Not So Fantastic…

This gag was much more fun to draw than I thought it would be.

This gag was much more fun to draw than I thought it would be.

This came out of my recent struggle to understand both the casting of the upcoming Fantastic Four film, and the events in the current ongoing comic by James Robinson. I like Robinson’s work, and am especially fond of both “Golden Age” and “Starman”…but am just not seeing the kind of love for comics in “FF” that I have come to expect from him. It is actually surprisingly negative in tone, something of a “downer” book in a way that I don’t expect Fantastic Four to be. Issue One opens in media res, with Sue Richards writing a journal entry wondering how they got to the point where they are, with Ben in prison, Reed embittered and doing crappy science, and Johnny powerless, and just partying in a meaningless, Paris Hilton like sense.

Oddly, it is darker in tone than the storylines of “FF” or “Future Foundation” (more properly) where Johnny was supposed to have been dead, and Spider-Man taking his place, as per his will. You would think that would take the case for negativity, but no…that run, although a bit ponderous in some ways, created an “extended family” of sorts by having the Foundation open a school for the scientifically adventurous, and wound up being more excellently positive, futurist sci-fi than not.

Apparently though, much like the cartoon version of the 70’s, the basic play these days seems to be “kick Johnny off the team.” Future Foundation did it, and now Robinson has done it three issues into his run. That brinks me to the casting of the film, where Johnny Storm was cast against type as an African American man. This is pretty interesting, and as I understand, they chose a pretty good actor for that. Still, it seems to be the new formula being, “lets @#$% around with Johnny…that will be interesting.” God forbid we should have a plotline that is of consequence, or the kind of bizarre, sci fi adventure that combines Doc Savage with Star Trek that drove the Lee/Kirby and John Byrne runs…or the often overlooked Walt Simonson issues.

There was a point in time where the internet was rumor-mongering that the idea was to cast a female Doctor Doom. Again…casting against type is fine…there should be new material in a movie, that’s what is interesting. I think though, in all of this casting against the established type, there should have been noises as well about a really good script. I haven’t yet heard any rumors or talk about the script…and that story, to a large degree, is going to dictate whether the cast is a good choice, or the film will be any good.

I started Adequacy long after the Fantastic Four films (the recent ones, not the wonderfully awful Corman film) came out. I didn’t mind those two films, but I looked at them as comedies, not “superhero” films. They certainly were not of the quality of the Marvel/Disney slate of movies in the shared universe begun with Iron Man. As a result of that, the Fantastic Four has been very much left out of Adequacy for much of its run, with more of a bias toward Avengers based humor. That’s really odd, considering how much more I liked Fantastic Four as a book, over the course of my life.

In fact, without doing an exhaustive search of my own site and art, the only one that immediately springs to mind that addresses the Fantastic Four is below, pretty much as an Aquaman punchline…since I sincerely love taking shots at Aquaman. It has been a while since I did that, and really should do another Aquaman zinger soon.

The re-filtered Sue Richards gag.  Pony still looks disapproving, which given today's gag, seems out of place.

The re-filtered Sue Richards gag. Pony still looks disapproving, which given today’s gag, seems out of place.

The whole internet is pretty much in on that gag, with the sheer amount of time that Namor the Sub-Mariner comes around the Baxter Building leering at Sue. Sue gets a whole lot of @#$% for this as a character, despite having a painfully inattentive husband in Reed, the Absent Minded Professor. Seems a little unfair really, the more you think about it. I have one friend who considers Reed Richards to be the single worst husband in all of Literature.

Wow, right? Some “Mister Fantastic.”

That, and this art that I bought from Tony Fleecs…

See?  In this art, Sue is using Reed as sort or a robe?  Cape?  Sheet?  I don't know, but you see where the ideas came from.

See? In this art, Sue is using Reed as sort or a robe? Cape? Sheet? I don’t know, but you see where the ideas came from.

…came together to produce the gag for today. I was after a companion piece to the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America romance art…but being outside the Marvel/Disney slate, I wanted it to be…well…not as good, and a bit sleazy. I think i achieved that, True Believers. I was also after something that captured the feel and such of the Old School blue uniform FF, which was the majority of the run of the series. Something that suggested that one of the many times Sue, Johnny or Ben left the team, our hero was an inappropriate stand in, much like the huge list of stand ins before (Luke Cage, Crystal, Medusa, Spider-Man, and She-Hulk to name a few major ones).

Then I thought…most of the Marvel movie art I’ve done was in color. So I took Panel One, and cropped it…

Cropped from the bit.  Without judgmental Torch and sad Ben, it is still funny.  I think.

Cropped from the bit. Without judgmental Torch and sad Ben, it is still funny. I think.

…And then colored it, using my usual colored pencils. I went with a different company, which was given to me as a gift…i liked the pencils.

I am hugely fond of this image.

I am hugely fond of this image.

I’m not so sure she would be calling him “Mister Fantastic.” It seemed fair to take a solid shot at Reed for once…perhaps one of the few times we see it happen. Everyone says that Sue is kind of…well, unfaithful to some degree, for kissing Namor once in a while. Namor looks like Micheal Phelps, and pays serious attention to her…versus a guy that frequently wants to do math on the wall instead of talk to his wife. Flash Fact, people…Reed blows as a husband. It is pretty clear.

I hadn’t really come up with much of a context for this. I imagined some sort of mega party in the Baxter Building, maybe in the Early eighties, maybe in the early 2000s…since Blue uniforms were in vogue in both time frames, and they fit the context of Adequacy. I didn’t think it out too much…it was more of a sight gag, and an equal opportunity shot at Reed for once.

As a result though…since the Torch is currently powerless, we have at least one future image (this coming week) with our hero as part of the Fantastic Four, replacing him. We may very well see a bunch more of that over the summer, as I continue to wish for a better FF book than Marvel and Mr. Robinson are giving me.

Next Issue: Cinco De Awesome!


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