Fantastic Four no.5, 1962


Fantastic Four’s landmark issue 5 featuring the firdt appearance of Doctor Doom. Art by Jack Kirby

Fantastic Four no.5, July 1962 from the early months of the Marvel Age. Cover by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. 

Sinnott first inked Kirby in Battle no.69 in April 1960. Sinnott had worked for Stan Lee fairly regularly from 1951 until the Atlas implosion and then was one of the first artists to be rehired once the stock ran down sufficiently. This was his first work on the FF. Stan liked the results so much that they sent him no.6, but after only inking a few panels, he turned it back because of a prior commitment on a 65-page comic for another publisher. Dick Ayers finished the issue. I suspect page 2 being Sinnott. He used bold lines over Kirby’s pencils. 

I love how often the early FF had heroes reading Marvel Comics. So meta! This issue, Johnny reads The Incredible Hulk no.1 (Kirby even included the question mark). 

Doom’s first appearance on page one of this comic has him hunching over a chess board with FF playing pieces and a blood red vulture leering over a pile of books on demons and sorcery. 

Reed describes his history with Von Doom, including the tragic accident that disfigured him. Doom kidnaps Sue Storm and forces the remaining members to travel back in time to recover Blackbeard’s treasure which somehow make their owner invincible as the treasure was originally enchanted by Merlin. 

I love the FF as pirates, especially Ben with his shaggy beard. As the tale evolves, the pathos around the Thing gets stronger than ever. It’s clear by now he is the star for the most popular Marvel comic. 

Doom is a good villain in this issue, usually a step ahead of our dysfunctional quartet, but not yet the imposing villain he will become later. Still the building blocks are there. The malevolent mask, the mix of science and sorcery, medieval and space age, complicated plots, and overwhelming megalomania. 

Coinciding with this first appearance of Doom, Tales of Suspense 31 also hit the newsstands this month with a cover creature in an iron mask eerily similar to Doom’s, both drawn by Kirby.

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