Monday, September 29, 2008


ITEM! Didja know that Yours Truly still has a copy of his original outline for Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961)? And thank Odin for that! Without it, my mnemonically-impaired misfiring memory cells would never be certain who came up with what between Jolly Jack and myself. As it is, you can read this and easily see what parts of our cosmic quartet came from your Uncle Stanley and which came from King Kirby!

I do recall that originally Uncle Martin wanted me to do a knock-off of the Debilitated Competition’s Justice League mag, and went so far as to suggest that we reunite all of our Golden Age heroes for just such a team. But I’d already tried that once with Cap, Subby and the Torch in the mid-50s and it didn’t sell. Plus, the only combustible character that I really liked from back then was the Human Torch. So I hit on the idea of forming a new team just using the one Golden Oldie, revised to suit modern day readers, natch. Jack and I brain-stormed the rest of the team up, and then I set down to my trusty ol’ Olympia manual typewriter (the preferred writing instrument of Harlan Ellison and Luddites everywhere) and banged out the outline shown below (click on the images to enlarge to comfortable reading size, pilgrims).

What’s particularly interesting is what’s in this that we didn’t use, and what’s not in it that we ended up with. Obviously, the idea of Sue’s clothes not disappearing when she used he power and her having to run around naked every time she needed to be invisible didn’t make it past Jack (though Tim Story had some fun with it 40 years later). Neither did the ideas of Sue being an actress, Johnny not being able to toss fireballs, and (except for a few passing mentions in early ishes) Ben’s crush on Sue.

As to FF #1 itself, you’ll also note that there’s no mention of the Mole Man or Monster Isle. Don’t hold me to this, but I’m pretty sure that I just handed Jack this outline and told him to rip out another 12-13 pages of the FF fighting their first battle against some standard monster-mag monsters, just like the ones we were publishing like crazy at the time. So all of that stuff, plus the reordering of the story into a framed flashback, were all Kirby creations.

So there you have it, Frantic Ones... a little gem of a piece of Merry Marvel Mythology all documented for your analytical appetites. Enjoy!


1 comment:

sheena said...

Nice explaination collections of greatest comic synopsis is very cute and excellent....I am eagerely waiting for your next post...