Night Thrasher

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The All-Star creative team for the Fantastic Four

In my previous blog I questioned the lack of popularity of the Fantastic Four. In this blog I hope to present a solution to the problem, albeit hypothetical and hopeful at best. I figured an All-Star creative team would definitely get more readers to enjoy the First Family of Marvel. So before I reveal who I think should write and pencil the book, let me expand on how I came to my conclusion.


For a good Fantastic Four run you need three things from a writer: 1) realistic character interaction 2) adventure 3) grand cosmic scale conflict.

1) The book features an ensemble cast with the family as a centerpiece. You can't write this book as you would a traditional team book wherein the characters are only together because they have a common enemy. These characters have a history together that goes back to before they had powers and that has to show through the writing. It's a formula that really works well for the X-Men in that the original five have been together since they were teenagers and the book really draws upon that. Also, the Future Foundation is a great way to explore how these relationships are formed and strengthened. Very few books have both dynamics working for them at the same time. The only other examples I can really think of off the top of my head are Teen Titans and X-books. The Fantastic Four isn't dissimilar in that sense to these books.

2) The thing that sets the Fantastic Four from most books in this genre is that it isn't about a team of vigilantes. It's a book about a team of explorers. Were most books are about a team that responds to threats big or little, the Fantastic Four is a team that acts on a sense of curiosity. The things that other teams stumble upon the four should be actively seeking out. Imagination should be the catalyst of the book instead of evil despots. The more you push the envelope of what's possible and what's not, the better.

3) With that being said, the third ingredient is grand, cosmic conflict. By cosmic I don't mean just outer space. I mean outer space, inner space, other space, etc. The universe, microverse, negative zone, cancerverse should all be in play with this book. If there is a corner of the Marvel Universe that hasn't been used lately or hasn't been discovered yet then this is the book that should explore it. And by conflict I'm not just talking about Galactus-types. Black holes, collapsing stars, infringing universes all can be conflicts that are worthy of epic tales. The whole concept of the book originally was that the universe is a big place and there are millions of things happening at once.


For me the art is the simpler part of the equation. The Fantastic Four is one of the few books that lend itself better to the dynamic over lined art style that ruled the 90s. By that I don't mean the Rob Liefeld disproportioned high cheek bones bad art. I mean the hundreds of Jim Lee clone detailed with a hundred lines around the face and head style (i.e. Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio and Marc Silvestri). The main reason for this is Ben Grimm. Those lines are exactly what makes Thing look best and that 90s style is imo the best rendition of the rocky one.


For writer I think Warren Ellis is the perfect choice to head a run on The World's Greatest Comic Magazine! Who else could pull of the grand scientific scope of the magazine better than Warren Ellis? Other than Jonathan Hickman of course. But he already had his run and it was awesome!!! Ellis has a thing about not writing long runs for characters that he doesn't own because he's not seeing anything from the sells other than his work for hire salary. I do have a solution for this: Marvel should offer Mr. Ellis the "Mark Millar reach around package". Simply put, if Warren Ellis would write the book for at least 60 issues then Marvel can publish his creator owned work under its Icon label. And to sweeten the deal I would even offer advertising within the book itself. So...Warren Ellis gets better publishing for his own work and Marvel gets the superstar writer for its formerly premiere book. I would see that as a win-win. Marvel might even get the better of that deal if Ellis' creator owned work sells well or gets a movie because they would get movie rights which would be awesome for all involved.

For artist Brett Booth was the name that kept popping into my head. I tried to ignore it and was leaning heavily toward Jim Lee. But, after further review I think Booth is perfect. Reading his issues of the Heroes Reborn Fantastic Four solidified my opinion. His Ben Grimm is perfect and is very comparable to Jim Lee's, who has the definitive look for the character imo. His line work is very 90s minus the pouches which lends itself to the dynamic scope of the book. And, his storytelling is above average. He is dynamic enough that what he draws catches your attention. He's detailed enough with backgrounds that you don't lose track of where you're at. And he doesn't do the unnecessary lines on the uniforms or face area that makes people look too old or uniforms look wrinkled. I think pairing him up with Ellis could make for a fun book that's easy on the eyes and would definitely attract new readers.

That's my take on things, what do you think?

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