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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 81

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at the classic conclusion of the FF tale, “This Man, This Monster”!

Enjoy!

The basic set-up of this Jack Kirby/Stan Lee tale is that a jealous (unnamed) scientist decides to get his revenge on Reed Richards by switching places with the Thing.

He, of course, is shocked by the goodness of the Fantastic Four, and, well, read on…

Perhaps a bit over the top, but overall, and excellent representation of the humanity of Lee/Kirby’s Fantastic Four. And this was the NEXT issue after the Galactus trilogy!!

And NEXT issue introduces the Black Panther!

And this is only eight or so issues after the introduction of the Inhumans!!

What a heady time for a comic book!

As for “the” moment, I’m torn between the actual sacrifice and Reed’s epitaph. I guess I’ll go with the former.

29 Comments

Great choice – again!

“The” moment for me was in answer to “Ben – what are you doing?”

“The one worthwhile thing I ever did in my whole, wasted life”

I was waiting to see when you would post this one. Besides ASM #33 (your first pick!) this is my absolute favorite Silver Age Marvel moment. I remember reading a reprint of this as a kid over and over again. This was an era when comics could still impart morals, and this one went a long way towards shaping my thoughts on “right” and “wrong” for a long time.

What’s also cool about this comic is none of the FF actually use their powers (the ersatz Thing does, but not Ben), except when Johnny coolly ignites his thumb to show off.

Has anyone brought back the Changeling? You know, to pay tribute/ruin the story by negating the minor character’s noble death?

Jeff–

You mean the shapeshifter who impersonated Professor X and died in his place? They brought him back via an alternate universe character as “Morph” in the “Age of Apocalypse” story. Later became a regular in Exiles.

Great choice!

There’s so much to like about this story, besides it’s heroic message.

• I like how they didn’t milk the story on the cover. The Silver Age was especially known for a lot of over-hyped covers, Stan & Jack could have easily filled the cover with “In this issue, the Thing– Dies!!!!!” or words to that effect. But they didn’t. They simply used images and color to display the mood.

• I like how we never learned the villain’s name, or any type of “origin” (aside from his jealousy towards Reed)
I also like how Stan & Jack NEVER brought him back! I’m not sure if anyone else brought him back since, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s dead. He died a hero. The end.

“I’ll trust Sue’s feminine intuition any time”

Wow, Reed. Wow.

@ Jeff Ryan

Give them time. I’m sure some ‘visionary’ modern writer will find a way to bring back the actual unnamed character, as part of a company-wide crossover. Loose threads like these — and this one literal, given the taut cable — are the lifeblood of the naughty noughts.

Richard–

The villain’s brother showed up in a Mackie (I think) issue of Web of Spider-Man. He re-created his brother’s device and used it on the Hulk, but inadvertently transferred the powers into Spider-Man. Which led to Spider-Hulk.

They did reveal the brother’s name, but I don’t have the issue in front of me and can’t remember it. I think it was Armand something.

I’ll trust Sue’s feminine intuition any time

Reed always was a candidate for Tool Academy.

There was a nice tribute/homage to this story (and to Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four in general) in one issue of Morrison’s Doom Patrol. It had the same basic plot, but Morrison added even *more* bathos to it, yet it still managed to work in a non-ironic way. Just shows how great the original story is.

So that’s the issue referenced in the throw-back story in Doom Patrol! I always thought Morrison was just referencing the Silver Age, not directly homaging. Either way two GREAT stories.

My favourite “older” comic that I’ve got my greedy little fanboy hands on in the last 12 months!

Perhaps a bit over the top

No, not at all. It was glorious and perfect. Now THAT is how you show the greatness of characters. A huge step up from yesterday’s Maggin Superman/Luthor story, which I read as a child and which made me realize DC comics weren’t for me. This story on the other hand I read very young as a child in a reprint book and it made me realize the intensity and humanity and emotional power in Marvel books. Man is that a great story.

Reed always was a candidate for Tool Academy.

Seriously, what’s so bad about that? People here are way to sensitive sometimes. It’s not a bad line at all. Women themselves always talk about the superiority of their own feminine intuition. Geez…

One thing I love about these Kirby issues is that the Thing is shorter than Reed. It may sound like nothing major, but it’s awesome.In a time since the 90s where artists always go for the obvious and are subtle as jackhammers, every “strongman” character has to be huger than ever. Every character has to physically resemble their powers in an exaggerated sense. The Hulk became 15 feet tall by some artists, the Thing is about 12 feet tall, the Blob is often the size of a house…many people forget the Thing was originally supposed to be shorter than Reed. That’s one of the few things I liked about the Fantastic Four movie, one of the few things I liked, was how it got Ben’s height right. Rest of it sucked, but oh well…

A huge step up from yesterday’s Maggin Superman/Luthor story, which I read as a child and which made me realize DC comics weren’t for me.

T. – I beg to differ. Maggin certainly had his flaws as a writer, but they were very similar to the flaws Stan Lee exhibits here. Everything is a bit over-the-top. The dialog is clunky. The resolution is too pat.

However, both deliver better than most contemporary writers in that they are clear on the theme of the title and return to it. Superman is ‘about’ heart. Even Lex Luthor is redeemable in Superman’s eyes. He may call him an idiot at every turn, but he still deserves a chance to honor his idol. The Fantastic Four is ‘about’ family. They may fight and resent each other, but at the bottom they care. Bear in mind that the scene depends upon Sue believing that Ben is capable of not pulling Reed back at a critical moment.

Seriously, what’s so bad about that?

The problem is that it is patronizing. Most wives don’t like to be talked down to by their husbands.

Personally, I am fine with that coming from Reed Richards. Lee-Kirby almost always showed him as being a bit arrogant. The FF were all flawed, which was part of their charm.

I often come on here and lament about being disappointed in these classic FF’s when I finally read them after a lifetime of building up expectations.

So I’m happy to say, I thought this story lived up to the hype!

Filled with humanity, pathos, and plenty of Kirby crackle. Good choice.

@Jeff Ryan: Changling dieing doesn’t really count for a minor character’s noble death. Everyone thought it was Professor X for 20 or so issues. Now Morph, his animated counterpart, had a great death that really showed the tone of the X-Men show and was used to sum up the relationship between Wolverine and Cyclops. Of course, his return and the story around it was fantastic and just as emotional as the death. So not all resurrections have to ruin a story through negating the death. The subsequent story can be just as good if not better.

cool moment one of Stan’s and jacks finest story of their work

The sacrifice scene would be “the” moment for me as well. And the Black Panther would debut the following month! What a great run of comics, indeed.

So, anyway, here’s a summary of the Spidey story that revealed the scientist’s name to be Ricardo Jones: http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/reviews/spiderman_web/069.html.

Ricardo. That screams “villain,” eh?

The problem is that it is patronizing. Most wives don’t like to be talked down to by their husbands.

It’s not patronizing, arrogant or even insulting. He’s saying that she has superior intuition to him, and that it’s because she’s a woman. Arrogant and insulting would be if he said “What do you know Sue? My male logic is always right, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Instead he’s not only saying that he trusts Sue’s intuition over his own, he’s saying that he defers to the intuition of her whole gender. Which is not that different than what most women would say themselves if you asked them (a) “do they have intuition that men don’t?” and (b) “is it superior to men’s intuition?” If it’s actually insulting and patronizing to anyone, what he said is more insulting to himself and more patronizing toward men.

Man, it would be awesome if somebody sold the “I got it!” panel in t-shirt form.

It’s not patronizing, arrogant or even insulting. He’s saying that she has superior intuition to him, and that it’s because she’s a woman. Arrogant and insulting would be if he said “What do you know Sue? My male logic is always right, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Instead he’s not only saying that he trusts Sue’s intuition over his own, he’s saying that he defers to the intuition of her whole gender. Which is not that different than what most women would say themselves if you asked them (a) “do they have intuition that men don’t?” and (b) “is it superior to men’s intuition?” If it’s actually insulting and patronizing to anyone, what he said is more insulting to himself and more patronizing toward men.

I mean, yeah, but the myth of ‘women’s intuition’ is blatantly sexist. You can’t actually be defending it. That’s like saying that it’s not racist to assume an Asian guy is good at math or a black guy is good at basketball because it’s nice to be good at math or basketball.

as far as defending sexism… that’s a sticky widget. the existence and inherent superiority of “woman’s intuition” is the sort of thing MANY women themselves will defend to the death, unless a man comments on it (positively or not). then, suddenly, because a man said it, it’s patronizing (even if it’s positive). it’s a really tangled web, and one that i think needs to be resolved if humanity is going to continue to evolve.

Thirty-three years since I first read this story (I found it reprinted in “Marvel’s Greatest Comics” in a second-hand store), and it still chokes me up.

A few words about “over the top”:

This comic was targeted at children old enough to read it. Remember, this was published mid-1966. This was before the “Irony Age”; the top rated network TV show was “Bonanza” and Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan were still in the Top Twenty, back when network TV meant something. “Star Trek” was monsth away….CBS had passed on it in favor of “Lost in Space”!

Over the top? This was the issue after the Galactus Trilogy…one issue away from a a god straddling New York City, defeated by single human holding a device with the power to nullify all existence, and they follow it up with this modest tale that still hits just the right note. Of course it was over the top…that was the point!

Let’s see what Webster has to say about that word “Fantastic”:

1 a : based on fantasy : not real

b : conceived or seemingly conceived by unrestrained fancy

c : so extreme as to challenge belief : unbelievable; broadly : exceedingly large or great.

2 : marked by extravagant fantasy or extreme individuality : eccentric.

3 fantastic : excellent, superlative .

You will never see a greater example of truth in advertising than the cover of an issue of FF in 1966. It was exactly what it said it was on the cover. At the time, it was the “World’s Greatest Comic”.

Was Reed a sexist? Yes, in 1966, he was….and, sad to say, there were damn few of us who weren’t sexist back then. The Womens’ movement had yet to integrate itself into our society at that point. For that matter, the United States has YET to approve any kind of an E.R.A. One might argue that to this day Reed’s greatest flaw lies in his inability to relate to others. This month’s issue of FF plays to that very point.

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