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Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four
Artwork for the cover of Fantastic Four vol. 4, #509 (Mar, 2004).

The Fantastic Four is Marvel Comics’ flagship comic book superhero team, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and debuting in The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961).

Although the group’s membership has occasionally changed temporarily, it almost always consists of these four core friends and family-members, who gained superpowers after being exposed to cosmic rays during an outer space science mission:

* Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), the leader of the group, a scientific genius who can stretch his body into incredible lengths and shapes.

* The Invisible Woman (Susan Richards, née Storm; originally the Invisible
, Reed Richards’ wife, and the team’s second-in-command, who can become invisible at will and create force fields that can shield or attack.

* The Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Sue’s brother, who can surround himself with flames and fly.

* The Thing (Ben Grimm), their grumpy friend with a heart of gold, who possesses superhuman strength and endurance, his skin is monstrous, craggy, orange, and looks as if made of scales or plates (often mistakenly referred to as “rocks”).

Since its introduction – in which the groundbreaking team did not even adhere to the convention of superhero costumes in its first two issues — the Fantastic Four have been portrayed as a somewhat dysfunctional yet loving family. Uniquely at the time, and also breaking convention with comic-book archetypes, its members would squabble and even hold animosities both deep and petty toward one another at times, though ultimately truly caring for and supporting each other. Also, unlike many other comic book superheroes, the Fantastic Four have no anonymity, maintaining something of a celebrity status in the public eye.

The team launched the revival of Marvel Comics in the early 1960s, giving it a pivotal place in the history of American comic books. The Fantastic Four has remained more or less popular since, and has been adapted into other media, including four animated television series, an aborted 1990s low-budget film, a major-studio motion picture, Fantastic Four (2005), and a scheduled 2007 sequel.

The comic-book series, which famously added the hyperbolic tagline “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” above the title starting with issue #4 (issue # 3 declared itself “The Greatest Comic Magazine in the World!”), dropped the “The” from the cover logo with #16, becoming simply Fantastic Four.

The Fantastic Four

Mister Fantastic

Invisible Woman

The Thing

The Human Torch


Doctor Doom


Nick Fury


The Wizard

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