– by Tim Jousma

This Week in Marvel Unlimited, I had a whole reading list planned. I was diving into the world of Howard the Duck. Then I saw this.


8/8/1961 was the debut of the first issue of Fantastic Four, starting what became the Marvel Universe. (According to Tom Brevoort from Marvel, the date listed on the comics at that time were an indication to newsstand owners when to take the issue in question off newsstands. The comics were delivered three months before, hence the August debut.) The fact this wasn’t a big deal is a little sad but anyone with a cursory knowledge of the Marvel movie rights knows why.


I won’t claim to be a big Fantastic Four fan yet to deny their impact would be foolish. Without them, there would be no Spider-Men, no Hulk, no Iron Man, no X-Men. The work on Fantastic Four brought us the amazing world we’re all still enjoying today.

The sad part is, thanks to horribly written contracts Marvel made to keep their company afloat in the 1990’s, they make no real money off these characters. While the decision creatively sucks rocks, business-wise I get why Marvel is reluctant to have a comic line dedicated to these characters. With 20th Century Fox owning the movie rights, the real financial benefactor would be Rupert Murdoch and we’ve seen what havoc he can do when he has money.

The Fantastic Four helped bring the soul back to comics. If you’ve had a chance to read any comic from the 1950’s, you’d see how silly the comic book industry had become. The stories were horrible. The characters were one dimensional at best. The heroes were made to be so powerful they became utterly boring thanks to the lack of any real tension these characters had with their antagonists.


The Fantastic Four changed that. The fact alone that they argued with each other was revolutionary at the time. They acted like people act towards each other. You may love someone and feel the need to kick their teeth in at times. The fact these characters treated each other in such familiar ways allowed us as readers to relate to them more so than strange visitors from another planet or rich guys angry at the death of their parents.

Without the Fantastic Four, our world would be a much different place. So take the time this week to catch up with the foundation of the Marvel Universe, the Fantastic Four. You can find a wealth of issues on the Marvel Unlimited app. For $9.99 a month or $69 a year (the option I chose) you have access to over 17,000 comics. If you can’t find something good to read with Marvel Unlimited, you’re not really trying.

New This Week in Marvel Unlimited

1.Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War Prelude Infinite Comics (2016) #1

2.Ms. Marvel (2015) #4

3.New Avengers (2015) #6

4.Old Man Logan (2016) #2

5.Red Wolf (2015) #3

6.Silk (2015) #4

7.Spider-Gwen (2015) #5

8.Spider-Man 2099 (2015) #6

9.Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #2

10.The Totally Awesome Hulk (2015) #3

11.The Ultimates (2015) #4

12.Weirdworld (2015) #3

13.A-Force (2016) #2

14.The Amazing Spider-Man and Silk: The Spider(fly) Effect Infinite Comics (2016) #2

15.The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #7

16.Captain America: Sam Wilson (2015) #6

Column, Marvel, Comics Marvel Universes, Marvel, The Fantastic Four, Stan Lee, Tom Brevoort, Marvel Comics