Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Topsy-Turvy Fury of Maximus!


In this side-by-side look at the cover of Fantastic Four #83 and its companion cover in the FF reprint mag, Marvel's Greatest Comics, there are some interesting choices being made between the two, and not all having to do with the changes in the newer cover.



The first thing that may have caught your eye is how Jack Kirby's rendering brings to mind the splash page from FF #43, which involved another crisis put in motion by Maximus the Mad:



Maximus seems to specialize in the topsy-turvy crisis, doesn't he. Maybe he designs his weapons to match the state of his shaky mental stability. In the earlier story, he flipped the switch to his Atmo Gun to blanket the world; in this story, he designed a Hypno-Gun which he never got the chance to fire on a worldwide scale. (Which is probably why he's lashing out at everyone.)

Something else you may have noticed right away is that the coloring of Maximus's attire has been altered, one of the things in the newer cover that "fixes" elements of the original. In the story, for instance, Maximus gives himself more regal raiment that makes him stand out more dramatically:



There are a few more clothing choices made in the MGC cover. You'll notice that Triton loses the "onesie" that Kirby originally gave him on the cover but not in the story--while Medusa's costume color is changed to resemble the colors she adopted in a later FF story where Crystal is recalled to the Great Refuge (and the Torch Goes Wild!), perhaps to make more clear that she's no longer a member of the Frightful Four here. A more conspicuous change is the shifting of Sue's clothing to her FF uniform (complete with short sleeves!), even though Sue was back in the city and occupied with more domestic matters:



(I'm guessing Kirby chose to include Sue on the cover as a symbolic gesture, since Maximus's weapon threatened the entire planet.)

We also see that the story's title gets more prominent treatment, which seems a sensible choice given how the highlighting adds to the drama being shown and generates more interest in the story inside. Meanwhile, Medusa and Black Bolt have been shifted around to accommodate the UPC bar code--and the Torch now has the use of his right arm again with the omission of the Marvel corner box. (And look how cleverly the Torch is placed--not just to balance the masthead, but to take the position he normally occupied on these MGC covers, i.e., within a circular background matching the Thing's.)  Overall, the MGC cover appears less dark and more eye-catching with Maximus's enhancements as well as the added coloring to the foundation that he's bringing his fist down upon.

1 comment:

Colin Jones said...

Another great example of Kirby headwear there with Maximus looking both magnificent and ludicrous at the same time !

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