Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Knuckle Under vs. A Knuckle Sandwich

In the issue of Fantastic Four where Galactus first touches down on Earth and begins assembling his elemental converter, the FF battle to delay him while their youngest member, the Human Torch, flies to retrieve a weapon in Galactus' possession which may turn the tide and save Earth. It's also the issue where the Silver Surfer is swayed by Alicia Masters to turn against his master and side with the human race.

But only one of these two covers to the story seems to give any indication of these events. Which one do you think it is?

For me, it's the later Sal Buscema cover to Marvel's Greatest Comics which is more representative of the story within. If I were looking at the original Jack Kirby/Joe Sinnott cover on the comics rack, I wouldn't be sure what to make of the issue--though it seems to play off of the mystery of Galactus and the Surfer, still enigmas from when we last saw them in the prior issue. The FF seem overwhelmed by this larger than life threat; but other than that, if I were a new reader there wouldn't be much of a hook for me to buy the issue and find out what's going on. Also, for some reason the wasted cover space in the lower right corner keeps making me want to move the FF over until they're centered (ditto for Galactus' head)--and that's the last thing I should be thinking of.

The Buscema image has more of a "battle issue" feel to it, something which would look right at home in a collection of images representing the FF's classic fight scenes--whereas the Kirby cover seems to be going more for a "saga" feel. The problem with attaching that sort of label is that a story generally has to earn that description after it concludes, not when it's just getting cranked up. The Buscema cover puts us right where the action is, while still not spilling the beans about what kind of threat Galactus represents. The only thing we know from this cover is that the FF are confronting the threat--and while they initially retreat in the story, I'm going to be more excited by a cover that shows them fighting instead of turning tail.

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