web stats

CSBG Archive

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 60: Fantastic Four (vol. 3) #61

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Fantastic Four #61 (the Waid/Wieringo one, not the Lee/Kirby one), which was published by Marvel and is cover dated November 2002. Enjoy!

SPLAT!

If you’re going to begin a comic with a splash page, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more fun than this one. The sadly-departed Mike Wieringo probably read the Mark Waid’s script, which had to read something like “Ben gets a pie in the face. Go nuts” and smiled. Waid just sat back and counted his money while Ringo did all the work. Man, that Mark Waid – what a slacker! Karl Kesel, who inked this issue, had to do something. Paul Mounts, who colored this issue, had to do something. Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne had to do a little bit. Not Waid!

This is really a wonderful drawing, and as a first page, it has to entice the reader, doesn’t it? Ben Grimm (we learn his name from two different sources), a.k.a. the Thing (we learn that from one source, plus, you know, popular culture), gets a pie in the face from “the Yancy Street Gang,” and from the ribbon (last place in a beauty contest), we can puzzle out that this is a long-running feud between Ben and the Gang (there’s a big reveal in this issue, but I’m certainly not giving it away here). It’s all very clear!

The details are what make the drawing so marvelous. The spring-loaded pie, the crushed table, the drawings on the refrigerator – these all speak to an elaborate joke, Ben’s strength, and the familial atmosphere that the Fantastic Four have always – sort of – had (I write “sort of” because the Richardses are terrible, terrible parents, but that’s a story for another day!). We don’t even need to see Ben’s face, because Ringo does such a good job with the rest of the drawing that we can easily imagine his look. That’s some good cartooning there!

No matter what you think of the Waid/Wieringo run on FF (some people love it, some people loathe it), you can’t deny that this is a wonderful first page of a single issue. Just try to put this down without turning the page! I dare you!

Next: A graphic novel not many of you have read. Won’t that be fun? For now, though, there are archives. So many archives!

17 Comments

One of my favorite first pages of all time.

RIP Ringo

Not the FM!
Not the FM!

All kidding aside. The late Weiringo’s a pretty damn decent artist is his heyday.
Enjoy his TELLOS series at IMAGE.

I’m trying to turn the page right now, and THERE IS NO PAGE!

I still remember the gutpunch I felt when I clicked on ‘Ringo’s blog to see his latest update and found out he’d passed. R.I so much P.
The Waid/Wieringo FF run was almost entirely great. For me the FF should be about fun, family and adventure, and the W’s brought that in spades

The only thing that mars this for me is the lettering on the award ribbon and on the c/o card. Obvious computer text never looks good in comics that rely on by-hand illustration and I wish publishers would stop taking that shortcut.

RINGO! Loved this run. The reveal was astonishing, the exchange between Sue and Johnny about it, I’m still wondering if it was the right move… But still, Wieringo drew a great Thing. Miss that guy.

–B

I also love the Thing/Torch art on the fridge.

Some people loathe it? For the love of God, who?

One of THE most brilliant pages ever. I’m sure when Waid saw it, he said, “It’s done.”

Man, I had a ball working with Waid and “Ringo on this book. BTW, here’s Waid’s original script for this page:

PAGE ONE

FULL-PAGE SPLASH. (Title and credits later). INTERIOR, LIVING QUARTERS, BAXTER BUILDING. ANGLE THIS HOWEVER YOU THINK BEST: IT’S ONE SECOND AFTER BEN HAS OPENED A GAG-GIFT BOX CONTAINING A CREAM PIE ON A GIANT SPRING. BEN’S STANDING THERE AT THE TABLE ON WHICH THE BOX RESTS. WE CAN’T SEE HIS FACE AT ALL BECAUSE THE PIE TIN IS STILL PLASTERED TO IT, SPENT MERENGUE DRIPPING DOWN. TIED TO THE SPRING IS A BIG NOTE (SEE LETTERING) WITH A BLUE RIBBON ATTACHED (SEE LETTERING). AND–VERY IMPORTANT–THE ONLY MOVEMENT ON THE ENTIRE PAGE COMES FROM THIS: WE CAN SEE BEN’S HAND (OR HANDS, YOUR CALL) GRIPPING THE TABLE SO HARD IN ANGER THAT IT’S SPLINTERING. NO DIALOGUE.

1 HANDWRITTEN NOTE: to THE THING
From the YANCY STREET GANG

2 RIBBON: YANCY ST. BEAUTY CONTEST
LAST PLACE

Thanks, Paul! Fine, I guess Waid had to do SOMETHING! :)

[...] Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 60: Fantastic Four (vol …Comic Book Resourcesby Greg Burgas Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today's page is from Fantastic Four #61 (the Waid/Wieringo one, not the Lee/Kirby one), which was published by Marvel and is cover dated November 2002. Enjoy! cardiograph, Frantic, lines, scratching [...]

i can’t believe [maybe i just won't believe] that there is anyone in comicdom who didn’t at least think that this run of comics was well done & some what enjoyable.

As for me, i haven’t got the whole run, but what i do have is such a satisfying read. it is comics the way that they should be done.

This is probably my favorite single splash page of anything I’ve worked on in my career. Ringo just absolutely nails this moment, all of the subtle elements and movements, and communicates the comedy beautifully. (And, of course, Karl and Paul did their usual masterful job in bringing it to completion–particularly Paul’s texture on the pie filling.)

Tom B

Also, I have a vague memory that those drawing on the refrigerator were drawn by somebody’s nephews–Ringo’s, or Paul’s maybe–and dropped in. So they’re genuine children’s drawings.

Tom B

Tom: That’s pretty cool about the drawings. Good to know!

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

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