The Fantastic Four were the first characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to usher in the Marvel Age of American comics in 1961; a bold and imaginative series about a quartet of adventures (Reed Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic, his fiancee Sue Storm AKA The Invisible Girl, her brother Johnny Storm, the Human Torch and Ben Grimm, alias the Thing) who gained super powers after being exposed to cosmic rays while attempting an unauthorised space flight (later, various other characters would join the team temporarily at one time or another; notably, Crystal of the Inhumans replaced Sue Richards when she was on maternity leave (!) while her sister Medusa later replaced Sue when she and Reed were temporarily estranged; the hero for hire Power Man temporarily replaced the Thing when he lost his powers, and years later the She-Hulk left the Avengers to stand in for Ben when he left the team for personal reasons. The second Ant Man has also stood in for Reed on occasion). The Fantastic Four were introduced to British comics readers in the Odhams weekly title Smash! before being introduced into the fledgling Marvel UK line in Mighty World of Marvel, later going on to appear in Captain Britain and Spider-Man before eventually graduating to their own title The Complete Fantastic Four. After its cancellation they returned to MWOM and later Spider-Man, Marvel Action and Captain America, and then had their own 28 issue Pocket Book title before finally receiving another solo book. Later, they also co-starred in the fortnightly Marvel Action Hour title (alongside Iron Man). They also featured in random reprint titles from Alan Class Publishing.
Solo TitleFantastic Four was a reprint title published by Marvel UK. It ran from 6th October 1982-20th April 1983, a total of 29 issues. It was notable for introducing The Fantastic 400. Following the title's cancellation, the Fantastic Four strip (which had continued from the Fantastic Four Pocket Book) was transferred to the back pages of Spider-Man, where it had already had several lengthy runs in the 1970s. Later, they would frequently star in Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars. There has since been another Fantastic Four title, a monthly "collected edition" published by Panini who took over the licence to publish Marvel reprints in Britain following the dissolution of Marvel UK in the mid 1990s. Panini also briefly published an Ultimate Fantastic Four title, about an alternate version of the team.
Two Fantastic Four Comic Annual's were published by World Distributors in 1969 and 1970 (they also published a Fantastic Four Full Colour Comic Album in 1970, reprinting the American Fantastic Four issues #51, #53 and #60) and a further three Fantastic Four Annual's were published by Marvel UK from 1979-81 (two further annuals were later published by other publishers, in 2006 and 2008, but these were based on movies; additionally, the FF starred in the 1978 edition of The Titans Annual). Marvel UK also published Fantastic Four Winter Special's in 1981 and 1983, and a Fantastic Four Summer Special in 1982.
The FF's most popular member, The Thing, starred in his own short lived weekly title, The Thing is Big Ben, in 1984.
Dr Reed Richards, his girlfriend Sue Storm, her brother Johnny, and their friend Ben Grimm, all gainned superhuman abilities when they made an unauthorized space shot in an unshielded rocket and were bombarded by cosmic rays hile trying to...er...beat te Commies...
But we don't talk about that part anymore.
Anyway, they went on to become superherodm's first family and the stars of the self proclaimed "World's Greatest Comic Magazine". Reed and Sue later got married and had a son, Franklin, who is still in elementary school after fifty years.
The FF have also had a number of temporary replacement members, including Ant Man (who joined while Reed was temporarily dead), Crystal (who joined while Sue was on maternity leave), Medusa (who replaced Sue when she left Reed for awhile), Power Man (who replaced Ben when he got depowered) and the She-Hulk (who replaced Ben when he was off adventuring on another planet).
- Appearances of Fantastic Four (Team)
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