A mod­ern spin

Mar­vel hits re­fresh but­ton on Fan­tas­tic Four.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE -

IT’S a fa­mil­iar tale: Sci­ence ge­nius, smart girl­friend, her hot-shot brother, and a foot­ball-player-turned-ac­com­plished-pi­lot travel to space, get bom­barded by cos­mic rays and come back a four­some with fan­tas­tic pow­ers.

But it’s a story born of the early 1960s when phones were on hooks, faces were in books and tweets were com­ing from the robin down on Jay­bird Street.

Mar­vel Comics is up­dat­ing the ori­gin of the Fan­tas­tic Four this week in a sleeker tale dubbed Sea­son One with a more con­tem­po­rary vibe, while stick­ing to the roots of reed richards, Sue Storm, brother Johnny, and Ben Grimm, oth­er­wise known for the past 51 years as Mr Fan­tas­tic, In­vis­i­ble Woman, the Hu­man Torch and the Thing.

The re­vi­sion is part of Mar­vel’s push to add mod­ern touches to its char­ac­ters. Mar­vel also is bring­ing a mod­ern spin to the ori­gins of its other clas­sic char­ac­ters this year in sim­i­lar Sea­son One edi­tions, in­clud­ing Dare­devil, Spi­der-man and the X-men.

“The aim is def­i­nitely to con­tinue to keep these char­ac­ters rel­e­vant in an ever-chang­ing world, but also to tell a new story set within this time frame, not merely re­count or retell comics that other peo­ple have pre­vi­ously done,” said Tom Breevort, who ed­its the pub- lisher’s Fan­tas­tic Four line of books.

“We tweaked el­e­ments where it made sense.

“Ev­ery­body in the Sea­son One books has a cell­phone, for ex­am­ple, but we tried to main­tain the spirit of the sem­i­nal sto­ries that these tales are built upon,” he said.

roberto Aquirre-sacasa, a play­wright and TV writer whose cred­its in­clude Glee along with sev­eral sto­ries for Mar­vel, said Fan­tas­tic Four: Sea­son One isn’t a re­boot of the clas­sic ori­gin, penned by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby.

“It’s more of a ... re­fresh,” he said. “The world’s changed over the last 50 years. How we tell comic sto­ries, how we ab­sorb them, so let’s up­date a great con­cept by set­ting it in the present. By giv­ing it a con­tem­po­rary sen­si­bil­ity.”

Artist David Mar­quez likened it to rein­tro­duc­ing clas­sic sto­ries to mod­ern au­di­ences.

“The sto­ry­telling tech­niques we use as cre­ators and the ex­pec­ta­tions of readers have changed since the FF’S ori­gins were first told. And be­cause of this, it can be hard for peo­ple who didn’t grow up ac­cus­tomed to the Sil­ver Age style to find these sto­ries as ex­cit­ing and in­spir­ing as those of us who did,” said Mar­quez, whose first pub­lished comic work, Syn­drome, came out in 2010.

Aguirre-sacasa said the idea is to make the char­ac­ters more rel­e­vant to a reader who nav­i­gates so­cial me­dia, con­sumes in­for­ma­tion and is flu­ent in not just pop cul­ture, but en­ter­tain­ment of all stripes.

“An­other ex­am­ple, and it’s just a lit­tle thing, but the Fan­tas­tic Four – af­ter their ill-fated de­but bat­tling the Mole Man – are In­ter­net sen­sa­tions,” he said.

“And Johnny, an­noy­ingly, is burn­ing up Twit­ter. Again, it’s lit­tle de­tails like that, which don’t al­ter the fun­da­men­tal DNA of the Fan­tas­tic Four, but blow the cob­webs off a story that’s decades old. And have a slightly more pop flavour.”

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, no mat­ter the year – be it 1961 or 2012 – the ob­jec­tive is cre­at­ing a fresh and in­vig­o­rat­ing story with char­ac­ters that have been a bedrock for Mar­vel. – AP

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