The Fantastic Four are the First Family of the Marvel Universe, which means they're no strangers to wedding bells. Reed Richards and Sue Storm famously tied the knot back in 1965's Fantastic Four Annual #3. Johnny Storm celebrated his nuptials in 1987's Fantastic Four #300 (unfortunately for him, he later discovered he wedded a Skrull). Now that the family has reunited in a recently launched new volume of Fantastic Four by writer Dan Slott, it's time for another wedding. The lucky couple? Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters, who have been together for almost as long as they've been in comics.
The big event happens the day after Christmas in the oversized Fantastic Four #5 by Slott and artists Aaron Kuder, Adam Hughes and Mike Allred. Then, in January's Fantastic Four #6, Slott and Kuder kick off the new year with an explosive arc titled “Herald of Doom,” which pits the Fantastic Four against two of their most dangerous adversaries -- Doctor Doom and Galactus.
CBR spoke with Slott about writing the wedding, how it's a story he's been waiting to tell for a long time, his love for Doctor Doom and his take on Galactus.
CBR: We're talking about a week before Fantastic Four #5, which features the wedding of Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters, hits stores. What made you want to tell this story now, and how long have you been waiting to tell it?
Dan Slott: Forever! Over a decade ago, I was writing a Thing solo series and I was building up to Issue #25 where I was going to have Ben propose to Alicia. So, I wanted to marry them, but Tom Brevoort, who's a Fantastic Four purist, told me I couldn't marry Ben and Alicia in the Thing comic. That's a major Fantastic Four event! He said, “You can have Ben propose to Alicia in your comic, but the wedding will have to take place in the main book and [J. Michael] Straczynski will write it. If we get there are you okay with that?” I told him, "yeah."
So, when I got this book the first question I asked him was, “Can I marry Ben and Alicia?” He said, “Yeah, you can do that!” This was the first thing I wanted to do.
The first four issues of our FF run have really been about dealing with where the characters were in the universe. We were trying to honor where Jonathan Hickman had left the characters at the end of his run, what Chip [Zdarsky] was doing in Marvel 2-In-One,and everything that Brian [Bendis] had done with Doctor Doom in Infamous Iron Man. So, really for the readers this was about picking up these pieces that were scattered around the universe and getting them together, and now it's like, “let's get moving!”
The wedding issue teams you with some great artists. We're getting stories by your Silver Surfer collaborator Mike Allred, Adam Hughes and the FF debut of your next collaborator, Aaron Kuder
Yes! It's like three comics in one! The bridge to modern day and the wedding itself is drawn by Aaron. Our first story is, as you said, a reunion with Mike Allred. We're telling, in a new light and new way, the story of how Ben met Alicia and the “invisible” hand [laughs] that guided them to get together and be a couple. Our second story is 18 pages of Adam Hughes interiors! That's a special thing there. In that story, Reed Richards is not doing a great job of being Ben's best man. So, it's up to Johnny Storm to step in and throw Ben his bachelor party.
Nice! In the recent Fantastic Four: The Wedding Special, Gail Simone told the story of Alicia's bachelorette party.
Yes! For that story we gave Gail my plot for FF #5 because there's a sequence in the bachelor party where you cut over to see what the girls are doing. So, the fun of it was, “We only do a cutaway to the bachelorette party. Would you like to do a whole story around the bachelorette party? We've got Gail Simone.”
So, our stories kind of fit together, and a key thing about her story is she was building off something we're doing; the fact that Ben does not want any shenanigans on his wedding day! But whenever you have a superhero wedding there's always shenanigans! And if they're going to happen anywhere it will be at the bachelor party!
What was it like writing this issue given the Fantastic Four's history with weddings and some of the recent high profile superhero weddings that have not gone off as shown?
It was intimidating, because I've been to the Marvel retreats and I knew that Kitty Pryde and Colossus weren't going to hit it off. So, I was like, “Okay. I'll be the wedding that happens. That will be great.” And I had no idea what they were doing over at our “Distinguished Competition.” Then when I heard I was like, “No!” I was like, “Please leave him at the altar! I want to have the one wedding!” And so it came to pass...
If you have a wedding in FF and there isn't a Skrull involved it counts! That's the rule. And we're Skrull free, baby!
[Laughs] Alicia has always been an important part of the FF, but after the wedding she'll be part of the family. What does that mean for her role in the book moving forward?
The beauty of the FF is that it's always been about family. So we'll get to see a new dynamic in the family. Reed and Sue are now the couple with teenage kids, and Ben and Alicia are the newlyweds. And Johnny is the confirmed bachelor...
So, it's fun! We've got all these new family dynamics that we haven't seen, and that's what's at the heart of the FF. It's not just about family, or the cosmos. It's also about the new.