Have you heard the news? Bleeding Cool is reporting that Fantastic Four is being CANCELED. Completely. This isn’t a marketing gimmick where it becomes another series ala Future Foundation. It’s not that the characters are all going to die to be magically reborn at some later time. No, this is an outright cancellation. Fantastic Four #645 will be triple the size of a regular issue and the very last one published.
Now you might think this is happening because nobody is reading Fantastic Four (I certainly haven’t picked one up in forever), but again you’d be wrong. While Marvel’s very first comic book series isn’t their top selling title (it’s closer to the middle of the pack than anything else ) this isn’t the reason either.
The real reason that Marvel is canceling FF is out of pure spite. You see, Fox Studios owns the rights to Fantastic Four movie. Recently, negotiations have not gone well between the two companies regarding further “film-and-related rights.” As such, Marvel would rather cut off its nose than feel like it’s helping the movie be promoted in any way, shape, or form. This means not only is the comic book being canceled but so is any other type of merchandising. This means, no toys, t-shirts, posters, etc.!
The problem is that this approach could potentially backfire. By nature, as soon as you tell people they cannot have something, they immediately want it. When the fantastic four movie does hit theaters, I’m sure many people will go see it out of curiosity to see what caused all the uproar in the first place. Additionally, if you read up on the movie you’ll find that it features a multi-ethnic cast (meaning the Fantastic Four aren’t all white) and will be following NONE of the established FF storylines. Beyond the names and powers this movie will share very little with its source material. In other words, I don’t think the movie is going for fan service and doesn’t seem like something which would appeal to the comic book base in the first place; while Marvel cancelling the book will potentially upset the very same base.
Personally, I think it would’ve been much better for Marvel to take a tongue in cheek approach. Imagine a comic book storyline where a movie is made based on the FF’s adventures. The actual characters can go see the movie and talk about how awful and wrong it was on every level. That would send a far better and stronger message to their audience than acting out in anger. Only time will tell if this move by Marvel will hurt the movie or not. Until then, I’m going to be standing by with popcorn and watching the entire spectacle unfold…
*Written by Mikhail Shlyuger
*Editor’s side note: It was just announced at NYCC2014 that Marvel is doing another “No More Mutants” event following AXIS in 2015! This is for sure to hurt the other FOX properties as well!