The Fantastic Four, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby 53 years ago, has not only been one of the most successful team books at Marvel for decades, but also known famously as one of the most dynamic and loving families in all of comics. That’s why it comes with much sadness to report that the Fantastic Four, affectionately called Marvel’s First Family, is coming to an end in 2015.
During Marvel’s Axel-In-Charge panel at New York Comic-Con, it was confirmed by Marvel that Fantastic Four, a book that has been in publication since 1961, will be ending with issue #645. Supposedly, the cancellation is over film rights between Marvel and 20th Century Fox. However, even with the rights issue out in the open, it’s obvious that Fantastic Four has struggled in terms of sales for quite a while. The book, currently being written by James Robinson, has been posting record low sales. According to the Diamond Sales Chart, the monthly rankings for comic book sales, Fantastic Four was ranked at #98.The final story, which is to be written by Robinson, will be called “The End is Fourever,” and will be used as a send-off for the team.
For those unfamiliar with the team, the Fantastic Four gained their powers after being exposed to intense cosmic radiation during a space mission. The Fantastic Four consists of Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), the genius scientist and leader of the group who has the ability to stretch his limbs and body in various shapes; the Invisible Woman (Sue Storm), the wife of Richards who can turn herself invisible and generate force fields; the Human Torch (Jonny Storm) the brother of Sue Storm who is able to engulf himself in fire and fly; and The Thing (Ben Grimm), the super strong, but loveable muscle of the team. The family has battled such foes as the world eating Galactus, the shape-changing Skrulls and one of the most iconic villains in all of comics, Dr. Doom.
Now, the end of the Fantastic Four’s comic does not mean the end of Marvel’s use of the characters. I have no doubt that readers will be able to see Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben in other books. If anything, the team may be incorporated into Marvel’s more popular books like the Avengers. While nothing has been confirmed other than the fact that the book will come to an end this spring, it’s extremely hard to imagine that Marvel’s First Family will not be used in some capacity in their sprawling comic universe.