So Rich Johnston’s reporting, over at Bleeding Cool, that Marvel Comics is cancelling The Fantastic Four sometime next year. And they’re cancelling it not because sales are in the crapper, but because Ike Perlmutter’s pissed that they don’t own the movie rights, and so doesn’t want to give “free advertising” to whichever studio does. I don’t remember what studio that is, and don’t care. Because let’s focus on what’s important here: THEY’RE CANCELLING THE FANTASTIC FOUR.
As long-time readers know, I don’t really care about most corporate spandex franchises. Nothing against them. I’ll read them if they’re written and drawn by people I like. And if they’re not rendered unreadable by corporate comics bullshit / crossover nonsense. But my days of being a fan of long-running corporate-owned funnybook characters are long over.
Except the Fantastic Four.
I mean, Batman, sure. Because Batman.
But the Fantastic Four, man.
I mean… The Fantastic Four!
Seriously. THE FANTASTIC FOUR.
It’s THE Marvel comic. The flagship. The foundation stone of their funnybook empire. And they’re cancelling it because their CEO’s got his panties in a bunch about a movie contract that his company’s still making millions of dollars on.
Just don’t seem right.
Now, I could go off on a rant about how this is putting the cart before the horse, and how wrong it is that movie business is countermanding funnybook business, and how much I don’t give a rat’s ass about the movies in the first place, and how messed up it is that they’re getting in the way of my reading. But… well… Those are all bullshit arguments.
The Fantastic Four is a corporate franchise like any other (even moreso now that they’ve settled with Jack Kirby’s heirs), and it will be treated according solely to how it will make the corporation the most money. Or, you know… according to the whims of the guy in charge, whether he’s being rational about the bottom line or not. But that’s beside the point. They’re properties, not characters. And feeling attachment to them is silly.
The Fantastic Four, man. It’s my favorite funnybook. Hands down, no competition, my all-time favorite. It’s the one corporate spandex book that I’ll read if it’s even halfway decent. God help me, I love it. I love the mix of characters. The odd super powers. The bad guys. The focus on science and exploration over vigilantism. The ideas. Yeah, the IDEAS. I think that’s what I love most of all. At its best, The Fantastic Four was inventive. Crazy. Weird. Even idiotic at times. But grandly so.
It’s my favorite funnybook. And I will miss it when it’s gone.