The origins of the Fantastic Four are easy to recap: One day, four scientists—Reed Richards; his girlfriend, Susan Storm; her younger brother, Johnny Storm; and Reed’s old college chum Ben Grimm—were out flying around in space when they were bombarded by cosmic rays. After returning to Earth (via a crash landing, of course), Reed found he could stretch and twist his body in impossible ways, Susan had the power to disappear, Johnny could fly and hurl fireballs at the same time, and Ben, well, he looked like a human rock, with stone strength to match.

Less clear is whose idea it was to create these characters in the first place. Writer Stan Lee says his boss at Marvel, Martin Goodman, told him to come up with a superhero team to compete with DC’s Justice League. Lee was reportedly fed up with the comic-book world at that point, but he obliged. Artist Jack Kirby says that he already had all the drawings, and that all Stan Lee did was fill in some dialogue. Whatever.

What we do know is that the Fantastic Four were an instant hit when they debuted in U.S. drugstores and comic-book shops in November 1961. The roughly 500 issues that have followed are a testament to the quartet’s staying power. The first issue, in which our heroes battle the dreaded Mole Man, is of course collectible, as is the Galactus Trilogy (Fantastic Four numbers 48-50, March to May, 1966), in which the foursome meets the legendary Silver Surfer.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Cover Browser

Cover Browser

Philipp Lenssen's incredible archive of over 94,000 comic book covers - Wow! Wham! Yikes! Browse by title from the … [read review or visit site]

TheComicBooks.com

TheComicBooks.com

Jamie Coville's in-progress ode to the history of 20th century comic books. Start with his Newsstand Period Part 1 … [read review or visit site]

Popeye's Thimble Theatre

Popeye's Thimble Theatre

Bruce Shults takes us on a comprehensive Popeye fan tour, from the early comic strips to cartoons and collectible m… [read review or visit site]

Barnacle Press

Barnacle Press

This collection of obscure newspaper comic strips provides scans browsable by title, year and date. Showcases comic… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Fantastic Four #52 Vol 1 Pgx 8.0 Beautiful Unrestored 1st App Of Black PantherFantastic Four 48 Key Silver Age Marvel 1st Silver Surfer Galactus Jack KirbyVintage 1966 Marvel Comics Fantastic Four #48 Cgc Graded 8.0 Silver Age ComicFantastic Four #45 (1965 Marvel) 1st Appearance Inhumans Silver Age - No ReserveFantastic Four #48 Fn+ 1st Galactus & Silver Surfer Marvel Comics 12c Silver AgeFantastic Four #52 Vol 1 Pgx 6.5 Very Nice Unrestored 1st App Of Black PantherFantastic Four #52 - Cgc 6.0 - 1st Black Panther - See DetailsFantastic Four #52 Marvel 1966 - 1st App Of The Black Panther - Check Our ComicsFantastic Four 19 !! Cgc 6.0 !! 1st Rama-tut !!silver Age !!no Reserve !!Fantastic Four #52 Cgc 8.5 Ss (jul 1966, Marvel)Fantastic Four 10 !! Cgc 5.0 !! Silver Age Gold !! No Reserve !!Paul Ryan - Fantastic Four #373! Spider-man! Daredevil! Great Page Signed!!Fantastic Four #48 Marvel 1966 - Origin & 1st App Silver Surfer & Galactus - Uk!Fantastic Four 13,20,34,44,67 1st Appearance Watcher Adam Warlock And More! ReadFantastic Four 50 Cgc 6.5 Ow/w Pages Stan Lee Signed8 Marvel Comic Issues-7 Fantastic Four &1 Captain America - 52 1st Black PantherThe Fantastic Four #48 High Grade Marvel Silver Age Comic Book Nice Quality Fantastic Four 5 Cgc 8.0 (r) Doom No ReserveSideshow Exclusive Fantastic Four Diorama Statue MarvelFantastic Four 55 Cgc 9.2Fantastic Four 26 !!cgc 6.0 !! Avengers X-over !! Silver Age !!no Reserve !!Acts Of Vengeance Crossovers Marvel Omnibus Hardcover Fantastic Four Dr StrangeFantastic Four #1 Missing Cover Unrestored Beautiful Grade Cbcs Pgx CgcFantastic Four #49 Marvel Pgx 5.5 Signed Stan Lee 2nd Silver Surfer 1st GalactusFantastic Four 35 !!cgc 7.0 !! First Dragon Man !! Silver Age !!no Reserve !!Fantastic Four 30 !!cgc 6.5 !! First Diablo !! Silver Age !!no Reserve !!Bowen Designs Silver Surfer Full Size Statue Sideshow Fantastic Four 4 MarvelFantastic Four #18 Marvel 1963 - Origin & 1st App The Super Skrull - Jack Kirby!Fantastic Four 24 !! Cgc 7.0 !!silver Age Classic !! No Reserve !!Fantastic Four #49 Cgc 5.0 1st Full Galactus 2nd Silver SurferFantastic Four #26 (may 1964, Marvel) - No Reserve - Hulk,thing, Avengers, KirbyFantastic Four #6 Cgc 7.0 First Marvel Villian Team-upFantastic Four #50 May 1966 Pgx 7.5 Signed Stan Lee 3rd Silver Surfer Galactus1964 Marvel Comics Fantastic Four #28 - Early X-men Crossover, Puppet MasterFantastic Four 3 Marvel Comics Silver Age Cbcs 5.0Fantastic Four #80-99 Gorgeous Higher Grade Key Lot, Original Owner, Keys Look!!Fantastic Four #50 Marvel Comics 1966 Jack Kirby Vg+Fantastic Four #7 Cgc 5.5 10/62 Marvel Comics 1st Appearance Kurrgo No ReserveFantastic Four #44 (nov 1965, Marvel) Cgc Graded 8.0Fantastic Four #51 Cgc 8.0 Vf Off-white Pages Marvel Comics 1966Fantastic Four #41 (aug 1965, Marvel) Cgc Graded 8.0Fantastic Four 22 !!cgc 6.5 !!sue Storm !!!silver Age !!no Reserve !!Fantastic Four #45 1st Appearance Lockjaw, Inhumans, Blackbolt, Crystal Etc 1965Fantastic Four # 52 - 1st Black Panther Low Grade Key Comic Affordable (1966)Fantastic Four 15 !! Cgc 6.0 !! 1st Mad Thinker !!silver Age !!no Reserve !!Fantastic Four 49 Cgc 7.5Fantastic Four #66 Marvel Pgx 8.0 Signed Stan Lee Origin Him Adam WarlockFantastic Four Annual #2 (sep 1964, Marvel) Cgc Graded 6.0Marvel Treasury Comics Single Owner Fantastic Four Spiderman The Fantastic Four #58 High Grade Marvel Silver Age Comic Book Nice Quality Fantastic Four #9 (marvel Comics 12/62) Third Silver Age Appearance Sub-marinerFantastic Four #52 (jul 1966, Marvel) #good ConditionFantastic Four #55 (oct 1966, Marvel) - Signed Stan Lee (4th App Of Silver Surf)Fantastic Four #110 Marvel 1971 - Higher Grade - Green Print, Pink Costumes!!Fantastic Four #50 Marvel 1966 - 3rd App Silver Surfer, Battles Galactus - KirbyFantastic Four #9 (dec 1962, Marvel) Ex-cgc Copy, See Description , Fine+Jack Kirby Fantastic Four #68 Rare Large Production Art Cover MonotoneFantastic Four #20 First App Of Molecule Man Vg/fn- *key* 1963 Silver Age MarvelFantastic Four #17 Gd/gd+ Dr. Doom Jack Kirby Marvel 1963 Silver Age Reader Copy1963 Marvel Comics Fantastic Four #20 - 1st Appearance Of Molecule Man