SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses important occurrences in Marvel’s ‘Secret Wars’ #9 which just came out, so if you are reading the series and are behind, proceed with caution.

Last year, Marvel axed the ‘Fantastic Four’ comic book series and with the publication of ‘Secret Wars’ #9, the final chapter of their most recent crossover event, it seems the final nail has been hammered into that coffin.  There is no new ‘Fantastic Four’ comic and there are no plans for one in the foreseeable future.

When it debuted in 1961, ‘Fantastic Four’ #1 changed the face of comics, with its bickering, angsty cast and launched the Marvel Age, paving the way for further groundbreaking comics like ‘Spider-Man’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and ‘The Avengers’.  For decades, the first Marvel comic, ‘Fantastic Four’ bore the endorsement ‘The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine’ on every cover.  But then again, Marvel writer Stan Lee was always prone to hyperbole and technically, the blurb was never accredited to a source.  Following a hugely successful run in the 80s, written and drawn by superstar John Byrne, the actual FF comic book has floundered and was recently cancelled.

Reports circulated that Marvel Entertainment, which encompasses the comic book publisher, was suppressing the Fantastic Four along with one-time best sellers the X-Men from the comics and merchandising because 20th Century Fox had the rights to those two entities and despite Marvel hoping for the rights to FF to revert back to them, Fox rushed a poorly-received ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot just to retain those rights.

But Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort has stated that the FF comic cancellation had little to do with Fox and whatever they did with the concept, but rather the fact that… well, nobody was reading it.

“‘Fantastic Four’ has been one of those books that, for a number of years, has been effectively taken for granted.  It’s been considered stodgy, or old school, or some people see it as a thing that’s there and people are comfortable because it’s there, but they’re not particularly passionate about it. So we’re not going to have that book for a while.”

In the just-released ‘Secret Wars’ #9, FF leader Reed Richards took his wife, kids and the alien foster kids they cared for as part of the Future Foundation and departed this plain of reality, announcing: “No more super heroes for a while, just science. And no more Mister Fantastic, just Dad. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?”

Brevoort explained:

“At a certain point, we set out [in Secret Wars] to do the last Fantastic Four story, at least for the time being… We didn’t necessarily start with that as the original goal.”

That doesn’t mean the first family will be absent for Marvel Comics completely.  The Thing is now part of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Human Torch is presently appearing in ‘Uncanny Avengers’ and ‘Uncanny Inhumans’.

But no one believes Reed and Sue will be absent for good.  They’re just taking a break.

Brevoort admits:

“We didn’t have a Thor book for a while.  For a couple of years, there was absolutely no Thor book, and when Thor came back, it was a huge book. It continues to be a huge book to this day. I think that absence was part of what made people cherish its return, and then it was just having great talent to execute that return. If the same sort of thing happens with Fantastic Four that would not be the worst thing in the world.”

Will absence make readers’ hearts grow fonder?  Were you a regular reader of the ‘Fantastic Four’ comic?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter