Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Off-Beat Adventure There Was!

Artist Joe Sinnott helps to revamp the cover of Fantastic Four #88 for the FF's reprint mag, Marvel's Greatest Comics, which republishes the story nearly eight years later:

With Sinnott being the finisher behind Jack Kirby's pencils on the original cover, it's interesting to see what he does with Kirby's layout to both retain the overall image while giving it a little more pizazz. That seems easier said than done. You have a tendrilled "house" ensnaring the FF--since that effectively puts the FF out of action, what's left to change?

Most noticeably, we see almost all the members of the FF given more prominence--drawn more closely together as well as somewhat enlarged, with Crystal virtually unchanged but lowered in order to make room for the Torch and the Thing. Sinnott makes such changes to the cast possible by removing the house from the center of the page and relocating it beneath them (after all, a house usually sits on the ground, doesn't it?)--and since the tendrils are supposed to be the symbolic threat here, they can be rearranged in whatever style Sinnott decides on. As for the house itself, its window "eyes" have been darkened--but overall, its appearance remains unchanged, though its tendrils are less exotic and more formidable looking.

Sinnott also chooses to keep the stark white background, but adds a backlight effect behind the action to enhance the feeling of danger and shock to the group. The features of Ben and Reed have also been altered, with Johnny receiving a bit more flame flickering over his body while his sister gets a touch of blush (perhaps courtesy of the colorist).

I was never a fan of the title, "A House There Was!", since it does practically nothing to pique a reader's interest, so I'm sorry to see it retained on the MGC cover as if it were a strong selling point--but moving it to closer proximity to the actual house makes more sense. The new caption, "The FF's most off-beat adventure ever!", might have competition with stories featuring the Impossible Man or the team going from bankruptcy to movie stardom--but while this particular story lacks the whimsy of the others, the caption certainly falls in line with what we're seeing on the cover. And the rewording of the surprise super-villain teaser is a clever change that does a little more to engage the buyer.

1 comment:

Colin Jones said...

I just feel sorry for anyone who bought these comics expecting to find the FF battling a house with tentacles. Actually I thought the house was super-cool and futuristic and I wanted so much to live in a house like that. It was even cooler than Dr. Strange's house :)

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