FANTASTIC FOUR: GRAND DESIGN #1
Writer: Tom Scioli
Artist: Tom Scioli
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Fantastic Four are my comic book family. It’s because of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s run that I’m reading comic books today. Reading these comics as a kid blew my mind. I became obsessed with the grotesque yet light-hearted and colorful lives Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm. Their adventures into the unknown regions of the universe and imagination made me want to go back for more.
And I always did.
Through the imaginations of Jack and Stan, I got to know the Skrulls, Namor, Doctor Doom, Silver Surfer, Galactus, Black Panther, the Inhumans, the Kree, the Negative Zone and how they impact the Marvel Universe and comic book history as a whole. These stories were inspired by real historical events like the Space Race and the Red Scare. When I go back and read those stories (which I do more than I’d like to admit), it feels like I’m getting back together with old friends. You click back together immediately, welcomed warmly and you always learn something new as appreciation grows.
To this day, Jack and Stan’s run is one of the most important comics I’ve ever read. When you flip through it, you’re not just looking at superhero comics from the 1960s. You’re witnessing the birth of the Marvel Universe and comic books as we know them today.
When I learned that Tom Scioli would be following Ed Piskor’s X-Men by making a Grand Design retelling of the Fantastic Four, I jumped out of my seat. With the insane amount of toys at his disposal, Scioli successfully takes on the daunting task of fitting the first five years (1961-1966) of Fantastic Four history in the 48 page first issue of Fantastic Four: Grand Design.
PASSION ON PAPER
Scioli doesn’t hold back as this book is bursting at the staples with eye-popping, mind-melting Jack Kirby goodness. This man (Scioli) found a way to fit *25* panels or more of key comic book history onto each page. Scioli even wrote, drew, colored and lettered the whole damn thing! Every page is important and there’s not a single area of paper wasted putting together the Grand Design.
Like X-Men: Grand Design, the FF’s story is narrated by Uatu the Watcher. You’ll witness the birth of the universe, the creation of the Fantastic Four, showdowns with Namor the Submariner in Atlantis, Doctor Doom’s treacherous debut, a Hulk/Thing throwdown, the Inhumans, the villainous Frightful Four and more that I won’t spoil! When you think this book can’t get any more insane, it leaves you on the edge of your seat… You glimpse a shining silver figure surfing the spaceways. The arrival of the Silver Surfer heralds the appearance of the world eater, the coming of Galactus!
LOVE OF THE ART
With his creative mind and Jack and Stan’s stories at his disposal, Scioli creates a work of pure passion with Fantastic Four: Grand Design. Scioli bleeds Kirby— that much is apparent. I knew Scioli was the right person to tell the Fantastic Four’s story. But holding the book in my hand, flipping through the newsprint to see Devil Dinosaur, the Celestials and other Kirby creations proved that he's the man for the job.
For fans of Fantastic Four, old and new, Grand Design is a celebration of comic books, Jack Kirby and the limitless frontiers of imagination. If you love the Fantastic Four, this book will make you love them more. For new readers who read this comic— I hope it makes you more inclined to join the ever expanding First Family of the Marvel Universe.
The last half of FF: Grand Design comes out Nov. 27. Be on the lookout! It’s going to be a wild ride.
If you want some FF reading recommendations, check out my list here: https://www.thecomiclounge.com/single-post/2019/10/25/Fiending-for-the-Fantastic-Four