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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 19

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak’s Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius!


Roughly speaking, Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius is a riff on Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, with Franklin Richards, son of the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic (the genius part of “Son of a Genius”) taking on the role of Calvin, and H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot serving as a substitute of sorts to Hobbes.

Of course, the comparison is not a perfect one, as H.E.R.B.I.E. is a bodyguard as well as Franklin’s friend, and unlike the misadventures that went on in Calvin’s imagination, the misadventures of Franklin and H.E.R.B.I.E. actually happen.

Other than that, though, Eliopoulos and Sumerak deftly capture that same blend of childhood innocence mixed with childhood mischievousness.

When you live with a father who invents new fantastical devices every day, there’s plenty of ways to get into trouble, and Franklin seems to try to get into all sorts of trouble all at once.

Marvel releases the Franklin Richards stories as a series of one-shots that come out about three times a year, sometimes more, sometimes less. Each one-shot has about three to four stories in it.

Eliopoulos and Sumerak’s Franklin is an interesting character – he’s a bit goofy, but at the same time, he’s quite heartfelt.

Check out this story showing the more human side of Frankin…

As you can see, Eliopoulos nails the cartoon style perfectly.

And he and Sumerak hit the beats in Franklin’s relationship with his dad well.

Here’s a slightly goofier story introducing a new adversary for Franklin…

This is a really fun series and I’m glad that Marvel has found a way to keep producing these one-shots (it’s a novel approach that sure beats giving Franklin an ongoing series that would only be canceled after five or six issues). Marvel has collected the one-shots into a series of digests.


I need to pick some of those up, especially since Marc is a local boy who I get to hang out with every now and again at my favorite comic shop (that would be York Comics on York rd in Parma, Ohio, blatant plug!)

Seriously though, Marc’s a good bloke and I’m glad to see him spotlighted here!

Heh, that was fun.

Interesting how Reed’s adult voice matches up with his child voice …

I do enjoy these books.

At the start, it felt like a bad Calvin & Hobbes knock-off, but the artwork has REALLY improved in the last year or two.

I’m not trying to knock the art, rather than say that they set themselves a VERY high standard by trying to ape Watterson. I think actually by moving to a more “cartoony” version of Calvin and Hobbes they have stopped me comparing the art as much as I did at first and I really do enjoy picking these up whenever they come out.

Nice choice!

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 20, 2010 at 6:48 am

The only series cooler than this series is DESPERATE TIMES.

i loved the first one where franklin tries to get reid to lighten up and turns him into a kid. plus also liked seeing kristian doom trying to sabatage franklin only to help him. a cool series and one shots are a way to keep the adventure going

I’m glad you’re covering the all ages stuff like this.
As I get older I find I’m getting more and more interested in these floppys–and I don’t even have kids.

Your intro also finally clued me into why I can never figure out what the run order is.
Ongoing oneshots, of course, why didn’t I see that before–here’s hoping for a cheap trade!

Marvel has released several digest collections of this comic: Lab Brat, Collected Chaos, Not-so-Secret Invasion, and I think one with a dinosaur on the cover.

Good call, Dan, I should have mentioned the digests.

I’ll edit that into the piece!

Cute stuff. I think they almost invite the Calvin & Hobbes comparisons, though. Especially that sequence showing Franklin’s facial expressions after eating the Latverian candy–that’s as straight a C&H rip as you could ask for.

I don’t know if it’s something to do with my own relationship with my father (we were never close), or just because it’s really well done, but something about that first strip really got to me. It’s always nice when a kids comic can hit beats like this :)

Awesome! I love the inclusion of Kristoff.

Great examples, Brian!

Nice choice. I’ve picked up a few of these over the years. IIRC they seem to come about quarterly or some strange schedule like that. With Hickman as the new writer, I am hoping that Franklin in the regular FF comic could be as likable in this title. I was tickled to see Kristoff show up after all these years too.

Are these in continuity? Kidding!
They are great reading, even for us adults. Great highlight!

Looks great, but I really don’t like the look of the Invisible Woman.

I love these comics. I used to get them every time an issue came out. It’s too bad Marvel decided to include these comics in their $3.99 price point, becasue I haven’t bought one since.

I love Franklin Richards!!!
I’ve only read four stories until now, that appeared as back-ups in other Marvel books? Have they done in the last couple of years? They really should think about doing it again.
I had really hoped that someone would get the bright idea of doing an animated version and including it as a bonus on the Fantastic Four DVDs, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

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