Marvel Officially Canceling ‘Fantastic Four’ Comics Before Reboot Hits Theaters
The rumors began earlier this past summer: was Marvel declaring war on the 'Fantastic Four' movie? The upcoming reboot - directed by Josh Trank and starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell - is set up at Fox, not Marvel, and apparently the negotiations between the sides soured to such a level, that Marvel is refusing to do any promotion, even second-hand, of the upcoming reboot.
This includes, as noted in our previous report:
[Pulling] all Fantastic Four art down at their offices and ordering artists to not draw the team or any of its associated characters on external projects. Plus, the team is not making an appearance on any of the company’s “75th Anniversary” project art.
There were also rumors at the time that Fantastic Four was being canceled. How could they be, many asked, when The Fantastic Four is one of Marvel's longest-running titles? Could it be that Marvel would actually shut a comic book down just to spite the movie? Oh, it be.
Bleeding Cool shares this description from Hachette, Marvel’s bookstore distributor, of an upcoming milestone:
THE END IS FOUREVER! Witness the closing act on the First Family of the Marvel Universe! THE INVADERS meet the FANTASTIC FOUR as the hunt for REED RICHARDS and the missing kids of the FUTURE FOUNDATION continues. Meanwhile the mastermind behind everything unveils his ultimate plan. But how does FRANKLIN RICHARDS factor in? And how does this all lead to…The END?! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #642-644 and the Triple Sized Final Issue 645!
That's right, the final issue of Fantastic Four.
This, plus new reports that Diamond Toys has been forbidden from licensing any Fantastic Four merchandise ("Right now we are not able to make characters from the FF, but as soon as that changes we will consider them.") and that Mondo, the Austin-based boutique poster firm, has also seen any and all FF-themed art kiboshed by Marvel ("Marvel straight up rejected it. No reason. They just said no to anything Fantastic Four in general.")
An official announcement on the final issue of Fantastic Four is expected to be made this weekend at New York Comic-Con, with creative concerns cited as the official reasoning behind the move.
So, why cancel Fantastic Four, but keep the X-Men books (whose movie rights are also owned by Fox) running? Well, the answer is pretty simple: the X-Men books are just too popular to cancel outright. Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter might be petty, but he's not stupid. Fantastic Four is easy to cancel because sales of the book have been lagging over the past few years. Marvel will surely cancel the book in advance of the movie, and once the film comes and goes from movie theaters, reintroduce the superhero team with a big relaunch that would hopefully boost lagging sales. It's all very convenient and cunning, in a Lord Business sorta way.
Unfortunately, it leaves Fantastic Four fans in the lurch. Because of a bunch of suits arguing over comics, one of the golden age Marvel comics is going by the wayside. It may be temporary, but it's certainly not necessary.