The iFanboy Letter Column – 06/19/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to really give some thought to how much food you can eat in one 48 hour period without moving. For others, Friday means it’s finding out who’s holdin’.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming — contact@ifanboy.com

 


This week, the iFanboy Letter Column is brought to you by one man with three questions — Henrik from Stockholm, Sweden!

Take it away, Henrik!

***

Hey Ron! Who could save Fantastic Four? If Millar and Hitch couldn’t who’s got a following big enough? Not who would you like to see on the title but who could bring in the readers? Anyone at all. Kevin Smith? Neil Gaiman? Alan Moore? Stephen King? Oprah?

Wow, Henrik — it’s like you’re reading my mind, or following me around (which if that’s the case, please stop, it’s creepy. Thanks)! In the past week I’ve had like 3 or 4 conversations with friends about the Fantastic Four. As I mentioned on a podcast a few weeks ago, I don’t understand the failure that was the Millar/Hitch run on Fantastic Four. By all rights that should have been a top 10 book that everyone was talking about. Both are top line creators, working on a book with a great legacy, with some big and cool ideas. I don’t think their work failed (although I’m sure the delays didn’t help, as usual), rather the decision to siphon it off from the main continuity of the Marvel U., while something huge like Secret Invasion was going on worked against it.  Sure we got a great self contained story, but no one cared. Barely anyone was talking about the book, because while the stories were good, ultimately they didn’t matter.

Although, even if the Fantastic Four were woven into the tapestry of the greater Marvel Universe right now and as crucial of a read as The New Avengers or Dark Avengers, I still don’t think it would be a success. It pains me to come to his realization, but I don’t think the Fantastic Four matter anymore. They have an amazing legacy and have given us some of the best work in comics of all time, but as the years have rolled on, the relevancy of the book in terms of what the audience is looking for has diminished. The two factors that make the Fantastic Four great are the team/family dynamic and the “Fantastic”, the crazy cosmic or science-y ideas that are such huge concepts, they boggle our minds and our imagination. The thing about that though, is I think we’ve seen it already. Both the Fantastic Four and other books have explored the crazy cosmic ideas ad infinitum, and as for the family dynamic, while the sentimental ones will appreciate and want that, I don’t think the modern “new” reader (if there are any) want to read about a family with kids and that sort of thing.

So who can save Fantastic Four? Sadly I don’t think anyone can. I’m excited for Jonathan Hickman to get on the book, because if anyone can think of huge ideas that blow your mind, it’s that guy. He’s actually perfect for this book, as evidenced by the recent mini series Fantastic Four: Dark Reign. But I really think that you could put Kevin Smith or Neil Gaiman, as you mentioned, or even Grant Morrison or Bendis or Warren Ellis on that book and it’s not going to budge. As of right now Fantastic Four exists purely because we expect it to, for its legacy.

Ron Richards

 


Did Conor read Gotham Nights by John Ostrander? Any thoughts?

Superb Batman book without Batman. On par with Gotham Central in that regard I think. Should be collected right now if it hasn’t already.

You know what? I don’t think that I’ve ever read Gotham Nights. The covers look super familiar. Hmm… I’d say that there is a 35% chance that one or more of those issues are in my long boxes.

I don’t know that Gotham Nights was ever collected in trade form, but I do know that John Ostrander is one of the more under rated guys from the 1990s. With books like Suicide Squad and Martian Manhunter, he wrote some great comics. A lot of people don’t know his name, but he was the one who turned Barbara Gordon into Oracle. The dude deserves a lot more recognition than he probably gets.

So I may or may not have read Gotham Nights — the jury is still out — but I’m sure it’s a quality read.

On par with Gotham Central, though? I’m not sure about that. Gotham Central was one of the best comic books of the last ten years, I think. It would be tough to match what Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark brought to the table.

Conor Kilpatrick

 


 

Did Josh read the Hawkeye solo book from 2003 witten by Fabian Nicieza? If so, what did you think?

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you talk about that series. I found the premise exciting but the comic was to like reading the television series Renegade starring Lorenzo Lamas… but with arrows.

No, I didn’t. That was around the time that I wasn’t reading too many comics, and mainstream superhero was low on my list. Further, I had read a Hawkeye one-shot at some point by Tom DeFalco, and it forever scarred me for Hawkeye solo series. The fact is, I like the character plenty, but I understand that he functions very well in a group. His appearances in The Avengers, West Coast Avengers, and Thunderbolts are all the best stories with Hawkeye.

I don’t remember much about the DeFalco book other than the fact that I hated it and have harbored a grudge against DeFalco every since. I won’t read a thing he’s written. That wasn’t helped by the fact that I went to a Comic Book Writers panel in San Diego one year with DeFalco and Kurt Busiek, among others and everything the man said about superhero comic book writing rubbed me the wrong way. It was a very antiquated mentality about what comics should be in my opinion. No, I know that’s not fair to Nicieza, but unless someone incredible is scripting a Hawkeye series, I usually stay away, because 9 times out of 10, it will be disappointing. I feel the way about most Inhumans series these days too, Abnett and Lanning excepted.

Truthfully, I haven’t even heard of the Hawkeye series you’re asking about, but I wouldn’t make too much effort to read it. A quick glance at this review tells me that this is the right decision for me. Furthermore, at around that time, Nicieza had taken over Thunderbolts from Busiek, and I dropped the book. But your opinions might, and probably very much do, differ from mine, because reading the preceding words, I’ve clearly got issues.

For example, I still haven’t read Avengers: Disassembled, not because Hawkeye “dies” in it, but rather I’d read so many bad Hawkeye stories from that time period, or at least think I did, that I just assume it’s shitty too. My mental block is mighty on this one. Plus it saves me cash.

Josh Flanagan

Comments

  1. I don’t think there’s much of an overlap between Millar’s fans and (the comparatively few) FF fans. Think about what Millar’s currently doing: the bloody hip Kick-Ass, the bloody hip Old Man Logan, and then FF, a kid-friendly book about family. The thing I always consider, when thinking about why FF isn’t popular anymore, is how the team roster is pretty much firmly in place: you can’t overhaul the cast much to include a more popular mix of stars. Contrast that with how the Avengers line can easily make room for Spider-Man and Wolverine, and shoot to the top of the sales rank as a result. Or how Astonishing X-Men was able to benefit from having, basically, a customized roster that perfectly fit Whedon’s story. With FF, like 75% of the cast is set in stone. You might get a one replacement member at a time, but that’s it.

    I really have enjoyed Millar and Hitch’s run, though. If anything, I wish that podcasts and comic sites had talked more about the actual STORIES while they were going on, rather than focussing on the hype of the creative team (to begin with) or (lately) the topic of "What’s wrong with the FF?" The stories were usually pretty interesting in themselves.

  2. Saving the Fantastic Four’s simple: just kill one of the members. Done and done.

     

  3. That ff cover is hilarious

  4. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Ever since reading the 80s and 90s SUICIDE SQUAD, I’ve loved John Ostrander.  I really dug the whole world he created for himself in the DCU at the time, with FIRESTORM and even the short lived MANHUNTER.  I’ve been known to pick up a book by him even when I know it’s not going to be good, like JLA VS. PREDATOR.  I’ll have to see if I can find GOTHAM NIGHTS now.

  5. It feels wrong to think it let alone type it but I agree with FACE that to save FF someone needs to die. My vote goes for two people actually, kill off Reed and Sue.

  6. @ FACE – I can’t even count how many times they’ve done that. And remember when the entire team was replace with Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Smart Hulk, and Wolverine? They’ve tried everything.

  7. They have killed off members of the Fantastic Four before. That’s not going to being in new readers.

  8. If I had one wish, and I could have anything I wanted granted, I would ask to be the writer of Fantastic Four. I don’t think the series is broken. I think these characters are fascinating and that there are still a ton of great stories to be told using them. I don’t think Millar’s FF was very good, and i’m not a fan of hitch. I normally like Millar’s work, but his FF just didn’t do it for me. 

  9. I can’t wait for Hickman’s FF run.  I don’t know if he’ll save the book, but I hope fans of his Image stuff (like me) will follow him to it.

  10. My first thought when reading the first question was: shake it up.  They have been shaking it up for years and years.  Reed’s died, Thing’s quit, been scarred and had to wear a helmet (not sure if that counts as shaking it up, but I remember quite well from my younger days).  They’ve had replacement characters like She-Hulk and Lyja, and as mentioned above, the whole team has been replaced.  And let me tell you when I was nine years old I thought that cover was the coolest thing ever!  Hell, I think Doom was even considered a member at some point.

    Yet the book struggles.  It’ll never go away, but it certainly didn’t help that the movie failed to bring in new fans.  Spidey, Batman, and Iron Man all had a huge buzz leading up to and following the movie.  FF didn’t.

    I have been reading, or looking at pictures, of FF longer than I have any other book. Ben Grimm is one of my favorite characters ever.  Of any medium.  I refuse to believe it can’t be saved.  Is saved even the right word?

    @JohnV – let’s write it man!!  We won’t give up on them.

  11. I think Millar and Hitch’s FF would have been more successful if not for the delays to the books.  I know I bought the first few because I was engaged and they were coming out regularly.  I quickly lost interest with the delays though.

  12. Wow. A whole letter column dedicated to me. Thanks for the answers guys 🙂

  13. I’m probably gonna drop the book once Millar leaves. I personally didn’t care much for the book right before he came, as the JMS and Dwayne McDuffie runs did zilch for me. I picked up the book when Millar came abord and liked the self contained stories alot. I didn’t love it, but I was coming back each issue. And if this title only sparks a mild interest, I don’t see the reason in continuing to read it.

  14. @ Neb: I’m not sure if it was the delays, because Kick-Ass and Wolverine have been more delayed, yet I think of them as still more exciting. I personally think Millar was holding back, and we were all waiting for that big WOW moment that never seemed to came. They were still substancial stories, but they would have been more successful if they amped up the shock factor a bit.

  15. Why don’t we just have Byrne restart it from where he took off ala Claremont over in X-men.  It wouldn’t be good.  But it’d be damn entertaining.  Can’t you just see Reed ranting on about kids today with their new fangled what-nots.  

  16. Honestly, I think if you put Grant Morrison on Fantastic Four, I think people would buy. Grant has that mind for making Silver Age stories with a modern twist that the FF need.  I think if any long-running series would benefit from an "All-Star Superman" style, it’s the Fantastic Four.  I’m sure Hickman would do a good job on the series as well if his Dark Reign mini is any indication.

  17. Although I have no interest in the FF, I would buy it if a number of creators I like worked on it. I didn’t buy the Millar/Hitch run only because I didn’t know it was starting until it was too late…people hit the nail on the head by saying this book got literally NO word of mouth.

     I do plan on buying Hickman’s FF run though, only because I’ve really enjoyed his Dark Reign: FF series so far. But, if someone like Morrison + Quietly were to do FF or even Bendis I’d be buying, despite my disconnect from the characters, and the fact that they’ve always been towards the bottom of my superhero list for characters I like. 

  18. A Lady Gaga with the Fantastic Four issue? How much did the Punisher/Eminem issue sell?

  19. @BrianBaer/conor – i’ve read about three issues of Fantastic Four throughout the course of my life so i have no knowledge of their history. if they killed Sue and we were able to see the way Reed went about dealing with it i might be interested enough to check out a few issues. and since i’d ‘technically’ be a new reader, i believe your point is moot, conor (ZING)

  20. Morrison did a miniseries of FF through Marvel Knights. It was… interesting.

  21. Are those Christmas crackers on the FF table?  Weird British take on Thanksgiving?

  22. I liked FF: 1234 for the most part.  Still, I think Morrison nowadays would be a better fit for the FF more so than then.  I think he’d use a different tone today.

  23. @philosophyteacher: It’s a Christmas story.

  24. I think Hickman can do it. I loved the Mark Waird run, and did not dig Millar’s run, I tried to like it, but I couldn’t.

    If they keep the Fantastic Four integrated with the rest of the Marvel Universe I think they can save it. A big fight is going done, The Thing shows up, over-inflated egos booms there’s Johnny, you get the idea. Do that, and keep it fun and about the family.

  25. Millar’s run will end excellent, and will likely "Matter" unlike what Ron says.  That’s my guess.  Currently, the Dr. Doom story is leading up to the usual Millar/Hitch craziness.  The ending of last issue may have some crazy permanent effect, maybe not, but it’s been awesome.

    Millar began with quiet character issues, and that’s why people have been hating it.

    Morrison already wrote FF, and it was C level at best.  I read it twice, wasn’t very good.  He’d have to up his game big on the book to make it work, which I wouldn’t doubt that he could.  But I don’t see him working for Marvel in the future, since he seems happiest at DC. 

    The Lee/Kirby 110 issue run (Which I’ve read all of) was excellent and the best run it’s had.

    JMS’s first story was excellent as well, a perfect paperback.  His next issues were more fun, he didn’t write as seriously as he did with the first story.

    Bendis would be perfect on FF, as he already shows in little bits from his other comics.  Especially his 3 issues of Ultimate Power.  The series was terrible thanks only to Jeph Loeb’s 3 issues, but Bendis displayed an excellent FF story in it, with characterization of Reed and Ben that was "A" level.

    The FF movies were not "Spider-Man" movie level quality, therefore they failed at getting it right.  That’s how high the expectations should be for that movie, because the comics at times have been as great as Spider-Man comics.

    Josh, again refusing to read Avengers: Disassembled misses out on one of the absolute best scripted Avengers stories ever by Bendis.  Reading it after the great Geoff Johns run showed the master level at which Bendis writes.

  26. I recall Bendis stating on a Wordballoon interview that he intended Hawkeye to be stating, "Not like this!", not as a wimpy, afraid of the events occuring moment, but rather as a set up to his stating, "Like this!!"  when he turned the attack on him into a suicide-bombing against the air-ship dispatching these enemies (was it the Kree?), effectively saying, "I’m not going to die this way, I’m going to die helping to defeat the enemy." 

    Here’s the best example I could find of it:
    http://www.differentpackage.com/images/illustrations/avengers_502_17.jpg

  27. If Marvel made "saving the FF" a  priority, they could do it.  Put the FF at the center of a company wide event.  Make them central to the story and the Marvel U.   Other than that, I say put the Guardian guys on it.

  28. @Conor

    Are the FF British now?  It’s been a while.  If not, maybe that’s the solution.  With Millar, Morrison, Ennis, et al US characters already talk British or phony American anyway. Guys from New Jersey referring to their Mums and such.

  29. @philosophyteacher: They were in Scotland for Christmas in that issue. Regardless, it’s not unheard of for Americans to have poppers – my family has theym every year. You can buy them all over NYC.

  30. There is no way to bring in modern readers to the Fantastic Four, it doesn’t have the edge needed to grab a stray eye. Everyone knows what to expect and most people believe everything that can be done has been.

    It’s unfortunate, I like the new comic a lot and think it should get more readers. The comic and team creating it don’t need to change, the readership needs to change its perspective.

  31. NOT LIKE THISSSSS!!!!

  32. I really liked Mark Waid’s run on the FF.  It really impressed upon me how dangerous and sadistic Doom really was.

  33. I don’t think the question is "Can Fantastic Four comics be good?", there are clearly many instances of them being good in the last few years (I think they are good now), it’s can they be saved? Can anyone make the majority of the modern audience care about the Fantastic Four? That’s the question at hand.

  34. When I read the early FF issues (thank you Marvel Masterworks) I dont see much difference from those FF to Millar’s FF. Sure the ideas a bit more out there for Millar and it looks different. But really:

    We get time travel in both ages, great uses of Dr. Doom, some alien or monster invasions, and a good amount of cosmic moments. I dont think the formula has strayed that far in the last 40 years of the team. So yeah, I cant see how you could just suddenly make this book noticeable to the mainstream audience. (Unless the name Bendis, Morrison, or Johns is on the writing credit)

  35. "Can it be saved?"

    I think an "A level" movie could boost sales or get people interested.  I really do.  Movies – Iron Man, Dark Knight, Incredible Hulk, or Spider-Man level quality is what a Fantastic Four movie needs.  It can be that good, it just needs movie makers to realize that and pull it off.

    And I think a movie like that would change peoples perspectives on it.  They would think of it as "Cool" and you’d get the "buzz" that everyone wants, and you’d get some amazing comic runs.

    I mean, would an excellent movie not save it?

  36. Morrison is busy writing Batman & Robin, hopefully longer then 12 months.  Leave him alone!

  37. My solution to getting more people to read FF is simple — Have the book tied into every crossover/event and make it essential reading if you want to have your finger on the pulse of the Marvel U.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read posts where someone says there reading a book simply because it "matters" to the overall Marvel Universe.  Right now I think most readers are looking to cut books, and the ones that get the axe are the ones that aren’t essential reading to understanding Secret Invasion or Dark Reign, like Fantastic Four.  That’s why books like FF, Daredevil, Captain Britain, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy and countless other books don’t sell very well and will continue to not sell — they don’t "matter"; which I think is beyond stupid.

  38. I don’t know about that movie thing.  I mean, people like Invincible Iron Man, but it’s hardly a Top 10 book.  It seems to reside in the mid-20’s, below books that have no film presence.  I shall continue to believe that a movie, excellent and successful as it may be has little to no long term bearing on the success of any monthly comic book series.

  39. With the exception that, when there’s a film, sucessful or not, the publishers make the investment to put quality creators on those books while the cultural spotlight is on them.  They already did that with FF, putting one of the biggest most successful creative teams on the book.

  40. At it’s heart, the Fantastic Four is a science fiction hiding as a super hero title. Nobody writes science fiction comics as good as Warren Ellis. Put Ellis on the FF with an A-List artist and it’ll generate some buzz. Putting Grant Morrison on FF, as has been suggested here, is probably the LAST thing Marvel needs. There is enough wacky continuity in the FF’s past that Morrison could make it the most confusing, unreadable book of all time.

  41. Didn’t Ellis write Ultimate Fantastic Four for a while?  It’s not a legendary run.  Further, the best Warren Ellis stuff isn’t work for hire.  He’s not ripping up sales charts on mainstream books these days.  If that was the case, Astonishing X-Men would be a "must read" and it’s not.

    Here’s the deal.  The only thing they can do is make this a must read book.  But it’s pretty hard to plan that.  Frank Miller made Daredevil a must read book.  But in doing so, he broke the mold and created something new.  No one knew he was going to do that.

    Also, if it’s time for something to either die, or to just be what it is, isn’t it just time?  Frankly, a name like Jonathan Hickman might be just the thing for a book like this.  Let’s see what he can do.

  42. @josh: I know Hickman is doing a great job on this Dark Reign FF book right now. (I will be the first one to grab the trade to read). But if Mark Millar and his wacky ideas couldnt help this book out; what chance does Hickman have? Granted Hickman might be the next up and coming crazy motherf***er writer but that’s beside the point.

    You know who needs to do FF? I dont care if it doesnt make it sell any better either….I want Abnett and Lanning on Fantastic Four! They would be perfect.

  43. My point is, in order to fix that book, you need to break it.  People need to care.  They need to talk about it.

  44. @josh: Well I dont see how that can be done. Considering the FF goes into space like it’s a chore there’s not much else Hickman or any other writer could do to make people talk about it. I mean killing a character seems like a good idea; then Conor points out that one dies all the time so that doesnt help.

    Kory is right on how even Marvel doesnt seem to let them participate in major events in the universe. They played somewhat of a role in Civil War (or just Reed and Sue) but what about in SI? Reed Richards is, arguably, the biggest ‘villain’ to the Skrull race….and he doesnt really show up (if that much at all) towards the end of the event. Even when I read reviews of the DR FF tie-in….it doesnt seem like they are going in fighting Osborn; they are busy doing something else. So yeah let’s not have them like the X-Men and think that they are too ‘important’ to be involved with other Marvel events. Let’s have them interact with the other heroes more.

  45. "Well I dont see how that can be done."

    That’s probably why you’re not a Marvel writer.  If it was easy, then everyone would be able to do it.

    Change the formula.  Do something unexpected.  Make people talk.  It’s a hard thing to do, but that would do it. 

  46. @josh: If I was a writer….I’d be bigger then 10 John Grisham’s!!

    Seriously though, you have a bit more experience in the writing department then a lot of us. What would be changing the forumla or something unexpected for the FF? Cause again, when you go into space or into another dimension….hard to think of new stories…at least for me.

  47. Could FF do a little better if it went away for a while?  If the characters went off the map for a year or more, would their inevitable return do well?  After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Maybe I’m just thinking short term here, as a bump up in sales on their return wouldn’t necessarily mean that readers would stay with them long.  But hey, maybe in a few years Geoff Johns won’t be DC exclusive and he can do "Fantastic Four: Rebirth."  🙂

  48. I’m not sure what the FF formula is.  I haven’t had that lightning bolt.  I wouldn’t want the job, really.  But I’m sure it has to exist.  Break it down into who they are, and what world they live in.

    Is the FF antiquaited in a modern world?  Where do they fit in.  What’s the thing they each want the most, and how can you dangle that in front of them in a compelling way.  

    Again, glad it’s not my job to do.

    Again, break the FF to then rebuild the FF.  Geoff Johns might very well be the right person for it, but I’d be shocked if he left DC anytime soon.

  49. "Milady, ’tis the clobbering hour." Gems like that get me excited for Hickman’s run.

  50. FF is not broken, it doesn’t need to be re-done or re-imagined.  It already works.  The FF book is the most free Marvel book there is.  It’s the comic where anything can happen, unlike Spider-Man, Daredevil, even Hulk, etc.

    People above said they wouldn’t know what to write.  What’s left to write?  Well you can write anything.  Millar said something like, "Anyone can write a good FF story because you can do anything you can think of and you’d have to be retarded to turn in a bad story."

    I don’t think it needs to be talked about.  The quality had been there for a long time.  (Except McDuffie’s run)

    And about their character motivations, they’ve already been through that.  They don’t need to revisit those things.  All they need is new challenges.  New enemies.  It’s still exciting.  JMS and Millar proved it’s still quality in their runs.

    About Miller fixing Daredevil, he fixed a mediocre title.  People don’t have that chance with FF because it started at "A" level quality.

    If you don’t like it, it’s not for you.  But I don’t think it needs "Talk."

  51. I was talking about it in terms of sales.  They want more people to buy it.  If they wanted it to stay the same, and make the same amount of money, then no, they don’t have to change it, but Marvel is interested in selling more of them, as I understand.

  52. Again, it’s not about the quality of the book, it’s about making it relevant to the modern audience.

  53. Yes my question wasn’t about who would do a great F4 comic or even how to do a great F4 comic but who would bring in the readers.

     Oh, and look up Gotham Nights vol.1. Get it if you find it.

  54. i honestly think the name "Fantastic Four" drives people away…. it’s really stupid.

     maybe if Jim Lee would write and draw the characters and the heroes were reborn somehow sales would increase

  55. Even putting Bendis on FF I don’t think would raise the sales.  The reason Avengers sells isn’t completely because of him, I think it’s because he put Spider-Man & Wolverine on the team.  That’s what got me interested, and they are the coolest people on the team to alot of readers, myself included.

    Since he couldn’t do that for FF, I don’t think you can raise the sales.  They are what they are, the team can’t change.  Even if you made an event that raised the sales, they would go back down when the even is over.

    Though again I think quality movies can affect sales.  I started reading Spider-Man because of the movie, and sales from that period steadily rose on ASM.

  56. The only thing that has gotten me to buy Fantastic Four in the past was Civil War and Black Panther guest-starring. The only thing that *might* get me to buy Fantastic Four in the future is if Bendis was writing it. Maybe.

    On the Hawkeye front, I recommend some of the Solo Avengers issues from the 80’s. Those actually *were* good stories.

     

  57. I really don’t think writing a run on Ultimate FF has any real bearing on what Ellis would do with the real FF. It’s not the same book. I also agree with people who are saying the book isn’t really broken. It’s not. The main problem is that it is not really a part of the mainstream marvel U. What is happening in all the other books right now has zero relevance to the core FF book. They had to have separate mini’s for both Secret Invasion and Dark Reign, because Millar and hitch weren’t writing a book that was even remotely a part of the Marvel U proper. it was like it was happening in it’s own separate little pocket universe. Isn’t the whole point of these crossovers to get people to read title’s they wouldn’t ordinarily pick up? Also, if the main villain of your major crossover event are the Skrulls, isn’t it kind of ridiculous to NOT have the FF title be a major player in the story? That would be like having some kind of huge Shi’ar story and not including the X-Men titles in it. Yes, i know the FF played a part in the SI story, but as supporting characters in the SI title. To the Skrulls, Reed Richards is the biggest enemy they have ever faced. he is the scourge of their entire race. The FF book SHOULD have been a huge part of that crossover. But Marvel gave is Millar’s run instead, where we have things like the Thing getting engaged to some woman he has known for 2 issues, Johnny Storm regressing into a completely immature self-parody of himself as all the character growth mark Waid wrote got erased in four pages, Dr. Doom bowing down to some "master" that has never once been alluded to in 40+ years of stories, and on and on and on. This was the most perfect opportunity imaginable to have the FF be front and center in the Marvel U and rope in new readers to the title, and Marvel dropped the ball, big time. All the pieces were there, but instead, they choose to make Norman Osbourne the "Marvel Lex Luthor." Which is a whole other rant in itself. 

  58. It took something like 7 months to finish a 4 issue story in FF with Millar & Hitch.  And it was more character driven, not action heavy.  They saved the action for the final arc, same as with Ultimates.  I think that’s why people have been harsh with it.  But as a collected read, some readers will be swept up with it for sure.

  59. Why does Marvel think letting the X-Men and FF stay far away from the rest of the universe a good thing? Do they think that if suddenly Spider-Man or Hulk suddenly makes a cameo in those seperate titles that no one will buy them? JohnVFerrigno stated it right above me; New Avengers probably gets a good amount of their sales because Logan/Parker are the main characters.

    If the FF or X-Men make cameos in other books are okay; then the opposite should be occuring as well. Hell Deadpool and Hercules go around the other Marvel titles more then the FF/X-Men.

  60. I’m happy with the FF approach of let the main book do it’s thing, and the mini work the tie in.

  61. @TheNextChampion – Deadpool is a character that plays well off of other characters. He’s like Morph. I don’t think the fantastic four need to be shoved into current stuff, but I don’t read it so… But single characters can make a cameo in other books to endear them on the Wolverine reading public etc.

  62. Meant the single characters from the fantastic four can show up in other books, instead of the whole family, or instead of their book having cameos.

  63. Such as the current arc of Amazing Spider-Man.  I loved the cameo by Sue and the invention by Reed.  The FF can still be good, entertaining, etc.  But as the point keeps coming up, ‘if it was so easy, someone would’ve done it by now…’

  64. @chlop

    I hardly think the FF would have needed to be "shoved" into Secret invasion, since the Skrulls are primarily FF villains. 

  65. secret invasion isn’t current… What are we talking about again? You write too much, so I just don’t read most of it. recap pages would be nice.

  66. i was thinking about ff and how my initial reaction would be kill the kids then kill one of the team EXCEPT I’d bring them back alive later because that’s never been done before. But then i thought, I’d try to figure out how the family dynamic would strengthen the story and not be a detriment. how that works? don’t ask me. (For a while I’ve been trying to make a family story (ie about a family not family friendly) about a Jedi Knight and his wife and kids and trying to make it not seem rubbish…but so far that hasn’t happened). Another (admittedly UN!realistic) idea I’d had was making a wager with Ron Moore that I didn’t think he could write FF and of course he takes that bet, and then see what nightmare fuel he’d put out. And maybe write a comic about that!

  67. @chlop

    I write too much? How do you make it through a 22 page comic? 

  68. @Matrix

    I don’t think the family dynamic is a detriment to the FF book. In fact, i think it’s one of it’s strongest assets. Most writers don’t want to deal with the kids, so they just kind of ignore them, or write them for one panel then have Sue toss them in a teleporter to Attilan or whatever and get on with the action. I think the raising of Franklin Richards in particular should be a main focal point of the story. Here is my theory: Most things in life, if you mess it up, you have an opportunity to fix it. If the frightful Four beat the FF, the FF can rally and still save the day. if Reed’s experiment fails, he can figure out what he did wrong and try again. But you only get ONE chance to raise a child. If you make mistakes, you can seriously screw the kid up for life. And Franklin Richards is, potentially, the most powerful being in the Marvel U. This is a kid who at 5 years old was creating entire world’s out of his imagination. he potentially has the power of a God. Think of the unbelievable pressure the FF must face to raise that kid! If they do a good job, it could lead to the world’s salvation. If they screw it up, they could doom the entire planet. Raising Franklin correctly is the most important thing the FF can do. yet it is NEVER addressed in the book.  

  69. That would be an interesting idea to do. Instead of having the FF as the focus try and look into the lives of their children. I mean Franklin and Val are great characters; but it doesnt seem like the writers want to use them all that much. Except use them as the kids in distress type of stories.

    What if we see an arc, or an over arching plot in the vein of Carl in ‘Walking Dead’? Having him grow up to be the man he will be in the future…

  70. Some of these rants are clearly from non-FF fans.  "Let’s focus on the kids."  "Let’s kill the kids, then bring them back."  Bleh, sounds horrible.

    And sales matter that much to readers?  The battle cry used to be "Just tell good stories."  Or "Don’t cross them over into other books."  And now these rants?  It’s always something.

  71. @JohnVFerrigno – you as in multiple. The pictures help.

    @kickass – they don’t seem like rants to me… What happened ? books got cancelled. 

  72. Ellis had an interesting take on FF with his Planetary issues, it might be interesting to see how’d he invert what he’d done there somehow. I’d definitely read a Geoff Johns FF book.

  73. @KickAss:

    "And sales matter that much to readers?  The battle cry used to be "Just tell good stories."  Or "Don’t cross them over into other books."  And now these rants?  It’s always something."

    Where in my post did I say I want the FF to be part of a major crossover?  I want good, self contained stories, but I’m in the minority in that opinion.  Most comic book fans want their books to be tied together and to be tied into the big events of their favorite fictional universe.  I’ve heard phrases like "I love what Millar’s doing with FF, but I wish that it would tie into Dark Reign; maybe I’ll just wait for the trade and keep reading Dark Avengers instead — it’s more important", and "it’s about time a DC book was affected by Final Crisis!"

    The question was what creator could make FF matter again, and I’m of the opinion that if Millar can’t do it, then no one can.  Most fans don’t care about creative teams, or quality of the book for that matter.  They like to read their favorite characters and any other books they deem important to keeping up with the status quo of the Marvel or DC universe.

  74. @KickAss:

    The question was asked "How do you make FF a hot selling book." We are discussing that question. it’s kind of the point of this entire website: comics fans discussing comics.  

  75. @Kickass: I admit the FF arent in my top 10 of favorite superheroes. But I think focusing on the kids would be a great idea. At least do a story arc or two with them; again they get rarely used except for when they are in danger.

  76. I think the fantastic four still has some relevance in the marvel universe. I remember reading Fantastic Four: The End by Alan Davis awhile back and really enjoying it. It would be interesting to see what Kevin Smith would do with them, i think it would be terrible, but at least it would be good for a laugh.

  77. Kill Dr. Doom. Make a big crossover about it (call it Doom’s Day or Doom’s End). Have the ramifications lead to the splitting up of the team. Have the four disband in really appalling fashion – hating each other, betrayal and such.

    Reed goes into space or the future or the past or a special dimension.

    Johnny becomes the ruler of Latvia and creates some sort of mad utopia.

    Susan, powerless, goes to maximum security prison for murdering Johnnys girlfriend.

    Thing goes the private eye route to find Sue and Reed’s missing kids.

    4 different stories, one told a week.

    Run it for a year. Culminating with Johnny becoming the new Doom.