It's no secret that one of the most popular features on this blog is the one where I post the covers of various old comics, in order to find out what our favourite Marvel heroes were up to exactly forty years ago. So popular is it that people who've never even heard of comics - or even of me - bang on my door at night demanding, "Steve, what were our favourite heroes up to exactly forty years ago?"
But now that fateful moment has arrived when it's actually possible for me to do the same for our favourite heroes fifty years ago.
Granted, right now that doesn't take much doing as, in November 1961, Marvel had just one super-hero comic out but, as time goes by, such a feature will no doubt enable us to see how the company grew and developed as the 1960s progressed.
The Mighty Marvel Age of Heroics kicks off with The Fantastic Four #1. And what a great cover it is. With just one image, Jack Kirby lets us see at a glance what our brand-new heroes are all about. Instantly we can see that Mr Fantastic can stretch like knicker elastic, the Human Torch can burst into flames and fly, the Thing is big and ugly and can crush cars, and that the Invisible Girl's completely useless.
One thing that's always baffled me about the cover though is that Reed Richards is shown stretching free of ropes whilst declaring, "It'll take more than ropes to keep Mr Fantastic out of action!" That may be true but who exactly has tried to tie him up? I assume it's not the monster - it's clearly only just arrived. And, besides, why would you waste time trying to tie people up if you were a giant monster?
I can only conclude that, the moment he saw a monster appear, Mr Fantastic tied himself up so he could demonstrate to it that ropes cannot hold him.
What a complete and total berk.
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