The Fantastic Four are known among comic book aficionados as “Marvel’s First Family.” While there had been other comics baring the “Marvel” name, Fantastic Four #1 was the first entry into the Marvel Universe as we know it. Inside, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby gave us our first look at something that would grow beyond their wildest imaginations.
Being around from the very beginning means that the Fantastic Four have been through a lot together—the end of the world, team shakeups aplenty, and of course, more costume changes than you can shake a stick at.
1961 & 1962
Marvel Comics have always focused on the daily lives of their superheroes just as much, if not more, than their costumed exploits. That could be why, when we were first introduced to the FF in 1961, it was in nothing more than their street clothes.
While that lasted a year, it was only a matter of time before Lee and Kirby realized that all superheroes (even the combustible ones) need a good set of spandex. For that reason, in 1962’s Issue #3, we were introduced to the timeless blue jumpsuits, which readers were led to believe were designed by Sue Storm herself.
With the dark blue spandex outlined by black trim, black boots (Storm’s had heels!) and the number “4” for all to see, the team became the Fantastic Four that are so commonly thought of today.
It wasn’t until more than a decade later that any member of the quartet strayed from the classic look for something that, at the time, was more modern.
In Issue #256, artist and writer John Byrne made a small tweak to the FF’s costumes that helped them pop, making the gloves, boots, collars, and belts of the costumes white. (These are the versions of the costumes featured in the original, unreleased Fantastic Four movie from 1994).
The new FF film is thought to be heavily inspired by 2003’s Ultimate Fantastic Four, which re-imagined the iconic team as teenagers, and gave them more modern-looking suits to match.
A modern classic, Jonathan Hickman’s run on the Fantastic Four started in Issue #570 and kicked off with new costumes designed by Dale Eaglesham, which saw the team sporting a short-sleeved look, not to mention a more rugged Mr. Fantastic with some impressive muscles and a bit of scruff.
After Johnny Storm met his end in Fantastic Four #587, the team made some radical changes, transforming from the Fantastic Four to the Future Foundation, with eye-popping black and white costumes to signal the change. (When Johnny Storm later returned, the team kept the same color scheme and general look, but brought back the iconic encircled “4.”)
In their most recent Issue #1, released last February, the Fantastic Four were given a new look with a striking red and black color scheme to signal the coming of dark times ahead.
With a seemingly darker vibe and less focus on traditional super-heroics, the new Fantastic Four film features muted colors and an industrial aesthetic that create a fearsome looking foursome. Will the team come out the other side as 4 true-blue heroes? We’ll find out soon when the film hits theaters on August 7th.