www.cbr.com

The Fantastic Four Break the Fourth Wall to Make the Dumbest Argument

This is "A Wall Between Us," where I spotlight notable examples of comic books breaking the fourth wall. What I'm looking at here is mostly examples from characters other than She-Hulk, Deadpool, Ambush Bug, etc. You know, the kind of stuff that is a bit more of a surprise to the reader. If you have any suggestions, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

I knew I could get another one of these up today! Tom A. reminded me of how much I love to write about the infamous "Lincoln's Mother" defense, and so I shall feature it here!

I have featured this one in various other articles over the years, but it fits here, too, so we'll take a look again at a story I love to talk about, because it takes absurdity to an unbelievable degree.

Okay, as you all know by now, perhaps the greatest thing about Stan Lee was the fact that he took accessibility to a whole new level. Lee was not the first comic book editor to highlight the importance of reaching out to fans. Mort Weisinger was famous for his vast network of little kids who would give him ideas for stories. Julius Schwartz was an expert when it came to dealing with the growing fan press. Superman and Captain Marvel both had their own fan clubs. EC Comics tried to instill a sense of a shared experience with its readers with special letter columns and stuff like that. So Stan Lee didn't invent any of this stuff, but he did it better than anyone else and he slowly turned the letters column of the Fantastic Four into a burgeoning fan page for all Marvel Comics readers and that, in turn, expanded into Bullpen Bulletins and soon, the entirety of Marvel Comics seemed to be something that all Marvel fans were familiar with. People knew Stan's assistants, for crying out loud!

This was made abundantly clear in Fantastic Four #11 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers), where the Fantastic Four directly answered letters that they had been getting from fans (while, of course, promoting the Fantastic Four letter column)...

During the middle of all of it, the Thing is briefly cured for some reason...

These were actual letters that Lee and Kirby had received and so they found a way to answer legitimate questions in the comic itself...

Also, it is important to note that back in those days, there were no trade collections, there was no Wikipedia, and so there were plenty of facts about the early issues that some fans wouldn't know. After all, the sales of the comic were going up and up at the time, and so there was a very important recap of the Fantastic Four's origin...

This a notable reason why early Marvel Annuals had lots of reprints in them (and, okay, it was also cheaper to do reprints). This then brings us to the "Lincoln's Mother" defense!

1 2
Ready or Not's Surprise Twist Leads to a Gory Ending

More in CBR Exclusives