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The Essential Fantastic Four: Volume 1 (Essential Fantastic Four, #1)
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The Essential Fantastic Four: Volume 1 (Essential Fantastic Four #1)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  475 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
These first classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby adventures of comics' First Family - the Invisible Girl, the Thing, the Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic - defined the Marvel Age of Comics!
Paperback, 528 pages
Published December 8th 1998 by Marvel Comics Group (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Travis
Jul 03, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books, classics
Here is the beginning of not just the Fantastic Four, but the marvel universe itself. Reading this you realize how much that is considered the building blocks of marvel showed up in these pages.
The stories are goofy, simplistic, corny, done in a single issue and throughly wonderful. There's a heavy science fiction slant to most of the stories, lots of aliens, funky science and wild inventions created by both the good and bad guys.

The slightly dysfunctional vibe is very strong, Reed has a much st
...more
Will Sheppard
Jul 28, 2010 Will Sheppard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Corny fun. It's so cool to realise how much modern day superhero fiction draws on these stories and ideas.

The fact that it's written in the 60s shows when you notice:
* References to "reds" and "commies"
* Sometimes they fly faster than light, with no reference to warp speed or hyperspace or anything that modern sci-fi requires now
* It demonstrates (apparently subconscious) sexism in society back then - one time Reed Richards goes to find the Invisible Girl because he needs some paperwork typed up
...more
Adam Graham
Oct 23, 2012 Adam Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This volume of the Fantastic Four is a must-read not only for fans of classic superheroes but for fans of classic science fiction. There's so much to love about this book and these characters as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This collection includes the first twenty monthly issues of Fantastic Four as well as Annual #1 and spans from November 1961 into 1963.

There's so much to love about this collection and these characters. Lets go ahead and break it down.

Concept: The Fantastic Four are of
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Gregory
Aug 13, 2014 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essential Fantastic Four Volume 1 collects the first 20 issues of The Fantastic Four, along with the first Annual, in one thick copy. All of the pages are black and white, so you aren't getting the full experience, but a cheaper (and easier to track down) version. These were written in the 60's so the plot lines run one issue and have little characterization. We do meet some of the more well known villains, such as Dr. Doom and The Sub-Mariner, which is cool, but we see them pop-up way too often ...more
Travis McClain
The Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 1 collects the first twenty issues of Fantastic Four, along with Fantastic Four Annual 1, all originally published between 1962 and 1963, all written by Stan Lee and pencilled by Jack Kirby. To make the volume cost-efficient for Marvel Comics, the artwork has only been republished in black and white, cheating us of the doubtless brilliant colors that made Kirby's pencils so awesome to readers forty years ago. Because Kirby's pencils were meant to be colored, th ...more
Edward Johnson
May 17, 2012 Edward Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR, Volume 1 brings together the beginning of a legend in comics. Whatever you may feel about the dialogue or situations in these early stories, they are truly groundbreaking from a stereotypical comic book point of view. They are often stark-raving mad in the stories that are presented, but they are all truly memorable. The legend that became Marvel Comics started here, and the magic is pretty obvious. Dramatically over-the-top and desperately haunted, the members of t ...more
Adam
May 08, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you were to divide up the early (1961-1963) Marvel superhero comics into "major" and "minor" series, the FF would definitely land on the "major" side of the ledger. Shortly before reading this, I read the first volume of the Essential Thor, which unfortunately felt pretty minor. The Mighty Thor, God of Thunder, wielder of Mjolnir, one of the most powerful superheroes there is, spent a lot of issues wasting time with no-name thugs, random dictators or communists, or one-shot alien visitors.

Not
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Rich Meyer
Nov 13, 2011 Rich Meyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Well, this is it ... THE Essential volume of the entire Marvel Essentials series, and one of the few books that really lives up to that name. In the beginning, there was Spider-Man, the Hulk, Ant-Man and ... The Fantastic Four. The FF were really the progenitors of Marvel's entry into the Silver Age of Comics, being a "rip-off" of the competition's Justice League of America. High sales on that title, got The Powers That Be at Marvel interesting in doing a super-hero book again. And the rest, as ...more
Helmut
Mar 06, 2013 Helmut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, superheroes
Ursprünge

Ein weiterer großer Wurf aus der fast schon unheimlich produktiven Lee/Kirby-Maschinerie. Wahrscheinlich nach Superman, Batman und Spider-Man die bekanntesten und erfolgreichsten Superhelden werden hier geboren.

Was den enormen Charme und die Zeitlosigkeit dieser Comics ausmacht, ist die liebevolle Darstellung einer Familie, die so gar nicht recht miteinander auskommen will: Der Heißsporn (im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes) Johnny Storm alias Human Torch glüht regelrecht darauf, dem so unver
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Scott Thompson
I liked this. I'm reading all of the early Marvel comic books, and quite frankly, there's a lot of problems with them.

In film, a general rule is to never say something if you can show it. I don't feel it's as cut-and-dry in comics, but it's fairly close. Stan Lee didn't start out like that. He narrates EVERYTHING. I don't need you to tell me Mr. Fantastic is stretching, I can see from the picture he's stretching. I hate, hate, hate the monologues that every character goes on if Lee feels the re
...more
John Gentry
Jan 30, 2015 John Gentry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I bought the first two volumes of essential fantastic four years ago when I was in middle school. I read them both in a matter of a week or two and hadn't touched them sense. Until now. The wonderful thing about these volumes is that they collect the monumental Stan Lee and Jack Kirby run. All together it's about 100 or so issues of greatness every "superhero" comic fan should own or at least have read.
Now here's the thing about the essentials; they're printed black and white on newspaper paper
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Sesho Maru
May 14, 2013 Sesho Maru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, most of the stories are goofy, but these heroes are human, which was a slap in the face to the DC of the time. I had totally forgotten the shojoesque love triangle between Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, and the Sub-Mariner. Instead of being scary and evil, Dr. Doom is more wacky and comedic in these early stories. He even busts in on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby while they're doing the FF comic! So meta! And why exactly does the Yancy Street Gang have it in for The Thing??? lol One of the other ...more
James
Jun 21, 2014 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy Hannah! Reading too many of these 1960's, Stan Lee scripted comics can't be good for you. I mean, the amazingly astounding, life-threatening quantities of pseudo-science mumbo jumbo isotron, molecule ray stuff, mixed in with the gravest threats that humanity has ever faced, until the next issue, and then that cute Invisible Girl, Sue, and her lameass invisibility, creeping up on people power - when she's not mooning over every man who walks into her life or worrying about her wardrobe - all ...more
Μιχάλης
Oct 25, 2014 Μιχάλης rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely shows it's age: there are plenty of cold war references, over the top science, sexism and goofiness. But it has aged quite well and remains enjoyable even today and it is clearly far superior to most of the comics in the early 60's. The most radical element is how the FF feel like a family, bickering, having money troubles etc.
The best of the stories in this volume can be read even today, however the volume tends to recast the same rogues gallery over and over again (half the stories
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Mark
Jul 04, 2007 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: superheroes comics' fan
for those of you who has the slightest idea how cool/uncool some famous superheroes were (in this case, they are fantastic four), especially in their debuts, you may get some very important hits from this comic-book.

this is the source where you can find how does this gang of four really look like. i mean, their original appearances. unappealing!

their many adventures were so corny, superhero's kind of cliche and very predictable in present-day standard yet i still find them interestingly entertai
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Ryan Dilbert
You'll have to excuse the over-simplified plots and dialogue. This is Fantastic Four in their larva stage. Sue Richards is a helpless, brainless damsel at this point. Doom isn't half as complicated and interesting as he becomes in later comics, but stil there is some good stuff here, including Jack Kirby's artwork. Reading this is kind of looking at baby pictures of your hot girlfriend and seeing that she was once a fat, immobile blob, but having seen her origins helps you better understand and ...more
Thomas
Jul 13, 2013 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's the first 20 issues or so of THE comic book that started the Marvel Age of comics. It's a little rough at first but it is doing SO much that is new for the time, sure it's mired in the era but that is part of the charm. You can see issue by issue Lee's dialog get sharper Kirby loosens up on his art and grow more cinematic. I kind of prefer the black and white as Kirby's art is more front and center.
Joseph Zurat
Sep 29, 2013 Joseph Zurat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic
Contrasted with the Justice League Showcase I recently finished, this book is practically full-blown adult drama. The characters have personality and conflict with one another, the villains are equally out there, and the solutions are all fairly simple. It has that slightly-overwritten Stan Lee style that is what makes the Silver Age what it is. The art is consistent and fantastic. Jack Kirby is great and one of the most important comic artists of all time.
Adam
Jul 13, 2013 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These Essentials are always a great and relatively cheap way to catch up on the original comics and stories in order. These original tales of the Fantastic Four make for a great read though a little simplistic compared to comic arcs and plots today but also give an interesting snapshot into the socio-economic and political aspects of the 60's as well even if it does date some of the plots making them not quite as relevant today.
Ryan
Absolutely deserving of the "essential" tag. This one was kind of rough around the edges at times - Lee and Kirby were basically reinventing how superhero stories were told, so it's understandable that they'd take a while to make everything gel properly. It was fascinating to see how certain elements were there from the start, while others took a while to evolve properly.
David
Reprints the first twenty-issues of this groundbreaking superhero comic book series by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It gets three stars because Lee and Kirby were trying to work out what they wanted to do with the characters, which produced mixed results and some of the inkers used over Kirby's pencils were terrible.
Holden Attradies
A good read in the sense that it's good history. On it's own the art and stories (not to mention the blatant sexism) can be pretty tough to get through, but when viewed as looking at how far things have come it is a pretty remarkable read. It's also amazing to see how the marvel format of comics was worked out over the first 20 comics or so.
Scott
May 06, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read these stories multiple times over the years in various formats, and they're still some of the best stories I've ever read. Sure alot of the references in these early stories are really dated, but overall they really hold up over time. I also love the format of all these Essential volumes. You get alot of stories for a very good price.
Alex Firer
Jul 27, 2011 Alex Firer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While undeniably charming, neither creator is at the top of their game yet. The stories are as always as relateable and human as Stan Lee believes they should be, while Jack Kirby's art has an odd lumpiness to it which is fun to see before he becomes more abstract. If I was a kid in the 1960's, I would give this six stars.
Eric
Jun 08, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, comic-books
What a great collection of cheesy early sixties comics. Despite the cornball nature of the stories and the dialog there are some brilliant breakout scenes and speeches that show the path that brought about the Mighty Marvel Age. Excelsior!
Frank Taranto
A fun look back at the beginnings of the FF and the Marvel Age of Comics.
Pat
Mar 17, 2008 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just picked this up the other day and I'm about on the 3rd story in the book. It's great to read the old school tales. Sad its in black and white and not in color but for how cheap it is its great.
R Scott Steele
Sep 14, 2012 R Scott Steele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were several differences between the original FF and the modern version, but you still have to love the classics, written during the height of the Cold War.
Variaciones Enrojo
Edición española, cronológicamente, tomo 1 de la serie.
Juan Jose
Aug 15, 2011 Juan Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This are a classic!
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Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber) is an American writer, editor, creator of comic book superheroes, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.

With several artist co-creators, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, the Silver Surfer, Dr. Strange, and many other characters, introducing complex,
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More about Stan Lee...

Other Books in the Series

Essential Fantastic Four (9 books)
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 2
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 3
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 4
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 5
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 6
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 7
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 8
  • Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 9

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