Marvel Method to Blame?

Bloggified by Jake on Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Recently, Brian Cronin posted his list of the top ten goofiest plot points in the first ten issues of Fantastic Four. I've been reading the first volume of the Essential Fantastic Four and can tell you Brian deserves our love, admiration, and support for narrowing down such a list. I'm only four issues in and already I've found about thirty things that defy explanation. I intend to address several of them in an upcoming theme week: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are Overrated Hacks Week.

Robert brought up a good point that should be considered. Maybe some of the really stupid things that occur are the result of the Marvel Method. In the creation of Fantastic Four and other comics, Stan would write a list of plot points which Jack would illustrate and give back for Stan to script actual dialogue.

So when you find a ridiculous point like the following (I stole Brian's scan since it was in color and mine would be black and white) where Johnny, Ben, and Reed are transported back in time to a pirate cove and need some piratey clothes to blend in.

They need some clothes and just happen across some pirates fighting over a big bundle of clothes. It makes no sense at all unless you consider the Marvel Method.

Stan probably wrote something like "They find some pirates arguing, attack them, and steal their clothes." Jack's interpretation was that the pirates had clothes to steal other than the ones on their backs. It didn't make much sense, but it's what Stan wrote and Jack had eight other comics to draw by 7PM so he drew them fighting over a bundle of clothes. Stan, in turn, had to write dialogue that would somehow explain why his plan for the Fantastic Three to mug some pirates had turned into a laundry heist.

Look at some of the others as well, like this:
I'm sure Stan wrote something like: "Reed spots a motorcycle gang and grabs one of the riders for questioning." He intended for them to be parked at a roadside diner or some such place, but Jack, thinking motion and action, thought they should be driving down the road.

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