Monday, September 21, 2015

Lost in translated Fantastic Four issues

After two posts for which I take no responsibility at all and blame it all on sleep deprivation and other health problems I did what I often do before writing a new post : reading what I had written in my last post. Since I had mentioned FANTASTIC FOUR 51 I thought it would be a good idea to make another of my popular IT´S THAT OLD FEELING OF DEJA VUE posts.

I really hadn´t put much background info about why FANTASTIC FOUR issue 51 is such a beloved and iconic issue in the post so I did a quick research but when I wanted to add some links the internet kept breaking down so I decided not to change my last post and put it into this post.

Most comic afficionados probably already know this so if they want they can skip this next part and enjoy the nice pictures. For all others we have to take a trip with the Way - Way - Back Time Machine to June of 1966 which was more than a full year before Yours Truly would even be born yet. Yes, I´m that vain that I put everything in relation to my personal timeline. Anyway, on FF Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had just wrapped up the Galactus Saga trilogy in issue 50, which was their biggest story to date. A really cosmic story wherein the Fantastic Four gambled for the highest stakes against a cosmic entity so powerful most world´s just give up when he appears. As soon as they catch sight of him they are all like : " Okay, that´s it, I´m outta here. I´m done. " I would point out that the story also introduced such classic characters like the Silver Surfer and Galactus but Lee and Kirby introduced dozens of characters every issue.

So Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had just done THE superhero story to end all superhero stories and the big question was how can you possibly top this?

Short answer : you can´t. And you should not even try. Instead they went back to a smaller scale and told one of the most personal stories of the Fantastic Four´s history centering on the heart and soul of the team, the idol of millions, Aunt Petunia´s favorite nephew, the ever loving blue eyed Thing. You can see that right from the first page which characterizes the Thing on one page and sets up the mood perfectly for all that is to come.

This is very much the ultimate Ben Grimm story, where we look into his relationship with the team and with Alicia, and his feelings about being the Thing. Ben is always the most fascinating member of the team, as well as the most visually interesting, so any story with a lot of Ben is going to be a good one. taken from THE JACK KIRBY WEBLOG website.

If you don´t mind spoilers you can read the usually detailed post from SUPER MEGA MONKEY`S MARVEL CHRONOLOGY on the issue and for an even longer version read WHAT I THOUGHT OF FANTASTIC FOUR #51 :

This Man, This Monster is the template for every single superhero story that follows where a character seeks redemption of some kind. This is the best single issue of Lee and Kirby’s still impressive Fantastic Four run that featured some impressive issues that to this day still provide much of the bedrock that the modern Marvel Universe is built on. Stan Lee is performing at his height but it’s King Jack Kirby’s experimentation with his art not to mention the way he’s got every panel bursting with energy.

You can also find the final pages on COMIC BOOK RESOURCES´ Silver Age September post , Fantastic Four 51 is mentioned on this post by Mike Huddleston on COMIC BOOK DAILY about the most important runs in the Silver Age and Jason Serafino at TECH TIMES includes it in his list of 7 Essential Fantastic Four Comics To Start Your Collection . I´m not so sure about the Ultimate Fantastic Four or the Unstable Molecules miniseries as I haven´t read them but the rest of his list like THE TRIAL OF GALACTUS, UNTHINKABLE and SOLVE EVERYTHING are really suited to get a foot into the Fantastic Four universe. And I would have probably suggested more ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR book than the expensive omnibus hardcovers but I guess that´s just a matter of taste and wallet. I have to warn you about the TECH TIMES website though as I believe it´s responsible for my browser constantly crashing. So you might want to read this one quickly.

This post by Bob Leeper on NERDVANA also does spoil a few plotpoints of Fantastic Four 51 but it´s more about the total lack of the latest movies to do an adequate adaption of The World´s Greatest Comic Magazine.

Now the title of this story, THIS MAN . . . THIS MONSTER ! has been used and re - used in various forms by Marvel and other comic companies and if that alone doesn´t tell you how iconic this story is here´s the cover of issue fifteen of Los Cuatro Fantasticos by mexican publisher Editorial OEPISA ( sorry for the bad picture quality, it was the only one I found ).

Which - as far as I can tell from the covers I´ve seen - seems to be their modus operandi. Now don´t get me wrong, there are some covers that are the same as in the original US version. Although they added Johnny Storm´s torso and a lot of hair for Medusa on the one below. As for the Mole, that´s the mexican name for the Hulk who is called La Masa in spanish. The Thing on the other hand is La Cosa in Mejico and in Spain.

But OEPISA had all kinds of wild and crazy fun with the cover design, sometimes just putting their favorite Fantastic Four panels together.

Or they gave the team members new costumes or as is the case with Medusa - who is called miss Galaxia here - not much of a costume at all.

Yes, changing costumes happens quite often on spanish language editions as you can see by this cover from one of the editions by spanish publisher Ediciones Vertice where the Impossible Man sports a new stylish outfit.

They also gave changed his skin color to pink, something they got right in the mexican edition from Editorial OEPISA which used the original cover.

Now I said that the cover with the miscolored Impossible Man above was from one of the editions by spanish publishers Ediciones Vertice which published the Fantastic Four from September 1969 to December 1980. The thing is ( no pun intended ) that they had three different series with different covers sometimes reprinting the same comics. In some cases you can see where the cover artist used some of the original cover art.

If you know the covers of the original Fantastic Four issue it´s easy, although they did get rid of World War II veteran Sergeant ( later Colonel ) Nicholas Fury of The Howling Commandos. Yes, he´s the white one.

Now this is another cover for the same issue and you need a bit of detective work and at least you have to know what the issue is all about.

Again, Editorial OEPISA used the Jack Kirby splash page as the cover.

Back to the spanish editions by Ediciones Vertice. You might say that the ones above are not that difficult to correlate to the original covers. How about we make things a bit more difficult ? Can you guess the issue ?

As a small hint here´s another spanish cover for the same issue.

And here´s the original cover although in the italian language version.

Okay, it gets a bit more difficult to guess the issue with this next one.

And this spanish cover for the same issue isn´t much help either.

Because they don´t look even remotely anything like the original cover.

You could think our next issue is about the Watcher but the words Contra La Patrulla X indicate that the Fantastic Four go up against the X - Men.

It gets a bit clearer with this spanish cover for the same issue.

Still it doesn´t give you the slightest hint what the real cover looks like.

Finding the original for this cover was also a really tough nut to crack.

It does look a bit like this cover which has almost the same title although Daredevil is wearing his old original black and yellow costume above.

The title is really the  only thing in common with the original - where Daredevil is wearing his red costume. I can only guess the spanish artist of the first cover didn´t have the actual issue of Fantastic Four in front of him so he didn´t know the Man Without Fear had a new set of duds.

Our last example Today was one of the most difficult one to find. Not THE most difficult one because there are some where I could not find out to which issue they belong. And I DID find it out for this. But it wasn´t easy.

This cover wasn´t much help other than confirming that there must be a story with a title " Killing You To Save You " that involved the Thing.

Which meant - again - going through all the story titles ( thanks to the guys from Grand Comics Database for their resource ) until I finally ended up with Fantastic Four issue 42 called To Save You, Why Must I Kill You ?

And that´s the reason why I´m wrapping things up for Today. You see, it took me a few hours to put all - or most - of the covers in the right order and folders so we will have to do the real DEJA VUE post about Fantastic Four 51 some other time. Although our next post will be the re - posted first part of my SPECIAL SUBZERO EDITION of CASTING THE JUSTICE LEAGUE MOVIE ( which I had replaced with the birthday posts for Salma Hayek and Beyonce ) featuring Coco Austin, Darlene Silva and Miko Lee.

Since Today´s post was about Stan Lee and Jack Kirby´s quite legendary Fantastic Four run I wanted to start off with a Stan Lee documentary but because the embedding was disabled by YouTube you have to watch it here . Nevertheless I found this video of Stan Lee on LARRY KING NOW which at least my readers outside of the US have probably not seen yet. I hope.

I did find a Jack Kirby documentary even if it´s been split into 5 parts.

Since one of my links about FANTASTIC FOUR 51 already tackles the train wreck of the latest Fantastic Four movie I want to pimp another video by comicbookgirl19. I picked it because it does a good job of explaining the whole debacle without really spoiling too much. It might convince you to save your money and wait until the movie is on tv if you haven´t seen it.

Today´s first cartoon video is from the animated SILVER SURFER show. I know it´s old but I hadn´t seen it until a few months ago and although they changed a lot of Norrin Radd´s origin story the source material is so strong that it´s still a good and entertaining show. Since I have already posted the last episode here is the first in english, spanish and german.

Since I´m counting the Silver Surfer video as my cartoon recommendation of the day here´s a more self indulgent video. I´m just a sucker for the old 60s Marvel cartoon shows which were sometimes just the art of the original comic with very basic animation - what people now call motion comics and behave like they have re - invented the wheel.  Speaking about re - inventing something according to Greg Hatcher´s post on COMIC BOOK RESOURCES the newest Fantastic Four movie was such a flop because it was not really a Fantastic Four movie and so far the Hanna Barbera cartoon has been the most faithful of all the adaptions. This is the episode with Galactus who for some strange reason is green instead of purple. Who knows what the guys who made this were smoking.

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