Friday, January 24, 2014

Covers: unretouched Fantastic Four #2

Since I Fantastici Quattro (FQ) had 48 pages to fill, with no advertisement, the Italian publisher frequently packed two issues of Fantastic Four (FF) in the same Italian issue. This was the case with FF #2: the first 14 pages were published into FQ #1, the rest in FQ #2 along with FF #3. The original FF #2 cover was not published, but was used instead, recolored as usual, at the beginning of FQ #2 as a kind of splash page to recap what happened the issue before.

Now the interesting part: Marvel Comics used to make a film/photostat of the original inked cover, and store it away. It was not uncommon however that after that Marvel (even Stan Lee himself) would ask for modifications of the original drawing.

Take a look at the published cover of FF #2

The cover printed in an internal page by Editoriale Corno was slightly different: (here on the left)

The cover received by the Italian publisher Editoriale Corno was different from the one published in the original Fantastic Four #2. Notably Johnny Storm, in the US version has flames around the body while in the Italian version there are no flames. At first I thought that Editoriale Corno simply did not like the flames and erased them. However it turns out that this is the original, unpublished, cover of FF #2.

A proof of this can be found in the Official Marvel Index to the Fantastic Four, published by Marvel Comics in 1985, where the unaltered covered can be found

The baloon of the Human Torch saying "My flame is out" was obviously deleted from the printed US version (since the flame was on), and from the Italian version since the baloons on the covers were always erased.

Is this the only unaltered cover published in Italy, directly from the film/photostat, that is different from the original US one? Not at all! Stay tuned ;)

Dario Bressanini

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