Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 4
A Stan Lee Story Spectacular
A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll
A Chic Stone Delineation Delight
A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark
We return, following a brief post-Thought Bubble blogging break, with a look at yet another instance of Reed being a sexist git to his one true love, Sue. Except that this doesn't seem quite as much fun to look at as it used to. This is the first blog post written post-election, a divisive and horrible election where the candidate who won, despite his ridiculous lack of qualifications, did so by preying on the outdated attitudes that divide us. These include race, homophobia, and misogyny.
There was always a tongue-in-cheek element to our looks at Stan Lee's insistence on writing his 1960s leading men as horribly sexist. To us, the idea of treating anyone as lesser, regardless of race, gender or sexuality, is pretty ridiculous, and up until earlier this year, our preferred way of tackling these incidents was to ridicule them and to refuse to take them particularly seriously. Which, when you're dealing with Stan's writing, is pretty easy to do. He's not exactly a serious writer. This hasn't always been the best tack to take, and we've certainly been guilty of not balancing each moment of mock with a more serious dismissal of these attitudes, instead relying on an assumed knowledge of our intentions and beliefs.
From an in-continuity perspective, props have to be given to both Ben and Johnny for taking Sue's side in the ridiculous, non-debate over whether she should be joining in with the fight against Doom. Reed has seemingly forgotten when Sue went toe-to-toe with Doctor Doom in hand-to-hand combat back in Fantastic Four #17 (despite the writing then crediting Reed with teaching her judo), and that with her force-fields, she is more than capable of participating in the fight. This attitude would, thankfully, dissipate as the book moved on into the 1960s, but it's also hard to read this panel without being reminded of the terrible treatment of Sue at the hands of Reed in the late 120s.
Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton