Comics aren't just about action packed panels and out of this world ideas involving multi-verses and ultimate cosmic powers. Sure, that's definitely one reason why we're all comic book fans and love our funny books, but it's not the only reason. Many of us love comics because we can read them and relate on some level to these characters. Yeah they can seem out of this world, but sometimes they exude personalitiy traits and characteristics that just make these books so much fun to read.
In the latest issue of FF we saw Jonathan Hickman really explore the idea of these superheroes and their very normal, human relationships. In fact, it's what made the latest issue so great. When I read it I found myself laughing out loud, and it reminded me of why I started reading comic books in the first place. And god, who wouldn't want a friendship like that? I mean Johnny Storm and Peter Parker, as different as they are, as much as they've bickered and played jokes on one another over the years; theirs is the epitome of a great (fantastic, even) friendship. It's one that should be cherished and celebrated, and that's exactly what Hickman did in the latest issue of FF. FF #17 is a "filler issue" -- sure -- it was used as a buffer following a really heavy story arc; but it was also another avenue for Hickman to take the two characters and an opportunity for him to further explore their friendship.== TEASER ==
I admit, it even made me appreciate Spider-Man a little bit more -- and that's saying something. All kidding aside, though, FF # 17 which was released about two weeks ago tells the story of Peter Parker and Johnny Storm, living together under one roof. It demonstrates that even though this two bedroom apartment seems big (especially for New York City standards) it isn't enough room to contain these two friends who obviously cannot live together. The book is full of Johnny pulling pranks on Peter, all the by bringing him closer to the edge. It's narrated by Peter and as he grows increasingly frustrated, is highlighted by his "to-do list." At the end of the list? Kick Johnny Storm out of the apartment. It's a great issue that really explores the friendship between these two characters. It also got me thinking about previous appearances featuring these two and other moments they have shared over the years that have really made reading THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and FANTASTIC FOUR a lot of fun.
One of Peter's first interactions with Johnny is inspirational. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 Peter Parker is feeling discouraged. It's in the early years of his superhero career and he's feeling down because, well, he's struggling. Johnny Storm shows up at his school to give a lecture that inspires Peter. You can really look at this as one of the first classic moments that these two characters would share together on panel, and one that would really influence their friendship.
After Johnny Storm sacrificed himself in FANTASTIC FOUR #587, Parker joined the FF as his replacement -- but not without Johnny's blessing. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #657, Reed Richards shows Peter a hologram message from Johnny to Peter which he had recorded in the event of his death. In it, Johnny asks Peter to join the Fantastic Four, and reveals just how much Peter meant to him. It's a moment in comics that is difficult to read without feeling a little bit teary eyed.
Yet, what makes the friendship between these two so entertaining to read is the fact that it isn't all love -- it's a little bit love/hate. People were not so crazy about the Fantastic Four in FANTASTIC FOUR #512, and Johnny Storm was feeling the repercussions of his actions big time. The Human Torch was rapidly losing his popularity, and Spider-Man was becoming more popular. This, obviously, was making Johnny very unhappy; so he goes to Peter for advice to see what he can do about dealing with his decline in popularity. Needless to say, by the end of the issue Johnny winds up naked in a swimming pool. Very funny.
Friends don't always get along, and these two had a helluva time doing that in the latest issue of FF -- but that's exactly what makes their friendship stand out. Yeah, they pick on one another and give each other a hard time once in a while, but it's what makes their relationship so endearing and so much fun to read. At the end of the day, no matter how often they bicker, Johnny Storm and Peter Parker love each other. And I for one, love them for it. We've written about comic book friendships and how important they are in the past, what are some of your favorites? Is there an issue that stands out to you above the rest that you have really enjoyed? What friendships do you feel need to be fleshed out a bit more?