FANTASTIC FOUR #29 (1964): 1st Kirby Photo Collage

We start on Yancy Street.

And of course that means mischief.

F4 29

“It Started On Yancy Street”  starts with a bunch of practical jokes played on the team by the Yancy gang.  Maybe it’s a sign of their tremendous egos, but they can’t imagine that a bunch of kids would be able to foil and roil them like this, so they start looking through their records to see if someone is backing them.

Interesting that they use what appear to be playing cards of their villains. Not even a computer. But hey, it’s not without precedent.

After the pranks continue, and Thing gets letterbombed (which, given modern history, isn’t really funny), the team ventures back to Yancy Street for revenge, where they find…

…And not just any gorilla: It’s the Red Ghost and his Super Apes, out for revenge after the FF stopped him from claiming the Moon for his own property.

The foursome surrender after Red Ghost captures Johnny with, once again, an asbestos sheet, and takes them back to the moon.

Which gives Jack Kirby to do his first photo-collage.  

He would use this throughout his career, as a way to push comic book art past its boundaries.

Red Ghost dumps the team on the Moon’s surface, without oxygen, and they flee to the blue area for safety where they meet Watcher and he lets them play with his toys for a bit.

Putting to one side that even allowing a guy like Reed to see these kinds of things clearly violates Watcher’s vow of noninterference (a vow he breaks more often than he keeps), it’s interesting to think of Watcher as an anthropologist/social scientist–studying both alternate worlds and artifacts. I always thought of him purely as an historian.

And finally, Red Ghost is defeated by one of Watcher’s items…

It’s getting to be a bit of a trope here, having enemies fade away or shrink into nothing.

The apes flee in Red Ghost’s spaceship, and The Watcher, under the rationale that the FF can’t stay in his home, return the team to Yancy Street.

I did like Stan’s little morality panels, which he used to close so many of his comics.

1 thought on “FANTASTIC FOUR #29 (1964): 1st Kirby Photo Collage”

  1. One of my personal five favorite things in life is the Hanna-Barbara ‘Fantastic Four’ cartoon that ran on the ABC Network from September 9th, 1967, to March 15th,1970. Only twenty episodes, and yet, I could watch them all from now til Doomsday. ( “Doomsday”- heh-heh-get it?? ) Most Saturday morning cartoons are flawed in some way or another, ( ‘Super Friends’: Wendy and Marvin, ‘The Adventures of Jonny Quest’: Complete absence of women, ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’, the stupid mutt, etc., ) but not the Hanna-Barbara ‘Fantastic Four’ show. Most of the episodes were direct adaptations of Lee&Kirby’s material, right down to the dialogue, minus the sub-plots. But I usually hate sub-plots anyway, so I don’t consider it a flaw, I consider it an improvement. For 1967, Stan Lee’s scripts were pretty damn sophisticated for Saturday morning, so I was spoiled right off the bat. Replacing all the smart superhero stuff in 1969 with garbage like ‘Scooby-Doo, Where Are You,??’, ‘Wheelie and the Chopper-Bunch’, ‘Goober and the Ghost-Chasers’, etc., etc., boiled my blood at the time as it still does today. Who CARES if kids are beating each other up on the playgrounds and backyards of America after watching ‘Space Ghost’, ‘The Herculoids’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘The Fantastic Four’, etc.- I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts those kids actually LEARNED a lot more from these shows than they EVER did from watching shit like ‘Speed Buggy’ and ‘Scooby-Doo’. Anyway, “It Started on Yancy Street”, totally adapted from ‘FF’#29, was one of the early Sixties Lee/Kirby ‘FF’ adventures that made it onto the show, and, as with the other adapted episodes, did it a “fantastic” share of justice! How the Thing managed to con all his teammates into coming down to Yancy Street for a confrontation that was incredibly beneath them, remains one of the Great Unsolved Mysteries of the Marvel Universe! If I were Reed, and the Thing presented me with this idea, I would have simply given the Thing some more busywork! As it was, the team made fools of themselves by simply going down there at all! And we saw how it played out! For the Human Torch to be one of the most powerful people on the planet, it sure is easy to shut him down! Apparently, all that’s required is an asbestos tarp, or a firehose, or a bucket of sand! If I were the Human Torch, I would find that highly discouraging! Another great question about “It Started on Yancy Street” is how , in the narration, Stan states that it took two days for the Red Ghost’s spacecraft to reach the Moon from Earth. Since the Red Ghost doesn’t exactly strike me as the hospitable sort, I wonder how our heroes managed to keep themselves fed on this odyssey- they probably didn’t prepare for a protracted trip into outer space when they embarked from FF HQ to Yancy Street! And how about the john??? Two days is a long time to stay off the john! But, maybe- the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes had to go, eventually, so maybe Ghostie installed one! ( like Howard Wolowicz’ on “The Big Bang Theory” ) Also- this story, and issue #13 which preceeded it, officially establishes the Fantastic Four and the Red Ghost as the first human beings to walk on the Moon! JFK’s agenda was achieved faster than anyone involved could have dreamed! And yet, nothing is made of this point, either in the actual texts, or the cartoon adaptation! Things that make you go “Hmmm!! ” Not to take anything away from Armstrong, Aldrin or Collins, of course, but, somehow, I believe that it is appr opriate for Reed Richards and his little team to be the first people to the Moon,on Marvel-Earth, considering how they achieved their superhumanity in the first place. It just makes sense. 616 is not our actual world, anyway, so why not??? Even though the premise of this odd little story is flawed, I would not award ANY Lee-Kirby FF tale anything less than a “B”- of course, now that I’ve had a moment to study on it, I honestly cannot recall ANY FF story I’ve ever read to be less than a “B”- so, there!!


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