The Comic Book Fools of April - Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius

Every day in April I will be featuring a humorous comic (either an issue or a series of strips) that I found particularly amusing. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com the comic stories that are your favorites when it comes to hilarity, and I'll see if I can't feature some of them this month, as well!

Today we look at Chris Eliopoulos and Marc Sumerak's Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius!

Roughly speaking, Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius is a riff on Bill Watterson's classic comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, with Franklin Richards, son of the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic (the genius part of "Son of a Genius") taking on the role of Calvin, and H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot serving as a substitute of sorts to Hobbes.

Of course, the comparison is not a perfect one, as H.E.R.B.I.E. is a bodyguard as well as Franklin's friend, and unlike the misadventures that went on in Calvin's imagination, the misadventures of Franklin and H.E.R.B.I.E. actually happen.

Other than that, though, Eliopoulos and Sumerak deftly capture that same blend of childhood innocence mixed with childhood mischievousness.

When you live with a father who invents new fantastical devices every day, there's plenty of ways to get into trouble, and Franklin seems to try to get into all sorts of trouble all at once.

Marvel released about fourteen Franklin Richards one-shots over a series of four years. Each one-shot has about three to four stories in it. It seems as though the series has just about run its course, but hopefully we'll see more of it!

Besides Franklin and H.E.R.B.I.E., a notable supporting character is Katie Power (of Power Pack fame). She is introduced into the series quite nicely...

So you can see the general vein of these strips - Franklin gets into trouble, hilarity ensues. It's really well-done.

Here's a slightly goofier story introducing a new adversary for Franklin...

Sumerak and Eliopoulos really did a remarkable job on this series.

These comics have been collected into a series of "Ultimate Collections." Go get 'em all!

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