Fantastic Four #12: It's A Marvel Comic 10

Fantastic Four #12. page 9, panel 4 Script: Stan Lee

Art: Jack Kirby

Inking: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

I've waxed lyrical both on the podcast and on this blog about how much I love the conceit that in the Marvel universe, Marvel comics exist purely as a licensing entity, creating comics based on the real-life exploits of super-heroes. This panel is a very subtle example of Stan using the subtleties of this gimmick in his storytelling.

The original 'bathtub' Fantasticar has been replaced by the sleeker, more modular incarnation, and on his way down to New Mexico, Reed can't help showing it off to General Ross. However, he's not giving away the speed, oh no - he's even dropped a line to Marvel Comics to ask them not to mention just how fast The Fantasticar goes, hence this rather esoteric and wonderful editor's note.

However, this conceit does rather sabotage the entire plot of the story. We've previously seen Johnny reading a copy of The Incredible Hulk #1, so why, as soon as he sees Bruce Banner, go 'Hey, he's the Hulk!' and save everyone a lot of time?

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #12 in our tenth episode: Hulk? Smash!