A super-heroic love triangle like no other gets a fantastic start!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Together, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought so much to the Marvel Universe, ranging from heroes and villains to iconic locales and whole races. However, they also established a great deal of relationships that remain relevant to this day. We, of course, know all about the connections between the Fantastic Four and even longtime comrades like the Avengers, but Lee and Kirby also established romantic bonds between characters, including the long and complicated one between Sue Storm and Namor!

It all began in 1962’s FANTASTIC FOUR #4 when Reed and Sue blamed Ben for chasing Johnny off in the previous issue. With one of their own flying solo, the other members of the team split up to track him down. Thing found the Torch working on a car with his buddies, but they fought, Ben changed back into his human form and Johnny ran off. After renting a bed at a men’s hotel in the Bowery, the youngest FF member met a man dealing with amnesia who also happened to be super-strong. After a flame-assisted shave, Johnny quickly realized the mystery man’s true identity: Namor, the Sub-Mariner!

To help jog his new friend’s memory, the Torch dropped Namor into the ocean, which brought all of the Golden Age stalwart’ss memories rushing back. Unfortunately for us surface-dwellers, the Sub-Mariner soon discovered that his underwater home had been ravaged by radioactivity left over from nuclear weapons testing. With that, Namor swore to have his revenge on mankind, even blaming Johnny Storm for waking him up to these atrocities. The Human Torch sent up a flare to get his partners’ attention. At that same time, the displaced ruler of Atlantis plunged the ocean’s depths to rouse a whale-like behemoth called Giganto!

Fantastic Four (1961) #4

Fantastic Four (1961) #4

What is Marvel Unlimited?

As the beast laid waste to New York City, The Thing decided to do the only thing that made sense: he strapped a nuclear bomb to his back and walked straight into Giganto’s maw! The plan worked, destroying the monster in the process. Unperturbed, Namor raised his creature-calling horn to summon more when Sue Storm used her invisibility powers to sneak up and snatch the instrument away. Upon seeing the Invisible Girl’s true form, the Sub-Mariner became instantly smitten. He even offered to spare humanity if Sue agreed to marry him. She quickly rebuked his ridiculous offer, which did not sit well with the arrogant king. At that point, Human Torch turned on the turbo jets, creating a cyclone that carried Namor back out to the ocean so he could cool off.

Far from the best meet cute in the history of comics, this initial meeting between Sue and Namor has led not just to further flirtations, but also more than a few alternate realities where the two actually got together and ruled the planet!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Two key characters make their debuts in Annihilus and Franklin Richards!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

After seven years of super-heroics, exploring, and witnessing many a previously unseen wonder, Marvel’s First Family experience something brand new with FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6 in 1968: kids! Stan Lee and Jack Kirby seeded the story the year before in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5 when Reed and Sue learned of her pregnancy.

This issue began with Johnny and Ben barging into Reed’s lab, wondering why he continued working on experiments instead of standing next to Sue in the delivery room. Richards explained that the cosmic radiation that turned them into the FF remained in Sue’s body and could have an adverse effect on the baby. He further exposited that an anti-matter element in the Negative Zone could help save mother and child and wanted to get it on his own. Of course, his two teammates refused to let him fly solo and backed him up. They had no idea that a new threat, one known as Annihilus, had started making life even more dangerous in the Zone!

Kirby showed off his amazing pencil work as he rendered the Negative Zone and then a pair of mindboggling collages to demonstrate just how different this locale looked and felt. Almost immediately, the Zone also proved how dangerous it could be as unseen forces snatched Mr. Fantastic up with a quickness. Soon reunited with his teammates in Annihilus’ jail, Richards and his fellows did their best to survive against giant robot boots, gyro-saws, and sonic sponges. Soon gaining the upper hand, the heroes attacked their captor and made off with his Cosmic Control Rod.

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #6

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #6

  • Published: November 06, 1968
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 20, 2009
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Incensed at the effrontery, Annihilus sent monsters after the male FF members who had also stolen his Rail Plane to make their escape. Reed realized he could use some of the Rod’s powers to knock the beasts back, but the trio soon stood stranded in space. After another battle with their new foe, Reed made a deal with the bad guy to trade the Cosmic Rod back in exchange for their Repellor Units, which they used to get back home, but only after Mr. Fantastic siphoned off some of the energy to help Sue and the baby. The gents made it back to the positive world and handed off the energy to help Sue, who had the real hard work to do in giving birth.

Though they spent excruciating time waiting to find out what happened, Reed, Ben and Johnny soon heard the good news from Crystal: it’s a boy! The whole family then made their way into the room to meet the baby, who we’d eventually know as Franklin Richards, a kid powerful enough to create an entire reality for his folks and their friends when it seemed like they’d perished at the hands of Onslaught several decades later!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

The Fantastic Four take on a fiendish foe in Transylvania!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

If there’s a better way to celebrate Halloween than by traveling to Transylvania with Marvel’s First Family, we don;t know it! That’s the basis behind 1964’s FANTASTIC FOUR #30 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! In true FF fashion, the trip acted as a mix of business and pleasure for the team. The vacation began with Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben wandering through a forest that, according to Mr. Fantastic, seemed like it intended to trap them within.

Just as the group reached a clearing with an old, decrepit castle, a group of villagers appeared behind them, warning the heroes not to enter for fear of upsetting Diablo. Led by Mayor Baron Hugo, the party brought the FF back to town where he explained the legend of Diablo to them. A hundred years ago, the villagers had had enough of Diablo’s evil alchemy and sealed him up in the castle itself. While some thought he must surely be dead after a century, others believed the villain had figured out a way to extend his lifespan.

Fantastic Four (1961) #30

Fantastic Four (1961) #30

  • Published: September 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

That night, Ben found himself roused from sleep by a melodious voice that seemed to put him in a trance. It called him to Diablo’s castle and he answered, using his strength to open a massive crypt and free his new master! The next morning, the rest of the Fantastic Four followed Thing’s trail and found him changed. He agreed to work for Diablo for a year in exchange for a new form that left him still orange, but more human in appearance. If Ben followed through, Diablo would give him the rest of the serum to turn him fully human again.

Grimm sided with the newly released prisoner over his longtime friends, even getting into a fight with his allies! Reed, Sue, and Johnny decided to leave Thing to his new life, but kept an eye on him. So did the rest of the world as Diablo started selling immortality chemicals. At around the same time, Reed discovered that Diablo’s chemicals truly caused more harm than good and Ben realized that he’d been tricked! The rest of the FF didn’t waste any time before attacking Diablo’s castle. He had amassed a small army to help defend his lair, but they couldn’t stand up against the heroes, especially Ben rejoined his teammates!

In the end, Ben Grimm may have turned back into The Thing, but he never would have been able to re-entomb Diablo without the strength and durability that came with that form! In other words, Kirby and Lee offer a spooky story with a nice message about being who you are on this Halloween day!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Can the combined Avengers and Fantastic Four halt a Hulk-Thing fight?

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

An old philosophical question once asked, what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? Well, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby didn’t answer that one, but they sure dug into what takes place when the Incredible Hulk comes to blows with the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing! The two titans came to blows in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR #25 and #26 from 1964 and the very Earth shook! It all started with Thing refusing to take an accidentally discovered serum that could have cured him of his rocky visage because he didn’t know if Alicia Masters would still love him as just Ben Grimm.

Fantastic Four (1961) #25

Fantastic Four (1961) #25

  • Published: April 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Meanwhile, The Hulk wanted peace and quiet after his fight with his old teammates in AVENGERS #3. The group quickly replaced him with Captain America, but still wanted to find their errant ally. The Jade Giant decided to get rid of every trace of Bruce Banner and smashed up his secret lab. He then saw the newspaper about Cap’s return and Rick Jones palling around with him. Feeling jealous and spurned, Hulk decided to hop to New York City and “destroy the Avengers forever.”

With Earth’s Mightiest Heroes actually near the old lab looking for Hulk, he jumped right past them and wound up causing such a ruckus that the FF took notice and moved to stop him. With Reed Richards out of commission and both Johnny and Sue Storm quickly felled by the emerald brute, Ben Grimm took it upon himself to stop the rampage. This duo had come to blows previously in FANTASTIC FOUR #12, but this time they tore through buses, buildings, and even the street to clobber one another. Thanks to some help from the Yancy Street boys, the pair wound up fighting underwater and then on boats before moving on to the George Washington Bridge!

Moving into issue #26, Hulk continued to call for the Avengers, but Thing still stood to fight another day, or at least a few more rounds! A battered Human Torch even got back in on the action, but the Fantatsic twosome didn’t stand a chance. Hulk messed them up and then went to Tony Stark’s mansion to visit his old friends.

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

  • Published: May 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Hulk tore into the Avengers who gave as good as they got. A rejuvenated Reed Richards soon led his own team to attack Jade Jaws as well, but all those heroes together proved more calamity than anything else. After figuring out how to actually work together, both crews converged on Hulk who had perched himself on a skyscraper construction site. Though the combined might of the Avengers and Fantastic Four could barely stop the rampage, Rick Jones wound up saving the day by tossing an “emergency gamma-ray treated capsule” that Banner had supplied him with months prior.

Hulk ran off, jumping into the water and soon turned back into Bruce, floating along to his next adventure. With that, both teams pledged to work well together in the future and returned to their own lives with an unspoken promise from Kirby and Lee that, when that happened, it would be just as exciting and groundbreaking as this time!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

The Fantastic Four investigates an empty house with startling results!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

New parents have a lot on their mind. From diaper changings and feedings to worrying about all manner of other potential dangers, making mistakes comes with the territory. Now, take all of that and throw in a never-ending train of super-menaces to deal with and you get an idea of where Reed and Sue Richards’ heads resided in FANTASTIC FOUR #8889 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Their son—not yet named in these issues, but eventually called Franklin—had been born not long prior in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6, so after coming home from a mission, they all decided to look at an out-of-the-way home that would offer them privacy and safety. The fact that they didn’t think anything of a strange building in the middle of nowhere that no one had ever lived in and seemed to come out of nowhere should have triggered a few alarms, but let’s blame that new parent baby brain on that.

For us, though, we get to see “The King” do his thing, designing a domicile that would make Frank Lloyd Wright’s places look tame in comparison. The more the Fantastic Four and Crystal—a member of the squad at that point—looked around, the more they realized that something might be up. Still, they decided to buy the place and start moving in. They started regretting the purchase a bit when Reed tried drilling some holes so Sue could hang pictures and the security system shot stub bolts and trapped him in a clear jar. Still, not fully wary of the purchase, they continued to unpack.

Fantastic Four (1961) #88

Fantastic Four (1961) #88

  • Published: July 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Unbeknownst to the new tenants, the build actually came from a surprise source, one who kept an eye on things while the Richards’ moved in: Mole Man! He’d been using the place to send out a signal that would make everyone on the surface world as blind as him! After robbing the FF of their sight and revealing himself at the end of #88, Mole Man really pressed his advantage in the following issue. Far more used to fighting in the dark than his opponents, the villain easily dodged their attacks!

However, Mole Man underestimated how much Reed and Sue loved each other and how fiercely they’d fight any foe to keep the other safe. After Mr. Fantastic wound up on the wrong end of the villain’s staff, The Invisible Girl lashed out, knocking off his glasses and exposing his overly sensitive eyes to light they could not handle. Enraged at the attacks on his friend and his sister and with sight renewed, Human Torch took off and melted Mole Man’s staff. As the subterranean tyrant blamed everyone but himself for his crimes, Johnny Storm corralled him and then, essentially, told him to stop being so whiny and take responsibility for himself.

With the immediate threat out of the way, the team could concentrate on reviving Reed, who seemed out for the count, but soon regained consciousness after The Thing administered mouth to mouth and CPR. In this story Lee and Kirby presented a thrilling tale that keeps you involved at every turn while also giving Jack plenty of room to play when it came to designing a house that just about any fan would love to visit—though maybe without the booby traps!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Daredevil teams up with the Fantastic Four to take on Doctor Doom!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Fantastic Four in their 1961 debut issue, none of the characters exactly wanted their cosmic ray-granted abilities. Sure—Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Girl, The Human Torch, and The Thing eventually used their powers to save the world, but they likely would’ve chosen to give them up in the early days.

So what happened when they actually lost their powers just a few years later in 1965’s FANTASTIC FOUR #39 and #40? In the previous story, the team barely escaped a nuclear blast set off by the Frightful Four—and after floating in the ocean for 24 hours, a Navy submarine picked them up so they could convalesce aboard the vessel. Soon, however, they admitted to themselves and each other that in the chaos, they’d lost their powers!

Fantastic Four (1961) #39

Fantastic Four (1961) #39

  • Published: June 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After returning to New York, Reed immediately got to work, attempting to scientifically replicate their powers—while hoping that their enemies wouldn’t find out about their defenselessness. Despite his efforts, Richards failed with his experiments.

As the evil Doctor Doom raged against his longtime opponents—and planned an urgent attack—the Fantastic Four’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, agreed to meet them at a mysterious warehouse. There, he witnessed (via his special sensory abilities) the group practicing with their new power-replicating equipment. Then, during the meeting, Doom began his assault. In the smoke and confusion, Murdock changed into his fighting togs and offered his services as Daredevil!

As Doctor Doom set up in the Baxter Building, using Richards’ own weapons against the heroes, the group split up to take on the villain from different angles. And as Doom obsessed over tracking down the Four, the Man Without Fear snuck in a window and got the drop on the Latverian.

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

  • Published: July 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Daredevil held his own against Victor von Doom for a long enough time that the Fantastic Four were able to catch up—though still without powers, they still threw themselves into battle. While his teammates distracted Doom, Richards grabbed the Stimulator—a weapon they used against the Skrulls in FANTASTIC FOUR #37—and zapped Ben, Johnny, Sue, and himself.

The device reawakened their powers, allowing the team to join the fight full-force. The battle between Ben Grimm and Victor von Doom threatened to knock down the entire Baxter Building—if not New York City itself—and ultimately The Thing crushed Doom’s plans for conquest. Though the villain still managed to escape thanks to his diplomatic immunity as ruler of Latveria!

Having regained their powers, the team—and especially Grimm—didn’t celebrate, but at least knew they could defend themselves the next time their enemies came calling.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more Kirby klassics! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Chip Zdarsky charts the course as Ben and Johnny reunite!

The bond of family can’t be broken easily.

Since Secret Wars, Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm and Ben “The Thing” Grimm have largely been working alone. They have, at times, teamed up with others, thrown their lot in with different super hero teams—but in terms of their true family, they’ve been isolated for a long time.

Until now.

On December 16, Marvel Legacy begins as writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung see the duo together again in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1! Johnny needs help and Ben rushes to his aid—as Doctor Doom holds onto a secret that’ll change both their lives forever.

Zdarsky stepped away from organizing this family reunion to answer a few questions about the upcoming story.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be the first writer to handle the first step towardsmayberebuilding the Fantastic Four post-Secret Wars? Has it been a tremendous honor? A horrifying burden? A bit of both?

Chip Zdarsky: It’s strange. There’s definitely some fear on my part. FANTASTIC FOUR has always been a book that means a lot to me, and to a lot of other people, so getting to even do a close approximation of it with Ben and Johnny feels very daunting. Dealing with that Secret Wars fallout has been something everyone’s looking for, so, yeah, I’m a bit nervous.

But, that being said, no script I’ve ever worked on has come together as smoothly as issue #1 [of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE]. Getting into the heads of Ben and Johnny—knowing what they have to do—just clicked right away. So, I’m nervous, yeah. But strangely calm about it because it feels right to me as a writer.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Johnny’s problems at the beginning of this story? Why does The Human Torch need The Thing?

Chip Zdarsky: Both Ben and Johnny have been bouncing around to various teams and situations since Secret Wars, rarely seeing each other. It reminds them too much of what they’ve lost. But that pain bubbles up, especially in Johnny, and Ben has to step in to help his family, and—whether he knows it or not—himself.

Marvel.com: In MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, you handle (at least) three icons of the Marvel Universe: Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, and Doctor Doom. In your eyes, what’s the key to getting each one “right”?

Chip Zdarsky: Ben and Johnny can be played for laughs, but they’re both deeper than they let on. To get them right you have to be conscious of writing a Ben and Johnny story—not just a Thing and Human Torch one. Ben can be a bit of a hardened tough-guy, but he’s a softie. Johnny can be slightly irresponsible, but he cares deeply.

Doom seems especially interesting to write now, given what [writer] Brian Michael Bendis and [artist] Alex Maleev have been doing with him in INFAMOUS IRON MAN. He’s still a thorn in the sides of our heroes, but now with the ultimate goal of doing what he feels might just be “right.”

Marvel.com: Describe the tone and setting of TWO-IN-ONE. Can fans expect any special supporting cast?

Chip Zdarsky: The tone feels a little bit sad, a little bit tortured, and a little bit fun! We’re building up to some big adventures for the guys, and this will be the place where you’ll get to see a lot of FF supporting cast and villains pop up! As for setting, these are explorers, so the setting will always change.

Marvel.com: How does working with Jim Cheung help you “build” the world of the book? Does he make it easier for you to do certain things as a writer?

Chip Zdarsky: He’s…amazing. Getting pages from Jim just blows my mind. He elevates every scene, nails the emotion of the characters, and there’s no other artist working today who gets The Thing like he does.

Marvel.com: Speaking directly to fans who might consider snagging TWO-IN-ONE, how would you convince them that this is a can’t-miss?

Chip Zdarsky: Besides Jim Cheung!? I think, out of the books I’ve worked on so far, this feels the most like a classic Marvel book. Moral quandaries, big adventure, fun conflict. And it’s Ben and Johnny! They’re the heart of the Marvel Universe in a lot of ways, so I hope everyone enjoys seeing them together, going on adventures again.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1, by Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung, reawakens on December 16!

Read More

David Baldeón looks back at the introduction of the FF’s greatest foe!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Sometimes a comic comes along and changes everything for a reader. For SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE artist David Baldeón, it turned out to be FANTASTIC FOUR #5. As he explained in yesterday’s Kirby 100 installment, seeing the King’s work in that classic 1962 issue in a Spanish reprint completely changed how he looked at comics. He left behind other books and fully focused on Kirby!

Looking back at this issue, it’s no wonder that it so completely captured the future artist’s imagination. Not only does this installment introduce the world to none other than Doctor Doom, but it also features kidnapping, villainous origins, time travel, and the male members of the FF playing pirate!

“I’m not sure I took it all in,” Baldeón recalls. “Not in the first read, at least. It was all image after image after image. The nets, Blackbeard Thing, the sequence of Thing putting on his pirate disguise—I had never seen something like that. Mr. Fantastic stretching from boat to boat! That panel alone broke all the ideas I had in my head about comics. And Doom’s story! It was just too much. But I do remember the feel of ‘there’s so much more.’ There [are] other stories behind and around this thing I’m reading, it’s all part of something bigger, and not knowing exactly what was exciting and enticing.”

To get into a little more detail, the issue kicked off with this new villain, Doom, vowing to defeat the Fantastic Four. Back in their building, Johnny and Ben get into a fight over the Torch’s Hulk comic book before Reed and Sue break it up. They really stopped, though, when Doom surrounded their building with electrified cables and asked for Sue to come up, followed soon by the others.

Fantastic Four (1961) #5

Fantastic Four (1961) #5

What is Marvel Unlimited?

“I think this probably was the first time I saw Doctor Doom,” Baldeón remembers. “I had already read quite a few Marvel comics, but mostly Spider-Man. And of course, I didn’t have the slightest idea of who he was and what he meant! I did know, though, that that was not your average, run-of-the-mill villain. That design!”

Doom showed his true evil by bringing the team back to his castle and then demanding Mr. Fantastic, Thing, and Human Torch go back in time to steal Blackbeard’s treasure and return with it. Thrust into the past, Thing donned Blackbeard’s togs while Reed and Johnny dressed as standard pirates and they got the job done. Though Doom clearly became the most memorable part of this story, Blackbeard Thing has also taken on a life of its own.

“Honestly, I think it was just Kirby’s magic,” says Baldeón. “The Thing as Blackbeard is just one of those ideas that just cannot work or make any kind of sense, unless you’re Kirby and do it effortlessly, with just the right amount of epic and comedy and power and pure raw energy to make it not only possible, but iconic.”

Upon the team’s return, Doom turned out to be a robot, setting the stage for a recurring twist still used to this day. The real Doom then began to suck all the oxygen from the room, but Sue saved the day by rescuing her teammates. In the end, they escaped with their lives, but didn’t get their hands on the villain who would become nearly synonymous with the team itself!

“Looking back at it now, it’s just incredible that there’s so much information and so many concepts seamlessly contained in just one issue,” Baldeón concludes. “It has not lost one ounce of power, and it still works like clockwork. It is strange to think of ‘clockwork’ when talking about such an apparently raw, untamed sci-fi/fantasy story. But still, there it is. The pacing, the comedy. You can see why it is a classic. I go back to it and completely understand why it made such an impact.”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Writer Robbie Thompson RSVPs for the social event of the Silver Age!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Over the course of these Kirby 100 posts, we’ve made numerous references to Jack Kirby as co-architect of the Marvel Universe. These days the idea of a shared super hero universe in comics seems about as commonplace as the idea of heroes fighting villains, but that concept didn’t just sprout up out of nowhere. For years, issues would come out month after month with very little continuity between installments or references to other characters from the same publisher.

However, when Stan Lee and Jack started working together on titles like FANTASTIC FOUR, THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN and others, they didn’t just build off and reference previous stories, but also feature other heroes from even more books like Daredevil and Spider-Man. Readers of those early Marvel comics really got the sense that all of these characters lived in the same world, especially since many of them took place in New York City.

Kirby and Lee topped even themselves, though, with the publication of FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, which featured the highly anticipated wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Considering the profile of this couple, it’s easy to understand how it would take on legendary status for FF fans who came along at any time, like SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL writer Robbie Thompson who hopped on a few hundred issues later.

“I started reading FANTASTIC FOUR with issue #243, so I knew the Richards were married, but I was always curious to see the big day, and Kirby and Lee totally delivered on an epic Annual that brought the whole Marvel Universe together,” Thompson relays. “It exceeded my expectations and remains my favorite Marvel wedding.”

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3

Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3

  • Published: October 01, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Everyone showed up from Millie the Model to the X-Men—and those were the actual guests! Doctor Doom fueled by his hated for Richards, decided to send an army of super villains to destroy the festivities, but thanks to the assembled heroes and an appearance by The Watcher, Reed and Sue made it to the alter and exchanged I dos.

“From a practical standpoint, I think it was a great way to show the cohesiveness of the Marvel Universe and illustrate how big and connected [it] was becoming,” Thompson notes. “But from a personal standpoint, it also illuminates the key to why these characters work so well: the ‘event’ is personal. The biggest day of their lives isn’t getting their powers or another invention, or even Doom trying to spoil the whole thing; the ‘event’ is their greatest adventure yet: marriage. Seeing the hope and [positivity] in all the characters coming together to unite for Reed and Sue on a personal level is such a signature part of that book’s success and it’s executed perfectly in this Annual.”

Unfortunately, two well-intentioned attendees got turned away at the door by Nick Fury, Dum Dum Duggan, and Gabe Jones. The pair? None other than Stan and Jack themselves! Of course, that adds to the issue’s charm as the two men head off to work on the next installment! It helps that Kirby got to draw so many amazing characters in one issue while also throwing in some of his classic tech and even a collage!

“I’d rate it pretty high on the Kirby Canon, it really does have it all—and you can see Kirby pushing the form of comic storytelling in each panel, adding to the grammar of sequential storytelling and bringing each character to life in such an elegant way,” Thompson concludes.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

Two of the Fantastic Four tie the knot, Hulk fights Thor, plus more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Even a casual Marvel reader in 1965 might’ve believed that Jack Kirby worked on every single issue of every single title the House of Ideas published that year. The truth of it stands as something less than that, but Marvel editor and writer Stan Lee knew a good thing and ensured Jack’s presence across the line in varied ways, and with a concentration where the Kirby touch would bring comic book gold.

First and foremost, Lee and Kirby’s flagship book remained Jack’s true focus at the midpoint of the 1960s. In FANTASTIC FOUR #32, after a battle with the strange android Dragon Man, Reed Richards received the answer he’d hoped for from his marriage proposal to Sue Storm, setting up one of the true monumental moments in comic history: the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 that summer.

Not to rest on their laurels, Stan and Jack also introduced the Frightful Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #36, brought Daredevil in for a guest-spot in FANTASTIC FOUR #39, and following Gorgon’s introduction in FANTASTIC FOUR #44, unveiled their next big idea, the incredible Inhumans, in FANTASTIC FOUR #45 to round out the year.

Over in Thor’s universe, Jack illustrated one of the greatest clashes of comics, the Thor-Hulk match fans clamored for, in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112, as well as designing a villain for the ages, Absorbing Man, for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #114. In addition, Jack’s images of the robotic Destroyer impressed fans in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, but perhaps the real stand-out moment of the year in Thor’s world came in the introduction of Greek demi-god Hercules into the ongoing drama in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY ANNUAL #1.

Jack’s penciling duties for 1965 also extended into Captain America’s solo series in TALES OF SUSPENSE. For the first part of the year he produced covers and simple layouts for others to follow, but for his and Stan’s powerful team-up between Cap and Nick Fury in TALES OF SUSPENSE #78, he provided full interior art. From there, the duo planted dynamite under Cap’s world with the return of The Red Skull in TALES OF SUSPENSE #79, and the amazing Cosmic Cube saga beginning in TALES OF SUSPENSE #80.

Speaking of Nick Fury, Jack’s visions of technological wonders expanded exponentially when he and Stan promoted the sergeant into their newest concept, S.H.I.E.L.D., in the landmark STRANGE TALES #135. For the next several issues of the mag, Jack would do layouts and covers, helping guide his former World War II star into the Swingin’ Sixties.

Jack relinquished penciling chores on AVENGERS in 1965, but also helped out with layouts and covers, same as with SGT. FURY and TALES TO ASTONISH. Over in UNCANNY X-MEN he worked to illustrate the memorable meeting of the young mutants and the Avengers to fruition in X-MEN #9, and introduce the savage Ka-Zar in X-MEN #10.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More