Need to kill a couple of hours? Check out this “Fantastic Four” retrospective!

Do you know what will get us through the COVID-19 crisis? A combination of smarts, courage, strength, and compassion — all qualities exemplified by the First Family of Superhero Comics: The Fantastic Four!

If you know them only through the movies, you can be forgiven for thinking that they’re not all that interesting a team. The 2005 film (Fantastic Four) and its 2007 sequel (Rise of the Silver Surfer) were in the lower tier of what a film with Marvel characters could be in the pre-Iron Man era, and the 2015 remake was even more disappointing.

Both were still better than the 1994 Roger Corman film, which was made only to fulfill a contractual requirement to hold on to the film rights for the characters. Want to know how bad it was? Here’s the trailer:

Here’s a great (if long — an hour and fifty minutes!) video that a long-overdue look at the Fantastic Four, their history, and how their book changed the world of comics. When they debuted in 1961, superheroes were cardboard characters in spandex, and the Four were imperfect, slightly dysfunctional, error-prone, and squabbled with each other almost as much as they fought supervillains. They were deeper characters — and they were a family.

While you’re stuck at home, practicing social distancing, go and watch this documentary — which is also a sort of love letter — about the Fantastic Four. It’s probably the best analysis of these characters and their story I’ve ever seen (and I spent a lot of  my youth at Toronto’s Silver Snail reading Marvel comics). Not only is it well-researched, but it’s well-produced, and there’s some great voice acting, too:


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