30 Dec 2008

The Byrne FF Project

By Matt C

This is an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while and with 2009 almost upon us now seems like as good an opportunity as any to get the ball rolling with it. So….. it’s my personal opinion that if you take any Lee/Kirby collaboration out of the equation then possibly the greatest run in comics is John Byrne’s masterful stewardship of Fantastic Four during the 1980s. As I only had limited access to American comic books during the early part of that decade and had to make do with UK reprints for the most part it took me until just a few years ago to complete my collection of the original issues. As is often the way with filling in the gaps by rifling through back issue boxes or trawling through eBay you end up reading runs in the wrong order, maybe waiting months or even years before getting hold of the final part of a story.

With this in mind I’ve decided to go right back to the first issue where Byrne took over the book (#232), reread it, and carry on from there until I reach his final one (#294). But not only that, I intend to review at least one issue a week alongside my regular reviews! I may be biting off more than I can chew here – there are 63 issues to get through after all - but I’m going to give it my very best shot and I’m actually really looking forward to going through Byrne’s run in order – the way it was intended! – for the first time. Hopefully my enthusiasm will cause someone out there to hunt down either the issues in question or one of the collected editions available because this was the first time since Kirby left the book that it truly was “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” and nothing’s managed to beat it since.

So, next Sunday, amongst the first pack of reviews for the year, keep your eyes peeled for a review of Fantastic Four #232. That’ll just be the beginning….


Tim Knight said...
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Tim Knight said...

Brilliant idea. This is one of the few runs of comics I have held onto through all my years of collecting and purging!

It is an amazing run of issues that truly showed superhero comics as being about more than just fighting crime.

Justin B. said...

Love the idea! The FF have always been hit or miss for me but I absolutely adore the Waid/Wieringo run so if there's more FF goodness out there to be had I'm all for it. Quick question, are you an FF fan in general or is your enjoyment of this run more for the great storytelling than the characters? Just curious. Looking forward to what you have in store.

Matt Clark said...

It's a bit of a chicken & egg situation when it comes to Byrne's FF - did I enjoy the FF before Byrne came onboard, or did Byrne's work convert me into a fully fledged fan?

I think I was always keen on the FF as a kid, the "family affair" feeling, and The Thing has always been a favourite character of mine, but it was Byrne's take on the characters that really clicked with me. Obviously the Lee/Kirby stuff was groundbreaking, but I only came to that later, and I guess the first interpretation of any character you come to will always shape your impressions of them...... if any of that makes any sense!!