Sol Brodsky

Fantastic Four #4: Flame On 4

Fantastic Four #4, page 23, panel 1

Fantastic Four #4, page 23, panel 1

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

Wow, they're really milking this new catchphrase! Four times in its very first issue!

Here, Johnny yells it as he prepares to create a tornado of unimaginable power that lifts both Namor and Giganto into the ocean, but doesn't affect anything else lying around (automobiles, rubble, nuclear fallout, etc.)

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #3: ATOMIC POWER! 3

Fantastic Four #4, page 18, panel 4

Fantastic Four #4, page 18, panel 4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

There's so much that I love about this panel. Let's start with the caption, which tells us that Ben has been rushing from military base to military base, looking for a nuclear bomb. Because those get stored in suburban military bases...

Then there's the plan, which is to strap it to his back and walk into the throat of the Sub-Mariner's giant sea-monster, Giganto.

But best of all is this three-panel sequence featuring the long, lonely march of Ben Grimm. Barely visible against the destruction of of New York and the grotesque monstrosity that is Giganto. It's an absolute favourite of mine.

Fantastic Four #4, page 18, panels 5-7

Fantastic Four #4, page 18, panels 5-7

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Flame On 3

Fantastic Four #4, page 12, panel 4

Fantastic Four #4, page 12, panel 4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

So, this is the first time that Johnny has full ignition following his traditional battle cry. I'm pretty sure that he has come to regret this specific instance, as mere seconds later he dropped the amnesiac Namor into the ocean, restoring his memory and setting him on a vendetta against humanity.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Reed's Stretchy Body 5

Fantastic Four #4, page 11, panel 1

Fantastic Four #4, page 11, panel 1

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

A lovely, large splash panel gives us our coverage for today. Normally I wouldn't cover instances of Reed stretching out really far, but there are three reasons why I'm making an exception for this.

  1. I get to post a Jack Kirby splash panel.
  2. Kirby really works the perspective in this panel, giving it a a dizzying sense of vertigo.
  3. Reed stops a helicopter that is going about its business by holding onto its wheel.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Flame On 2

Fantastic Four #2, page 10, panel 5

Fantastic Four #2, page 10, panel 5

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

The second ever FLAME ON! is our focus today, and the first notable thing about this panel is how similar it is in posing to the first ever one. Johnny is facing the camera, holding up his right hand, and igniting his index finger. The second notable thing is that, once again, his catchphrase is not accompanied by a full body ignition. Based on these first two usages, it would appear that FLAME ON! was initially a method for Johnny to control his flame at a minute level, rather than as a battle cry.

Oh, and the shaggy vagrant about to get a fiery shave? Why, it's Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: It's A Marvel Comic 2

Fantastic Four #8, page 8, panels 3-4

Fantastic Four #8, page 8, panels 3-4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

If you're following the story of this issue through this blog, then... well, good luck with that. Johnny ends up reading Golden Age comics in a flop house. As you do. Coincidentally, it's a comic featuring a bum from the flop house, who is actually Namor, the Sub Mariner.

Now, knowing everything that has happened since 1962, you have to wonder how history would have panned out if Johnny had picked up a copy of Captain America instead. Now, there's a good idea for an issue of What If?

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Property Damage 7

Fantastic Four #4, page 6, panel 1

Fantastic Four #4, page 6, panel 1

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

In this glorious splash panel from the arbitrary start to chapter 2 of this issue, Ben hoists a car above his head, ready to hurl it into Johnny's body. The actual damage comes in the next panel, as he misses and the car crashes through the wall, destroying both the wall and the car. But this was such a nice panel, I couldn't resist posting it, even if I had to bend the rules slightly to do so.

You've got to feel sorry for the guy who owns this garage, though. Since this series began, he's had two walls and two cars belonging to customers completely wrecked because of his continued employment of Johnny Storm. Luckily for Johnny, this is comic-book-world, so instead of getting fired and sued for damages, he has a job for whenever he feels like turning up to do some work.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: The Humanity Of Benjamin J. Grimm 2

Fantastic Four #5, page 7, panels 2-4

Fantastic Four #5, page 7, panels 2-4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

One of the greatest sources of drama in the Fantastic Four centres around Ben's humanity. Every now and again his humanity is returned to him, but before long, events conspire to persuade Ben to sacrifice his human form to save other people. Resigned to his fate, the reader can't help but sympathise with Ben.

This is not one of those times.

Ben flips to human form for no reason at all other than he was about to put his fist right through Johnny's head and Stan wanted to remind readers that Ben is looking for his humanity. Johnny flies away and only three panels later, Ben reverts to his Thing form.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Property Damage 6

Fantastic Four #4, page 5, panel 6

Fantastic Four #4, page 5, panel 6

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

We're back to crazy ol' smash-everything-in-sight Ben. All three remaining members of the team have been looking individually for him, and it's Ben who tracks him down to the automobile shop where Johnny occasionally works. How does he choose to enter this building that presumably has an owner and several employees relying on it for their livelihoods? By smashing through the wall. Good going Ben...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Flame On 1

Fantastic Four #4, page 5, panel 2

Fantastic Four #4, page 5, panel 2

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

So, here it is. The first ever FLAME ON! So noticeable and iconic that we missed it when we covered this issue on the show!

FLAME ON! is Johnny's traditional battle-cry, a rousing shout that communicates his drive and passion and instils fear into his foes. Here, however, he uses to announce his intention to weld. Well, if you start low, you can only go up...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #4: Fear Of The Thing 5

Fantastic Four #4, page 2, panel 8

Fantastic Four #4, page 2, panel 8

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

I'm beginning to wonder if I should have named this blog after Ben Grimm, as we've had far more posts devoted to his activities than we have the Human Torch's.

A discussion as to what to do about Johnny's departure from the team turns ugly as Ben makes no bones about what he's going to do when he catches up with him. Sue's reaction clearly shows how terrified she is of Ben at this time.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #4 in our third episode: Super-Villain Cavalcade

Fantastic Four #3: Three/Two/One/None 1

Fantastic Four #3, page 23, panel 4

Fantastic Four #3, page 23, panel 4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

One of the key elements that differentiated the Fantastic Four from other super-hero teams was that they didn't always get on. Like any family, although they love each other, they have arguments, disagreements and fights. Sometimes these fights get too big for the team to bear, and the team fractures for a while. This is where Three/Two/One/None comes in, tracking each and every time the core four members of the team break apart and, when they appear, their replacements.*

Johnny was always the hot-head of the early issue, both figuratively and literally. Throughout the issue, he had been butting heads with The Thing, and when Ben tried to argue that Johnny wasn't responsible for the Miracle Man's defeat, enough was enough. Only three issues into the series, the Fantastic Four are down to Three, and at the time of publication, there was no guarantee that Johnny would return to the team...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In

*I am so very glad that I'm not doing this for The Avengers, who went through more lineup changes in four issues than most teams do in several years!

Fantastic Four #3: Nova Time 1

Fantastic Four #3, page 22, panel 1

Fantastic Four #3, page 22, panel 1

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

Here we see the first use of one of the Human Torch's signature moves, the nova blast. Present in pretty much every interpretation of the character, the nova blast sees Johnny intensify the heat and flame he generates, letting it out in an explosive blast. In this instance,  he's using the nova blast to temporarily blind the Miracle Man.

This isn't the first time that the nova blast is mention on-panel - that would be in Fantastic Four #7 - but it's pretty much accepted that this is the first time he uses this power. Still no Flame On, though...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In

Fantastic Four #3: Reed's Stretchy Body 4

Fantastic Four #3, page 21, panel 6

Fantastic Four #3, page 21, panel 6

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

Escaping from a re-united Fantastic Four in the atomic-powered tank, the Miracle Man shoots out a tyre on the Four's car with hypnotism with his gun. Ever resourceful, Reed contorts hit body into a tyre to allow the car to continue. The car, however, is an antique racing car that happened to be parked nearby, and you have to wonder how it manages to keep pace with the atomic-powered tank.

Still, I like this use of Reed's powers. It's inventive, resourceful, visually interesting, and shows a little bit of his character as he points out that he can't keep it up forever.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In

Fantastic Four #3: Reed's Stretchy Body 3

Fantastic Four #3, page 20, panels 2-4

Fantastic Four #3, page 20, panels 2-4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

IT'S BOUNCIN' TIME!

That's the Miracle Man whose point of view we're following here. He's shooting bullets at Reed with hypnosis with a gun. We're not yet seeing that Reed's body can absorb the impact of the bullets, but we do see him avoid the bullets by turning into a ball and bouncing around.

Of course, a large ball is probably an easier target to hit, so Reed's relying on his speed and dexterity as a ball to avoid the Miracle Man's bullets.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In

Fantastic Four #3: ATOMIC POWER! 2

Fantastic Four #3, page 10, panel 3

Fantastic Four #3, page 10, panel 3

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

You can't see this, but just off-panel is a giant monstrous movie mascot, animated by the Miracle Man, lifting the Army's atomic tank into the air, with hypnosis. No, really. This is the big plot-hole in the whole issue. The Miracle Man doesn't go to military base, so the soldiers are not under his control. So, what are they seeing?

Moving on from plot illogicality, I wondered on the show why the addition of a nuclear reactor to a vehicle designed to take heavy fire on the battlefield would benefit the tank in any way? Surely gasoline provides enough power for the tank. Surely Stan doesn't think that the addition of the word 'atomic' makes anything sound more powerful and cool. Oh, wait...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In

Fantastic Four #3: Reed's Stretchy Body 2

Fantastic Four #3, page 9, panel 4

Fantastic Four #3, page 9, panel 4

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

I'd not normally include instances of Reed simply stretching his body out - I like to look at when the creators take things to the next level - but this one just about gets in due to the back-and-forth nature of the stretching. The next has the monster crashing into Reed, which causes Reed to have a small collapse. Which is unusual as the monster is simply hypnotism. Very good hypnotism, obviously...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In

Fantastic Four #3: Fear Of The Thing 4

Fantastic Four #3, page 4, panel 3

Fantastic Four #3, page 4, panel 3

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

We're back to what is clearly the most predominant recurring feature of the early issues, Ben Grimm's anger issues. Here, he is called on stage by the Miracle Man and humiliated (through hypnotism) when the Miracle Man slices a massive log in two with his finger (through hypnotism). He then takes a full-force Thing punch to the chin without even blinking (through hypnotism). This is the final straw, and Ben loses his rag and has to be restrained from pounding the Miracle Man into the ground, which he probably wouldn't be able to do (through hypnotism).

What's that you say? You've never heard of the Miracle Man? Not surprising, as he didn't make another appearance for 11 years, then made only a couple more appearances before The Scourge of the Underworld shot him to death (with hypnotism a bullet).

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In