The Skrulls Were Fooled About Earth...a Planet They Watched For Centuries

This is "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking," a feature spotlighting notable examples of retcons that don't fit into the framework of Abandoned an' Forsaked, which is specifically about stories that outright "overturn" older stories. There are many examples of "retroactive continuity" that do not actively abandon the works of the past. Some of them are minor, some of them are major, all of them are interesting enough to me that I figure that they are worth writing about.

Today, based on a suggestion from longtime reader, Tom A., we look at how the Skrulls' history with Earth was DRAMATICALLY retconned over the years (while only really contradicting a single story, a story that had already been contradicted by itself right away).

In the early days of the Fantastic Four, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were still trying to slowly introduce the Fantastic Four into a comic book company that was mostly known at the time for its science fiction and monster comic books. That is almost certainly why the Fantastic Four do not actually get superhero costumes until the third issue of the series (and the original cover for the third issue downplayed the costumes a lot until it was replaced by a celebratory cover when Marvel realized that everyone was totally down with the idea of Marvel returning to making superhero comics again) and why the covers of the first two issues of the series would fit in well with the other comic books that Marvel was publishing at the time. The first issue is a monster cover...

and the second issue is an aliens cover...

And, of course, as I noted earlier, the team did not wear costumes in those first two issues. The books were effectively disguised as "regular" Marvel Comics until the sales numbers for #1 came in and when they saw that they had a hit, Lee and Kirby leaned heavily into the superhero aspect of the series and the rest, as they say, is history.

However, if you look back at the second issue, there is a curious bit that ties in with the ending of the comic.

The concept of the issue is that the shapeshifting Skrulls have sent a team of four Skrulls to pretend to be the Fantastic Four so that they could be discredited and imprisoned by the government of the Earth. Once their only viable protectors were gone, the Skrulls would then invade Earth.

The Fantastic Four defeat the impostor Skrulls and then take their place and go to the head of the Skrull Armada and Reed comes up with one of the most outrageously dumb plans that you can think of, but since it worked, I guess I can't be too hard on him. He uses panels of comic books to show that Earth is covered with monsters (despite the fact that, as we learned in Fantastic Four #1 when the FF went to Monster Island, Earth actually IS covered by monsters) and thus it would be foolish to invade Earth...

Reed then hypnotizes the Skrulls left on Earth and has them become cows for the rest of their life (there was a fourth Skrull that Jack Kirby forgot to draw that became its own all big thing, but during the Kree-Skrull War, they noted that that fourth Skrull had never contacted home, either. He had just been working on his own, underground, and then was later manipulated by the Kree Supreme Intelligence to stoke anti-alien fervor on Earth). Okay, so that's fair enough, right?

But wait...

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