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Old October 2 2012, 03:05 AM   #1
A beaker full of death
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Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Backing up to 1961. Not the modern FF where the Thing calls people "dude", Invisible "Woman" Sue Storm is a sexpot/scientist, and Reed is some kind of wunderkind nerd. No, the original FF. Reed Richards, pipe-smoking paternal scientist, his old college roommate Ben Grimm, who hails directly from the lower East side - both of them WWII veterans (which puts them over 35 when the action starts), Reed's much younger shy girlfriend, and her hotheaded kid brother, who snuck onto the air force base because conditions were just perfect that night to launch their rocketship. Yeah, you can argue the logic all you want, but that's not the point.
The point is... this seems to fit right in with 1950s sci fi movies, especially Angry Red Planet, which I happened to catch last night (substitute Brooklyn for the lower East side and a redhead for the blonde and you've pretty much got it nailed).
Admittedly, and ironically, the girl on that crew did happen to be a scientist, though you'd never know it from the way she acted.

When this comparison occurred to me, it also occurred to me how much of the original characterization of the FF has been lost.

Any thoughts?
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Old October 2 2012, 03:51 AM   #2
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Well the FF are basic stock characters, so its not unusual to see some or all of them in other places. Though if you read the first issue the characterizations we know so well hadn't quite firmed up. Ben especially isn't quite the idol of millions we've come to know. There's no trace of his classic speech pattern and his favorite word seems to be "bah!" Sue doesn't come off as shy and Johnny seems more impulsive that hot headed. Ben's more of a hot head anyway. (Anger control ain't his forte.)

I don't see why Ben wouldn't use the word "dude". He's not exactly the type to avoid slang. As for Reed being a nerd, yeah he is one. Though, back in the early 60 Ben might have called him an "egghead". Same thing, really.
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Old October 2 2012, 04:53 AM   #3
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

^ "Dude" just isn't a New York word - even today. Pal, buddy, bub, even sparky -- not to mention a whole lot of, well, unmentionable terms. But not "dude."
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Old October 2 2012, 05:09 AM   #4
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

I'm sure Ben gets out of NYC every once in a while and has adopted slang from all over the Galaxy. I've been known to utter "Oy vey" and "Oi!" Trust me, I'm not Jewish nor have I ever been to England.
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Old October 2 2012, 05:24 AM   #5
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
^ "Dude" just isn't a New York word - even today. Pal, buddy, bub, even sparky -- not to mention a whole lot of, well, unmentionable terms. But not "dude."
Hmmm, so is FF now written by a guy who grew up in the 80's?
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Old October 2 2012, 05:55 AM   #6
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
^ "Dude" just isn't a New York word - even today. Pal, buddy, bub, even sparky -- not to mention a whole lot of, well, unmentionable terms. But not "dude."
You sure of that?

A journalist of the New York American, Blakely Hall, made Wall famous, proclaiming him in 1888, "King of the Dudes," for having won the "Battle of the Dudes" against Robert "Bob" Hilliard, another sartorial dude when, during the blizzard of 1888, he strode into a bar clad in gleaming boots of patent leather that went to his hips.[4] Nevertheless, some historians still consider it was Hilliard who won that dude battle.[8]
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Old October 2 2012, 02:34 PM   #7
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

The main inspiration for the FF was Jack Kirby's earlier series Challengers of the Unknown for DC. Both feature teams of four heroes whose abilities reflect the four classical elements, but in the former case they were non-powered men with different specialties (a miner, a pilot, a firefighter, and a diver, or something like that) while in the latter they were given superpowers reflecting the elements (changeable Reed is water, invisible Sue is air, and the other two are obvious).
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Old October 3 2012, 01:28 AM   #8
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

The Thing isn't supposed to be made of rock. Originally his skin was supposed to be rough and reptilian. The "rock" is a misinterpretation of what Kirby drew. The Challs were Ace ( a pilot), Red ( a daredevil), Rocky ( a boxer ) and Prof (a marine scientist). Not quite the four elements.
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Old October 3 2012, 01:58 AM   #9
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

^I never said he was literally made of rock, any more than I said Reed was literally made of water. It's symbolism. You've really never heard this before? The parallels between CotU and FF, and the shared elemental inspiration, are well-known to comics experts. See here for example:

http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/dynamic...ff-1-synopsis/
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Old October 3 2012, 02:27 AM   #10
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^I never said he was literally made of rock, any more than I said Reed was literally made of water. It's symbolism. You've really never heard this before? The parallels between CotU and FF, and the shared elemental inspiration, are well-known to comics experts. See here for example:

http://kirbymuseum.org/blogs/dynamic...ff-1-synopsis/
Of course I've heard of it before. I also heard its not what Lee and Kirby had in mind when creating the FF. The parallels between the FF and the Challs are common knowledge. Kirby played with similar archetypes when creating strips like the Newsboy Legion. Big Words could be a young Reed Richards. Scrapper a young Ben Grimm. Gabby a younger Johnny.

I don't see any elemental inspiration in the Challs. They were just action hero types: Pilot, Diver, Athlete and Daredevil. The elemental inspiration in the FF is just coincidence.
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Old October 3 2012, 02:55 AM   #11
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Whatever. The main point is that the Challengers were an inspiration for the FF. You don't have a dispute with that, so it's not worth the effort to quibble over the elemental influence.
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Old October 3 2012, 02:59 AM   #12
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

(ETA: Allow me to quibble! )

I'm sorry, I haven't read Challengers of the Unknown or really know anything about them, but your list of their names and "professions" seems to pretty easily map to the four elements.

Ace ( a pilot) = air (he flies for a living)

Red ( a daredevil) = fire (his name, daredevils tend to be "fiery")

Rocky ( a boxer ) = earth (his name, boxers are "rooted")

Prof (a marine scientist) = water (he studies life in the water and you mentioned he's a diver)
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Old October 3 2012, 03:06 AM   #13
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Vulture Capitalist wrote: View Post
(ETA: Allow me to quibble! )

I'm sorry, I haven't read Challengers of the Unknown or really know anything about them, but your list of their names and "professions" seems to pretty easily map to the four elements.

Ace ( a pilot) = air (he flies for a living)

Red ( a daredevil) = fire (his name, daredevils tend to be "fiery")

Rocky ( a boxer ) = earth (his name, boxers are "rooted")

Prof (a marine scientist) = water (he studies life in the water and you mentioned he's a diver)
A daredevil equaling fire is a bit of a stretch. The "daredevilish" thing Red is noted for is mountain climbing. Rocky was no doubt named for Rocky Graziano.
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Old October 3 2012, 04:20 AM   #14
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Reed's elasticity seems more like an influence from Plastic Man than an archetype of water. The Human Torch seems more influenced by the android Human Torch who partnered sometimes with the original Submariner. There had been an Invisible Girl in the movies. The only original I think was the Thing, but he didn't look like rock at first.

Also, the whole issue is complicated by the clear alignment of personality traits with powers in the case of Susan and Johnny. Then there's possibly a kind of irony in the misalignment in the others. Reed's seeming weakness as an intellectual=fantastic ability to metamorphose? While Ben's seeming strength=something more monstrous?
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Old October 3 2012, 04:27 AM   #15
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Re: Fantastic Four inspiration - Angry Red Planet?

Zombie Cheerleader wrote: View Post
A daredevil equaling fire is a bit of a stretch.
You're thinking way too literally about something that's explicitly metaphorical. Fire equals intensity, energy, danger. Not to mention "devil" suggesting a hellish association, fire and brimstone.
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