The Fantastic Four (comic)

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Die Fantastischen Vier with She-Hulk as Cosplay , Dragon Con 2011

Die Fantastischen Vier (originally Fantastic Four ) is the name of a comic series around the superhero team of the same name from the American publisher Marvel Comics . The team consists of four superheroes Mr. Fantastic ( Mr. Fantastic ), The Thing ( The Thing ), The Invisible ( Invisible Girl / Invisible Woman ) and the Human Torch ( Human Torch ). The comic series started in November 1961. It was created by Stan Lee and his co-author and illustrator Jack Kirby and heralded the so-called Silver Age of American superhero comics .

Creation and publication


When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched the “World's Greatest Comic Magazine”, as it was immodestly called on the cover, in 1961, the coming success was not in sight. The approach to the topic of superheroes was a completely new one: the heroes should not be sterile supermen, but normal people with private problems.

Development of the comic series

After the rather simple stories of the first few years (super villain wants world domination, the Fantastic Four fight him, the Fantastic Four win, everything back to normal), the stories from around No. 36 got a completely new dimension for American comics. A coherent story began here, which in principle runs through to issue no.50. The foundation stone for the so-called “Marvel Universe” was laid, in which all protagonists from the various series interact with one another and stories interact in a coherent universe.

The climax of this story mentioned was the final so-called Galactus trilogy in 1966. Here the Fantastic Four fight against the world devourer Galactus, who wants to destroy the earth with his herald, the Silver Surfer .

After that, it became difficult for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to maintain the level. Despite many other issues, the stories became more stereotypical and two-dimensional. After No. 102, Kirby left Marvel , and Stan Lee also passed the pen to a successor a little later.

Film adaptations

In 1986 Bernd Eichinger acquired the film rights to the comic and, in order to prevent the rights from expiring, began to produce a film on December 28, 1992 three days before the last possible date with the help of Roger Corman for one million dollars and 21 days of shooting however, despite completion and advertising it was never published. However, the rights extension allowed Eichinger to produce the following Fantastischen-Vier films a decade later.

In 2005, the first film came on the Fantastic Four, titled Fantastic Four to the big screen and also experienced a passable success, even if he had seen not commercially to the Marvel - blockbuster Spider-Man (2002) and X-Men (2000) approach was enough. The sequel, entitled Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer , opened in German cinemas on August 14, 2007.

Directed by Josh Trank was a remake in August 2015 published. As a screenwriter u. a. also involved Simon Kinberg .

The heroes

The Fantastischen Vier received their powers from cosmic rays , which changed their molecules when they were the first people to try to fly into space in a spaceship developed by Reed. Their headquarters are on the top four floors of the Baxter Building in New York .

The superpowers of the four correspond to the four elements : “The thing” with its stone skin (earth), the burning “human torch” (fire), the transparent “invisible” (air) and the almost fluid, elastic “Mr. Fantastic ”(water). In addition, the three others' relationships with Susan Richards represent the three degrees of human relationships: consanguinity (her brother Johnny Storm), marriage (her husband Reed Richards), and friendship (Reed's old pal Ben Grimm). The characters and abilities correspond to two archetypes .

Unlike most other superheroes, the Fantastic Four have no secret identities: it is common knowledge that Reed Richards is Mr. Fantastic. The Fantastic Four were popular with the general public for much of their career (unlike Spider-Man , for example ), and the Fantastic Four was at times run by Reed Richards like a commercial enterprise.

From Fantastic Four # 579 (July 2010), the Fantastic Four change their agenda and specialize under the name Future Foundation on the training of potential, growing young geniuses who, as later scientists, should serve the better welfare of mankind. Spider-Man , a longtime friend of the Fantastic Four, joins the Foundation and thus takes the place of the now deceased “Human Torch”. Her recruits include Reed and Sue's children Franklin and Valeria (see below), the young mutants Artie Maddicks and Leech (previously known from the X-Men comics) and Alex Power , a former member of the Power Pack team .

A "previous series" under the title Challengers of the Unknown (challenger of the unknown) by Jack Kirby at the Marvel competing publisher DC Comics was less successful: It was about four (male) friends. None of them had super powers.

Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic)

Mr. Fantastic as Cosplay , Gen Con Indy 2008

The leader of the Fantastic Four is Doctor Reed Richards, also known as Mr. Fantastic on the team . He can stretch his body in every imaginable shape and use it very flexibly. Occasionally, it serves as a living catapult, parachute or cushion for everything imaginable. Actually, however, he is a scientist and a brilliant inventor. He is a specialist in the natural sciences (e.g. in chemistry and physics). In every free minute he tinkers in his laboratory on futuristic inventions that the Fantastic Four can use in the fight against evil. He's been married to Susan Storm, the Invisible One , since Annual Issue 3 . One of his greatest achievements is the discovery of the "Negative Zone", a universe made of anti-matter that can be used to travel to any other point in our universe and that repeatedly plays an important role in the stories of the Fantastic Four. Reed is a staunch idealist, and all his research is always directed towards the common good or others. When there is an important task to complete, he works to the point of exhaustion until the problem is resolved, even if this often leads to conflicts with his wife Susan. He is also always a mediator in disputes in the team (especially between Ben and Johnny).

Susan Richards b. Storm (The Invisible One)

Susan "Sue" Richards , called The Invisible (in the English original initially Invisible Girl , later Invisible Woman ) is Reed's wife and Johnny's sister. Their superpowers enable them to make themselves and other things or people invisible and to build up invisible force fields. For a long time she corresponded to a somewhat old-fashioned image of women from the early 1960s, in which the Fantastic Four was developed. She fainted quickly, was more interested in fashion and household than in saving the world, and the original limitation of her powers of only being able to make herself invisible made her a rather weak member of the team. Her extended abilities to make other things or people invisible as well as to be able to create invisible force fields with which she can also fly were only added much later to strengthen her position. Her role has been the subject of discussion in letters to the editor for years.

Johnny Storm (The Torch)

Jonathan "Johnny" Storm , also The Human Torch (in the English original Human Torch called), is Susan Storm's brother and has the ability to body parts or his whole body to be burning like a torch. He can z. B. carry out welding work with his finger or even throw fireballs. He can also fly. He is the youngest member of the Fantastischen Vier (at the start of the series just 15 years old) and embodies the impetuous youth who raves about fast cars and women and for whom no extreme sport is too dangerous. Later in the series, he becomes a little more grown-up, and his relationships become more serious and lasting. He also shows more sensitivity in dealing with his sister. In Fantastic Four # 587, he finally dies; his place is taken by his longtime friend Spider-Man .

Ben Grimm (The Thing)

The Thing as Cosplay , Dragon Con 2011

The thing (in the English original The Thing ), whose real name is Benjamin "Ben" Jacob Grimm, has a petrified body with superhuman strength and is almost invulnerable. He is the most tragic character in the Fantastic Four comics. Forced to spend the rest of his life as an ugly monster, although Reed Richards tries incessantly to transform him back, he often despairs of his fate. His love for the blind sculptor Alicia Masters is just as tragic, as Ben constantly lives in the fear that she only loves him out of pity, or because she cannot see his ugliness. During an attempt by Mister Fantastic to transform him back, it becomes clear that this love is the only positive thing in Ben Grimm's life and that his subconscious defends itself against being transformed back into Benjamin Grimm. This has so far ruined all attempts at reconversion. Under the rough surface hides a kind-hearted character who would be ready at any time to sacrifice himself for his friends. His constant quarrels and fights with Johnny Storm, who loves to tease him about his ugliness, are characteristic.


The Fantastic Four have fought a bunch of diverse characters over the course of their existence, most of them more than once. Here are a few of their main adversaries :

Dr. Doom

Doctor Doom as Cosplay , WonderCon 2014

Dr. Doom is the despot of the fictional Balkan mini-state Latveria and the main opponent of the Fantastic Four. Since his first appearance in issue 5, the brilliant scientist who was once a fellow student of Reed Richards has tried countless times to destroy the Fantastic Four. His face was slightly injured in a risky experiment that Reed tried to prevent him from doing. Doom, who blamed Richards for his "mutilation", left the States and had a special armor made in Tibet that made him almost invulnerable. He had the red hot mask put on his face and thus completely disfigured it. Then he returned to his homeland Latveria, overthrew the resident king and rose to become the sole ruler. From here he organizes his campaigns against the Fantastic Four and the rest of the world.

The Mole (Mole Man)

The mole rules in his underground kingdom over a people of blind humanoids who have no more than animal intelligence. From here he wages a campaign of revenge against humanity that humiliated him years ago because of his ugliness. His usual goal is world domination or its destruction, with the death of the Fantastic Four at the top.

The Skrull

The Skrull are an alien race who, since their first attempt to subjugate Earth, foiled by the Fantastic Four, have set themselves the goal of destroying the Fantastic Four. They have the ability to take any shape.

The sub-mariner

The Sub-Mariner or Prince Namor is the ruler of Atlantis and a race of water people who share the same ancestors with humans. His motives are not of "evil" nature, his attacks on people are more of a form of self-defense to protect his underwater realm from the ruthlessness and destructiveness of people. Before her wedding to Reed, Sue Richards felt torn between Reed and the handsome Namor for a while. Several kidnappings by Namor were the result.


Galactus is a being named Galan von Taa, the sole survivor of a human-like race that was wiped out by the Big Bang; Galan, however, was transformed from the newly developing cosmic force into a god-like being with almost omnipotent powers, who has to feed on the energy of entire planets. Galactus' motives are not evil, but rather based on indifference; his attempts to devour the earth are due solely to hunger. In order to find suitable worlds he appoints heralds from time to time, whom he usually equips with cosmic superpowers; one of his heralds was the silver surfer , who later broke away from him. His dramatic first appearance in the comics of the Fantastischen Vier is considered the highlight of the series history.

The Fearful Four (Frightful Four)

They represent the first supervillain team comics history. At the original cast are the magician (wizard) , the leader of the group, the Sandman, who can turn his entire body into sand, the brilliant case Bauer paste Peter / catcher (Pastepot Pete / Trapster ) and Medusa, the queen of the Inhumans, who at the time had lost her memory.

The Impossible Man

The Impossible Man belongs to an alien race. He has the ability to assume any shape and has landed on earth because he finds his old home boring and seeks a change on the blue planet. He's more of a pain in the ass than a real threat and usually goes away if ignored.

More characters

Alicia Masters

Sculptor Alicia Masters is the blind friend of Ben Grimm and the daughter of the evil puppeteer (Puppet Master).

Franklin Richards

Franklin Richards is the son of Reed and Sue. Due to his unusual genetic makeup, he himself has uncanny superpowers and is therefore believed to be the strongest mutant on earth. His powers include:

  • Changing reality
  • telekinesis
  • telepathy
  • as well as other, not yet fully understood psychokinetic abilities, such as B. the generation of energy spheres and force fields
  • Bring the dead back to life

Valeria Richards

Valeria Richards is Sue and Reed's little daughter and Franklin's younger sister. In the mainstream, she was originally the second child of Reed and Sue, who died as a miscarriage in the womb due to complications caused by their innate powers ; however, through Franklin's powers and a number of complicated circumstances, she was born and raised in an alternate future. Valeria's first name comes from Dr. Doom, who helped bring the child into the world. Like the rest of her family, she has super powers:

  • Ingenious intellect
  • Superhuman strength
  • invisibility
  • Time travel
  • Ability to generate protective shields and bursts of energy
  • Limited telekinesis

Film adaptations

The film Fantastic Four was released in 2005, followed by Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007 . In these, the heroes of Ioan Gruffudd (Mister Fantastic), Jessica Alba (The Invisible), Chris Evans (Human Torch) and Michael Chiklis (The Thing) were played.

In 2015 a new edition called Fantastic Four was released . Here were Miles Teller , Kate Mara , Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell , the lead actor.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Ito: The Summer Blockbuster That Wasn't . In: Los Angeles magazine . S. 109–111, 218–219 ( limited preview in Google Book search).