Fantastic Four – Bronze Age

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Stan Lee said he created a synopsis for the first Fantastic Four story that he gave to penciller Jack Kirby, who then drew the entire story. Kirby turned in his penciled art pages to Lee, who added dialogue and captions. This approach to creating comics, which became known as the “Marvel Method“, worked so well for Lee and Kirby that they used it from then on; the Marvel Method became standard for the company within a year.

Kirby recalled events somewhat differently. Challenged with Lee’s version of events in a 1990 interview, Kirby responded: “I would say that’s an outright lie”, although the interviewer, Gary Groth notes that this statement needs to be viewed with caution. Kirby claims he came up with the idea for the Fantastic Four in Marvel’s offices, and that Lee had merely added the dialogue after the story had been pencilled. Kirby has also sought to establish, more credibly and on numerous occasions, that the visual elements of the strip were his conceptions. He regularly pointed to a team he had created for rival publisher DC Comics in the 1950s, Challengers of the Unknown. “[I]f you notice the uniforms, they’re the same… I always give them a skintight uniform with a belt… the Challengers and the FF have a minimum of decoration. And of course, the Thing’s skin is a kind of decoration, breaking up the monotony of the blue uniform.” The characters wear no uniforms in the first two issues.

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