Finally....FINALLY my dad got in a run of Fantastic Four that included issue #25. (At the time, issue #67 or so would have been the current issue.) I put it in a bag with a stack of other comics I wanted to read and brought them home from my parents' bookstore. And I was in super-hero heaven! Jack Kirby knew how to write a great battle story! It was what I had been expecting and hoping to read...except that Ben Grimm lost to the Hulk. And it wasn't a TKO, either. The Hulk beat him fair and square and the outcome was a definite loss for Grimm.
However, the issue ended on a very dramatic note with Ben Grimm swearing that he was going to find the Hulk (who was terrorizing New York) and beat him. All I had to do was find issue #26! It hadn't been in the run my dad had picked up, so I was forced to wait. It took a few weeks, but at last he bought a big stack of comics with a copy of FF #26. I didn't even wait to take it home to read but sat down behind the counter and read then and there.
And man was I bummed out!
It was a rip! The issue does seem to begin where the last issue left off, with Ben and the Hulk continuing their monstrous fist fight. But this was no rematch between Grimm and the Hulk! It was mainly a free-for-all comedy when the Avengers showed up to take the Hulk back under their wing. I will assume Kirby was trying to recreate some of the wackiness of the movie IT'S A MAD, MAD,MAD, MAD WORLD, because that all I could compare it to while I was reading it. Gone was that final dramatic panel from FF #25. Drama, this was not! In fact, the Hulk and Ben don't even really get to fight in issue #26! They come close, but a steel girder gets in the way, and then the Avengers muck up the works.
Still, it was a comic by Jack Kirby, and while it wasn't what I had expected, it was still a lot of fun. And of course I have a copy in my collection these days, and I take it out and recall what it was like to read it that first time in my parents' used bookstore in Atlanta GA in 1967.
|My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #26 (Written and illustrated by Jack Kirby).|