Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Marvel History Post 24: Fantastic Four # 9

Issue: Fantastic Four # 9
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: December 1962

 Brief Summary:

Well, Reed Richards tried to play the stock market, and the stock market played him, so the Fantastic Four are broke, and they're selling their tower real estate and all their equipment (goodbye, anti vibration wall). The team is pretty depressed about the situation. Thing visits gal pal Alicia Masters to cheer himself up. The answer to their financial woes: Star in a movie. Even Thing, encouraged by the kind words of Alicia, agrees. Unfortunately, they have to hitchhike their way out to Hollywood. When they get there, they go to meet with the producer, who is Namor! Namor is flush with cash, so his offer is genuine. In the filming of the first scene, Namor abandons Mr. Fantastic on an island to do combat with an actual Cyclops (not the X-Man!). Mr. Fantastic defeats the Cyclops and seeks to escape the island. Meanwhile, Namor is leaving Torch on an unfriendly community of African natives who have taken a potion that makes them immune to fire. Torch escapes as well. Finally, only Thing remains, and Namor attacks him on the beach. Thing puts up a good fight, but he turns back into Ben Grimm at the wrong time, and ends up defeated. Namor then returns to Invisible Girl and asks her to marry him now that he has defeated the rest of her team. Invisible Girl explains that ain't no way to a woman's heart, so Namor decides he will try to best her in combat as well. But, the other three return, and none too pleased with Namor. Invisible Girl talks them out of pummeling Namor, who, despite everything, produces the film and gives the team their money. Namor returns to the sea, and the team has the money they need to fund their heroic lifestyles.

 Commentary:

 This issue is rife with comedy. You've got the team trying to come up with ideas for money, hitchhiking, Reed looking like he just got taken by Madoff, and all sorts of side splitting moments. Human Torch flames on to make an impression on a producer, who then turns out to be Namor. It's like an episode of Entourage. This is all funny stuff. One of the charming aspects of the early MU was that Stan was never afraid to ham it up and produce some campy moments. Although they are occasionally over the top, they never come across as terrible. I'm sure stories like these aren't as important to the Marvel canon as origins and deaths and resurrections, but these moments are fun little interludes that occur far too rarely in the MU. Also, while it's clear that Namor has the hots for Sue Storm, not much is being made in terms of Reed being jealous. In fact, the whole Mr. Fantastic/Invisible Girl romance has been dropped since issue one or so. Quick Thoughts:
  • Rainstorms put out the Human Torch. Also, his max speed is capable of producing a sonic boom.
  • There are cameos of several Hollywood big wigs when the Fan 4 arrive out there; either that, or Jack drew a few people that looked a lot like Alfred Hitchcock and Clark Gable.
  • The Fantastic Four movie released in the MU is a huge success, which is more than we can say for the Fantastic Four movies released in our world. Sigh...
Favorite Panel:
Yes, Reed, we will all laugh about this someday.

 Next: Journey into Mystery # 87