29. It Started On Yancy Street

The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Nine 29

Issue Twenty-Nine

It’s a trip back to the moon to battle the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes in this issue, which feels a little like a rehash of issue 13, since all the same elements are here. However, the ‘beat-the-Commies’ motivation behind the first tale is swapped in with a standard ‘villain-seeks-to-destroy-FF’ hook.

It hardly seems to matter. For a start, the original tale was so rich that it’s fun just to see the elements in play again, and also, Kirby’s work is finally starting to crystallize into his own often imitated, but never surpassed style. I’m afraid that the words in this post are quite insignificant to pad in between all the excerpts I wanted to show, so I’ll just take a break and let them speak for themselves:

The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Nine 29

An orangutan weaponizing a car by magnetically disassembling it. Only in FANTASTIC FOUR.

The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Nine 29

Advanced panel composition 101. Note the framing of this panel: the other-worldy spacecraft which the FF are entering as prisoners, and just inside of that, the ordinary urban street scene that they are leaving behind.

The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Nine 29

The Red Ghost disappearing into a spinning, scarlet void. Look especially at how the line weight compliments foreshortening. Those are some heavy blacks the inker is laying down, and it works the better for it.

The Fantastic Four Issue Twenty-Nine 29What’s great about these images, in comic book terms, is that they could only appear in FANTASTIC FOUR. No other Marvel character could have these adventures. Little wonder Kirby stuck around for 102 issues with creative opportunities like these to draw. Stan’s writing abilities have been denigrated in recent years, but I’ve always thought that unfair. Plotting is one thing, different to theme, content, and inception, which are all Lee’s domain, and he definitely deserves props for that. There is a sweet scene with Ben and Alicia at the start of the issue where each plans on dumping the other because they think the other is too good for them. It’s quick and not drawn out, and makes them more devoted to each other. It’s going to be hard to watch that fall apart.


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