Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When Stalks The Landlord!


To give you an idea of where you're headed with this post, let's take you back a bit to when the Fantastic Four introduced us to their new skyscraper headquarters in the heart of Manhattan. Even so early in the career of the FF, it seemed clear that Reed had quite a fortune to draw on. Either that, or he was able to secure one heck of a loan:



Apparently, though, Reed's purchase of the Baxter Building's tower was only the beginning. Soon enough, Reed had secured ownership of the entire building--but it was not to last, due to Reed making some poor investment decisions:



And even though the FF were soon flush with funds again (thanks to the generosity of the Sub-Mariner), they remained merely tenants of the Baxter Building--but where there are tenants, there naturally must be a landlord. Of course, for the FF, only one landlord will do: the irascible man who was a thorn in the side of the FF for all these years.

Welcome, then, to a retrospective of the one and only Mr. Collins, in a tribute which could only be called:


WARNING:
THIS POST IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR READERS WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.



We first meet Collins (created by the one and only Stan Lee) during the time when the Over-Mind is beginning to exert influence over the minds of the population of New York City, stoking the hostility of the people in response to the Thing rampaging through the streets and a subsequent battle with the Human Torch. Collins doesn't really care about the FF's crisis--he's only concerned with the bottom line, and so pays a visit to Reed Richards:



We can perhaps assume that Collins' state of mind is also being affected by the Over-Mind's influence, given all the other times that he would have had cause to break the FF's lease and toss them out. But as we'll see, the Over-Mind probably didn't have to work very hard to tap into Collins' ire and irritability. Unfortunately, Reed has a little ire of his own to express in response:



Yet, Collins isn't through yet. As Reed works in his lab on a cure for the Thing's irrational condition, Collins literally pulls the plug on the FF's activities:



Thanks to the Torch, though, Reed is provided the power he needs to continue his work. But, when the crisis with Ben Grimm has passed, and the FF have smoothed things over with the city, they return to find their nemesis waiting for them:



A padlocked door is only a symbolic gesture where the FF are concerned, naturally--but Collins goes too far by adding insult to injury, and so Reed becomes even less patient with him:




Soon, however, the Over-Mind begins to attack openly--and with the FF racing against time to save both the city and their leader, the last thing they need is to be waylaid by this pushy pest:




Finally, the Over-Mind is dealt with--but, while saving some innocent bystanders from a plummeting elevator, the FF find that their landlord needs no excuse to get on their bad side again.




The time comes when the Thing takes on a mission to restore the sight of his beloved Alicia, which means taking a little trip to the Mole Man's subterranean domain. But Collins has been working behind the scenes to evict the FF, though he plays that trump card too soon--and with the wrong member of the FF at the wrong time:



With Ben now missing, Johnny returns to the Baxter Building--only to find the last person he wants to see waiting in ambush, and still flaunting his upcoming day in court:



Collins, it seems, hasn't learned that it's not wise to interrupt the FF in the middle of a potential crisis, though you have to give him some credit for standing up for his legal rights. Even if he could do so with considerably more tact:



I'm not sure of Collins' next appearance in the lives of our foursome. Writer Gerry Conway, who found little cause for humor during his time with the FF (or, for that matter, any other Marvel titles he wrote), appeared to have no use for Collins' antics--and so we jump ahead to the time when, due to Reed losing his stretching power, the team felt the need to disband. And sure enough, Collins was there to twist the knife:



Naturally, though, the FF couldn't leave their headquarters without putting it through one last battle, this time with the Plunderer. By the time it was all over, it was in no shape for new tenants--which didn't sit well with a certain curmudgeon:



Fortunately, Reed was able to regain his powers--and, after an encounter with Dr. Doom, the team returned to the Baxter Building, to find a rather conciliatory landlord waiting with his hat out:



Not exactly laying out the welcome mat, is he? And why would the FF want to renew their relationship with this hard-nose? As luck would have it, they have a skilled negotiator in their ranks who could teach Donald Trump a thing or two about the art of the deal:



(By the way, Reed--the only "landing mechanism" you need for the Pogo Plane, buddy, is land.)

Which brings us back to present day, just after Galactus has left Earth after his former herald, Terrax, has done considerable damage to the Baxter Building. And with reconstruction in progress, Reed gets a visit from someone we're all expecting to show up, under the circumstances:




Reed isn't doing any angry stretching, so it doesn't look like Collins is in danger of being thrown out this time. So what's Reed up to? Well, after all this time, we see him regain ownership of the entire Baxter Building:



And as a result, it looks like we've finally seen an end to our occasional and exasperating visits from Mr. Collins--who perhaps never made Landlord Of The Year, but thanks to Reed is probably enjoying a nice retirement somewhere.  Though we could lay odds that Reed forwarded his mailing address to the Yancy Street Gang.

4 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Wow, that must have been one helluva stock market crash for the FF to go from their billionaire-like lifestyle to one where they are contemplating becoming criminals to pay the bills! Amazingly I don't remember this Collins character at all which shows how much impact he must have had but he's clearly just the FF's version of J.Jonah Jameson only even more irritating.

Phil said...

Actually thanks to the pogo plane's jet trail, it needs a long straight shaft or it would get blown to bits. I'm assuming from memory of those old cutaway drawings that Kirby did, the Baxter building has a shaft like that in one corner of the building. Which isn't where you would normally put an elevator shaft.

Comicsfan said...

Phil, maybe you're thinking of the FF's NASA missile, rather than the Pogo Plane? Its silo fits the corner location you're describing. As for the Pogo Plane, it's definitely been seen landing vertically elsewhere in other stories--after all, why build an aircraft to fly you somewhere if you can't land it at your destination?

Phil said...

http://www.twokingscomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/BaxterCutaway-3a.jpg
Right. In fact I think Reed Richards is confused. It's the rocket which needs the peculiar exhaust outlet to the river, not the pogo plane.

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