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in: Comics, Week 45, 1961, 1961 1961, November, Silver-Age, Fantastic Four Vol 1, Stan Lee/Editor-in-Chief, Jack Kirby/Cover Artist, Dick Ayers/Cover Artist, Stan Lee/Writer, Jack Kirby/Penciler, George Klein/Inker, Christopher Rule/Inker, Stan Goldberg/Colourist, Artie Simek/Letterer, Stan Lee/Editor, Reed Richards (Earth-616)/Quotes, Fantastic Four (Earth-616)/Appearances, Reed Richards (Earth-616)/Appearances, Susan Storm (Earth-616)/Appearances, Jonathan Storm (Earth-616)/Appearances, Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616)/Appearances, Subterraneans/Appearances, Harvey Elder (Earth-616)/Appearances, Giganto (Deviant Mutate) (Earth-616)/Appearances, Tricephalous (Earth-616)/Appearances, Ugu (Earth-616)/Appearances, Deviants Mutates (Monstruous Deviants)/Appearances, United States Air Force (Earth-616)/Appearances, Homo sapiens/Appearances, United States of America/Appearances, California/Appearances, Central City/Appearances, New York State/Appearances, Ithaca (New York)/Appearances, French Africa/Appearances, Monster Isle/Appearances, Subterranea/Appearances, Valley of Diamonds/Appearances, Fantasti-Flare/Appearances, Reed Richard's Rocketship/Appearances, Blog posts

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1


Fantastic Four Vol 1 1

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Quote1 It is the first time I have found it necessary to give the signal! I pray it will be the last! Quote2
-- Mister Fantastic

Appearing in "The Fantastic Four"Edit

Featured Characters:


Other Characters:

Races and Species:




Synopsis for "The Fantastic Four"Edit

Chapter 1

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 0001 Title

A shadowy figure fires a flare out of a window. The flare forms the words "The Fantastic Four!"

Susan Storm is having tea with a friend. When she sees the flare, she turns invisible, gets into a cab, and offers the surprised driver a banknote when she reaches her destination.

Ben Grimm is trying to find a coat that fits him. A clerk in the haberdashery sees the flare. Grimm bursts out of the too-small door, rips a manhole out of the street, follows the sewers, and bursts out when he thinks he has reached his destination. He is struck by a taxi which is wrecked.

Johnny Storm is working on his latest hot rod in a service station. The mechanic sees the flare, which turns into the number 4. Johnny bursts into flame and flies away, destroying his car. The authorities treat him as an enemy attack, so he reluctantly melts the jets that come after him. A nuclear heat-seeking missile locks onto him, and, just as Johnny's flame starts to fade, an impossibly long pair of arms grab the missile and throw it out to sea.

Johnny's savior is the same man who fired the flare. He greets Susan, Ben, and Johnny with the words, "There is a task that awaits us ... a fearful task!" But how did these four people become so fantastic?

To beat the Communists into space, scientist Reed Richards, sister and brother Sue and Johnny Storm, and pilot Ben Grimm sneak off into space in a rocket. In space, the four are bombarded by cosmic rays. The auto-pilot lands the ship back on Earth, where they find themselves physically transformed and possessing remarkable new abilities. Sue can turn invisible. Ben has transformed into an orange, muscular "thing" with super-strength. Reed's body became highly malleable, allowing him to stretch into any shape. Johnny's body bursts into flame, and he can fly. They decide to use their abilities to become the super-team known as the Fantastic Four. They give themselves the individual names Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, Human Torch, and the Thing.

(Chapter 2) The Fantastic Four Meet the Mole Man!

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 Chapter 2 Title
Monster Isle from Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 001

Monster Isle

Atomic plants in the Soviet Union, Australia, and South America have been mysteriously attacked by cave-ins. Another attack occurs in Africa, where a huge monster burrows out of the ground but is recalled by a human figure. The Fantastic Four travel aboard their private jet to Monster Isle, which Reed has deduced is the same distance from each attack. There, they are attacked by a giant three-headed monster. Reed stops the monster, but a cave-in separates Reed and Johnny from Ben and Sue. Beneath the island Reed and Johnny land in the Valley of Diamonds, which temporarily blinds them. The Mole Man appears, revealing he is responsible for the attacks.

(Chapter 3) The Mole Man's Secret!

Fantastic Four Vol 1 1 Chapter 3 Title

The Mole Man explains his origin. Having been ridiculed by humanity, he went off alone in search of the legendary land at the center of the earth. Eventually he washed ashore on Monster Isle. Making his way through a cavern, he was caught in an avalanche and rendered almost blind. However, due to his other heightened senses taking over, he mastered the subterranean creatures and built himself an underground empire.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Ben wrestles a rock monster. Ben and Sue find their teammates listening to the Mole Man's plan to invade the surface world. He sends his monster army against the Fantastic Four. Whilst Johnny distracts the biggest one, the team flees through a tunnel, which Johnny seals shut behind them. After the Fantastic Four escape in their jet, Mole Man destroys the island so the surface world cannot trouble him again.

Continuity Notes

  • This issue is considered the start of the Marvel Universe. It was first coined as Earth-616 in Daredevils #7, however as Marvel began incorporating super-hero stories from their predecessors Timely and Atlas Comics, the first appearance of Earth-616 has been retconned back to Marvel Comics #1 which feature the first appearance of the Sub-Mariner.
  • As Marvel has continued to publish stories eventually they had to institute a Sliding Timescale as a means of slowing down the advance of time in the Marvel Universe over the length of publications in real time. This was to prevent aging their characters quickly as well as updating dated plot concepts, generalizing real-life events or dates that are mentioned in various stories. Thus all such references should be considered topical references. When Fantastic Four #1 was published in 1961, Reed's spaceship is specifically referred to as a rocket, and his intentions for his mission is to beat the Soviet Union in the space race. Contextually, the story was published during the height of the US/Soviet Space Race, which saw both countries competing to see which one could develop manned space flights. Since then, many retellings of the Fantastic Four's origin have changed the details of Reed Richard's space flight, updating concepts so that they were not considered dated more modern readers. Such as:
    • While Fantastic Four #1 implies that Reed was trying to reach the moon, Fantastic Four #2 states that he was attempting to reach Mars. Other stories since then have generalized where his destination was supposed to be.
    • Later in Fantastic Four #236, the origin of the Fantastic Four was updated, it was stated that Reed's experimental ship was intended to travel to the edge of the solar system and while it needed a rocket booster to reach escape velocity from Earth's atmosphere it relied on a Star Drive to reach its destination. This tale also goes on to expand on how the quartet were mutated.
    • Fantastic Four #358 published in 1991 states that the this "Star Drive" was intended to bring them into hyperspace in order to visit other solar systems.
    • Fantastic Four #543 stated that Richards was testing faster-than-light space travel.
  • What caused the Fantastic Four to mutate and gain their powers has also been expanded upon over time. Fantastic Four #1 simply states that it was cosmic rays that caused the mutations. Other interpretations are:
    • Fantastic Four #197 goes on to state that it was not just cosmic rays that caused the Fantastic Four to get their powers. It states that sunspot activity caused flaring through the Van Allen Belts causing an increase in neutron activity. The combination of this and the cosmic rays caused the mutations.
    • Fantastic Four #529-530 posits that the cause of the cosmic ray storm was actually a message being transmitted by a creature called the Entity who was seeking out those who sought universal truths as he did. This same storyline also shows Reed Richards going back to the dawn of the universe and his views of himself and his teammates were ingrained on the original cosmic rays that would eventually imprint the Fantastic Four's unique abilities.
  • The Thing is depicted here with dinosaur-like skin, he maintains this appearance until he eventually he developed his trademark rocky appearance by Fantastic Four #10. Marvel Two-In-One #50 went on to explain that the Thing's form continued to mutate after his initial transformation.
  • Prior to their rocket flight, Reed and Sue were pulled forward in time to the future of Earth-60166 where they met numerous versions of their future selves who were gathered by their Earth-60166 counterparts to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary as seen in Fantastic Four: The Wedding Special #1. When Reed and Sue are returned to the exact moment that they were taken from, they retained no memory of the festivities.
  • Events surrounding this issue have also been expanded outside of retelling how the Fantastic Four got their powers. Fantastic Four: First Family #1 tells what happened to the Fantastic Four from the moment they crash landed and were taken into government custody to Reed Richards beginning to set up the Fantastic Four prior to their battle with the Mole Man. The rest of the series happens between Fantastic Four #2 and 3

Publication Notes

  • The letters page of Fantastic Four #281 credits Art Simek as the inker for this issue. The theories on who actually inked Fantastic Four #1 (and Fantastic Four #2 for that matter) continue to be debated, and will probably never be definitively answered. Many scoff that Art Simek could not have inked either issue, and dismiss the editor's reference in Fantastic Four #281 as Jack Kirby's faulty memory of years gone by. Though it was also backed up by Roz Kirby and Steve Leialoha on the same letters page.


  • This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.[2][3]

  • Marvel and many Marvel fans have often referred to this issue as the start of "the Marvel age of Comics".
  • In late 1961, no one in the US really knew how conditions in space would affect a human being, since the first man in space was a Russian, Yuri Gagarin, in April 1961. (The first American, Alan Sheppard, went into space in February 1962.)

See AlsoEdit

  • None.


  1. 1.0 1.1 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
  2. The first story is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:
  3. The second story is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:

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