I can't imagine why it's so common. Sometimes I wonder about the availability of certain back issues and the reasons for their relatively great numbers in current days. The bottom line is that these issues sold more than the issues immediately before and after and thus survived in greater amounts. Was it because more copies were distributed? Was it because there was something more appealing in the cover or in the story inside the book? I have no idea.
Issue #8 features a character who went on to become a long-running villain in the history of Kirby's tenure on the book: The Puppet Master (Phillip Masters). As his name indicates, he can control others through the manipulation of puppet likenesses that he constructs. What attached him inexorably to the heroes of the book is that he is the stepfather of Alicia Masters, the woman who became the love interest of Ben Grimm (aka The Thing).
Jack Kirby chose to show the Puppet Master as resembling a puppet himself, most notably Howdy Doody of TV fame. Perhaps it is this resemblance to that TV star that caused the book to sell so well that month, even though the TV show had been long cancelled by the time this issue appeared.
Kirby was still using as a major plot device the fact that Ben Grimm was a kind of loose cannon among the Fantastic Four, one to be feared. Kirby would also use a similar storyline in the Avengers with his other super-strength-endowed anti-hero, The Incredible Hulk. It was quite an effective device and although Kirby used it time and again in various issues of the FF he was able to keep the stories fresh enough so that it never became tired and predictable.
|My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #8.|
|In these early issues Grimm would still make the transition from monster to human and back again on a relatively often basis.|
|We see just how powerful and how scary Grimm can be.|
|Kirby explains how the Human Torch's powers work.|