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The Fantastic Four are back! Journey Into Comics

August 28, 2018

The Fantastic Four are back! Journey Into Comics

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- When the “Secret Wars” saga ended in April, 2015, half of the Fantastic Four disappeared.

Reed and Sue Richards and their two god-like children, Franklin and Valeria, went off to recreate the universe or something like that.

The remaining members, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm (aka The Thing and the Human Torch), returned to Earth and hooked up with other supergroups while waiting for the rest of the team to return.

Readers were skeptical, assuming that the team would be reunited in a few months. These break-up storylines have been common in the series since the early sixties. But this was different, there was no sign of a reunion for more than three years.

Then, a few weeks ago, Reed and Sue finally sent out a distress call that they are ready to return and, once again, we have a “Fantastic Four” No. 1. For a look at the team’s history, Marvel put together a bit of a history on its website.

And Marvel is finally doing the team justice. Let’s be honest, the years were not kind to the FF before half of the quartet disappeared into the ether. The stories were lacking that “something” that made them special to begin with. We won’t even bring up the fake Fantastic Four, called “FF,” starring Ant-Man and a few wanna-bes, that we had to tolerate for a year while the real FF went off to explore the universe in a pointless “get-them-out-of-the-way” exercise.

Sorry, but the books by Mike Allred and his family never looked or felt right to me.

Then there were all the rumors about Marvel Comics and its daddy, Disney, not wanting to promote the Fantastic Four with comics because those movies (as bad as they were) were owned by Twentieth Century Fox. With the Disney-Fox merger approved in July, all that bad blood became irrelevant.

Of course, others said the movie talk was just a cover for the fact that the Fantastic Four, which was Marvel’s first superhero comic of the silver age, was just played out.

Whatever the reasons, the book and the team were gone for three years.

Writer Dan Slott was tapped to bring them back, and he rose to the challenge.

The first issue is a masterpiece, setting up the return of the four by focusing on those left behind: Ben, Johnny and Dr. Doom and building expectations. Some fans complained that they wanted the FF back NOW! But in the general scheme of things, I would prefer seeing the whole storyline play out with style.

Issue 2 is on sale Sept. 12 and, if you’re lucky, you should be able to snag the first issue before then. It’s worth it.

THE COMIC CON COMES TO CANTON

In what’s becoming a monthly event in the Cleveland area, there is another quality comic convention this month -- the Hall of Fame Comic-Con in Canton on Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s an excellent one-day event with guests Kevin Eastman (co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles); Peter David (prolific writer who redefined The Hulk, X-Factor and many other titles); James O’Barr (creator of The Crow) and Aaron Archer (illustrator and toy designer for Kenner and Hasbro toys, worked on Transformers, GI Joe, Star Wars, Batman, Jurassic Park and Alien among other projects.)

Adult admission is $10, $5 for kids.

See the website for full guest list. There will also be numerous folks selling and buying comics, graphic novels and assorted comic stuff.

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