When it comes to great superhero teams, the Fantastic Four may not jump out to you as quickly as say the Avengers or the X-Men. And while they may not have the fan base that other superheroes such as Batman or Iron Man have, trust me when I say they’re one of the most interesting teams out there. Unfortunately, cool facts about the series don’t exactly translate into a cinematic film that is anything even close to decent. With movies and television shows being the prominent role in society that they are, it’s a shame they have yet to get the film right. If you aren’t able to make the audience care about the characters, they probably aren’t also going to go and pick up a comic book.
That doesn’t mean that you should discount how insanely cool the team is. A guy that stretches, strength, fire, invisibility, talk about a 4-pack that can leave your villains guessing! Not to mention that they’ve been around for decades, so you better believe they’ve got some interesting facts and stories surrounding their comics.
Plus they are the only superhero team out there that has had something to do with Bill Murray, so that definitely gets them points, right? They might not have won over your hearts yet on the big screen, but that doesn’t mean that their facts aren’t going to be able to hold your attention.
15. There’s An Unreleased 1994 Film
Did you know there was a Fantastic Four film that came out in 1994? I didn’t either because the studio never actually released the film! Though that hasn’t stopped illegal copies from hitting the internet. The film was made for the incredibly small budget of $1 million, and was only created so that the studio would not lose its licensing rights of the characters.
Stan Lee stated in 2005 that “the movie was never supposed to be shown to anybody” but also stated that the cast and crew that were involved with the film had no idea that was the case and was expecting the film to be released. While others that were involved deny this claim, it still makes for one of the most interesting films out there that never came to fruition.
14. The Thing’s Thing
One of the questions that is on the mind of every comic book fan is if The Thing has a penis. Sure, you could assume that Ben Grimm did, but what about now that he is essentially made of rock? Not to mention that looking the way he does, would already be a big enough deterrent in the bedroom. Stan Lee eventually came out and stated ““I guess common sense would say it was made of orange rock too,” so at least that is one thing that the adult film parody company can keep in mind when creating the Fantastic Foursome!
13. The Fantastic Four Once Went Bankrupt
It can be easy to assume that because they had Reed Richards, one of the smartest characters out there, the Fantastic Four would always be in a pretty good financial position. This is not always the case though, and in Fantastic Four #9 the group had gone bankrupt and was losing most of their assets. Namor then tricked the group into agreeing to star in a film based on their own lives, telling them they could earn the profits of the film. Namor eventually turned on the group, but thankfully Sue Storm helped defuse the situation before it became fatal. The film ended up still being made, and the profits helped re-finance the team for the time being.
12. George R.R. Martin Wrote A Fan Letter
One of the best parts of reading comics is being able to check out the different fan letters, especially when looking at some of the comics from the past. One of George R.R. Martin’s first piece of published writing was surely his fan letter that he sent into In 1963, Martin wrote “brilliant! You were just about the World’s worst mag when you started, but you set yourself an ideal, and, by gumbo, you achieved it! More than achieved it, in fact-why, if you were only half as good as you are now, you’d still be the world’s best mag!!!”
At least it’s clear where Martin got part of his inspiration from!
11. The Thing Wasn’t Supposed To Be Rocky
When you look at The Thing, one of the first things you may think is that he looks like a giant pile of rocks. When Jack Kirby was first designing the character, his vision instead was for a character that “had the power of a dinosaur, and I began to think along those lines. I wanted his flesh to look like dinosaur hide.” and so he drew him to look more like having scales, than having rocks for skin. When legendary inker Joe Sinnott joined the team, he greatly preferred the rock look. Given the amount of respect that the industry had for Joe, it should not be a surprise to know that the rockier version of the Thing made a more permanent switch once he was added.
10. The New Cast Dies In A Comic
There is no doubting that the latest Fantastic Four film was a tremendous failure. Fans hated it, critics hated it and it was largely considered a huge miss on what really is one of the coolest superhero teams out there. Someone who may also have hated it was Nathan Edmondson, who wrote the issue #12 for The Punisher and featured a cameo from 3 of the 4 actors (Johnny Storm is absent). The comic might have been a nice little homage to the movie, if not for the fact that there is also a huge explosion in the comics that kill the 3 characters. Now, I know the movie was bad, but did they really deserve to have comic book characters die?
9. There Is No Human Torch In the 1978 Cartoon
If you are going to make a cartoon based around the Fantastic Four, one of the things that you might want to be sure of, is that you’ll be able to use all the primary characters. Unfortunately, in 1978, the character of the Human Torch was optioned out for the potential of having a stand-alone movie (that never happened). As a result, when the cartoon series came to fruition in 1978, his character’s rights were not available. The solution, as suggested by Stan Lee, was to replace the Human Torch with a cute robot sidekick named Herbie. The character eventually made his way into the comic series as well.
A popular myth, that is untrue, is the belief that Herbie was created because the creators were afraid that the Human Torch would have encouraged kids to try and light themselves on fire!
8. Why the Fantastic Four Was Created
While Marvel may be the brand with the more recognizable heroes, this was not always the case. In the late 1950s it was DC Comics that was all the rage, and this was largely due to the success of the creation of the Justice League. Stan Lee was assigned the task of trying to create a new superhero team. Lee loved the idea of trying to create complex characters that were far from the perfect ideal. A team environment gave him the medium to explore a lot of human emotions such as vanity and leadership, and allowed him to show his characters bicker amongst each other.
After the success of the Fantastic Four, several other prominent characters (such as Thor, Hulk and Iron Man) were thought up by Lee and Jack Kirby and helped lead the way for The Avengers to also be created. So before you shit all over the awful Fantastic Four films, at least know the team had a huge role in comic book history.
7. Their First Two Comics Were Purposefully Misleading
When the Fantastic Four debuted in 1961, Marvel was a bit skeptical on how it was going to do. One of the franchises that Marvel had much more confidence in was their Marvel Monster books (with subtitles Tales to Astonish, Journey into Mystery and Tales of Suspense) and this greatly impacted how the comics were constructed. Instead of featuring the team in full-on costume and branding it as a comic magazine, the first two issues could instead easily have been mistaken for a Marvel Monster book (as seen in the image). It may have been a smart move when you consider that Superheroes were not considered the big draw that they may be today.
6. There Is A 1964 Brazil Comic That Pairs Captain Marvel with the Human Torch
In 2016 if you try to create a comic using properties that you don’t own, you’re going to get shut down pretty quickly. But back in 1964, especially in places that weren’t North America, you could find pirated content and copyright infringement on a more common basis. One such form came in a comic series featuring Captain Marvel and the Human Torch, despite not having the rights to either of the characters.
When Captain Marvel comics stopped being made, Brazil decided to keep going with their own line of comics featuring the character. I suppose they wanted to freshen things up with the inclusion of the Human Torch in one of their editions. The comic opens with Captain Marvel freeing the Human Torch from jail, because otherwise how else could they explain why he hadn’t been in a comic for years? Truly one of those unbelievably bizarre pieces of comic book history.
5. The Fantastic Four Movie Is Partially Why Jessica Alba Hates Movies:
Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie or television show that starred Jessica Alba that left me feeling all that impressed. So when she stopped appearing in movies, I wasn’t exactly missing her. Yet when you look at why she failed, appearances in movies like the awful Fantastic Four film certainly didn’t help.
Alba attacked the director of the film for comments he made during a scene where she was required to cry. Allegedly, she was not a beautiful crier so they told her to stop making that weird face when she cries, and that they’ll CGI the tears in later. I am sure the director’s attitude was just one of many reasons as to why the film was awful.
4. What The Two Dullest Issues Are
John Byrne both wrote and drew Fantastic Four issues #220 and #221, but he never intended for them to hit the news stand! Byrne was approached one day and asked if he would want to do a story for Coca-Cola, featuring the Fantastic Four characters. In response, Byrne said he “came up with a self-contained, very innocuous kind of story because that was what Coke wanted. They didn’t want anything huge and cosmic with planets exploding or anything like that. My story was slightly less than a double-sized issue, and when it was all finished, Coca-Cola said that the story was much too violent” and instead they were slightly expanded and turned into two issues. Byrne claims they’re the two dullest issues that were ever published!
3. Jack Kirby’s Influence On The Impossible Man
Jack Kirby is one of the most talented names in comics. When he was first asked to design a cover for Fantastic Four #176, it was to spotlight a character known as “The Impossible Man” and was to feature him hosing down the Human Torch and hammering The Thing. While this was an okay idea, Kirby had the much better idea of having The Impossible Man be imitating some of the classic Marvel characters such as Iron Man and Thor. As you can see, it led to an incredibly cool looking cover. So cool, that the writers of the comic decided to implement some of those moves in the comic.
2. Kitty Pride Almost Joined The Team
Chris Claremont is a fantastic writer, and when he took over the reigns of the Fantastic Four squad, he wanted to bring Kitty Pride into the team. Easy to see why when you consider how awesome of a character she is.
When asked about his thoughts on it, Claremont replied “My intent was to have Sue [Storm] adopt Kitty, seeing in her a classic troubled teen on the verge of going majorly bad. She would sort of function as Franklin’s big sister. Since nobody was using her in the X-Men, I figured nobody would mind me sliding her over to the Fantastic Four. My mistake. Boyoboy can Marvel editors be territorial!”
So while we never got to see Kitty in the Fantastic Four, at least now you know it almost happened!
1. Bill Murray Voiced The Human Torch
This one is not so much a fun fact about the team itself, but more a fun piece of information about Bill Murray, but who doesn’t love Bill Murray? In 1975 there was the idea to create a radio series based on the Fantastic Four cartoons, and one of the creators knew Bill due to his time on the National Lampoon radio hour. There were only 13 episodes, but fans would love to know that Bill Murray was the voice of the Human Torch. There is no telling the impact this had on the rest of his career, but at the very least it would have been a very cool thing to be able to throw on your resume!