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Five Goofiest Moments in Fantastic Four #31-35

Every week, I’ll examine the five goofiest moments from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book series. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

This week, we look at Fantastic Four #31-35, all scripted by Stan Lee, all penciled by Jack Kirby and all inked by Chic Stone.

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 just love the names Reed comes up for his inventions…

In #32, Sue believes that a new bad guy is her father. She stops Reed from attacking him. I like to read Johnny’s comment as if he was just genuinely curious…

“If we’re fighting each other now, then fair enough, I just wanted to know. I’m cool with fighting each other, I just wasn’t sure what the deal was.”

Later, in #34, a bad guy has convinced the various members of the FF that their fellow members are imposters and/or under enemy control. But even if Johnny thinks Sue is under the Puppet Master control, it is still pretty weird to shoot FIRE at her, right?

I love how in #35, Stan decides to act like Reed and Sue was still a “are they into each other?” deal…

In #31, Reed needs to teach Johnny more about history…

There HAVE been earthquakes in New York, Johnny!

In #34, Stan needs to come up with a way of establishing that the issue’s bad guy is really rich. So he has him RETURN A BILLION DOLLARS BECAUSE THE MONEY IS NOT NEW!!

I love that that is where his mind went when he saw Jack draw in those bags full of money. And I love that the bags have dollar sings on them.

In #33, Reed creeps everyone out by becoming a manta ray…

In #32, Reed cures Ben of being the Thing, but there is a side effect…

I love how Reed not only makes this major life decision on Ben’s behalf, but he won’t even let Ben determine if he is willing to take the risk of the amnesia not being permanent by trying again.

5. “We can’t go on together…with suspicious minds”

You have to love how Reed’s mind works…

4. How convenient.

So Sue gets hit by shrapnel. Only one man can do the surgery….her father!!

It doesn’t get much hokier than that.

3. Things wants to hold your hand

What a revoltin’ development it was in #34 when we learn of the Thing’s interest in wearing a Beatles wig…

2. Reed the dictator

In #32, after Sue screws up their attempt to capture the Invincible Man (who she thinks is her dad), she and Johnny think that they have to quit the FF because Reed is better off without them. I love when Stan had Reed act like a total jerk to the rest of the group…

1. Mister Fanstastic – genius

Amazingly, the brilliant plan of the bad guys in #34 is to leave a gun next to Mister Fantastic under the hopes that he’ll just fire any weapon nearby him…and they planned correctly!!!


Maybe I just love the FF too much, but none of these come close to even SCRATCHING the goofiness of the recent looks at the Flash and Green Lantern.

Maybe I just love the FF too much, but none of these come close to even SCRATCHING the goofiness of the recent looks at the Flash and Green Lantern.

Yeah, I agree. I think these examples may suffer from being placed too close to the recent Julie Schwartz Flash and Green Lantern examples. Some of the examples even seemed like reaches in this one.

I think a reason for the big difference is that when you read people like Stan Lee and Bob Haney, it seems like they’re in on the joke with the goofiness and are laughing with the reader, like with the bit about the millionaire wanting only new money. With Schwartz and Broome, they were really trying to sell it as real earnest science fiction to impressionable kids, as shown by all those real world science fact captions that seemed desperate to make the pseudoscience seem real. At least the “oxo ray” shown above doesn’t even try to even pretend anything remotely related to real science is going on.

#1 though is definitely great. Reed just picking up any random weapon and firing it at his own teammates is beyond awesome.

Yeah, these bits aren’t that goofy. We want goofier comics!

The billion-dollar bit seems like the goofiest one to me. I’m pretty sure the US Mint doesn’t deliver cash to private individuals. You’d probably want more than five guards to protect that much money. And if each bag held a million dollars, which is unlikely, you’d need a thousand bags.

That’s in addition to the ridiculous idea of wanting new bills rather than old ones. How about using electronic funds, checks, or bullion instead, Mr. One-Percenter?

The Crazed Spruce

February 6, 2012 at 6:16 am

I love how half the dollar signs on the money bags were printed sideways. :)

love how stan and jack sure had a sense of humor when they did some of these issues of the fantastic four including reid who is suppose to be one of the geniuses of the mu just grabbing a weapon and also deciding oh can not tell the thing the cure work for do not want to hurt him since it took away his memory as a side effect. plus surely sues forefield would have blocked the shrapnel

It was pretty common for Marvel to have their heroes state that earthquakes don’t happen in NYC. I just read an Avengers with my son where it says that. Must’ve been in the late 200s of that series. I seem to recall at least another instance when a hero said something like, “Earthquake? In Manhattan? That’s not possible! It’s built on bedrock!”

In some places earthquakes happen so infrequently that there is only an earthquake that you can feel every few decades. Johnny is a youngster so maybe in his 17 years there had never been an earthquake in NY, so he just assumed that NY didn’t have earthquakes.

I seem to recall the idea that New York City can’t suffer earthquakes being a common misconception in a lot of genre fiction. It’s usually (erroneously) linked to references to the bedrock, as MJ notes.

It makes me wonder if there was some popular source for the misconception back in the 1950s or 1960s. I do know that NYC has failed a few earthquake-readiness tests, so it’s not just in the comics pages that people believe this false idea.

I think #1 and #4 are very goofy, but the others aren’t too bad.

Yes, New York can have earthquakes. But in all fairness to Johnny Storm, as a lifelong New Yorker, every earthquake in my lifetime been barely noticeable, and certainly none have been strong enough to toss around furniture or the ever lovin’ blue eyed Thing!

It is strange that a grenade that would stun the Thing wouldn’t completely murder Sue Storm if she didn’t block it with a force field.

Well, # 5 came before the heart shaped tree bit (THAT part is goofy to me, but it’s based on a real thing, isn’t it?), so since Reed was suspicious, they had to reconcile.

Peter Parker did a lot of that “is she really into me” stuff, didn’t he? Or maybe it’s other Marvel guys. It seems like it’s a Stan motif.

I think I have that Avengers one with the “earthquake” — it’s in the early 300s, I think, and Manhattan gets lifted up due to the Lava Men, or something. It seems it’d be perfectly likely that NYC, being island based, would feel earthquakes quite a bit. I’m in upstate NY, and over the last year or 2, there were 2 earthquakes that I felt. The room seemed to rumble, and it was WEIRD!

To be fair, in issue #35 where Reed finally proposes to Sue by the heart shaped tree, the Sub-Mariner had just carried her off again in FF #32 :-)

To be fair, in issue #35 where Reed finally proposes to Sue by the heart shaped tree, the Sub-Mariner had just carried her off again in FF #32

Yes, for over two dozen issues Sue basically told Reed she couldn’t choose between him and Sub-Mariner and admitted she had feelings for the Sub-Mariner, so I didn’t find that proposal hesitation goofy at all.

Really? You guys don’t find #2 as hilarious as me and Brian do? Reed just blatantly tells off everybody and acts better than them.

“Hey, Reed, what’s goin’ on?”
“Go screw yourself, Ben! That’s what!”

I dunno, TJ, it’s funny, yeah, but Reed was like that often enough, it’s not quite in the same realm as some other goofy stuff we’ve seen.

A “tree cut in the shape of a heart”? So, a wooden sculpture is what you’re saying? I wish they’d shown it on-panel instead of that onion ring. Coz that thing is fugl–WAIT A FRICKIN MINUTE! Reed Richards went to a STATE university?! Hell, I can understand the rest of those bulletheads going to state, but why wasn’t Reed at MIT?

Flying lamp in the splash page of 31 = first appearance of HERBIE?

I like how Gideon’s “palatial office” is pretty much indistinguishable from a lobby. He looks like he’s his own receptionist.

Man, the panel composition in those stories is fantastic. Perspective is often surreal, but the layout is great. And the dialogue doesn’t get in the way. Seeing this just after looking at those Green Lantern pages, I can see why savvier readers preferred Marvel, despite the fact that they weren’t any less goofy.

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