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Fantastic Four

Comic Books

Publisher: Marvel

Fantastic Finds: The Value of the Fantastic Four Original Series Few forms of entertainment are as iconic or as widely loved as comic books, especially superhero-themed comic books which essentially began with the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1 published in 1938. There are many companies that publish comic books, including historical leader DC, home to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and many other superheroes. But the company that has received the most public attention in the past few years is Marvel. Marvel started as Timely in the late 1930s, then became Atlas in the late 1940s, before settling as Marvel in the late 1950s. At that time, Marvel’s lineup of comic titles included supernatural, science fiction, western, romance, and humorous themes, but total sales lagged appreciably behind the historical leaders DC and Dell. That all changed in 1961 with the introduction of Fantastic Four #1. The Fantastic Four was created by comic legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Lee providing the scripts, Kirby the cover and interior story art for the first 101 issues spanning over eight years. With over 600 issues and multi-movies to its credit, The Fantastic Four is an immensely popular series. Even more impressive, the success of the series inspired Marvel to create many more popular characters and titles, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, the revival of WWII hero Captain America, and dozens of others. The First Issue Fantastic Four #1 was Marvel's first sustained Silver Age superhero title, and is now a highly prized collector's item, currently ranked #3 on Overstreet’s Top 50 Silver Age Comics list, with high grade copies valued in six figures! Even a reprinted version that came out in 1966 accompanied by a vinyl record consistently sells for $200-$500 in high grade. The Early Series The Second issue of Fantastic Four introduced the Skrulls, an advanced, shape-shifting, extraterrestrial race. Issues #3 and #4 set up the superhero team with a headquarters, a vehicle known as the Fantasti-car, and introduced their now-iconic costumes. Issue #4 also re-introduced a popular Timely-era character, Namor, better known as the Sub-Mariner, who becomes a frequent antagonist of the Fantastic Four and other Marvel superheroes. The second most valuable issue in the run is #5 which introduced Doctor Doom, one of comics’ all-time super-villains. The first 52 issues of the series, in fact, introduces one iconic character or team of characters after another – it’s truly one of the great runs in the Silver Age. Some of the more key (and generally more valuable) issues are #12 (first battle between the Hulk and the Thing), #45 (first appearance of the Inhumans), #48 (first appearances of Galactus and the Silver Surfer), and #52 (first appearance of the Black Panther).

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