Mr. Fantastic demonstrates his super power on a 1965 Fantastic Four cover. Artist: Jack Kirby.


Original Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1961
Creator: Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist)
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It was Reed Richards who arranged the fateful 1961 rocket ride that resulted in the creation of The Fantastic Four, and he who, as Mr. Fantastic, became their leader. The …

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… cosmic rays that gave them their super powers had the effect of turning his body into a stretchable, pliable form — much like that of the Quality Comics character Plastic Man, who had been absent from comics for five years.

In addition to his super power, Mr. Fantastic was the scientific heavyweight of the group. It was he who built their transportation device, the Fantasticar, and who designed the "unstable molecules" that allowed their costumes to mimic the super powers of their wearers (including his own rubbery form). When they needed a space ship or a way to enter an alien dimension, he was the one who supplied it. The one thing he consistently failed to do was change his friend, Ben Grimm — The Thing — back to human form.

Especially in the group's early years, it was he whose concerns dominated. He was not only the one who talked the others into riding that rocket — he was also the one whose long-standing feud with Dr. Doom resulted in that villain becoming The Fantastic Four's arch-foe. Also, his exploration of an other-worldly realm called The Negative Zone provided a rich source of monsters and other bad guys, right from the start.

In 1965, Mr. Fantastic tied the knot with Sue Storm, aka Invisible Girl (she now calls herself Invisible Woman). Their wedding, while not quite the first among superheroes (Aquaman's preceded it by six months), made quite a splash, and is certainly the best remembered of the early ones of the genre. They have a son, Franklin Richards, who, though still very young (even after having been in comics, where people age at variable rates, for over 30 years), has already proven to be one of Marvel Comics' most powerful mutants.

Like all superhero groups, The Fantastic Four has its comings and goings — but the charter members always return. During one membership hiatus, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman briefly became members of The Avengers; and he alone once served a stint with The Defenders. But both came back home, and are now, as always, core members of Marvel's longest-running superhero team.


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Text ©2000-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.