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Ten Goofiest Moments of the First Ten Issues of the Fantastic Four

With the release of the latest Fantastic Four movie, as well as the Onion’s recent piece on “10 Wonderfully Weird Moments From Fantastic Four Comics,” I thought now would be a good time to repost this entry from last year. – BC

Here are the ten goofiest plot points from the first ten issues of the Fantastic Four. Please note that these comics were meant to be read by mostly a young audience, and it CERTAINLY was not expected that more than forty years later, people would still be reading these stories, so there is no maliciousness meant here. Most of these issues are total classics. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t some pretty goofy plot points in the first ten issues. Let the countdown begin!!

HONORABLE MENTION

Sue the Ball-buster

Greg already shared this nugget from Fantastic Four #1 with us awhile back, but it is too funny to not give a second mention to!

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Not only does she manage to sneak in a Commie shot, but she also gets to razz Ben!! Beautiful!

10. Water makes you BURN?

Reader Hoosier-X suggested this one, and I think it is good enough to feature here.

In Fantastic Four #7, Johnny and Ben get into a fight, and Johnny goes off to take a shower.

Ben plays a prank on him, by raising the temperature of the water.

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And this makes Johnny flame on!!

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Yes – he flamed on because of WATER!

9. Radar Eyes?!!?

It was already pretty goofy, in Fantastic Four #9, when Namor becomes a movie producer. But the goofiness quotient tipped the scales with this newfound power of Namor’s!

Yes, Namor has…RADAR EYES!!!

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Luckily, this power has not been used much over the years.

8. A Bit Forward On His Part

In #4, as the Fantastic Four where searching for Johnny Storm, who had (ahem) stormed off at the end of #3, Reed thought a motorcyclist might know where Johnny was. However, rather than waiting to ask them when they stopped, Reed had a better idea.

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7. Luckily, there wasn’t a war on at the time.

In Fantastic Four #2, the Skrulls convince everyone that the Fantastic Four are bad guys, so the Army locks them up.

Remember that the Army KNOWS who they have locked up.

They KNOW that Sue is the Invisible Girl.

And yet, when they open her cell door…

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Yes, they thought that the Invisible Girl must have just vanished or something.

MORONS!

6. Cousins, Identical Cousins

This is another plot point that has not really been used since it was first mentioned.

The Puppet Master once had his daughter, Alicia Masters, inflitrate the Fantastic Four with a wig to make her look like Sue.

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Sure, she apparently looked a lot like Sue, but it is still embarrassing that this disguise worked – not only wasn’t she Sue, she was BLIND!!!

5. What’s up with THAT?

My pal Kurt Mitchell first pointed this out awhile back, and it is still pretty funny.

Check out the cover of Fantastic Four #1.

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Okay, so, well, WHO TIED REED UP?!?!

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One of life’s goofy mysteries, eh?

4. Sure, sooo simple.

In Fantastic Four #2, when the Skrulls pretend to be the FF, they also had to mimic their powers. This explanation as to how EASY it was to mimic the Human Torch always struck me as quite hilarious.

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Yeah….that was TOO easy! A child could do it!

3. Dude, Where’s My Skrull?

A reader named Gothos pointed this one out, and I had originally excluded it, because I thought it was more dumb than it was goofy, but I have had a change of heart, I think it is goofy, too!

In Fantastic Four #2, the Fantastic Four tricked the Skrull invasion fleet into not invading Earth. The Fantastic Four managed to get ON to the Skrull invasion fleet by masquerading as the very same Skrulls who were pretending to be THEM back on Earth (who were getting the Fantastic Four into all sorts of trouble at home)!

Using the excuse that they had to stay behind on Earth, the FF got out of the dilemma of having to stick around with the rest of the Skrulls who were quickly retreating.

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However, there was still the matter of convincing the authorities back home that it was the Skrulls who did all those bad things, NOT the Fantastic Four! To achieve this, they took the police to see the Skrulls that the Fantastic Four had captured earlier in the issue. Notice the dialogue – QUARTET of Skrulls.

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However, when they all get there, there are now only THREE Skrulls!!

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Now, all of a sudden, Reed is talking about the fourth one being with the rest of the invasion fleet! But that, of course, couldn’t be true, because the fourth Skrull would know all about how the Fantastic Four TRICKED the Skrulls!!

Where,then, did the fourth Skrull REALLY go!??!

Likely, Jack Kirby simply forgot that there were supposed to be four Skrulls, and only drew three Skrulls the rest of the issue, and Lee added that little bit of dialogue to attempt to explain the fourth Skrull’s absence, but of course, the explanation fell far short, and just made it seem more goofy.

2. Dumb Skrulls

The whole plot of convincing an alien race that the planet is tougher than they think is a standard plot. Nothing goofy about it.

However, using pages you cut out of comic books?!!?

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The only thing goofier is that it WORKED! The Skrulls can build ships capable of interstellar travel, but can’t tell that they’re looking at DRAWINGS?!!

How did the Kree NOT win that war?!

1. Lucky Day!

This, though, has to be the goofiest panel in FF history. From the classic issue #5, where the group meets Doctor Doom for the first time, Reed, Ben and Johnny go back in time…but what to do for disguises?!?

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They need costumes, and they just so happen to come across…

Two pirates.

Fighting over a large bundle of stolen clothes.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

Jack Kirby really gave that one a LOT of thought!!

Anyhow, that’s the top ten! Feel free to quibble, or to offer your choices!

45 Comments

Ah, those wacky FF…

But in number 10, you can just as easily (and more logically) read that Johnny was startled, and therefore flamed on. One can ever surmise that within the cocoon of his own flames, his natural defenses protect him from the heat of the water.

Which is still goofy, because there’s a later issue where he can’t immediately flame on after being in a lake… because he is wet… but still.

The three Skrulls got turned into cows, then showed up in the Kree/Skrull War, right? But didn’t the missing fourth Skrull turn up years later in Force Works or Skrull Kill Krew or something?

You forgot the dinosaurs in space suits!

In #10, Doctor Doom (in Reed’s body), tricks the other members into being shrunk down, because that will somehow increase their powers.

He uses dinosaurs as an example, pointing out that if they were smaller, they would have been smarter…

…which leads to a fantasy panel of DINOSAURS IN SPACE SUITS.

Goofy, yes. But awesome.

Wait, I’m confused…I’ve seen this post…this exact post…before. Has this writeup been published on another site previously, because I’m having major deja-vu here :S

Wait, I’m confused…I’ve seen this post…this exact post…before. Has this writeup been published on another site previously, because I’m having major deja-vu here :S

See the first paragraph. :)

Good thing modern writers are more sophisticated–oh wait a minute. Mark Millar used the exact same method of escape that Sue used in your number 7 in Ultimate FF 31. The guards in the Baxter building forgot (???) that zombie sue could turn invisible. Doh! So now we can’t criticize Millar for that idiotic plot point and have to call it an homage to classic FF? Bummer.

The fourth Skrull was the evil politician (H. Warren Craddock) in the Kree-Skrull War who turned everyone against the Avengers.

Which just confirms that you can always trust Roy Thomas to explain things!

The point of the Invisible Woman escaping from jail by … turning invisible was just as goofy in Ultimate FF when the Zombie Fantastic Four used basically the same lame trick to escape from their jail cell. After months of telling us how smart they were and how they were going to break out whenever they wanted, they escape by turning invisible???? Wow, Einstein trembles before the genius of Zombie Reed Richards.

I’ve been reading early FF issues lately, and one thing that cracked me up was that probably once an issue for the first 10 issues or so, there’s a scene where Ben gets pissed off and starts smashing things in anger, and Reed has to restrain him by tying him up with his (Reed’s) arms and legs. It just cracked me up that it happened so often. I’ve read people complain that the early issues are not very good, and I can see the complaint for the first 6 or 7 maybe, but after that there are some really good ones. Once they established the characters, Stan really started writing some good dialogue (especially between Ben and Johnny) and crazy stories. The first appearance of the Mad Thinker was a really good story. And, as an added bonus, I was also rereading Top Ten recently, and I noticed in the skyline of Neopolis in one issue there was the Baxter Building floating up into the sky, straight out of the issue where Doom tried to send the FF and the Submariner up into space. If I hadn’t just read that issue of FF, I probably would never have noticed it. Awesome!

This is good, but rather than do this or early Spider-Man, you should do some John Broome-written/Julie Schwarz-edited Silver Age DC. For goofy moment fodder, those books are comedy gold, although at many times they venture into outright stupid.

I love the FF, but I gotta admit their first really rocking issue was the almost perfect #6 and the series wasn’t consistently brilliant until issue #13 started exploring just how far Kirby’s concepts and Lee’s humanism could be taken.

So here’re mine…one for each issue of the first 10, in reverse chronological order:

#10 — Johnny exposes Doom by superheating the air to create a “mirage” of a lit dynamite stick from the construction site across the street. Leaving aside the questionable physics involved…the construction crew is using single, lit dynamite sticks at street level in a crowded NYC block?

#9 — The entire issue is premised on the notion that the Sub-Mariner could own and operate a major movie studio, use his own initials in the name of said studio, and commission what would surely be a heavily-reported upon film without anyone noticing the name on the ownership papers or wondering why there are no photos of the owner.

#8 — The Puppet Master makes his getaway from the FF via a “puppet-horse” which is not a puppet of any kind. It’s a rocket mounted on the back of a rocking horse. And it looks exactly like you’re imagining it.

#7 — So Kurrgo has an indestructible robot and a mind-control ray capable of affecting an entire planet, but he needs to be gigantic compared to his subjects in order to rule them…as he was doing before the FF ever turned up?

#6 — Apparently you can fix a building that’s been lifted off of its foundations by simply dropping it back into place again, as long as you drop i accurately.

#5 — Neither Reed, Ben, nor Johnny think that they could stop a tiger before it clears several feet of space and attacks Sue, despite having shapeshifting powers, vast superhuman strength, and Green Lantern-esque flame-construct powers between them.

#4 — Johnny Storm can apparently create tornadoes that sweep away skyscraper-sized monsters. By flying very fast. With fire.

#3 — The Miracle Man’s idea of disguising a machine gun is to make it look like a giant key, which is clearly far less conspicuous.

#2 — Reed’s solution for what to do with deadly alien prisoners is…to turn them into cows with hypnosis so that they can live out “peaceful, contented lives.” As John Byrne’s follow-up in FF Annual #17 indirectly points out, this suggests that Reed either doesn’t understand what happens to cows on farms.

#1 –In order to deal with the Human Torch, who appears to be a flaming UFO, the Air Force fires missiles at him. Nuclear missiles. Directly above New York City.

I dunno about goofier, but Peter’s various efforts at journalistic fraud in the early Spider-Man stories always get a chuckle out of me.

” See the first paragraph.”

ah! okay cool, at least I know I haven’t turned into bill murray now ;)

I’ve never really bothered with FF comics, but I might actually go out and buy some old stuff on the basis of seeing this post. I wonder if you could convince people to go out and buy stuff subliminally by reposting some older material. Man, that’d be neat. You’d be using Jedi mind tricks with comicbooks or something.

Just promise you won’t make me dress up in a gold bikini, cause….oh man.

“Good thing modern writers are more sophisticated–oh wait a minute. Mark Millar used the exact same method of escape that Sue used in your number 7 in Ultimate FF 31″

Yes, and the “stupid Skrull routine” was used, only in reverse, during the whole President Thor storyline when the FF fall for literally the oldest trick in the book. Apparently the vita-moron rays that permeate Ultimate Earth affect the heroes as well as the army.

I wonder what has more goofy moments. The first ten issues of Spider-man or the Chapter One reboot.

The Skrulls’ stupidity made it on the F4 cartoon. Nothing like having your neighbors dropping by, asking really pointed questions about your powers. My favorite part was Reed sweet-talking a Skrull-as-older-lady into showing off her wings. I found it hysterical.

In the issue where Namor runs the movie studio the FF had lost all their money. How? Reed lost it in the stock market.

Some genius!

OK, Cronin. You were right. This time.

The Puppet Master once had his daughter, Alicia Masters, inflitrate the Fantastic Four with a wig to make her look like Sue. Sure, she apparently looked a lot like Sue, but it is still embarrassing that this disguise worked – not only wasn’t she Sue, she was BLIND!!!

And that was the same Alicia Masters who had a long relationship with Ben Grimm and later on married Johnny Storm. Did Reed never wonder about that? *yeech*

Aguirre-Sacasa touched on Sue and Alcia looking alike when he did 4

Well, I’ve always found the blind scu;ptress whou’s able to carve stunningly lifelike statues of people she’s never even met to be a bit hard to swallow.

It’s amazing to me, in those old comics, how often people forget about the powers of the very people they’ve captured. But the Invisible Girl thing is done time and time again, and it never fails to make me shake my head in amazement. And, if I’m not mistaken, there are several occasions where her own TEAMMATES forget her abilites and are surprised when she dissapears. Her force field seems to always catch them off guard, too…

Little late for this, but…

Who tied Reed up?

Well, you called it in the honorable mention. Not only is she into humiliation games, she’s a bondage freak *and* she likes to do it in public.

I don’t know – I think the Thing as Blackbeard is one of my favorite goofy moments – particularly the part where he turns on his team.

To me, what’s crazier than the Skrulls being fooled by clippings from monster comics is that Reed has them. Just picturing Reed going “Aha! We’ll freak the Skrulls out by showing them some clippings from monster comics! Johnny, do you have any in your room? Sue, bring me those scissors!” never fails to blow my mind. Like, you just know Ben would be grumbling about how he’s useless when it comes to scissor work because of his damn Thingy hands…

I mean, that should’ve been in the comic.

Marionette had a good explain-away for why the Skrulls get fooled by the comics. Skrulls, she theorized, aren’t very imaginative. The whole idea that there are pictures of things that aren’t real just wouldn’t occur to them.

Makes sense: they really under-utilize that shapechanging power. Also, check the plan with the Super-Skrull, that’s…not exactly lateral thinking, right there.

Another thing to do when reading the first few dozen issues of the FF is to count all the references to asbestos. It was as plentiful as hydrogen in the 60s, apparently.

Sue escapes by being invisible trick: the Army guys in the new movie did the same stupid thing as the Army guys in the comic: forgot they are holding an invisible woman captive. Don’t open the door…oh, she’s out in the hall.

And people say the movie wasn’t true enough to the source!

That’s a really good way to look at the Skrulls – kind of an evil version of the bad guys from *Galaxy Quest* whose culture never developed the idea of fiction. A race of shape shifters should be a pretty scary thing, but they never do much to live up to their potential.

I’ve been going through the FF for the past 6 months and posting weirdness. I’m past issue 200 right now, so the goofiness is fewer and further between, but I still hit paydirt every so often – Gaard, anyone?

Ahhh…Gaard…

Dan (other Dan)

June 18, 2007 at 7:26 pm

In reference to point 2, according to Napoleon Chagnon (1983), the Yanomamo of South America “do not understand the difference between a painting and a photograph”. A particular missionary used this to his advantage by showing paintings of Yanomamo in hell for engaging in indigenous religious behaviors. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around this; it’s a single sentence observation that I’ve not seen in any other sources on the Yanomamo (a favorite in ethnographic literature). These people are absolutely as smart as anyone else on the planet, so I don’t know how this wouldn’t be understood. I would think there’s some inherent quality of the exact reproduction through photography that would be perceptibly different from a painting, but this observation seems to point to a learned ability to determine if something is a photo or a drawing. There’s no reference to the quality of a drawn work as a factor in conflating it to a photo. Anyway, there are humans that, presumably, couldn’t tell a comic book clipping from a photo, so it really isn’t too much of a strech to imagine Skrulls having the same difficulty. (Thanks, anthropology degree!)

As to #1–Actually pirates did fight over all booty–including clothes. That’s why many were dressed flamboantly…

In reference to the lame trick referred to above (i.e. guard opens door, and doesn’t realize that Sue Storm sneaks out using her invisible powers), this was not only used in Fantastic Four #2 or Ultimate FF #31….. It was used in the Rise of the Silver Surfer movie as well!!!

I never realized that Skrulls didn’t have the broccoli chins when they first showed up. When did those develop?

Rohan Williams

June 20, 2007 at 12:31 am

Um, if Sue using her invisibility powers to escape a situation like that seems overly goofy, you better not go see the movie…

Curious thing about #2; it not only makes a meta-reference to “Journey into Mystery” (a real-life comicbook that just happened to be where Marvel’s Thor debuted) but it also mentions “Strange Tales”, which is a similar horror/sci-fi book… by DC (back then it was National).

CSBG recently brought to our attention that early on the FF were distributed by a DC subsidiary and Marvel was a bit afraid of upsetting it by turning to publishing superheroes (thereby potentially hurting the sales of Superman and friends). Perhaps it was thought that by mentioning a DC book in such a context there would be less reason for DC to be bothered.

You SUCK!!!!

Goofy moment #2; While the F4 are showing the Skrull the “photos” of their “Earth Warriors”, crossing their fingers that the half-baked plan works, Sue is idly patting her curls. Really? The fate of the world is at stake, and she’s worried about keeping her ‘do in place! XD

Also, the cover of the issue where the Skrull meet the F4; Johnny Storm is lying on the floor, and his speech bubble reads; “My flame is cut! I’m helpless!” … Unless the Skrull technology can remove a metahuman’s powers, why not just flame back on?

(For the image; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FantasticFour2.jpg )

LoL this is great and shows that with some comics you may laugh at first and/or think they are greatly written…..

but give it 10 years then go back…you’ll end up facepalming…

However, these do validate me when I tell my friend that the FF movies and cartoon WERE truthful to the books…except for that whole ..ya know…Galactus thing…. unless they say it was the Galactus from the Ultimate Universe…then I’ll REALLY facepalm myself!

LOL

Where the heck is the scene from issue 4 with the Thing with an atomic bomb strapped onto his back entering the leviathan?

What about the scene in #4 where Sue unintentionally freaks out some guy by drinking a soda while invisible?

Here’s a image: http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/scans/FF4_InvisibleGirl.JPG

AConcernedCitizen

June 18, 2012 at 4:17 am

I love when it’s something goofy, it’s Stan’s fault, but when it’s comic genious, it’s whoever the artist was at the time.

For No. 3, I always thought it was brilliant when the fourth Skrull reappeared during the Kree-Skrull War in the Avengers! But in general, yeah, there were a lot of goofy moments back then!

@Luis: “Strange Tales” has been a Marvel title for as long as I can recall, dating back to the early 60s when the torch and the Thing appeared regularly. That feature was replaced by SHIELD.

Put the whole FF origin story as goofy.

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