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Fantastic Four: A Visual Guide to Their Costume History

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Fantastic Four: A Visual Guide to Their Costume History

Despite there not actually being a Fantastic Four right now, the Human Torch and the Thing have decided that they are going to try to put the band back together and as part of this mission, they debuted new Fantastic Four costumes in the most recent issue of Marvel Two-In-One (by Chip Zdarsky, Valerio Schiti and Frank Martin). With the debut of the new outfits, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at the Fantastic Four’s long history of costume changes.

RELATED: Marvel Debuts New Fantastic Four Costumes

When the Fantastic Four debuted, it seemed pretty clear that Marvel was intending to ease into their return to superheroes. They had been having success with science fiction stories about aliens and monsters and they weren’t sure if their return to superhero characters would be a hit (despite DC Comics having great success with the concept themselves with their Silver Age revival of the late 1950s/early 1960s). So when we first meet the Fantastic Four, they’re wearing normal clothes, with Reed in a suit and Johnny Storm wearing a sweater over a button-up shirt and a tie. When they go into action, they basically just change into informal wear, including baseball caps…

In the next issue, they continue to just wear informal clothing. However, it is important to note that the issue opens with the Fantastic Four now public enemy number one (as part of a Skrull conspiracy to tarnish the reputation of the Fantastic Four ahead of an invasion of Earth). So the fact that they’re wearing hunting gear suggests that they are dressed like this specifically BECAUSE they are on the run and not that this is what they would normally be wearing…

With the first issue being a smash success, Marvel knew that, okay, superheroes were cool again, so they decided to embrace the concept fully with the third issue of the series. Interestingly enough, the original concept by Kirby and Lee was that the Fantastic Four would wear traditional superhero costumes, in the sense that they would wear masks. Kirby even drew the pages initially with the masks, but then someone decided to erase them, figuring that the Fantastic Four were going to be different than your typical superhero team…

That’s why the Thing was wearing his helmet. It was short-lived, of course….

It’s important to note that the original version of the Fantastic Four’s costume included very high black collars that took up most of the neck and the top of the uniform…

A few issues later, in Fantastic Four #6, Kirby dropped the high collars and now the black collar was barely there. It would be interesting to see if he actually put any real thought into it or just changed his mind one day (or if one of his inkers changed his mind that day). Things were a bit more fast and loose with designs back in the day, you know?

Anyhow, this would be the official Fantastic Four costume for the rest of Kirby and Lee’s run together on the title, so well into the 1970s. The next change in outfits would not occur for over a hundred issues!

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