Marvel Announces No Overprint For Polybagged FANTASTIC FO– Wait, What?

We get a metric ton of daily press releases each day at iFanboy HQ and most are easily dimissed. But every so often we get one that makes us all stop and say, "What the fudge?"

Only we don't say "fudge."

Take this one from Marvel Comics, for example:

Marvel Announces No Overprint For Polybagged FANTASTIC FOUR #587

This January Fantastic Four #587 marks the end of the Fantastic Four and the penultimate issue of Marvel’s longest running series. Concluding the red hot “Three” storyline by superstars Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting, this issue arrives polybagged in comic shops to avoid spoiling the cataclysmic ending of the Fantastic Four. The incomparable John Cassaday provides a shocking “spoiler” variant cover to the issue which ships a week after the release of Fantastic Four #587 to further preserve the surprise events that lead to the dissolution of Marvel’s first super hero team.

In addition, Marvel has officially announced that there will be no overprint on Fantastic Four #587, in addition to the issue not appearing on newsstands.

“The surprises in this issues–and what comes next–constitute one of the biggest events in Marvel history,” said David Gabriel, SVP Sales & Circulation. “When you see the plans that Tom Brevoort, Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting come to fruition, you’ll know why we say this is the story everyone will be talking about. We urge retailers to look for a major incentive announcement in Diamond Daily and stock up not just for January, but for the coming months as the aftermath of this issue is revealed.”

This is it–the end of the Fantastic Four. But what could bring about such a stunning change to the fabric of the Marvel Universe? There’s only one answer–Fantastic Four #587.

What is this, 1993?

Things that should never be seen in comic books again:

  • Polybags
  • Foil covers
  • Hologram covers
  • Trading card inserts

The 1990s boom made a lot of people a lot of money. And once people found out that the boom was caused by the artificial inflation of the value of what they were buying (sound familiar?) the resulting bust lost a lot of people a lot of money, wiped out a good portion of the comic book stores in the United States and came  closer to causing the collapse of the American comic book industry than anything before or since.

Look, I appreciate that in this day and age of everything getting spoiled on the internet that creators want to protect the integrity of their stories and that companies want to sell books but returning to one of the most prominent symbols of the near collapse of the industry is pretty ridiculous. It smacks of trying to artificially create demand (I'm sure they hoping that the more obsessive of comic fans will buy at least two! That's what happened in the 1990s.), not only with the polybagging but with announcing that there will be no overprinting of the issue, which means you better BUY IT NOW because your store probably won't be able to re-order more copies if they sell out.

I really thought we'd learned our lesson and moved beyond these tricks.

Luckily it's Friday, which means I'm going to go get a drink. A strong one.


  1. So… is it going back into the “vault” after it’s released?

  2. Why not just go ahead and include the Sell-out and 2nd Printing announcements with that press release and save everyone some time next month?

  3. Pfft. Whoever dies will be back in 6 months anyway.

  4. the only thing that makes this better is that the bag is there to prevent people from seeing the cover which would spoil the story. therefore, from a certain perspective the bag makes the story better?

  5. Whoa whoa whoa… penultimate issue?  I thought Hickman had a long run planned?  Or is this just becoming Terrific Three #1 (#589)?

  6. So when you say “The end of the FF”, does that mean they are finishing the book, or is that just the name of the storyline?

  7. So I just want to make sure I understand something here. I had assumed the comic was going to keep going on after  Sue is killed (<– JOKE!  FAKE SPOILER!!  😉  HAHAHA!)

    But my question is serious, is the comic Fantastic Four going away? Or is it getting replaced with Terrific Three – or something like that? I thought the name was staying the same just with “three”.  (Kind of like Blake’s Seven which lost Blake after the first season or so.)

  8. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I’m surprised they’re even letting us read this very important issue. 

  9. @gobo  I guess everyone thinks of the adjective “Terrific” for the number Three. (I posted my comment, and then the page refreshed and I saw yours.)

  10. @powerdad  Tubular Three? Tantalizing Three? Thrilling Three?

  11. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    When I did that Press call with Hickman and Brevoort a while back I asked if, at this time next year, there would be a book called Fantastic Four. Brevoort said no. 

    They also said they would be playing with that scenario in every way imaginable. 

    So I think they’re going to put the “team” through a few different permutations rather than settling on one roster or status quo right away. 


  12. This is dumb.

  13. @powerdad maybe it’s going to be like the superman books after “death of superman” and the book is going to stop publishing for a couple of months and then come back with a new FF. 

  14. @PaulMontgomery  I’ll keep reading whatever First Family books Hickman is writing… hopefully it’s easy enough to keep track of.

  15. Walt Elias Disney would never go for these kinds of shenanigans.

  16. as long as under that polybag the FF aren’t wearing costumes with numerous pouches, I think we’re safe 🙂 

  17. @gobo  Well, if they go evil then there is the Terrible Three. If they become boring, then it’s the Tedious Three. If they become wood workers on a cheesey 80s TV show it would be Three by Three — this would also work for them becoming math teachers. Also if Paul Revere joined the team then it would be One if By Land, Two if by Three! (I just liked the sound of it. It doesn’t have to make sense.)

  18. There is something I don’t understand.  Between this story and the “vault” concept for older comics, how is making comics artificially difficult to find going to help attract new and non-traditional comics readers.  Silliness.

    And there will be a second printing if it sells out.

    And there a places were comics are still on the newsstand?  I thought that had gone away years ago.

  19. the newsstand near me sells comics. the comics are 2 months old, but they’re comics.

  20. If they want to be sued, then it will be Three’s Company. If they REALLY want to be sued, then it will be called TRINITY. if they want a vague reference to an old television show then it will be Three is Enough.

  21. If they want more of a religious reference, then it will be The Holy Trinity. If they want to make a too cute religious joke, then it’ll be The Holey Trinity (with obvious holes in their clothing).

  22. If only there were a way to obtain infinitely reproducible copies of a comic book without any money getting back to the retailer OR the publisher. . .*

    *I am not endorsing this approach, I am just saying this might be a flaw in the logic.   Anyway, this incentive certainly isn’t going to make me more likely to buy the last issue of an arc I wasn’t reading anyway.  I mean, what?

  23. If they want to become an educational comic with a School House Rock sort of feel, then they’ll become The Magic Number! (See Three is a Magic Number

  24. (Okay, I’m done.)

  25. Oh @Connor don’t worry about a thing.  Remember, this is the same company that’s aking us, the dear readers which Deadpool book should be canceled without an “all of them” option.  I guess Marvel decided to go ape**** because they know at the end that book is gonna sell like hot cakes, death of superman style

  26. I’d give Tantalizing Three a try, but it would probably be unsatisfying.

  27. Instead of trying older methods of sales, why not try day and date digital release, give it a simple black cover with a 3 and bam, digital bag!

  28. I’m glad the only Marvel U book I get is Ultimate Spider-man, otherwise I might drop them on principle.

  29. It’s possible that Johnny, Ben, and Reed will die and Sue will have to raise the kids as a single mom.

  30. The first issue of Ren & Stimpy came polybagged and with a nose-shaped airfreshener. Let’s bring back airfresheners.

  31. I kind of wish Conor had written this article after the drinks.

  32. I’m glad I was too young to notice any of this in the 90s.

  33. You also forgot to add “POGS” to your do not include list. I got some Superman Pogs made by Skybox with my Death of Superman stuff….they had Grunge Superboy and Steel and all the rest. 

    This is kinda funny and will be a total teenage flashback when i pick this issue up at the shop.  

  34. At this point, Marvel is running for cover and getting whatever publicity they can. And with my pittance of a pull this week, I definitely see the vodak in my future as well as griping with some fellow fans.


  36. buy it NOW? you mean they won’t even collect it in trade?No, 2nd,3rd printing with variant covers?…. utter BS

  37. @AmirCat  gets my vote for scenario I most want to see.

  38. I don’t get it.

  39. I’m sure FF will be replaced by a couple of miniseries conveniently priced at $3.99.  Then, after 6 months whoever “dies” will come back.  FF will relaunch with a new #1 and a price hike,  Brevoort will still be wearing his goofy hat, and all will be right with the world.

    Stories like this make me wonder why I read books from the big 2. 

  40. having never read a single one of the 500+ issues of the FF, it’s interesting that it’s now ending as I just started picking em up since hickman started writing. And no way am i buying miniseries priced at 3.99

  41. weird, this is working on me, wtf?  anyway, I’ve never bought a lot of FF, but now I want this one. . .  i miss all those 90’s things, well, except foil covers . . .   ooooo shiney!   

  42. @LostArtist  ooo yeah, I miss the 90’s prices the most!!! 

  43. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 20.0px; font: 10.0px Verdana}

    My first thought was “Dumb, dumb, dumb!”

    My second thought was, “Okay, I’m intrigued.”

  44. We’re all aware 588 is 12 issues away from 600 right? Meaning… a year before 600? So… 12 issues of 3 of them and then a fanfare when it returns for its 600th issue? I mean… it’s not that hard to figure out that’s what they’re doing. See Thor, Hulk… etc.

  45. @AmirCat  That’s a great idea!  I could total go for Sue and the kids. Power Pack with a Super-Mom; or Runaways with a un-evil parent.

    Of course, what is going to happen is Reed will become the new Galactus. (<– JOKE!!! NOT A SPOILER BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.)

  46. @PraxJarvin 12 issues from 600…absolutely brilliant revelation! Spot on! It reallly must be someting like that.

  47. I’m reading Hickmans run in collected editions.  By the time I read the volume that includes this issue it will have been spoiled for me anyway…(a part of me wants to give in, get caught up and switch to issues)

    This is just a huge mess! 

  48. I’m probably one of the few people who thought about increasing his order by one just so he could have one polybagged for prosperity.

    What’s that? I am? And you’re saying I haven’t learned anything from when I was 14 and bought three copies of the WORLD’S COLLIDE one-shot so I could have one normal copy to read, one Colorforms variant to play with, and one Colorforms variant to keep bagged?

    Fine, fine. One copy is enough. This time. But if it has Colorforms, I’m going back and buying another copy, dammit. 

  49. I will totally admit…I loved those special foil covers, and especially the hologram ones. I really thought they were pretty cool. Looking back I know that was lame, but I can’t be the only one here people!

  50. The best were the Robin II covers with the weird double image animation thing you would pull down and it would change. Whatever happened to gold foil variants anywho? Inset holograms??? Fatal Attractions anyone?

  51. Wait…they’re not overprinting it but there’s another printing the very next week?

    And the Death Of One OF The FF…yawn. This gimmick stopped being interesting years ago.

    Someone call me when Abnett and Lanning FINALLY get assigned this book.

  52. Listen, thanks to that bag, it’s very unlikely that this book will give you herpes. Although nothing is a certainty.

  53. Well considering I pull the series anyways, I guess I’m forced to get this bagged….I shutter to think considering I am so anti-bagging comics.

    But the bigger news is that Marvel is really considering stopping Fantastic Four once again. I agree with @praxjarvin that it’s probably to wait for the 600th issue….But I don’t see why they have to end it and renumber it once again if it’s only going to be a year without a 4th member. 

  54. @josh  –what are you implying readers of this site are DOING with their comics anyways? lol

  55. I’d love the speculators to come back. The books are better now so they might read them and stick around this time!

  56. I didn’t care before this annoucement. I still don’t. I feel bad for FF fans who might not be able to get a copy because they’ve been bought by people looking to make some money of Ebay cause that’s all that’s going to happen.

    …as for the next couple of months going to have exciting consequences changes to the fabric of the marvel universe, don’t lie this isn’t an Avengers book!

  57. Soooo…if it’s the 90s again, does this mean a return of the New Fantastic Four?

  58. In order for this to happen, how many people had to say, “This is a great idea!” and sign off? How many of them were in the industry fifteen years ago?

    I must confess that, when I read this, my two immediate primal reactions were 1) “Well, there it is! The beginning of the end.” 2) “Good. Bring it. Whatever happens next can only happen if this happens.”

  59. What’s next, edgy new costumes?

  60. i’ve been on and off with the FF. still have my Byrne run.. i’ve only been back on it since Millar’s run and i sold that lot.

    i’ll score a polybag in my standing order, keep it sealed and buy a 2nd print to read.

    forcing me to buy two copies of the same book? nice work Marvel.

    i’m starting to think maybe they’re in this business to make a buck.

  61. The thing is… haven’t they not be overprinting their books for at least 2 years now? This is a psuedoevent in the worst way! The reason Marvel has been having so many “sell-outs” and “Second, Third, Fourth, Quintillionth” Printings is that they only print the amount ordered. It’s a way to make it seem like they’re moving a lot of product and to drum up interest in a book, but it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny if the consumer glances at sales. “Wait a minute, this book only placed 20th in monthly sales but it’s on it’s 3rd printing? That doesn’t seem kosher.”

  62. Y’all’s a cynical bunch.

  63. Ugh…no matter what bored I go to all everyone does is whine and complain about what Marvel and DC are doing.
    This is going to be fun. What? Did I actually say the ‘f’ word when talking about comics? Yeah, I did.
    The polybag gimmick is fun. When I started collecting in the 90’s the only books that weren’t polybagged were the ones that had the foil embossed, die cut hologram covers. We haven’t had that as much (at all) lately and it’s been nice. But it’s also going to be fun to have this one off time for this gimmick.
    I told my LCS I want two copies. If we’re going to do this, I told him, we may as well do it right. I need two: one to open and one to keep polybagged. Is that Marvel’s plan? Maybe. That isn’t why I’m doing it though.

    See, I’m from th eold school of comics; I want to have fun with them. I had fun with Brand New Day and I’m going to have fun with Fantastic Three (which is probably what they’ll call it)

    Seriously, I’m about to stop looking at these boards because I’m tired of the constant complaining and bitching about EVERYTHING the publishers are doing. Do I have issues with some things they are doing? You bet your first issue I do. I air my complaints on occasion but some people around here, that’s ALL they do and it’s tiresome. Lighten up. Try to have fun, after all, that’s the whole point of comic books.

  64. Ugh. This means theres the chance that I might not be able to get a book that I do want to read. Hope my LCS orders enough copies.

  65. Hey I just picked up a ffa book with 2 storys don’t eat valeria and dooms master and loved it i whanna read this what issue can i jump in from ???

  66. How much is this going to cost? Curious if anyone knows.

  67. @JumpingJupiter  It looks like DCBS has it listed for $3.99 retail, which is a buck more than normal for FF.

  68. The book doesn’t sell well, right?

    If that is the case, this is an attempt to improve sales and get some interest in the book before issue 600.

    If cats don’t like this kind of stuff, don’t buy this kind of stuff.

    Problem is fools complain but still buy.

  69. @ Zarathos81. Everyone here likes fun (except Josh) but you gotta know that on any subject there’s gonna be those for and against and maybe this time around the majority just against it. Maybe that’s just we’re all a bit wary on seeing Marvel seemingly go down a road we’ve been down before and hey, maybe we’ll wrong but that’s probably because we’re comic fans and we care. But stick around, we need alternate opinions. Whatever you think, we’re all still working for the same goal of great comics.

  70. I’m already reading this, I would had bought this issue anyway, with or without the bag. So i don’t complain about it.

    The ones that complain are those who don’t buy this series and are now tempted by the gimmick. And that is what starts the problem. More people will buy this issue, only for the gimmick. Thing that will encourage them to do it more often. Bringing more 90’s into our lifes.

    Marvel is not the problem. We are the problem. We always fall for the same tricks. It’s only logical for them to keep using them.

  71. @PraxJarvin  –its not so much its creating “fake demand” as you imply, but reducing costs. Print runs are expensive. If you printed an extra 1000 copies that weren’t sold you turn no profit and its bad business. The 2nd and 3rd printing models cost a bit more each time per unit, but it reduces the amount of unsold stock that gets its a more responsible and sustainable printing practice. 

  72. FUCK!

    …. well Ya got me Marvel. Ya got me.

    It’s not all that bad. The ifanboy video cushions this fall since it was pretty good.

  73. That reminds me, I still haven’t opened my Adventures of Superman 500.

  74. @PaulMontgomery  “So I think they’re going to put the “team” through a few different permutations rather than settling on one roster or status quo right away.”

    So, we‘ll have the Secret Fantastic Four that regularly travels to the Negative Zone for adventures and New Fantastic Four that deals with the occult.

  75. Here is an interesting idea , lets kill a charecter . That never happens in comics  or better yet lets kill the charecter and replace them a month later with there fromerly dead kid sidekick , who used to be a communist killer for hire . Yeah that will work , nobody ever thought of that before …Here is a novel idea lets write good stories without lameass gimmicks /

  76. @JeffR  Well, does it have more content or is it 1$ for the bag? That makes a big difference too…

  77. @JumpingJupiter  –it doesn’t make that much of a difference. We’re all invested in the story and will buy it anyways because thats what we do. 

  78. I’m getting two issues, one to not open and sell unopened for a million dollars in two years. Conor, hope you enjoyed that drink. 

  79. I wouldn’t use Brubaker’s Captain America run as an example of a cheap gimmick.

    I actually thought it was quite ballsy to have a Captain America comic without a Captain America for 8 months or more.

    I’m not a comic historian but how often does the main character in any form not appear in their comic for that long?

  80. I’m not torn up about this.  It’s marketing.  What I’m really psyched about is Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four.  He knows these characters.  I trust his storytelling.  I can wait to see where he’s taking us.

  81. They should just blow up the entire 616 already! please! I’m tired of all these “reboots” and “status quo changes” and “people will lose their 30 years of stories.”  It would be for the best.  It really would.  

    And now… we wait

  82. @ScorpionMasada – Reed and Doom were both absent from around issue 380 to mid 400s, if i remember, so thats about two years or so. granted alternate universe reeds seemed to pop in every now and again but that still a pretty long time. Ah, those days with Kristoff, Scott Lang, teenage Franklin and the Fantastic Force, crazy cyborg Reed’s dad…. I’m old.

  83. @Jimski   Bring it indeed. This is happening!  THIS IS HAPPENING!!!

  84. In the interest of not spoiling the book unless you buy it, I’m okay with this. I don’t think we should be screaming ’90’s yet.

  85. It already worked on me, not that I mind.  I bought two issues from DCBS.  I bought two issues because I like the idea of having an unopened, “mint” copy in my collection.  I know it’s silly.  But, it’s also fun for the collector in me.  I don’t ever expect to get rich on this issue.  I just like the idea.

    I also expect that the story will get spoiled for me before I get a chance to read my issue.  (I do listen the podcast every week and I believe there’s a spoiler warning that Ron is legally obligated to read every week.)  So, I’m not too worried about that either.

  86. @Matrix  Sounds crazy. Thanks for the bit of comic history.

    Keep in mind Captain America is a solo book without the solo character and not just a team book without a member of the team.

    Still that is a long time for one of the four not to be in the comic.

  87. @Matrix  Indeed, I know we will always have people on opposite ends of the discussion. For example, everyone’s following the line that this new Thor movie is going to be great. I think it’s going to bomb (it won’t of course because the masses these things are aimed at are more interested in crap like remakes than something truely good, our comics just get lost in the mix) but I like this board.
    I used to use the *ewsarama boards but everyone there are jerks who would way to quickly launch into personal attacks and insults rather than engage in a serious discussion about why someone thinks or feels a certain way. I’ve not seen that here and I LOVE IT!