Vote for the 60 Greatest Fantastic Four Stories Ever Told!
One of the interesting things about celebrating anniversaries about comic books is that very often, the whole concept is that no one knew that Comic Book X was going to be so historic when it was released, so it wasn’t like people were going out of their way to keep track of it when it happened. Nowadays, with regular release schedules and the internet, it’s very easy to tell when, say, the first issue of The Walking Dead was released (even though that, too, was not a heralded release at the time). However, with that being said, the best bet that we have for the on-sale date of Fantastic Four #1 is August 8th, 1961, nearly sixty years ago.
Therefore, to celebrate the Fantastic Four’s 60th anniversary, we’re going to do a countdown of your picks for the 60 Greatest Fantastic Four stories of all-time. This should be simple enough as the Fantastic Four has an inordinate amount of great stories, as the opening run by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee alone had dozens of iconic stories. Then you have acclaimed runs like Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway and John Buscema, Marv Wolfman and John Byrne, John Byrne writing and drawing, Walter Simonson writing and drawing, Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan, Chris Claremont and Salvador Larocca, Carlos Pacheco and Jeph Loeb, Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo, J. Michael Straczynski and Mike McKone, Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, Jonathan Hickman and a number of artists, Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley/Mike Allred, James Robinson and Leonard Kirk and the current run by Dan Slott and a number of artists. You might have a pretty good idea as to what the number one story is, but what about #2? Or #3? Or #45? That will be decided by you!
Here’s how it will work. I will collect votes until Wednesday, August 4th (let’s say 11:59 PM Eastern) and I will then begin the countdown on August 8th, the Fantastic Four’s nominal 60th anniversary.
1. Vote by e-mailing me your ballot at [email protected]. Put in your subject heading something along the lines of “Greatest Fantastic Four stories.” It doesn’t have to be that precise phrasing, but something along those lines. Just so that I know that your e-mail is your ballot for sorting purposes.
2. You’re going to be voting for ten comic book stories that star the Fantastic Four. It doesn’t have to be their own comic book if they guest-starred in a comic you liked a lot. For instance, Marvel Team-Up #100 would qualify as a Fantastic Four comic book.
However, no solo stories (like no Thing stories) and no Human Torch/Thing team-up stories (unless the entire team stars in the issue, which happened a few times). Same thing with Marvel Two-In-One. Only counts if the whole team is involved.
3. Rank your ten favorite Fantastic Four comic book stories from #1 (your most favorite) to #10 (your 10th most favorite). I’d prefer it if you actually numbered your entry, 1-10 (without the # sign). It’s easier for me to count.
Here’s a template you can use as a guide. You can just copy and paste it into your e-mail:
TOP TEN GREATEST FANTASTIC FOUR STORIES
4. Your top choice will be given 10 points, your second choice 9, etc.
5. You can vote for single stories and you can vote for story arcs. Do not vote for full runs. Like “Stan and Jack’s Fantastic Four run.” Don’t do that. Just pick stories. Use your best judgment as to whether a story is a single issue or if it is a multi-issue story. I’ll admit that with Kirby and Lee’s Fantastic Four, that can be tricky, since the introduction of the Inhumans literally overlaps with the original Galactus Trilogy, but I trust that you all can figure out that they are both individual stories for the purpose of this vote (I’d say they were individual stories period, but especially for the purposes of this vote).
I know you will all likely want to vote for Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four run as one big story, but you can’t. Break it up! The easiest thing to do is to just use the trades. Here are the trades, for your ease:
“Solve Everything” — Fantastic Four # 570-574
“Prime Elements” — Fantastic Four #575-578
“The Future Foundation” — Fantastic Four # 579-582
“Three” — Fantastic Four #583-588
“Tomorrow” — FF #1-5
“The Supremor Seed” — FF # 6-11
“Forever” — Fantastic Four #600-604
“All Hope Lies in Doom” — FF # 12-16
“Foundation” — Fantastic Four #605-611
“You Are Whatever You Want to Be” — FF # 17-23
I’ll throw you one bone for those who want to just count Hickman’s Fantastic Four as one run. I will let you count the final Fantastic Four trade (“Foundation”) and the final FF trade (“You Are Whatever You Want to Be”) as one big story, as they’re really just a series of one-off epilogues wrapping up Hickman’ run. So vote for those two as “Foundation/You Are Whatever You Want to Be.”
In addition, because they’re shorter, I will, in fact, allow you to vote for Fraction/Bagley’s Fantastic Four #1-16 as one story and Fraction/Allred’s FF #1-16 as one story. That’s it! Don’t try getting another other big runs counted as just a single story!
6. Non-continuity Fantastic Four stories still count for this poll. In other words, you can vote for the Ultimate Fantastic Four or Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four.
7. As noted above, FF counts just like the main Fantastic Four book, but not the most recent Future Foundation miniseries. And obviously, all the various Fantastic Four miniseries count (like 1234).
8. A tricky question is how to handle major companywide crossovers that the Fantastic Four are involved in? I think that most of them do not count as Fantastic Four stories, outside of their respective Fantastic Four tie-in issues. Like if you want to vote for the Civil War Fantastic Four issues, fair enough. Or the Fantastic Four: Secret Invasion miniseries. You just can’t vote Secret Invasion as a Fantastic Four story. The one exception I will allow is Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars, which is very much a resolution of his Fantastic Four run based around Doom and Reed’s relationship. So if you want to vote for Secret Wars as a Fantastic Four story, I will allow it. Your call, of course, as to whether you think it is one of the ten greatest Fantastic Four stories of all-time.
9. I’ll make various other decisions in the interest of fairness and, when needed, I’ll post the clarifications here. But this is all pretty straightforward, I believe. It’s just naming your favorite comic book stories starring the Fantastic Four. The series has been around for almost seven hundred issues and there are a whole pile of classic stories, so it should not be difficult for people to come up with ten each.
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