FOUR: THE LOST
by Jack Kirby
By Jim Beard
What once was lost now is found.
February 6 brings FANTASTIC FOUR: THE LOST ADVENTURE, finally completing after almost 40 years one of the greatest comic book runs by two creators ever
with a never-before released FF story from the two men who created the series-not to mention most of the Marvel Universe. The hallowed halls of Marvel will ring with joyous sounds of victory as its two favorite sons-writer without fear Stan "The Man" Lee and artist without peer the late Jack "The King" Kirby-come home in the form of a tale begun, but until now never finished.
But before you witness the final chapter what hath these two Titans among creators already wrought? What did they accomplish over nine years and 102 issues in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR? What did they build? An entire world?
Nay, an entire universe
. Check out just a sampling of Stan and Jack's FF accomplishments...
You want heroes? Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot. The Fantastic Four, of course, lead the way in heroism and duty, a family held up as examples of self-sacrifice and champions of justice. Reed Richards, the flexible Mr. Fantastic! Sue Storm Richards, the indivisible Invisible Woman! Johnny Storm, the hot-headed Human Torch! And perhaps the
most heroic of them all, Benjamin J. Grimm, the titanic, tumultuous Thing! Stan and Jack created in the Four a dynamic that has never been equaled in all of comicdom!
Who else? There's that spacefaring Sentinel of the Spaceways, the Silver Surfer! Born in a distant galaxy, he learned humility, heroism, and the heart of humanity here on Earth. Then came the uncanny Inhumans! The royal family of fabled Attilan and protectors of the fabled land and its unique Terrigen Mists!
But not all of the FF's fellow heroes register as more than mortal; some may be but men but definitely a cut above cut above your average joe. The Black Panther, meticulous monarch of far-off Wakanda, friend to the Four and foe of
evil! From the sun-drenched Southwest came Wyatt Wingfoot, proud Native American who has fought furiously and faithfully at the side of his friend, Johnny Storm, and the rest of the FF! Heck, even Willy Lumpkin, the FF's own mailman, is ten times the hero than any Yancy Streeter! Sheesh!
But what about villains
, you say? Who did Stan and Jack come up with to bring out the aforementioned heroism of the Fantastic Four and their equally-fabulous friends? Glad you asked! Take a gander at the moldy Mole Man! The all-powerful Molecule Man! The string-pulling Puppet Master! Klaw, murderous master of sound! And let us not forget those kooky crooks whose only lot in life seems to consist of
bedeviling our heroes, the Frightful Four themselves!
And when those crusty crumb-bums aren't enough badness for you, we look to the stars and beyond, flinching at the sight of the magnitude of malice that resides therein-or out! The sly and skinky Skrulls from space! Blastarr and Annihilus from the Negative Zone! And he whom the Silver Surfer led to our little blue marble-the world-eater, Galactus! Tremble at his might! Quake at his power! Thrill to the FF kicking his big purple butt!
Before we go any further, let us take a moment to reflect upon the Fantastic Four's most fiendish foe, their most awful adversary, their most vile villain-perhaps Stan
and Jack's greatest character creation outside the FF themselves-Doctor Doom! Has the world ever seen such evil before? Will it ever see such evil again? We doubt it, Bunky! Ol' Doc Doom has no peer as the monarch of malevolence!
Turn your mind's eye now to the mind-boggling locales Stan and Jack introduced us to via the FF's trials and travels...the Mole Man's underground! The quaint and mislead kingdom of Latveria! The weird world of the Negative Zone! Psycho-Man's microverse! And the multitudes of strange and frightening alien planets that have
received our heroes with open arms-and more often than not, brandished weapons!
To swiftly speed to many of these senses-numbing scenes, Reed Richards has invented a coterie of craft that puts every military on the face of the Earth to shame! The Fantasticar! The Pogo Plane! Spaceships and starships! Intercontinental ballistic missiles! Scooters and timesleds! And the most forgotten of them all-the Fantasticopter! Not even mentioning all the other goofy gadgets ol' Stretcho has spent his time and resources on- including some
can't even wrap his high-falootin' cerebral cortex around! Can anybody say...Ultimate Nullifier???
Whew! And that's all from one comic magazine. Wait, did we just say "one comic magazine"? We mean "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine!" And when we say that, True Believer, we mean it!
Stan & Jack's
final FF story
There you have it, a tiny tour of a Universe: the Universe of the Fantastic Four, as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. We haven't even scratched the surface, though, but we think maybe you get the idea!
So when you cuddle up next month with your very own copy of FANTASTIC FOUR: THE LOST ADVENTURE, the very last and just-now finished FF spectacular from Stan and Jack-lost for almost 40 years-perhaps your mind will flit back over these few titanic tons of comic book creativity we just laid on ya-and amaze at the House that Stan and Jack Built!
FANTASTIC FOUR: THE LOST ADVENTURE ships on February 6, but the first 100 issues of Stan and Jack's FANTASTIC FOUR can be found on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited