The disappearance of the Fantastic Four from the comic book landscape has been a hotly debated topic by fans for a while now. Ever since their last comic was published in April 2015, theories have popped up as to why Marvel decided to ditch their “First Family.” The most popular of these theories is that Marvel purposefully canceled the Fantastic Four in order to kill interest in the property. Today we’re looking at Marvel’s publication of the Fantastic Four in order to see if this theory has any truth to it.
But first, why would Marvel want to kill interest in their own property anyway? The answer revolves around film rights. Marvel hasn’t owned the film rights to the Fantastic Four since the 90s but, more recently, has wanted them back. This theory suggests that by canceling the Fantastic Four comic, Marvel has weakened demand for movies. This decline in demand would then hurt movie ticket sales and cause Fox to sell the movie rights back to Marvel.
For this theory to be accurate recent publications of the Fantastic Four would have to be pretty scarce. Obviously the comic series has been canceled so we turned our attention toward trade collections of the series. After combing through Marvel’s past two years of solicitations, we found only three Fantastic Four collections listed for sale. Though the group makes appearances in titles and events from other books, there are only three books that actually feature the main cast in their own series. The collections are:
- Fantastic Four Epic Collection: The Master Plan of Doctor Doom
- Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four Vol. 18
- Civil War: Fantastic Four (New Printing)
Out of these three volumes, only Civil War: Fantastic Four (New Printing) is a modern story. This means that Marvel hasn’t published a modern Fantastic Four collection since April of 2016. The other two books collect stories from before the 1980s. With well over 400 comic issues published since this time period, it becomes hard to believe that none of them were deemed worthy of being collected or republished.
Do you think Marvel has purposefully sabotaged the Fantastic Four? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. With rumors that Marvel Legacy will bring back the Fantastic Four, this is sure to be a hot topic in the future, and we’ll be doing our best to keep you updated, so stay tuned!