Dan Slott and C.B. Cebulski bring the family back together!
Written by Jess Harrold
The Fantastic Four are back! After three years away, the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine returns, with writer Dan Slott and artist Sara Pichelli at the helm. Here, Slott and Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski share their excitement in bringing the awesome foursome back to comics!
Marvel: Pinch us, we’re dreaming. Can it be true, Dan? You’re writing a new FANTASTIC FOUR series?
Dan Slott: Yep. As of this August, I’ll be writing and Sara Pichelli will be drawing the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine: the one, the only, FANTASTIC FOUR! Oh, boy. We have been under such lock and key when it comes to talking about this book. For months this has been the biggest secret at Marvel. It feels so good to finally tell anybody outside of the loop. Heck, let me yell it: “I’M WRITING THE FF!”
Honestly, this is a lifetime dream. The first super hero comics I ever read were my cousin’s copies of FANTASTIC FOUR #48–50, with “The Coming of Galactus” and the first appearance of the Silver Surfer. For me, personally, this has been a long time coming. I’ve got notebooks filled with the stories I’d like to do if I ever got my hands on these characters!
Marvel: It’s a great way to start your tenure as Editor-in-Chief, C.B. When you got the job, how high up on your to-do list was “bring back the FF”?
C.B. Cebulski: FANTASTIC FOUR was top of the list. It’s a book that is near and dear to my heart. I know how important the characters are to the fans and the company, and bringing them back was the first thing I talked to Tom Brevoort about. They are the heart of the Marvel Universe. They are the First Family, and the fact that they are a family is something everyone can relate to—good and bad. There’s the good times you have with family, and there’s the bad times: the quarreling, not everyone always gets along. Just look at the first-ever FF cover—they weren’t in costume. That’s what Marvel is—it’s not about the super heroes, it’s about the people underneath those costumes, the alter egos. The core of Marvel is that we’re human first and superhuman second.
Marvel: Speaking of those humans, we’re talking Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny, right?
Dan Slott: Ooh. Sorry. We’re replacing Johnny with a robot. NO! Kidding. Just kidding. Of course it’s going to be Reed, Sue, Johnny and the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing! And Franklin! And Val! And Alicia! And who knows? Maybe Willie Lumpkin and Aunt Petunia, too! Wait and see.
Marvel: C.B., you’re renowned for knowing a thing or two about talent. What, for you, makes Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli the ideal team for FF?
C.B. Cebulski: Dan is coming off a ten-year run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and has proven time and time again that he can tell these small stories with heart that get to the core of individual characters—but also tell these big, bold, brash super hero stories. Now with the Fantastic Four, we knew if we unleashed Dan on those characters and let his mind go wild on their crazy intergalactic adventures, he would nail it. Dan came in and pitched to around six of us at a restaurant one afternoon, and jaws dropped, literally. I think it was Nick Lowe, the Spider-Man editor, who said, “I think that just brought a tear to my eye.” Dan really nailed it in one shot. And Sara is one of the most wonderful pencilers out there when it comes to capturing emotion. Just like Dan’s mind thinks so visually and outside of the box, there are very few pencilers who can capture the scope like her. In comics you’re confined by the boundaries of the panel borders, and the best artists can make you look past those borders. Sara’s one of the few people who can do that—you really feel like you’re watching a movie when you’re looking at her panels.
Dan Slott: Sara Pichelli is AWESOME! Her work on everything from RUNAWAYS to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and especially every single page she’s drawn of Miles Morales’ stories—she’s one of the most talented artists in the entire industry! I couldn’t be more excited to be working with her! And I can’t wait for fans to see her take on the FF!
C.B. Cebulski: And in Dan Slott and [editor] Tom Brevoort, you have two of, not just the biggest fans of Marvel Comics out there, but the biggest fans of Marvel’s history. When the costume designs came up, Tom and Dan had very specific ideas that date all the way back to the original FF through every incarnation, with specific designs and color schemes that would fit into this story.
Marvel: Dan, your SILVER SURFER book showed your passion for exploring new landscapes across the Marvel Universe—and beyond. Will that sense of adventure and wonder carry through to FF?
Dan Slott: Definitely. The FF are super heroes. But they’re not about stopping bank robbers or defeating clandestine secret societies. Sure, if a world-eater comes to devour the Earth, or a giant Kirby monster starts stomping through the city, you can count on them to save the day. That said, first and foremost, they’re explorers. They’re out to see new planets, dimensions and universes! They live to push the boundaries of both science and the imagination! More importantly, they live to do that together, as a family.
Marvel: The motto for your Surfer book was “Anywhere and everywhere—hang on!” What would it be for the FF book?
Dan Slott: The First Family of the Marvel Universe.
Marvel: There hasn’t been an FF book in a while, and in the absence of Reed and Sue Richards, a certain Victor Von Doom has undergone some changes. Will that traditional rivalry take on a new slant going forward?
Dan Slott: After the events of Secret Wars and INFAMOUS IRON MAN, Victor Von Doom will be on new, but familiar footing. We will be building on what came before, and from that will come a Doctor Doom who will be far deadlier, misunderstood and incredibly iconic. You’re going to have to wait and see. But the wait won’t be too long.
Marvel: Are there any other classic FF villains you’re looking forward to using, or is the emphasis on new threats?
Dan Slott: We will absolutely mix it up and give you classic FF goodness and all-new, modern-day weirdness, too. I’ll be honest with you, though: we’ve been away from the Fantastic Four for years now, and I am dying to start off and lean into the most FF-ish stories possible! Stan and Jack, Byrne, Simonson, Waid and Ringo, Hickman and everyone in between—I have so much love for every era of this book, I really can’t wait to play with all the toys in the toy box!
The new FF team, creative and editorial, we are going to do everything we can to honor, respect and build off of the rich legacy of these characters, while moving forward and telling all-new chapters in their ongoing story.
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli is on sale August 1!