards.
The Kirby drawing of Mr. Fantastic which appeared on FF #7 is a virtual dead ringer for King Kirby himself, down to the dramatic eyebrows and graying temples!


FRED HEMBECK explains the real, true secret origin of the Fantastic Four

As mentioned above, the Fantastic Four's creation was inspired in part by the JLA. Want to find out the WHOLE story behind the real try origin of the FF? Click either cover pic above to read Fred Hembeck;s hilarious and accurate take on this fascinating bit of comic history. Page copyright Fred Hembeck!

America's Best Comics:
Tom Strong, Top Ten, and ... Mr. Fantastic?

Before Alan Moore's America's Best Comics, there was America's Best TV Comics! Not Jonny Carson and David Letterman -- Casper, George of the Jungle, Journey to the Center of the Earth, King Kong (!), as well as Spider-Man and our beloved Fantastic Four. Reed looks like some kind of deranged Kirby swipe, and Spidey may be traced from a Gil Kane drawing. Anyone know the sources?

Meet ... The Infant Terrible!

You think DC has a monopoly on whacky villains? Then you never met THE INFANT TERRIBLE, a totally whacked-out, troublemaking alien baby who debuted in FF #24, by Jack Kirby and George Roussous.
Stan Lee didn't just pull the name "Infant Terrible" out of thin air ... the name is derived from the French term "Enfant Terrible," which is used to describe a child who does terrible things. In the story, Reed uses this name to describe the annoying Infant.
The Infant is a young alien from the planet Elan. Like all Elan, it can generate powerful energy from its antennae that enables it to transmute elements, rearrange matter, animate inanimate matter, attract and repel objects, etc. The limitations of the Infant's abilities were left undefined. His appearance .. well, you can see for yourself. The Infant looked .. er ... well ... let's just say something less than awesome.


Source of the Mego
Mr. Fantastic action figure
box art -- revealed!

In the 1970s, Mego issued a line of superhero action figures -- but comic merchandising was in its infancy back then, and licensing departments, even at the major companies, usually consisted of just one person. Desperate for art to use on the figure's boxes, they resorted to recycling old posters and covers!

Pictured here is the cover of FF #59, and the front of the mego Mr. Fantastic figure box. As you can see, Reed has been lifted from the cover and put on the box! And did they ever credit Jack Kirby? Of course not!

.Unused Jack Kirby cover for
Fantastic Four Annual #1!

Don't panic -- the cover to the left doesn't exist. Kind of like Hawkman, at times. This cover was rejected by Marvel, and Kirby drew another one for the issue. This unused cover was printed for the first time in the Marvel Masterworks collected edition of the FF. Click the pic for a bigger version!

FF Saturday Morning Cartoon Series!