web stats

CSBG Archive

Five Goofiest Moments in Fantastic Four Annual #1-5

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we look at the first five Fantastic Four Annuals. All scripted by Stan Lee, penciled by Jack Kirby and inked by a different inker each annual (Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Vince Colletta, Joe Sinnott and Frank Giacoia, respectively).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).


I’ve written about this a few times in the past, so here it is again. Stan Lee had some sort of fascination with bizarre ways of communication (like Iron Man having an image projector that could send him anywhere in the world, or Doctor Doom having a giant spider handy for a device that allowed him to communicate with Spider-Man, etc.). Here, from #1, Namor has a tele-fish…

This next moment is not really goofy. I only mention it to actually give Lee credit for AVOIDING goofiness!

Here is an expert on Namor’s people…

It is, of course, Namor in disguise. However, Lee somehow managed to avoid having the guy’s last name be an anagram of Namor! Shocking, right?

Earlier in that same issue (#1), Lee got to make a nuanced comment about the leader of the Soviet Union (who is there for a UN meeting about Namor)…

In #4, the Thing somehow doesn’t recall the original Human Torch, despite attending high school in New York City at the same time the Torch was fighting crime.

It makes sense, though. What’s so memorable about an android who can turn into a human torch?

Later, in #4, I can almost see Ben thinking, “It’s 1965, so it’s still cool if I call Wyatt Wingfoot ‘Geronimo,’ right?”

In #2, Doctor Doom and Rama Tut meet…

So wait, Rama Tut, you guys think you might BE each other? Wouldn’t you, you know, REMEMBER that?

In #2, Doctor Doom has Ben, Sue and Johnny ingest a drink that makes them see things. Yet somehow, Sue doesn’t realize that Reed is TRANSPARENT?!?!

Huh? That doesn’t strike you as odd, Sue?

The bit at the end of #3 with Stan and Jack is more cute than it is goofy, but it allows me to note the fact that Reed Richards got married wearing his Fantastic Four costume…

Classy, Reed, classy.

I just love that the Marvel Universe is the sort of place that some guy hears “I plan on contacting hell with this machine I built,” and the guy’s reaction is “I hope we don’t get into trouble with the faculty at the university”…

THAT’s your concern, pal?

Maybe the fact that you’re trying to contact HELL with a machine should concern you a bit. Or maybe the fact that the guy you’re helping out doesn’t even know how to check his own calculations properly.

5. “Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist. “

In Fantastic Four #4, the FF fights this beast, summoned by Namor….

Now, about a year later, in Annual #1…

Add in the fact that their very first adventure was to MONSTER ISLAND and this whole conversation is quite goofy.

4. “I cannot interfere. That said, come with me so I can show you how to defeat the bad guys. “

From #3, the Watcher again shows off just how awful he is at not interfering…

The goofiest part about it, though, is Reed recognizing the machine as a “sub-atomic time-displacer.” Oh, of course! By the way, as an aside, how come Reed can’t seem to ever build a time machine on his own?

3. Well argued, Reed.

As stated before, Sue was pretty dumb to not realize that the Reed she saw was transparent, and thus not actually Reed. However, Reed’s idea of forgiving her is likely more of an insult than anything…

Story continues below

2. “Bah, that’s all well and good, but come back to me when you’ve built a jetpack.”

In #2, we see Doom do all sorts of amazing things as a young man, including turn gold into mud.

And build a robot that people could not believe was not Doom himself…

and yet his greatest discovery?

A jetpack…

Jetpacks ARE pretty sweet, I guess.

1. I think I should name my first kid Encephalo…

Soooo many goofy things about this…

to name three…

1. The name…

2. The way Sue shouts it out, “Not the Encephalo-Gun!”

put most importantly, 3. That Reed would even HAVE a device like this laying around. “To what purpose did you invent this thing, Reed? ” “What if you aren’t sure who has the greatest mentality? And once you’ve demonstrated who has the greater mentality, you can’t just leave the other person standing there, you need to send them to some sort of limbo, right?”


“Not the Encephalo-Gun!” is now officially my new catch-phrase.

No real comment. Just pretend I’ve taken issue with your use of the word “goofy” to describe a scene that could be more accurately termed “odd”, “a mistake”, or “not as goofy as something else that appeared in that same issue.” Also, let me point out that some of the panels may be been goofy, but the artwork contained therein is exemplary. Furthermore, I would like to point out that I haven’t read some of these stories for years and I got a real kick out of seeing them again. I will also like to inform you that I need to track down the “Essentials” or “Showcase” versions of these stories pronto.

I think, mrclam, that you have a firm grasp as to why I have such a long preamble to these pieces. ;)

Imagine the comments if I didn’t!!

You’re missing the point about the Jet Pack…It’s NUCLEAR Powered!!

the radioactive discharge fries your nuts………


Khrushchev pounding his shoe: Well, that was his real-life trademark (cf 12 October, 1960).

Getting in trouble with the faculty: Hey, that’s serious business; Doom might lose his full scholarship, and student debt is a killer.

Pete Woodhouse

May 26, 2011 at 11:29 am

#4: the final panel on the first Watcher page – is that the freakin’ Mirror Master moonlighting next to the Mandarin?

Moment #5 reminds me of something I always found hilarious in the first five issues of the comic, namely that Reed and his teammates act like they’ve pulled a brilliant hoax on the Skrulls in #2 by using comic-book panels from Marvel monster mags to convince the aliens that huge monsters exist on the Earth and will fight back should the Skrulls choose to invade.

Gee, if only Reed and co. had remembered the events of *one issue ago*, they wouldn’t be chuckling over those gullible aliens. In fairness, I guess none of them brought a camera to Monster Island.

@Pete Woodhouse: Naw, it’s the Melter in his original costume, but miscolored with the hues of his second costume.

Good one Brian. Funny stuff.

Classy, Reed, classy.

I assume Mr. Fantastic didn’t want to force Ben into wearing an awkward Best Man outfit. Or at least, an outfit that was more awkward than a pair of shorts.

Sue had the right idea with the Encephalo-Gun, though. In Avengers #161, Ultron outfits himself with an Encephalo Beam that he can shoot out of his hands and when it hits the Avengers in the head, they instantly drop dead (or, well, into a death-like comatose state that eventually results in death).

Encephalo based weapons are no joke, people!

The fact that the University had a specific policy that dealt with student’s attempts to contact the nether world was the part that always stood out the most to me.

Doom just loves jetpacks.

What is with Reed’s lazy eye in moment #3?


May 26, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I think Reed was dressed in a tux earlier in the wedding annual, but switched to his uniform when the fight began, then goes ahead and marries Sue without changing back. (I would check this but don’t have access to the issue right now.)

You’re mis-reading # 1. What you can’t tell is that Sue is rolling her eyes. You *can* see that she has her arms up because she was making air-quotes when she said “encephalo-gun.” She was saying it like Lloyd Dobler telling Corey he can’t believe she’s got another song about Joe in “Say Anything.”
(One small quibble, BTW. As I recall, these stories were done in the way that created the term the “Marvel method.” So isn’t it more likely that the shoe on the podium scene was a Kirby contribution…?)
Cross goofies: Reed Richards, inventor, scientist and leader of the Fantastic Four, and Doctor Doom, king, conqueror and super-villain, are holding a plastic toy to their heads to see whose is biggest (Mentality, of course. What did you *think* I meant…?) But earlier you see Reed telling Sue, “Well, duh, you’re just a stupid female girl!” Then back to #1, “So, Sue, let me show you how mentally superior males are with this 1960s equivalent of proving your manhood by beating your buddy in a round of Mortal Kombat.”

Reed got only an A- in Time Travel Engineering.

“No Reed! Not the Encephalo-Gun! I thought that was OUR thing!”

Many of those aren’t goofy when you know the context.

1) Like Syon said, Nikita Khrushchev’s shoe-banging incident at the UN was supposed to be real. There is no hard evidence that he actually banged his shoe, but it was part of the legend BEFORE Stan Lee wrote this story.

2) kisskissbangbang is also right, Reed in fact wore his tuxedo in the first half of the story and switched clothes to fight the bad guys. In any case, it’s not all that goofy that superhero costumes would be like military costumes in the MU, i.e. considered appropriate for formal occasions. Prince William married in a outfit MORE outlandish than Reed’s.

3) The Watcher, not sure why that qualify as goofy. His barely disguised affection for humans in general and the FF in particular, and the way he will bend the rules to the breaking point and beyond to help them is a established and interesting part of the character.

4) That the Thing wouldn’t remember the original Human Torch is odd, but it’s also worth remembering that the Golden Age period’s chronology wasn’t quite solidified in the first decade of Marvel’s Silver Age. Cap and Namor not remembering each other, etc.

mrclam, you are needed at once!

How about some goofiest moment in Silver Age X-Men, Brian?

It’ll definitely be coming soon. Perhaps in connection with the release of a certain film ;)

#4: It’s sub-ATRONIC time-displacer, not sub-atomic. (Cuz that makes all the difference in the world!)

When you’ve seen one “sub-atomic time-displacer”, apparently you have seen ‘em all.

“Not a fool, Sue . . . merely a female!”

Classic :D


On Khrushchev pounding his shoe…dollars to donuts that was inserted by Kirby rather than Lee.

On the Encephalo-Gun…I used to have one of those myself. Got it from an ad in an old Tower comic, or somesuch. My mom made me get rid of it, though, after my sister used it on the cat. The cat was fine, but it took years to retrieve my sister from limbo.

“Yet somehow, Sue doesn’t realize that Reed is TRANSPARENT?!?!”

Well, d-uh! She’s so heartbroken + she’s a female. It should have been obvious…

I suppose it’s possible that Sue, being someone who’s often transparent or making things transparent herself has started thinking of that as normal? Actually, that’d be kind of a weird quirk for Sue – what if that’s how things actually look for her ALL the time? Like that’s how her eyes compensate for the fact that she should be blind when invisible, but she’s not due to (blah blah blah technobabble), but she instead sees everything as semi-transparent?


November 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

No, see the thing about Reed fooling the Skrulls with the pages from Journey to Astonish and Tales of Tales (or whatever) is that in the Marvel universe, those are documentaries. The thing we need to explain is how Reed thought he was ‘fooling’ the Skrulls by presenting an accurate description of the Marvel Universe.

The telefish is indeed the most perfect living spy on earth. Except he’s never on earth, he’s always underwater. If you wanna spy on plankton, though, he’s your go-to piscene. Although, since his spines are visual receivers, he’s pretty useless unless you can lip-read.

I LOVE the “pounding his shoe” gag. Would have been much funnier as merely a comment by Namor without the on-panel depiction, though. Like Ben’s “Nowadays, who is??” What a world of weary resignation in three ironic words. And his downcast eyes…bravo, Stan!

So…Rama-Tut was living as a pharaoh in the year A.D. 962? Where, Paris? I should think his unmolested face would be Victor’s first clue that it probably isn’t him. Just like Sue’s clue that Reed isn’t really Reed should be the fact that he actually cracked a joke. Transparent, sure, he does that kind of crap all the time. But laying down a sweet burn like “go haunt a house”? Inconceivable.

Vince Collecta did a fine job with the inking,a pity It was so much more course and scratchy on Thor.Joe Sinnott as I said before,was better suited to the FF though,as Collecta was to the other one that Kirby illustrated.

They were such fine stories though,”goofy” but done with a serious pride.

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives