The Little Book Of The Fantastic Four (book review)

November 29, 2017 | By | Reply More

As with all of these ‘Little Books’, this one covers the pictorial history of sorts with ‘The World’s Greatest Comic’, that being the ‘Fantastic Four’ that lived up to its hype. Interestingly, much of this book focuses on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s first 100 issues although there is little dwelling over the King leaving. Considering how much of the Marvel Universe was introduced or established during this period, it’s hardly surprising.

Doctor Doom obviously gets a showing, including him getting his armour. If he only had a small scar before, when he had that hot iron mask put on his face then Doom would certainly have had an overall face scar afterwards.

It’s interesting seeing Nick Fury’s first modern day appearance with both eyes intact and his next at Reed and Sue’s wedding with only one. The effects of the WW2 grenade injury must have happened around this point.

The splash page of Fantastic Four # 88 is shown but no mention of the fact that Reed Richards has his thumb on the wrong side of his hand which was one of the things shown in the ‘No-Prize’ one-off comic showing all the mistakes that had been made years ago. I can’t really believe Kirby would make such an obvious mistake but have often pondered whether it was a flopped (that is mirror image) of another picture he drew of Richards and inker Joe Sinnott didn’t pick up on it. Either that or Richards are showing off his thumb fluidity.

There’s a picture of the British 1967 ‘Marvel Story Book Annual’ which I happen to have in my collection. What isn’t pointed out is that it doesn’t actually have reprints inside its covers but British drawn art with text stories.

The latter section of this book focuses more on John Byrne’s tenure on the series and the various changes he initiated. Seen as a collective with different characters stepping in for absent members and even the odd costume change, Byrne was still effectively following the Lee/Kirby template.

Although you’re less likely to see much of the more recent FF incarnations, you will get a grounding in what this team is all about. If I was going to pick out anything that should have included then it would have been the splash page from FF # 51, ‘This Man, This Monster’, with a dejected Ben Grimm standing in the rain rather than what was shown.

I should point out that as I’ve been working my way through these books, it has been getting easier to open these books up although not quite flat. If your sprogs need a book to read while travelling then these aren’t a bad choice.

GF Willmetts

November 2017

(pub: Taschen. 190 page A5 softcover. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-3-8365-6782-4)

check out website: www.taschen.com

Category: Books, Comics, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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