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80: Fantastic Four #17 (v1)

" In The Clutches of Doctor Doom! "
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Fantastic Four #17 (v1)
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Editor-in-Chief: Stan Lee
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
Writers: Stan Lee
Pencilers: Jack Kirby
Inkers: Dick Ayers
Colourists: Stan Goldberg
Letterers: Artie Simek
Editors: Stan Lee
Cover Date: August 1963
Release Date: May 1963
Story Arc: -
Pages: 22
Cover Price: $0.12
Times Read: 1,266                 Times Rated: 655
Plot Flags:  
Universes:   Earth-616  
Go to Issue #16 Go to Issue #18

Strange Tales #111c (v1)
Fantastic Four #16 (v1)
Fantastic Four #17 (v1)
Journey into Mystery #95 (v1)
Tales to Astonish #46 (v1)
78: Strange Tales
#111c (v1)
79: Fantastic Fou...
#16 (v1)
81: Journey into ...
#95 (v1)
82: Tales to Asto...
#46 (v1)
Issue Detail Divider
Issue Blurb
Dr. Doom managed to escape after his last encounter with the Fantastic Four in the Micro-world. The FF search the city for their nemesis but come up empty. So they patiently wait for his next diabolical scheme which may lead to their destruction!
Issue Detail Divider
Character Appearances
Main Characters
  Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). Mr. Fantastic next appears in Fantastic Four #18 (v1).
  The Invisible Girl
The Invisible Girl last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). The Invisible Girl next appears in Fantastic Four #18 (v1).
  The Human Torch
The Human Torch last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). The Human Torch next appears in Fantastic Four #18 (v1).
  The Thing
The Thing last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). The Thing next appears in Fantastic Four #18 (v1).
Supporting Characters
  Alicia Masters
Alicia Masters last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). Alicia Masters next appears in Fantastic Four Annual #1a.
Cameo Appearance
Ant-Man last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). Ant-Man next appears in Tales to Astonish #46 (v1). This is a cameo appearance.
  Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev last appeared in Tales of Suspense #41 (v1). Nikita Khrushchev next appears in Tales of Suspense #46 (v1).
  John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy last appeared in Tales of Suspense #41 (v1). John F. Kennedy next appears in Journey into Mystery #96a (v1).
  Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). Doctor Doom next appears in Amazing Spider-Man #5 (v1).
Group Appearances
The Fantastic Four (Roster I)
The Fantastic Four last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). The Fantastic Four next appears in Fantastic Four #18 (v1).
Soviet/Russian Armed Forces
Soviet/Russian Armed Forces last appeared in Tales of Suspense #42 (v1). Soviet/Russian Armed Forces next appears in Tales to Astonish #65b (v1).
United States Armed Forces
United States Armed Forces last appeared in Journey into Mystery #94 (v1). United States Armed Forces next appears in X-Men #1 (v1).
Equipment, Items & Vehicles
Ant-Man Cybernetic Helmet
Ant-Man Cybernetic Helmet last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). Ant-Man Cybernetic Helmet next appears in Tales to Astonish #46 (v1).
Doctor Doom's Armor
Doctor Doom's Armor last appeared in Fantastic Four #16 (v1). Doctor Doom's Armor next appears in Fantastic Four #23 (v1).
Fantasticar MK II
Fantasticar MK II last appeared in Fantastic Four #14 (v1). Fantasticar MK II next appears in Fantastic Four #18 (v1).
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Issue Notes
  There are no notes for this issue.

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Issue Review
There is no review of this issue.
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Issue Synopsis
There is not synopsis for this issue.

Issue Detail Divider
  thomassp74 Says:    
  2011-11-22 11:35:01  
  Why must almost every issue spend two or three pages recounting the previous story or, even worse, repeating the origin story ad nauseum? Maybe I'm cranky, but I'm also sick of all the editor's notes explaining the character's powers. If readers haven't caught on by now, then they're idiot. Okay, rant over. haha

Sonar heat waves?

Did like some bits of humor though: Reed telling Ben and Johnny to quit trading love letters, Ben falling in the manhole. The ping pong ball gun was taking the joking a bit too far though IMO.

As much as I complain about Stan's scientific "knowledge," I'm perfectly fine with a "strange grappler ray" pulling Alicia to him. Just don't try to explain how it works and you'll be better off Stan.

First use of the term "sanctum sanctorum."

Flame images of other people who aren't on fire? My vote for most ridiculous thing yet.

Sue's biggest weapon is turning invisible and tripping people.

All of a sudden Reed's one of the world's greatest judo experts?!? Where did that come from?

  Hertz1991 Says:    
  2012-01-06 13:26:34  
  Why is Queen Pearla in the villains section??  

  TStarnes Says:    
  2012-01-06 16:16:49  
  She shouldn't have been there at all, since its a flashback issue.  

  Safis Says:    
  2012-02-20 21:36:18  
  This has got to be one of the best issues yet! We got to see all four members showcase their powers, and it had great character development to boot! I mean, as I read about Ben flying into the fortress, and when Doom was sitting alone in his lab, I felt like I was right there inside their heads. It was great. Plus, I always like the fortress invasion scenarios. And, sure, it's got its fair share of ridiculous elements. But I can forgive those... mostly. (Torch, I'm lookin' at you.)  

  Webslinger Says:    
  2012-04-11 08:59:31  
  Sure you get flaming sonars and Reed's zeroing radar on flesh covered by steel (should get Iron Man, or the street knight perhaps) but you also get fun with each of them, and I pretty liked the janitor disguise, Stan was wise plotting about confidence on a sympathetic simple person to trick the four.

But what really caught me was Doom gloating in triumph, his rage for humanity plot; the perfect plan that seems impossible to counter strike, and the fact that the only way through it is doing to Ben the one thing he doesn't want anymore.

I just wonder why couldn't Stan keep with good ideas and share them with the other titles?

  Webslinger Says:    
  2012-04-11 09:08:33  
  Sure you get flaming sonars and Reed's radar zeroing on flesh covered by stell (wait what?), but we also get fun with the four of them, or the plot about the 4 showing confidence on a sympathetic simple person (who turns to be Doom himself).

But what grabs me here is the way Doom gloats, his rage on humanity plot, his "perfect plan" and the fact through it, turning the Thing into Ben, something he doesn't wanted anymore, but was the only way. Also, Sue getting into real action got me for good.

I just wonder why could't Stan share such as good ideas with other heroes, like Ant-Man or Thor...

  Dark_Knight93 Says:    
  2012-07-03 18:49:16  
  Probably the best Fantastic Four issue so far, and most definitely the best story that has featured Doctor Doom. Sure it had it's silly moments like previous posters have already mentioned, but it also had a lot good moments as well. One of which is finally allowing Sue to be something more than the damsel in distress or "mother hen" as Stan would call her. I also like how things are slowly developing with the Thing, he is clearly the most fleshed out character in the group.  

  Agrippina Says:    
  2012-07-17 23:54:39  
  The best thing about this edition was Sue FINALLY getting to hold her own and kick some serious butt. I felt like cheering. I feel like Ben is really coming into his own by now too.  

  Ice Says:    
  2012-07-22 18:37:59  
  In reply to Thomas, a lot of the flash backs and editor's notes are there for the benefit of new readers. Sure, anybody who searched for a site with all of the Marvel comics in order knows the characters' abilities. But, anybody picking up an issue on the newstand in '63 might have been totally clueless.

About the issue, I enjoyed watching Sue Storm head to head against Dr. Doom.

  Anonymous Says:    
  2012-07-24 01:59:24  
  Sue gets to be competent for once? Hmm, fancy that.  

  specialque Says:    
  2012-09-15 23:53:24  
  Good Lord, Sue kickin' some Doctor Doom ass!  

  Phantasmagoria Says:    
  2012-10-27 16:58:18  
  What a story. This one really picks up from the issue that leads into it, though it certainly has flaws(Flame images that don't look like flame? What?), it makes up for it with good character moments, particularly for Ben, as well as one of the first times in The Order that Sue kicks some ass. You go girl!  

  Maidel Says:    
  2012-12-09 14:31:29  
  For goodness sake this issue lost any immersion for me when the torch pulled out 'sonar heat waves'

The human torch, the Swiss Army knife of superpowers.

  Dopey Says:    
  2013-01-09 08:14:31  
  The Menace of the Moving Bars!
The Threat of the Swirling Cement!
The Panic of the Deadly Whirlwind!
The Peril of the Room Without a Floor!

The promises of what was inside this comic book found on the cover made me cringe. I was prepared for some cheesiness inside this issue. Although I do think that the cover art as a whole looks pretty cool.

Sonar heat waves combined with a highly refined radar set that's extra sensitive to human flesh covered with steel is all it'll take to find the vibrations emitted by Dr. Doom. Good thing we have the Human Torch, who discovers new talents in his miracle bag every issue and Mr. Fantastic, who can jimmy-rig just about any device ever needed. What would Manhattan do without them? Unsurprisingly, this scheme fails. Instead, floating Michelin Men and a kidnapped Alicia Masters tips the FF off to Doom's whereabouts.

"He's so grotesque that he's almost beautiful!" ... Real profound, Stan.

Human Torch is getting out of hand with these powers of his. I'm actually getting rattled over it.

Another potion for Ben Grimm! Already! However, I feel that it was used properly as a plot device in this issue, so I'm not gonna bash. Ben Grimm in a giant sperm replica is funny. He won the race and infiltrated the egg!

One star for more Doctor Doom - guy jumps out of a plane to his death rather than be caught by his foes - he's a horse. One star for the emergence of the Invisible Girl, and how she carries the team n this ish. One star for the Thing and his work out sessions.

  Spider-Borg Says:    
  2013-01-30 15:38:26  
  I pretty much agree with phantasmagorias post above word for word on this issue  

  rebelmswar Says:    
  2013-02-23 18:32:59  
  Dooms desire to throw himself out of a cloud-ship thousands of feet above the ground rather than giving Mr. Fantastic the pleasure of even touching him makes Doom so monumentally bad-ass that he holds this book together by just one of his evil rivets.  

  Sugarbee Says:    
  2013-03-14 01:55:26  
  Seriously?!?! I just hate the fantastic four sooo much! I'm trying to like them, I really am!  

  leisch Says:    
  2013-07-21 17:52:14  
  Great issue. Thing is pretty much in his classic form rather evolving nicely from the orange lump he started as. Sue holds her own for a change instead of cowering. Humor, action, suspense-nice doses of each.  

  wedgeskywalker9 Says:    
  2013-09-04 23:15:09  
  Just when you thought Loki making Thor evil by hitting the right part of his head was the most ridiculous thing in the MU, here comes Fantastic Four #17 with radar sensitive to flesh covered with steel, a master plan that includes harassing our heroes with Casper knockoffs, and multicolored flame images.

That said, this turned out to be a solid issue, despite the wonkiness. Ben had some great moments here, as did Sue, who finally seems to be stepping up and becoming a valued member of the team. I guess all it took was the Wasp showing her how it's supposed to be done. Not the most amazing FF issue ever, but still an above average comic. 3/5.

  Psychopat Says:    
  2013-09-18 20:57:40  
  One of the best issue so far.... a lot of dumb things but also A LOT of awesome parts.... every one showing their powers individually, a cameo by Ant-Man, Doom taking Alica hostage a real threat something that makes them doubt for real, Using Ben's human form to infiltrate the flying fortress, and the most important of all: Sue kicking Doom'sa**and being useful for once!

The thing that bored the most was the non-flaming flame images...

4 Stars for me

  Tarquinnff3 Says:    
  2013-10-13 00:10:16  
  I love it when Sue is a key to the victory.  

  marvelcomicslover Says:    
  2013-11-10 17:17:04  
  I don't like that Sue has to constantly prove herself to the readers. Ridiculous. I like how Ben his life in danger to rescue the woman he loves.  

  gonzo Says:    
  2013-12-18 13:47:47  
  Screwball science again this was a fantastic read. I particularly enjoyed how it tied in various previous aspects from the continuity in this book. 4 stars.  

  Locust75 Says:    
  2014-01-28 06:15:23  
  4 stars for more DOOM!!!

Cover Me - A nice iconic cover that Byrne will homage in the upcoming years.

Adult Comic - Just what is Ant-Man doing to that poor ant in the comic in which Ben is reading?

Royal Pain - So what's the first thing the King & Princess Perla do after being freed? Get their hair colored of course, and the King gets a different crown!

Jaywalker - Notice that the passsenger said his brakes are jammed. So, I guess he let his buddy drive his car knowing full well of the danger! and take a look at that bumper!

At The Bijou - "When Knights Were Bold!", directed by BJ Cosmos, produced by SM Studios!

Power Boost - Did Sue make the ping pong balls invisible?

DoomBot - No way the real Doom would be posing as Scruffy the Janitor!

Flame On - I hope Johnny had his costume on when he took off his clothes in front of Helen, or she might of seen his little torch!

Ghosts In The Machine - I liked the Ghosties as annoying pests, but I wonder why Sue's had pink dots while the others didn't?


  Locust75 Says:    
  2014-01-28 06:49:20  
  Use Your Illusion - When Doom talks about using an illusion ray look at the clock's face. "I never tell the right time, BWAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

Doombot II - No way Doom would want just a cabinet position. A little beneath his ego don't you think?

Feng Shui - Page 12, panel 6 has the 4 symbol on the cabinet doors, and almost in every issue you see Reed's model planes laying around.

Five O'Clock Shadow - Man, does Reeds beard grow in fast!

Magneto - Once again another giant U-shaped magnet!

One Trick Pony - You would think that Doom would use those power spheres more often.

Faces Of Doom - Doom mask must be made of unstable molecules, because it shows emotion well!

'Nuff Said - "No, what I crave is power! And that is what I shall have!"-Dr. Doom

  opusaug Says:    
  2014-02-11 21:30:35  
  I think I was developing a split personality between all the cheering and jeering going on. Some moments were very good, and some absolutely putrid.

I really liked the character development for Doom - who knew he could help a woman accessorize with a pink polka dot lighter-than-air robot?

OTOH, I'm going to turn into a super villain myself and set out to destroy the Torch if someone doesn't nerf his stupid powers within the next few issues. Are flame images dumber even than Rick mind-controlling the Hulk? Yes, yes I do believe they are. And hells bells, if he can't use his flame all the time, why in heavens name do we see him in flame ALL THE TIME?

  GroovyGolem Says:    
  2014-02-22 15:15:00  
  This was a good follow-up to the previous issue. Packed with content, nary a panel was wasted (save for maybe the flashback panels, but what are ya gonna do?).

The one thing I was hoping for was to see Ben give Doom what for at the climax, but Doom's escape cheated Ben AND the readers of a good confrontation. They even set us up for it... "I wanna know where Alica is, and I wanna know now!" "NEVER! She'll remain my prisoner until I've disposed of you all!" That would have been the perfect moment for Ben to say "Wrong answer, Sunshine!" or something like that and really let Doom have it, beating a little humility into his iron-encased skull. Oh well.

I did love the final panel, with all the mushiness and Johnny saying "I don't blame Doctor Doom for jumping!" Great way to end it.

And how 'bout Sue doing Judo on Page 21 Panel 5? Yowza, talk about striking a pose!

And finally, check out Reed's helmet on Page 3, Panel 2. I guess he and Hank Pym must have traded notes before Ant-Man's departure!

  Bramwell Says:    
  2014-02-25 01:58:55  
  1. Sweet cover
2. +1 for the Yancy Street Gang
3. He wants a cabinet post????
4. Does president Kennedys hair get a first appearance note?
5. I want me a silent transparent magnetically powered one man bubble...or something
A bit hokey but it has Dr. doom so no complaints...3 stars

  MattzLadd Says:    
  2014-07-06 10:05:11  
  Hey, the first appearance of a censored swear word on the list!

I think that should make this ish essential.

  rainbowsad Says:    
  2014-07-08 14:32:51  
  I'll admit I was pretty skeptical when it looked like Doctor Doom's grand plan involved annoying the FF endlessly, but it turned into a decent issue. Nice to see Sue taking on Doctor Doom on her own, and kicking his butt! Two major complaints though: Reed's radar that "zeros in on flesh covered by steel" and Johnny's fire images that don't actually look like fire. Really?  

  J-Smack Says:    
  2015-01-27 18:12:11  
  Once again, let's force our audience to see that Sue really CAN do something. Honestly, though, that did jump my rating from 1 to 2 stars. Maybe she'll use her judo moves more often now, since, y'know, they'd help her avoid being captured all of the time.  

  Firebathero Says:    
  2015-03-05 09:22:56  
  I didn't know he could make "flame images" of other people. I thought he could only do one of himself on fire.  

  mattjontiveros Says:    
  2015-03-10 23:34:17  
  It's about time Invisible Girl started being badass and fighting for herself. YAS SUE!  

  rodyoungerblood Says:    
  2015-06-12 07:19:33  
  That Doom, he does it again!  

  Beaustaff Says:    
  2015-06-26 12:19:11  
  I really liked FF more than I thought I would starting out.  

  mrcreek Says:    
  2015-08-14 04:10:22  
  Summer of '63: JFK's hair and family appear in a Marvel comic book... good and clean fun!  

  Hovis Says:    
  2015-09-19 09:54:55  
  I'm sorry but the "flame images" have to be the most unbelievable power that Torch has (and I know he has a lot).  

  jbb10499 Says:    
  2015-11-23 11:01:13  
  Dr. Doom is slowly but surely becoming the great character he is today.  

  yack Says:    
  2015-12-23 10:14:44  
  FF are growing into more of a team and Sue is starting to become less of whipping character. Nice continuation.  

  hendrica Says:    
  2016-01-18 10:29:34  
  I'm shocked the comments for this issue aren't filled with jokes about Ben's one man bubble shaped like sperm "penetrating" the defenses of the stronghold.  

  RobinHoodMtl Says:    
  2016-03-19 21:35:35  
  • That’s my line – “I feel like a meathead, wavin’ to someone the size of a worm!” (The Thing)

  • Ben really has the best one-liners!

  • I just love the Thing’s training apparatus.

  • I really wished Sue stopped drooling on other men right in front of Reed.

  • Doom bothered to decorate Sue’s follower? Seriously?

  • On the plus side, Sue’s making good progress with her grades in Hero School, at last.

  • Yet the Torch conveniently came up with sonar heat waves and ridiculous flame images, and THIS ruins a story that was otherwise quite fine without it!

  • However… For Doom’s evil creativity, for Sue kicking some ass, for Alicia getting involved, for pink polka dots, for Kennedy’s hairdo and for so many other clever ideas that made it fun, the story deserves 4 stars!

  Billstar2 Says:    
  2016-03-22 17:22:54  
  Sue finally fighting. Reed taught her Judo, nice. Liked that Ben as Ben not Thing has to save the day. Nice touch. Also, Doom.  

  kent18 Says:    
  2016-11-05 05:15:16  
  Strong, solid issue with excellent characterization and dialogue throughout, marred only by a pair of easily avoidable plot idiocies. (Specifically, an armor-clad Doom somehow masquerading as a stooped, kindly old janitor, and the Torch's ridiculous human "flame images.") A well-deserved four stars, overall.  

  Allencthulhu Says:    
  2017-06-11 20:48:34  
  We're just lucky Doom didn't break out the Comfy Chair on the cover.  

  CrazyforRAMU Says:    
  2017-06-14 15:32:55  
  In both this issue and the last one it's clear that these stories are no more complex than 13-pagers, but the creative team extends them by splitting the team up algebraically. "Here's how Mr. Fantastic tries to find Dr. Doom! Now here's how the Torch tries! Now here's how the Thing tries!" Rinse and repeat. It has the potential to get annoying; fortunately, the variations are pretty entertaining.

It's cool to see Sue handle some real action, and this is a great example of Kirby vs. Lee on the subject of female heroes. Look at the art by itself and you have a cool, courageous story about Sue rescuing Alicia and tackling the team's arch-nemesis solo. What do the dialogue bubbles add to that story? "I can defend myself because my boyfriend taught me judo!" Sigh.

  amoorefan2 Says:    
  2017-07-14 20:56:08  
  Man, reading these comments, I feel alone in thinking this issue was terrible. I think it was because it was a sequel to the previous issue and felt like an unnecessary 40+ pages to tell what could have been in a normal sized issue. First sign of struggle for me so far in the order.  

  mvaughn16 Says:    
  2017-07-18 16:07:34  
  This story gets 4 stars from me just because we finally get to see a glimmer of Sue breaking away from that garbage "Women in 60's Sci-Fi" paradigm. Even if it was just for a few panels, it was good to see her go up against Doom and do something other than talk about how hopeless the situation was.  

  qwybie Says:    
  2017-11-06 20:20:14  
  4 stars for the combination of Sue being a badass and Doom's initial plan being purely to confuse the FF (seriously, the ghosts just follow them.

And yes, flame images are ridiculous. But the Human Torch has to deal with Asbestos Man and Paste Pot Pete, so cut him some slack.

  jennychan Says:    
  2018-01-12 22:01:30  
  Was hoping this was the one where Ben tore Doom into pieces- he deserved it this time.
Anyway, we are already overexposed with Doom. Two issues in a row? It's like Stan forgot about him from issue 10 and now scrambled to use his favorite villain.

  UncannyAddiction Says:    
  2018-01-26 20:54:47  
  Flame images. Sigh.  

  UncannyAddiction Says:    
  2018-01-26 20:55:32  
  Flame images. Sigh.  

Issue Detail Divider
Essential Fantastic Four, Volume 1
This collection includesFantastic Four #1 (v1), Fantastic Four #2 (v1), Fantastic Four #3 (v1), Fantastic Four #4 (v1), Fantastic Four #5 (v1), Fantastic Four #6 (v1), Fantastic Four #7 (v1), Fantastic Four #8 (v1), Fantastic Four #9 (v1), Fantastic Four #10 (v1), Fantastic Four #11b (v1), Fantastic Four #12 (v1), Fantastic Four #13 (v1), Fantastic Four #14 (v1), Fantastic Four #15 (v1), Fantastic Four #17 (v1), Fantastic Four #18 (v1), Fantastic Four #19 (v1), Fantastic Four #20 (v1), Fantastic Four Annual #1a, Fantastic Four #11a (v1)
Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four, Volume 2
This collection includesFantastic Four #15 (v1), Fantastic Four #11b (v1), Fantastic Four #12 (v1), Fantastic Four #13 (v1), Fantastic Four #14 (v1), Fantastic Four #16 (v1), Fantastic Four #17 (v1), Fantastic Four #18 (v1), Fantastic Four #19 (v1), Fantastic Four #20 (v1), Fantastic Four Annual #1a
Issue Detail Divider
Issue Letters Page

Dear Stan and Jack:
      I've never written to you before and I'd like to say something about your book. Although people say that comics are for children, I must say that I am a 31 year-old child, 'cause I read them. I'm a stunt man and actor in the Frontier Cities of the old west, such as Carson City and Cimmaron City, play-acting for children. Last summer I got hold of one of the Fantastic Four comics that some child left behind after the show. I started reading it in spare time and actually enjoyed it, so I continued buying your comics. My personal opinion, and also that of some of the riders that work with me, is that it's a great book for a comic. I just got #12 of the FF Meets the Hulk, and that was great also.

Harry Warren
Silver Saddle Ranch
North Branch, New Jersey

A great book for a COMIC!!! Heck, Harry, we never claimed it was a great book for anything ELSE! But thanks for the thought, cowboy! Say – here's an idea: let's try to find out who is our OLDEST reader! So far, we have a 31 year old Harry Warren. Who can top him?

Dear Stan and Jack:

      I want you to know that I appreciate the fact that you are the only ones that have super-heros, none of which have protegees [protégées]. Don't ever give them any. No one wants any Ant-Man, Jr., because that would cheapen Ant-Man. The circumstances that create a super-hero are unique, and when accidents like being bitten by a radioactive spider start happening twice, the whole mess becomes ridiculous. Last month was "Guest Appearance Month," so now we have "Guest Artist Month." Steve Ditko inked the Fantastic Four, and also penciled the Hulk. This is only the second time that Don Heck has drawn Ant-Man and The Human Torch. And Al Hartley illustrated Thor. What are you going to do next month?

Donald Markstein
2232 Wirth Pl.
New Orleans 15, La.

We don’t know yet, but one thing you can bet on, Donald…there'll be SOMEBODY who'll pan us for it!

Dear Stan and Jack:

      I got so sick of people saying in letters how bad the Invisible Girl is, how good the Human Torch is, etc., etc., that I decided to take a poll amongst my friends, relatives, neighbors, and so on. My goal was 100, but I got only 80 voters. Here are the results: Favorite Character: Human Torch – 38; Thing – 26; Mr. Fantastic – 13; Invisible Girl – 3. Should the Human Torch get his own magazine?: Yes – 51; No – 29. Should the Invisible Girl be kicked out? Yes – 27; No – 53. Should a new character be added? Yes – 71; No –9. Who should the new character be?: Ant-Man – 27; Spider-Man – 26; Thor – 21; Hulk – 6.

Sebastian Stuart
101 Central Park West
N.Y. 23, N.Y.

What we wanna know is – how come only 80 voters? And MR. FANTASTIC demands a recount!

Dear Stan:

      Just finished Fantastic Four #11 and 12…Now I could waste time on superlatives – but I'm sure there are none I can use which some other fan hasn’t used before me…but there's one thing I do wish to compliment you upon – and this is Stan Lee's "Komix Anti-Cliché League" which I think most fans don’t appreciate. It takes a rare genius indeed to break all the fond, endearing, shining, silly little rules of komix…but I think it takes an even vaster genius to make a success of it… You, my friend, seem well in control of both forms of genius. The temptation is there – always to stick to the old, reliable "formulae" which have sold for umpteen writers before you and will probably sell for as many to come after you. However, I can sit back comfortably here and watch all these time-honored clichés come a-tumblin' down under the sharp, keen ax of Lee and Co., Inc. I see you strike out along unbroken trails with the Thing and Spider-Man, and The Hulk, and Iron Man. You imitate no one, and no one dares to imitate you! Now I ask you, if this isn't progress, what is it?? When the FF first came out, I bit my nails. I wanted to see the 'zine continue to exist, yet I was afraid that this brash, young "upstart" had begun not only by biting the hand which fed it, but by biting arm, shoulders, and head as well. True, it violated cardinal rules. The first rule it violated was that Komix heros had to be epitomes of virtue – "Cripes!!," I thought, "the FF seem altogether too human to be fantasy heros! Migosh, they actually quarrel among themselves!" The next rule was that it was imperative that komix heros keep "secret" that (hoo-hah!) all-important "secret-identity"! This ended when it was found that Johnny Storm only thought he had a secret identity"! There, then, was no excuse for the FF's continuing success as a publication – yet, not only was it successful, but it has pushed even its strongest competitors so far into the background they can't even be counted as "competitors." If you get the point that I'm all for you, that's the only "point" I wish to make. Be watching you when I get back "stateside." Missed a lot of crucial issues over here – (but I don’t believe I'm going to miss too many more!) Thanks for listening...Hope Jack learns to draw feet. May be a good idea to make him come to work barefoot in that New York snow so that he'll get the knack to drawing passably good feet – but don’t tell him it's my idea. He may have Mafia connections… (and I'm in Italy).

SP/4 – Drury S. Moroz
RA 17465357
Cinc South Box 14
Navy 510. F.P.O.
New York, New York

Don't worry about Jack, pal. He's too busy counting his toes to bother anyone! As for Stan, he's going out to buy a larger hat!

Dear Stan and Jack:

      I always read your mags and I think they are very exciting, but you make the most impossible things happen in them. Like the time the Fantastic Four met the 'Red Ghost' on the moon…I always thought that the moon had no gravity. How come the FF were not floating in space? In the same issue there was air on the moon. How come? Anyhow, it's still my favorite comic.

Peter Dovolas
9907 Larose
Montreal, P.Q.,

We were referring to a special "blue area" of the moon which had once been settled by another civilization. They had created an artificial gravity and atmosphere which still existed. There! That explanation is ambiguous enough to confuse almost anybody!

Dear Stan and Jack: (My resistance is useless)

      "The Fantastic Four vs. the Red Ghost and His Indescribable Super Apes" (whew) is the best comic book story ever printed. For plot, characters, and parody, it canNOT be topped! I WOULD serve you fellows breakfast in bed, but your eating time is probably spent in making a great story for the next issue of FANTASTIC FOUR! Seriously, FF #13 was so good I nearly died from the prospects of having to wait for #14. The reasons are thusly: The cover was the best to come out of your company yet. However, I do have a few suggestions. First of all, the logo is bad – makes it look like a humor comic. Secondly, there's too much sensationalism and such stuff taking up space. "In this spellbinding tale, you will meet the most dramatic being…" Who cares? Who is he? Since you've already given us the name, I can be pretty assured that the name is the Watcher. Surprisingly enough, he is the most dramatic being of all time! 2) Art was amazing! Ditko's inking of Kirby's pencils are better than Ayer's on FF…the other way around on HULK. JK's version of TORCH was (Gracias a Dios!) improved tremendously since the first few pathetic issues. 3) Outrageous parody. That panel where MR. FANTASTIC made his sermon on the Reds and Americans both being earthmen ("This is wrong! Why can't we leave our differences behind us? We should be making this trip together.") Would have had me rolling in the chair, but for the fact that I was at the barber's at the time I read it. 4) Tremendous plot action. To thee, Stan Lee, all I can do is offer my greatest thanks! 5) Invisible Girl finally did something. Well, there were so many great things about the story that I can't list them all! All I can do is tell you that I bought two copies, and since #12 have subscribed to what is TRULY the "World's Greatest Comic Magazine." (Get me the smelling salts, Jack. I feel faint! – Are you kidding, Stan? I'm too shocked to move!) Next I have several hundred comments to make on FF #14, so I'll dig right in: First of all, congratulations on your new symbol. It's far more decorative than the cryptic "MC" which once hid in the farthest corner of the covers. I'm glad you reduced the logo, as it is one of the worst in comics history, making the FF sound like a humor mag (although it is the world's greatest comic magazine.) Kirby's art is getting much better. The story, 'The Merciless Puppet Master,' was badly named, as usual, but this didn’t reflect the quality of the story. Puppet Master is one of your worst creations, but with Sub-Mariner he manages to become half-way decent. Nevertheless, I hope he doesn’t escape from the digestive system of the giant octupus [octopus]. Speaking of Sub-Mariner, I now recommend that he remain a villain; he's better this way than he ever possibly could be as a hero. I just love those side incidents in FF, and #14 didn’t disappoint me. I nearly flipped from those scenes at the airport and SM's undersea sanctum! The parody and conflict in FF is WONDERFUL! Keep it up (not that you had any thoughts of discontinuing them, I hope)! And you're going to introduce an FF annual? Good Heavens, I hope this isn't the kind of grubby reprints that other companies are printing! If it's made of reprints, prepare to lose money…(IT ISN'T!...Ed.) Finally, I'd like to compliment you on the excellence of IRON MAN, I've raved before, but I'll rave again! IRON MAN is better than his predecessor, as well as three-quarters of the mush that cavorts through what is commonly called a comic magazine; naturally I'm not talking about FF! I hope these epistles don’t bore you, but I feel compelled to talk whenever I read an FF…and once I've started talking, nobody stops me. So you finally converted me!

Paul Gambaccini
8 Elizabeth Drive
Westport, Connecticut

Glad we've converted you, P.G. But, now that we've got you, what do we DO with you?

Dear Stan, Jack, Steve, and all the rest –

      MARVELous is the most fitting adjective for your group of comics…So far as I'm concerned, you have no competition, so I'll concentrate on comparison within your own ranks. After the fantastic handling by 'King' Kirby, THOR suffered a bit of a downfall in Al Hartley's hands. Tho' it's apparent he honestly tried hard to maintain Jack's marvelous flair, he couldn't help but fail – of course, this is my personal opinion; perhaps others are satisfied. The story of the Carbon Copy Man was Lee's usual par; fine. I for one enjoyed most the Kitko story in this ish, (Journey Into Mystery), and felt it conveyed a warm, wonderful message. I hope you continue with these off-beat incidents. IRONMAN's new – ah – what-would-you-call-it – it's not a uniform per se…Anyway; the yellow, simulating gold, is very fitting, as was the reason for the change. Don Heck really does wonders for Iron Man, as he does likewise with Ant Man. For my money, Heck's second only to Kirby and Ditko. FF #14 is nothing short of sensational; the combination of villains (tho' I'm glad you don’t still exploit Namor as a pure do-badder) made for a unique conflict. The opening sequence of FF's landing was great realism! Thing's remark about a REP TO MAINTAIN FOR HIS PANTING PUBLIC was a master-stroke. SPIDER-MAN #2 is your own competition. Doubtless, he's your finest since the FF, due primarily to Steve's immaculate art and Stan's magnificent innovations. The visual 'spider-sense' (radiating black lines) is a superb touch, as are the night 'shots.' "Vulture" is surely a worthy nemesis. In my humble opinion, SM #2 is Ditko's finest art ever. My only kick is that Pete Parker looks more college-ish than a highschool student, but this is insignificant in the sheer enjoyment of the bulk of the art and plot. It goes without saying, Spider-Man is truly AMAZING. I could close by wishing long life to the MARVEL Comics Group, but I'm sure that the AMAZING Mr. Lee will see to that!

Ronn Foss
Wagon-Wheels Apts. #5
Suisun, Calif.

Many thanks for your kind comments and generous praise, Ronn. If only the BOSS liked us as much as you do!


  • Okay, it's official! The first FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL goes on sale early in July! 72 unforgettable pages! 25¢! A 13-page reprint of the FF's origin for the thousands who've requested it; but all the rest – BRAND-NEW, ORIGINAL STORIES AND ART! (Including the longest single fantasy epic ever presented in a comic mag!) Also, most of the questions you sent us are answered in this jam-packed swinging issue! NOW HEAR THIS: When the first printing is gone, that'll be ALL, brother! So if you've got nothing better to do with your 25¢, tell your dealer to reserve your copy NOW! Judging by the amount of requests we've had, they'll be sold out before the ink is dry! Dig?
  • We've always believed in levelling [leveling] with our fans. So, for those of you who've asked what happened to the HULK, here's the scoop: We decided to discontinue the mag because we felt we were spreading ourselves too thin! But, we got a BRING-BACK-THE-HULK petition from City College of N.Y.; Nome, Alaska; and places all over the free world! We honestly hadn't realized you were all so HULK- conscious! So, back he comes! We don't yet know where, when, or how, but be patient – mankind won't be Hulkless much longer!
  • And, speaking of Annuals, here's another surprise…the STRANGE TALES ANNUAL goes on sale the middle of June, featuring the HUMAN TORCH and – who'da guessed it? SPIDERMAN!!! Just another minor masterpiece from MARVEL COMICS GROUP!
  • Yes, we ARE planning new mags – new heroes – new villains! We hope we won't have too many lemons among them, but judging by the way you wonderful fans have received our mags so far, we think you and we are in for some fun and excitement in the months to come! So, till next ish, read our mags, read our competitor's mags, but READ! It's one of the greatest pleasures of all!

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Date User Name Update
   January 14, 2018 TStarnes Added Fantasticar MK II listing.
   January 14, 2018 TStarnes Added Doctor Doom[appost]s Armor listing.
   January 14, 2018 TStarnes Added Ant-Man Cybernetic Helmet listing.
   November 24, 2017 TStarnes
   November 21, 2017 TStarnes
   May 30, 2016 fragsel Added John F. Kennedy to the issue.
   March 19, 2016 fragsel Added Nikita Khrushchev to the issue.
   November 29, 2014 Neskit Added Soviet/Russian Armed Forces to the issue.
   November 29, 2014 Neskit Added United States Armed Forces to the issue.
   June 18, 2014 TStarnes Changed comic details.
   June 18, 2014 TStarnes Changed comic details.
   June 18, 2014 TStarnes Changed comic details.
   June 18, 2014 TStarnes Changed comic details.
   January 2, 2014 Raistlin903 Updated the listing for The Fantastic Four.
   November 10, 2013 Drax Updated the listing for The Thing.
   November 10, 2013 Drax Updated the listing for The Human Torch.
   November 10, 2013 Drax Updated the listing for The Invisible Girl.
   November 10, 2013 Drax Updated the listing for Mr. Fantastic.
   July 8, 2013 TStarnes Moved this issue.
   July 8, 2013 TStarnes Moved this issue.
   July 8, 2013 TStarnes Moved this issue.
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