Tagged: Fantastic Four Movie

Mike Gold: Fantastic Four Is Fantastic For…?

You may have seen the trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie, due from Fox this coming August. Seeing as how you’re reading this on ComicMix, you probably have.

You may be familiar with all the rumors about how Marvel is pissed off at 20th Century Fox because the movie violates, well, everything fantastic about the Fantastic Four.

At the very least, it seems to ignore much of the origin and the history of the subject material. Anyway, many people believe that’s the reason Marvel cancelled their Fantastic Four monthly, the flagship and cornerstone of the Marvel Universe. This may be true, as there’s a lot of bad blood sloshing around this deal. Not to mention a lot of bad movies as well.

Here’s the curious part.

Human Torch & Silk 4You may have been to your friendly neighborhood comics shop today and picked up a copy of the new Marvel Previews… their promotional comic that tells us what they’re going to publish in a couple months. If you’ve seen the trailer and you’re familiar with the conflict and you’ve seen Previews, you just might be confused by the cover for Silk #4, pictured to the left.

Your confusion would be well-founded. Right there on the cover is Johnny Storm, of the Fantastic Four, sharing a meal with Silk. If you’re not confused, take a look at Johnny’s costume.

You’ll note that the “4” on his chest is pretty much the one in the new movie. It’s the same as the one in the final issues of the Fantastic Four monthly, except for the logo on Mr. Fantastic’s polo shirt. But with the monthly cancelled, if Marvel wanted to distance itself from the movie this would be a great time to revert to any of the previous logos – or create a new one.

Hell, if I were really pissed, I’d spell out the word across Johnny’s chest!

The logo for Fox’s new movie is depicted at the top of this column, unless I broke the Internet once again. That movie “4” is just about the same “4” we see on the cover of Silk #4, to be released this coming May 14th.

If you’re not confused, let me explain why I am. If Marvel hates the new FF movie (or the FF movie deal) to the point of cancelling their flagship title… why does the return of the Human Torch to Marvel’s cover stock promote the Fantastic Four movie?

I’ve always taken this story with a grain of salt. Given my somewhat skeptical nature, that grain of salt usually is big enough to make the Morton Salt girl wince. But people have looked into this, and I’ve asked a couple friends who labor in the Mouse House of Ideas. I had grown to accept this story and have even tagged Marvel’s response as petty. Not horrible, just petty.

And now they’ve changed the Fantastic Four uniform to comply – imitate, actually – that worn in the upcoming movie. The one they ostensibly hate.

Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice famously said.

Then again, the answer might be as simple as this: why let a multi-million dollar feud get in the way of making some money?


Mike Gold: They Aren’t So Fantastic…

There has been a debate amongst comics wags that the rumor about Marvel cancelling their flagship title, Fantastic Four, during their 75th anniversary celebration was just that – a rumor. Marvel/Disney couldn’t possibly be that petty. Bleeding Cool.com‘s Rich Johnson, who carried the story, steadfastly stood behind his sources. Good for him.

Evidently, Marvel wasn’t happy with how 20th Century Fox was treating the property in the forthcoming movie reboot, they didn’t want to support it and so were cancelling the comic book. OK, but would they cancel all those X-Men titles if they didn’t like the way Fox handled their latest X-movie? Of course not. Nor did Marvel cancel the Spider-Man titles despite the atrocious way Columbia handled the Spidey flicks of late – and they’ve got release dates for three or four more.

To be fair, compared to the profits of the X-Men comics or even the (fewer in number) Spider-Man comics, the revenues racked in off of The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine are a fart in a blizzard. Even so, it just seemed real petty.

As it turns out, Rich was right. Kudos, pal. But it’s a damn shame anyway. Historical affinity aside, James Robinson was settling in nicely on the series and he’s one of our medium’s best writers.

Prior to this brouhaha, some cast members of this forthcoming FF flick were saying it wasn’t really based on the comics, it was an “expansion” of the concept, it wasn’t comic book shit, it’s goddamned art and they wouldn’t be associated with lesser trash. Yes, I’m wildly paraphrasing, but not out of my long-acknowledged love of the Stan Lee – Jack Kirby creation. No, I’m crabby about this because it’s a stupid business decision. Haven’t they seen any of the Marvel Studios movies? The recently concluded Batman trilogy? Any of those Marvel and DC shows on television right now?

All of these shows have one thing in common: they treated their source material with respect; Marvel Studios more than DC/Warner Bros., but at their worst neither ever distanced themselves from the comics.

Heaven forbid 20th Century Fox should have a movie as entertaining and as profitable as Guardians of the Galaxy – and that movie wasn’t based upon a comic book series that has been published since 1961. In fact, few civilians ever heard of the Guardians.

Now we have what, for me, may very well be the final nail in the new Fantastic Four movie coffin. Over at Collider, actor Toby Kebbell gave us the bird’s eye lowdown on the character he portrays in the film, somebody called “Doctor Doom.”

“I’ll tell you this because of our history.” Kebbell confided to Collider. “He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story. And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that. The Doom in ours – I’m (Doom) a programmer. Very anti-social programmer. And on blogging sites I’m Doom… The low-fi way he did it, the whole ultra-real, it was just nice to be doing that, it was nice to be feeling we had come to terms with what we had been given.”

Hey, what were you given, Toby, other than characters and a concept that had been around for 53 years and raised three generations of followers in comics and on radio, television and movies?

By the way, as of this writing IMDB is wrong. They still list the character as Victor Von Doom.

So… maybe Marvel/Disney’s reaction was not so petty. Maybe it was more fanboy, and I mean that in the most positive sense of the term.

Fine. One less movie to see and, sadly, one less favored comic book to read.