The Fantastic Four have been totally MIA in the comics following the events of Marvel’s Secret Wars in 2015. But now, the “First Family” will come back in a new ongoing series that begins in August.
On Thursday, Marvel announced the return of the Fantastic Four in a promotional video posted on social media. In a conversation between Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and VP Creative Executive Ryan Penagos, Cebulski announced that Reed Richards and Sue Storm will reunite with Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm in a new Fantastic Four monthly comic, beginning with a new #1 issue this August.
Silver Surfer and The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and Ultimate Spider-Man illustrator Sara Pichelli will collaborate on the new series.
“The First Family is returning to Marvel on a monthly basis,” Cebulski says in the video with Penagos. “Reed and Sue are coming back to the Marvel Universe and that team will be reforming.”
On the book’s creative team of Pichelli and Slott, Cebulski said that Marvel has “been waiting for the right creators” and for Pichelli and Slott to “free up.” Slott recently finished his long run on The Amazing Spider-Man, while Pichelli wrapped up work on Spider-Men II last December.
Back in 2015, Marvel ended its Fantastic Four series, under creators James Robinson and Leonard Kirk, with its 645th issue. The finale saw the team disband, as Reed and Sue left to travel the multiverse while Ben Grimm (a.k.a. “The Thing”) joined the Guardians of the Galaxy and Johnny Storm (a.k.a. “Human Torch”) began working for the Inhumans. The two later starred in Marvel Two-in-One, from writer Chip Zdarsky. Cebulski says Two-in-One will continue alongside the new Fantastic Four.
While it’s unconfirmed, it has been generally understood that Marvel scaled back the presence of the Fantastic Four after the 2015 movie from Fox bombed at the box office. At the same time, Marvel began emphasizing characters it owned the film/TV rights to, such as the Avengers, Captain Marvel, and the Inhumans. The recent re-acquisition of the Fantastic Four by Marvel, under Disney’s $52 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox, gives Marvel motivation to bring back the Fantastic Four on the shelves.
Regardless of what movies or TV shows may spin from this, the return of the Fantastic Four comics is a big deal. It has been a long time since the First Family — a rightful moniker for the team — have had a major presence in the Marvel Universe. Introduced in 1961, just after Marvel renamed itself from Timely Comics, the Fantastic Four laid the foundation for what would be the Marvel archetype. The original Fantastic Four comics also introduced Black Panther, whose film grossed an actual billion dollars this year.
Marvel’s Fantastic Four #1 will be released this August.