Why isn't the Fantastic Four more popular?

Why isn't the Fantastic Four more popular? Out of all the comics in the industry it seems that Fantastic Four should be among the most popular. It has several things going for it that only a handful of franchises can match. If you analyze it in depth Fantastic Four has the tools to rival even Batman in popularity.

1. Rich Tradition: The fantastic four series has been written by the best of the best and has memorable runs that should be included amongst the very best in the history of the industry. The initial run by Lee/Kirby started off the series with a bang that is considered by many to be the best in history. Introducing Marvel mainstays such as Dr. Doom, Galactus, Silver Surfer, Skrulls, Red Ghost, Molecule Man, Mole Man, etc...Following Lee we have had runs by Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, John Byrne, Walter Simonson, Steve Englehart, Mark Waid, and Carlos Pacheco with recent acclaimed runs by Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction.

2. Rogues Gallery: The rogue's gallery of the FF is easily top 5 in all of comics. Not only do you have the most awesome villain ever created; Doctor Doom but you also have a bevy of supernatural villains (Diablo, Mephisto, etc) cosmic foes (Skrulls, Kree, Negative Zone, microverse, etc), seemingly omnipotent beings (Galactus, Abraxas, Celestials, Molecule Man, etc) and mad scientists (Red Ghost, Mad Thinker, etc). In fact; if you simply name your top 10 villains in the Marvel Universe then it's a safe bet that at least one started as a Fantastic Four villain and I'm probably underselling it vastly.

3. Advancement in Comic Science: Between Reed Richards and Doctor Doom the series has advanced the science of comics more than any other book ever. We've had "unstable molecules", microverses, multiverses, omniverses, etc... The "comic science" of the book is extraordinary. The book is most fun when it suspends our disbelief and we wonder what's possible and what's not in comics. The Lee/Kirby run was at the time rivaled only by Challengers of the Unknown in terms of science fiction. Early on the only other place to get these kinds of stories was some of the Sci-Fi serials being published.

4. Family: Fantastic Four is in itself a book full of supporting characters. The book is about a family in which each character can be considered the lead character of the book. We have two characters with the two most popular catchphrases in comics and have each supported their own ongoing series for different time periods. We have the smartest man in comics who could possibly support his own ongoing series if afforded one. There's also the matriarch of the family who is the most powerful member physically of the group. Of the group, Sue Richards is probably least likely to be afforded her own ongoing series, but that doesn't mean she couldn't support several limited series or shouldn't be considered for one. All that and we haven't even mentioned Franklin and Valeria who are the Bart and Lisa of the Marvel Universe and have over the years been fleshed out remarkably into powerful characters on their own and were the pillars of the FF book for a while.

Conclusion: Of every book on the market; the Fantastic Four is perhaps the most underrated franchise in comics. The history and possibilities of the book are so deep and rich that it should be rivaling Batman and X-Men in terms of sales and popularity however for some reason it's relegated to the second tier of the Marvel Universe.

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Edited by Billy Batson

@reignmaker:

Yeah, Hitman is awesome.

@night_thrasher said:

Neither really counts because Morrison did a mini-series and Ellis did 1610 FF. Neither have done 616 FF yet to my knowledge

Don't really see why it doesn't count it being Ultimate FF. Many consider Bendis and Millar as some of the best and important writers for the characters that they wrote for (Spidey and The Ultimates/Avengers).

BB

Posted by Night Thrasher

@billy_batson: Because the 1610 universe FF characters are very different from the mainstream versions. For one, they're all younger, Sue was a biochemist, Ben had more contempt for Reed, Doom mutated in the explosion, etc. There are enough differences that one could assume that if given the chance and having to work with 616 continuity that Ellis would tell a vastly different story. Not saying his 1610 version wasn't good, but I wouldn't say that his approach to 616 would be similar.

Edited by DATNIGGA

@night_thrasher: The fantastic 4 Are Iconic no doubt. but whenever I read about them Idk its boring to me some how....

The issues ive liked have been the ones involving certain guest appearances. Like Dr Doom (cause hes a boss) the avengers, x men, spiderman, ect.... they work good in dynamic with another no so much by themselves in my opinion.

by themselves its like...

Human tourch and & thing fight/play with each other while reed is studying/analyzing something and Sue is baby sitting franklin (who's been a incompetent child since the onslaught saga)

so without someone stealing there kid, galactus showing up or them doing something remotely interesting.... they suck most of the time.

I liked hickmans run tho for some reason...

Posted by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow

I only like the thing

Posted by BaneStrokeLoboGrundyBatArrow

I only like the thing but I do love the FF

Edited by turoksonofstone

No Kirby, No cool Reed in his Lab stories. IMO

Edited by GodTriggerHulk

Honestly the idea of the Fantastic Four is cooler than the characters deserve. A bunch of heroes living together and exploring the Marvel Universe is a cool concept but Reed and Sue suck the energy out of the room with their blandness. They should change the FF's lineup: how about Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Hulk and Dr. Doom. That oughta liven things up!

Posted by JulieDC

I want to like them because I like the human torch but the stuff I have read (the story arc where human torch "died") was confusing and all the science talk was boring and eventually it just wore me out. I don't know if it is always like that and would like to read more but I am kind of hesitant to give it another go.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

Honestly the idea of the Fantastic Four is cooler than the characters deserve. A bunch of heroes living together and exploring the Marvel Universe is a cool concept but Reed and Sue suck the energy out of the room with their blandness. They should change the FF's lineup: how about Spider-Man, Wolverine, The Hulk and Dr. Doom. That oughta liven things up!

Replace Dr. Doom with Ghostrider, and it did happen once:

Posted by GodTriggerHulk
Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale

Lack of any interest from the Big wigs

Edited by Night Thrasher

@banestrokelobogrundybatarrow: @juliedc: @godtriggerhulk: @datnigga: I will be the first to admit that the FF can be boring in the hands of a writer not ready to handle such a book. I equate the team to the San Antonio Spurs. To a casual fan they don't have the flash and pop of the more popular teams but, in to someone who can appreciate comics/basketball in its purity it something to marvel at (no pun intended). I feel the FF is at its essence a pure adventure book and that's what comics are based on.

Posted by NorrinBoltagonPrime21

Probably because there are more popular characters like Hulk, Spiderman and Wolverine making the FF an after thought.

They're also more interesting when they're exploring and discovering other places.

Posted by MyNameWasDeleted

+1 boring

They also never felt very accessible to me for some reason, almost as if they could never be defeated- who wants to be bothered reading a story with so little struggle and even less payoff... I mean the guy's already got the girl, the only drama was poor old Ben and he always struck me as a grumpy stick in the mud. Basically there was no reason to invest my paper route money, or my time walking up to the 7-11 and 'eyeball sweat' reading it.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

Maybe if they had 5-10 different titles they'd be able to match the Avengers and X-Men in popularity. Mighty Four, Uncanny Four, Fantastic Force, etc.

Could happen. There is two Fantastic Fours at the moment after all(sort of).

Edited by RustyRoy

@v_scarlotte_rose: If the reboot is successful then they'll probably 5-6 books and an event as a bonus.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@rustyroy: I hadn't even thought about the reboot. It'll be interesting to see if it makes a difference.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

The problem I always had with the F4 was the same problem I have with Star Trek... they always come up with some crazy outlandish psuedo science answer for every problem. Its more like the Reed Richards comic and the other three are background characters.

Posted by RustyRoy

I like F4 but the reasons they're not popular is because :

  • They don't have a successful movie. The first two movies were pretty bad.
  • They're villains are more interesting them. One needs to be as interesting as their enemies to be likable.
  • Marvel isn't interested in them that much. Every Marvel events revolve around X-Men and Avengers and the F4 are mostly ignored, their villain's are used more in other books than their own book.
Posted by Herokiller12344

Because they suck, why do you think there good villains like Doom and Annihilus moved to other galleries?

Posted by RustyRoy
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I love FF, I think they are much more interesting than Avengers

Posted by DATNIGGA

@v_scarlotte_rose: I think they should've used the concept of the Future foundation to open up the possibility of adding new unique characters to the franchise. Namorita a kree another alien maybe teenaged fraklin (with a secondary mutation thats not so overpowered) or something of that nature... making the team more than 4 making them expand to bigger and better things.

The avengers are expanding through out the marvel Universe

the x men are split up again. but all doing interesting things with the return of mutants

and spiderman is superior and is getting his own band of minions soon

everybody is growing and expanding except the Fantastic 4

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@datnigga: I'm very new to the ideas of the Future Foundation(started reading with Fraction/Allred FF), but it seems like it could be a good way of bringing in new characters, like a sort of X-Men Academy/Avengers Academy sort of thing(haven't read either so I could be wrong about how they do things).

What would make the teams different though? I know at the moment that the classic team are in space, and the stand-in team are in New York, so where would be a good place to base another Fantastic team? Maybe Fantastic Four West Coast?

I really don't know much Fantastic Four information having only read less than 20 or so Fantastic Four/FF comics, so I can't really offer many in depth suggestions.

Edited by DATNIGGA

@v_scarlotte_rose: If they were to expand. The difference would still lie in what they do as a team. Exploring/Dealing with aliens ect..... part of the problem is though the avengers have expanded in to every category everywhere. be it mutant problems (x men) or extra terrestrial scientific (fantastic 4) and has collectively taken many of the fantastic 4's enemies as well.

this whole thing the avengers are currently dealing with. BIO evolution bombs set off by the alein god ex nihilo that is literally RIGHT up the fantastic 4's alley. but where are they? in space....

whither they expand or remain 4 they just need to be bad ass superhero's again. not just a super family that baby sits a child that doesn't grow up. if superheros aren't doings bad ass things well... things get boring after awhile. and that seems to have happened cause without good villains or a constant purpose a story can't possibly hope to hold up

Posted by Captain13

The 616 team just feels very white-bread, vanilla, and antiquated. They're bogged down by too many kids and they seem to old to appeal to the 18-35 male crowd.

That's why the only version of the Fantastic Four that I've enjoyed was the first 18 issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four, an underrated and extremely good set of issues. The characters are younger and more modern. There's interpersonal drama, mystery, interesting pseudo-science, great writing, and great art. No kids. Lots of heart. I hope Josh Trank's reboot draws more from Ultimate Fantastic Four than 616 Fantastic Four.

In fact, the Ultimate Fantastic Four is my favorite superhero team of all time!

Edited by Night Thrasher

@captain13: The Ultimate team was good IMO. But the 616 version is by far superior to me. The growth and inclusion of Franklin and Valeria just adds to the intrigue for me. Plus, no Franklin and no Valeria and no this:

Posted by jointron33
Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@jointron33: Apparently it's Art Adams and Art Thibert.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I love the Fantastic Four, 616 and 6160 and I love the Future Foundation. Family Dynamic + Crazy Science Adventures = Awesome