Last week - or this week, I don’t even know anymore – it was reported that Marvel would be cutting back on or completely ending any and all products or merchandise that might even have a periphery relationship to the Fantastic Four in order to screw Fox out of the couple of dollars comic book fans pour into the market every week. It might seem petty, stupid, short sighted, and something that we here at The Outhouse pretty much only expect from DC (and Todd McFarlane), and that’s because it is.
Well, as it turns out, reports of the Fantastic Four’s demise from may have been slightly exaggerated. Enter Alex Lozano, a freelance artist created in a German laboratory as part of a Hydra experiment to recreate the super-artist formula that gave Alex Ross his powers, who created these interlocking variant covers for Marvel’s 100th anniversary celebration:
…taking a peek instead at what their comics might look like twenty-five years from now with their 100th Anniversary Specials, they decided to take it even further. In fact, they're celebrating the 100th anniversary of the modern Marvel Age, which began with Fantastic Four #1 in 1961, telling stories as if they were being written in 2061.
What the fuck does that even mean? Are they reimagining the origins as if they took place in 2061? Or are they just telling stories that take place in 2061? Why does it look like those are the same characters we have now? Is this 100th anniversary crap following the Marvel Timeline and these characters are only 6 months older? How did I end up at a point in my life where these questions make perfect sense?
There are a number of simple explanations as to why the Fantastic Four are (sort of) featured this way:
- Rich was incorrect
- The cover was commissioned before the stupid policy went into place
- The super-artist formula coursing through Lozano and Ross's blood prohibits either artist from painting characters created after 1985
Fear not, true believers, we here at The Outhouse have put our NSA connections to good use and can now print a transcript of a recorded Marvel creative retreat explaining why the Fantastic Four are not a part of Marvel’s 75th anniversary shenanigans:
Joe Quesada: I’d like to welcome all of you to the annual Marvel Character retreat. I would especially like to thank Annihilus for hosting this year’s summit.
Joe Quesada: Now, to business.
Speedball and Spider-Man [raise glasses]: To business!
Joe Quesada [sighs]: As you all should know by now, we will be celebrating Marvel’s 75th Anniversary this year, and we would be remiss if we didn’t feature the founders of the Marvel Universe, The Fantastic Four.
Reed Richards: Excuse me…
Sue Richards: Now Reed, let it go, please. Sit down.
Reed [shaking Sue off]: Do we look like “C” students to you!?
Joe Quesada: Wait what?
Hawkeye: Oh, I get it: “To business” like it’s a toast! [laughs]
Reed Richards [looks at Hawkeye] : You have always been an idiot and I was happy when you were dead.
Reed Richards [looks at Joe Quesada]: Did I stutter? I will not, neither will I allow The Fantastic Four to be featured in nor on anything that makes it look like we earned a 75% on a test.
Joe Quesada: Wait, what? That’s just stupid. Its obvious…
Ben Grimm: “Allow?” What do you mean “Allow?”
Reed Richards: I’ve been telling you for years to read our contracts. I have complete control over all of the Fantastic Four’s (and supporting cast’s) likenesses; won them from the Kirby heirs in a game of poker….
After that the meeting devolved into a melee of lawyers and hero vs hero fights not seen since, well, the last time Marvel pitted hero vs hero in a blockbuster event comic. So last week.
Long story short, Reed Ricahrds is an asshole and Alex Ross loves the Silver Age.
Enjoy the cover no one will build because the variants will cost too much and, really, this 100th Anniversary thing seems like a really stupid idea anyway.