Reed Richards

Fantastic Four #34: Reed's Stretchy Body 98

Fantastic Four #34, page 6, panels 1-2

Fantastic Four #34, page 6, panels 1-2

Fantastic Four #34: Reed's Stretchy Body 98

Rapturously Written by Stan Lee

Deliciously Drawn by Jack Kirby

Impeccably Inked by Chic Stone

Lavishly Lettered by Artie Simek

Fantastic Four #34 takes a while to get going. Page six is where the Fantastic Four start to get caught up in the main plot, cunningly-disguised as a rift between Ben and Reed. The cause of the rift won't be discovered for a little bit, but the initial presentation is that someone has told Ben that Reed is a Skrull, and with no proof, he's ready to dismantle the team.

We then get some fantastic stretching from Reed that we'll see over the next few days. First of all, he's off after a departing missile (and just exactly who is piloting this? Is anyone other than him and Ben trained on piloting a passenger ICBM?) before looping back around to confront the foreman. Don't take Reed's toys - he'll get so angry he won't even sit on the floor and pull his body back into shape.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #34 on our thirty-eighth episode: Two Not-That-Fat Men On Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four #2: Reed's Stretchy Body 1

Fantastic Four #2, page 10, panel 3

Fantastic Four #2, page 10, panel 3

Uncredited Writer: Stan Lee

Uncredited Penciler: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: George Klein

Uncredited Colours: Stan Goldberg

Uncredited Letterer: John Duffy

One of the great joys of having a member of your cast who can change his body shape must be getting to let your imagination run wild with the artistic possibilities of such a character. The first time I came across this type of power coupled with a writer and artist capable of running with these possibilities came when I read Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's JLA, back in the late 1990s. They had an absolute ball with Plastic Man, and for a large part of the 2000s, successive writers and artists kept Plastic Man as an amusing and inventive character within the League.

But we're not here to talk about the Justice League. We're here, under this category, to take a look at how Stan and Jack handled the possibilities of such a character. We start here, with Mr Fantastic contained in another seemingly escape-proof cell by the US Army. On the previous page we'd seen him use his fingers to probe ever inch of his cell looking for a gap, and here we find him squeezing through a minuscule gap adjacent to a rivet. This leads to this marvellous visual of a plaid-clad Reed sprouting his head from a metal wall.

Oh, and notice that this is before the unstable molecule costumes that would make their début in the next issue. That's an impressive plaid shirt!

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #2 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In