Fantastic Four #1 Homage Covers
Fantastic Four #1 (October 1961)
Writer: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee
Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: George Klein
The Fantastic Four, created by Stan Lee and artist Jack “The King” Kirby, first appeared in The Fantastic Four #1 (with a cover date of November 1961), published by Marvel Comics. It is often suggested that the Fantastic Four was created to compete against the popular Justice League of America, published by rival National Publications (which would later become DC Comics). The Justice League of America had debuted only 18 months before in The Brave & the Bold #28 in March 1960 and appeared in their own self-titled monthly magazine launched only months later in November.
The Fantastic Four gain their super powers when they are exposed to cosmic rays during a risky scientific mission to outer space for which they are ill-prepared. Reed Richards, a scientific genius, suddenly finds that he can stretch his body to incredible lengths, like rubber; Susan Storm, Richards’ fiancée, discovers that she can turn any part of her body invisible at will and project invisible force fields; Johnny Storm, Susan’s younger brother, learns that his body can generate incredible heat and flame, and thus allow him fly; and Ben Grimm, their grumpy, capable pilot but kind-hearted friend, realizes that his body has been turned to something like stone, granting him superhuman strength and durability. As Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, The Human Torch, and The Thing, they become The Fantastic Four.
The Fantastic Four immediately shattered well-known comic book conventions of the period, paving the way for later dysfunctional, yet loyal, super-powered teams such as the ever-popular X-Men, and even angst-ridden teen heroes such as Spider-Man and misunderstood monsters, i.e. the Incredible Hulk.
Early issues of the comic re-introduced Namor, the Sub-Mariner, to a new audience, and debuted super villains such as Dr. Doom and alien threats such as the Skrulls, Kree and Galactus. The series also introduced the popular Silver Surfer and shared pages with other Marvel characters, such as the Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-man.