Since we have the sixth anniversary of TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN this month I thought that this is the perfect opportunity to continue our ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR series where we left off last year - the coming of Gabriel.
Like in my last post about the FANTASTIC FOUR ESSENTIALS I will of course mention the german issues and the complicated publishing history of the issues contained in ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 6. You may ask yourself why I decided to drag this topic out of the mothballs but as always the main reason was that I started this last year and I always intended to come back to it but as always other things came up. I even re - read my first post on the subject to eliminate some typos not that long ago and got a hankering to continue the series. But the case was that one of the reasons why I discontinued it was that while I had volumes 6 and 8 of the series it was almost impossible to find volume 7. And because I didn´t want to do an incomplete series I left it for later and forgot about it. And that was that.
But life´s funny that way. When you think something is absolutely sure and it´s going to happen and nothing can get in your way - fate intervenes and the most likely thing becomes almost impossible. And also, sometimes when you have let something go and you are absolutely sure you´re not going to find it in a million years - suddenly it´s been right in front of you the whole time. Or it appears somewhere where you always go.
So three weeks ago, while doing my usual order at BLACKDOG COMICS I looked in the ESSENTIAL section and even though I didn´t really believe I would really get it I ordered volume 7 and it really arrived at my home Yesterday.
Which leads us to Today, where I´m still not finished with re - reading the INCAL albums for my next Moebius post and where I also missed writing a special post for the big six year anniversary of this blog. So by default, because there´s nothing else urgent on my plate and to still celebrate this anniversary in some kind we´re continuing our trip through my comic collection of Yesteryear.
We already covered THE SAGA OF THE OVERMIND and I mentioned that one of the reasons I bought ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOLUME 6 in the first place is that it´s the bridge between the last issue of the WILLIAMS VERLAG ( which published the german version of Fantastic Four 124 in November 1978 ) and the first issues by the CONDOR VERLAG around 1980. It´s a bit difficult to set an exact date for this since the DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER pocketbooks that first came out had lots of reprints of old Fantastic Four stories mixed with issues of The Thing, Marvel Two In One and anything else from Spider - Man to Alpha Flight. And some of the Fantastic Four issues appeared in other publications like MARVEL COMIC SONDERHEFT 2 which had issue 133, the fight between The Thing and Thundra.
But the publication history of Marvel comics in Germany has always been extremely complicated. In my first ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR post I wrote that german readers had to wait several years to read the conclusion to the aforementioned issue 124 of Fantastic Four which was finally published in a special edition by PANINI COMICS in 1998.
And that´s true for readers of my generation. But what I didn´t know at the time I wrote that is that issue 124 had been published in the german language before Williams even started publishing Marvel comics in Germany.
The thing is ( no pun intended ) that it was first published by the BSV, short for Bildschriftenverlag which published Marvel comics in Germany from 1966 - 1973 under the label HIT COMICS. Now compared to the BSV the comics from Williams were works of art. The BSV published the issues out of order, with a lot of pages missing and under really bad german names. The Fantastic Four got it pretty good with a name like DIE FANTASTISCHEN VIER, which was a pretty accurate Translation, but other series weren´t so lucky as the Hulk went on his rampages under the title HALK, MENSCH - DÄMON - UNTIER ( Hulk, man, demon, beast / monster ),
Daredevil fought crime as DEVIL - MAN, TEUFELSKERL
( although Teufelskerl comes pretty close to the original meaning of Daredevil ) and the X - Men even had to suffer double as they first fought as X - MÄNNER
and then as X - MENSCHEN.
But bad translations of the names weren´t the only problems the BSV had, the translations inside weren´t much better and the covers were put together rather carelessly, the writing was often done by hand and badly at that ( just compare the cover of issue 128 of Fantastic Four from PANINI with the corresponding cover from HIT COMICS as shown above ) and often the covers showed scenes from the issues or pages from the stories instead of the actual covers.
And if they used the covers they sometime redrew them to horrible results.
But that´s a story that´s much too long to tell it here in detail. If you are really interested in this part of german comic history ( and this is really more for my german readers ) you should check out Jakob Kurtzberg´s excellent DAS SAGTE NUFF ! magazine which is really indispensable in that departement.
Sadly it´s not published anymore but so far every issue I read was worth its money even if the price is a bit hefty at 7 EUROS for a black and white magazine. But since he´s probably paying for it out of his own pocket you should really support him. I´m not sure if I already posted some links when I last mentioned DAS SAGTE NUFF ! but here is a list of the 12 issues that were published with the tables of contents and contact info and here is the official blog .
And with that it´s once again time to wrap things up for Today, even if I really didn´t get to write much about the FANTASTIC FOUR ESSENTIALS themselves. But I hope we can get down to the nitty and gritty in our next post. And just so you don´t think I have forgotten that the Moebius posts are only on pause here´s a beautiful rendering of the Idol of Millions, Aunt Petunia´s favorite nephew, the ever - loving Thing by Moebius.
Now I always try to close my posts with a video that has to do something with the topic of the post and the more obscure or weird the better. Originally I wanted to put a documentary about Jack Kirby at the end of the post but since I will have another post where I can do that I went into the deep reaches of comic paraphernalia to bring you the Hanna Barbera THE THING cartoon.
Yes, you have heard right. Thanks to the fine folks at Comic Geek Speak ( link at the link section ) I heard of this animation gem in which Ben Grimm has been accidentially transformed into a teenager who lives the normal student life on campus and who´s trying to score with a female student. He has two halves of a magic ring and when he puts them together and speaks the magic words : " Thing ring, do your thing! " he can transforn into The Thing. Which is practically the whole basis for the series. I tried to find a full episode in the original language but apparently it´s so unpopular that nobody cared to upload it. Instead I found a version which is probably the mexican version since Ben Grimm´s called LA MOLE in it and not LA COSA which is his spanish name. Enjoy ( if you can ) !
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