Future Foundation…? (Or…what is happening to Fantastic Four?)

So...I just beat up all of these guys, right?

So…I just beat up all of these guys, right?

Amidst all of the hullabaloo surrounding the Fantastic Four and Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter, John Byrne had a sobering insight. He pointed out on his own forums that the Fantastic Four is not just Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny. The cast of characters that are the Fantastic Four are much more than that. My artwork is about that, but John Byrne says it, and shows it, better:

“This thread brings up a conversation I had with friends, many a moon ago. Someone asked, if I had “a million dollars” and could just BUY the FF from Marvel, would I do it?

I realized immediately that this was a much more complex question than it might seem at first glance. After all, if we think about it for a moment, we quickly realize that the Fantastic Four are not just Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny. THIS is the Fantastic Four:

Byrne's ensemble cast is much more impressive than mine.  This is the FF though...

Byrne’s ensemble cast is much more impressive than mine. This is the FF though…

“Sure, a few of those characters could be pruned, but without Doctor Doom, Galactus, the Watcher, Annihilus, the Skrulls, the Frightful Four, the Inhumans, the Mole Man, Wyatt Wingfoot, etc, etc. . .

Well, it just would be the same, would it?”

Well said, Mr. Byrne. Marvel has been put to task on this in the past few weeks, and had these official things to say:

On Tumblr, after being asked, “Sorry about this, you must be sick of getting asked this, but I have to ask. Is Fantastic Four getting cancelled?” Tom Brevoort said:

“In the lifespan of the universe? Yes, at some point. Everything dies.

But not this week.

Anyway, there’s a lot of fear and crazy going on out in the world as people jump to conclusions and work themselves up into a lather. It was a good weekend for those that profit from such things, I expect.

We are publishing FANTASTIC FOUR. Next month, we will be publishing FANTASTIC FOUR. A year from now, assuming that it’s still selling well, we will be publishing FANTASTIC FOUR.

Given enough time, anything can happen—we went a couple of years, for example, without a THOR series, as well as a year and a half with FF, AVENGERS, CAP and IRON MAN not being a part of the Marvel Universe. So anything can happen. But it probably won’t.

And for the couple of folks who punctuated their complaints by saying that they were dropping all of their Marvel books, and switching over to DC—well, first off, you must think that I’m a very simple man. But you can, as always, do with your time and money as you will. I will point out that if the purpose of your endeavor is to insure the continuation of FANTASTIC FOUR, then perhaps buying MORE FANTASTIC FOUR would be in better service to that goal than buying less. Just a thought.

Oh, and James Robinson sent me notes for the 75th Anniversary Special story that he is doing this morning. And as you’d expect, the Fantastic Four are at the core of it.”

Wow. Mr. Brevoort, that is a pretty impressive statement that Marvel isn’t ditching the FF. More recently at the NYC Special Edition show, on the Marvel Next Big Thing Panel, Marvel’s VPP Tom Brevoort was asked for his plans for Fantastic Four in 2015, saying:

“I am going to publish it, and it will have four characters in it. I’ll presume James Robinson will write that all the way into the future. At least until time runs out and then anything can happen.”

Peter David later added, jokingly,

“Squirrel Girl, Hercules, Creep, and Ghost Rider are the new Fantastic Four.”

Wow, Peter David. Kind of on point, huh? To be fair, it actually makes it almost reasonable the our hero from Tales of Adequacy could be in fact the next member of the FF, for legal purposes, or at least Mr. Perlmutter’s.

Really, though…don’t believer me. Check out this information, from an artist who leaked to Bleeding Cool:

“I do a number of sketch card projects for Upper Deck and Rittenhouse using Marvel characters. The most recent projects from both companies, one billed as Marvel 75th Anniversary, gave specific guidelines to NOT use any FF characters or supporting cast such as Dr Doom, Galactus, Surfer, Skrulls etc…”

This document came along after:

Well now.  That's definitely on point.

Well now. That’s definitely on point.

So…it is hard to say what this really means for the Fantastic Four, given the contradictory statements and documents from Marvel itself. Brevoort certainly left the door open for a possible cancellation, with sales figures as the rationale.

The Inked black and white.

The Inked black and white.

The raw image, from whence all of the others came.

The raw image, from whence all of the others came.

Next Issue: Marvel Axis, and Norman Osborn’s unemployment claim!


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