On History: Fantastic Four #352

By | Monday, February 23, 2015 1 comment
One of the narratively most interesting comics I've read from Marvel or DC was Fantastic Four #352 by Walt Simonson, which I was recently reminded of. The comic consisted of two parallel narratives: one was the "primary" story of the main characters, and the second was a battle between Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom in which they flitted in and out of time. What was particularly clever, I thought, was how the second story was non-linear to the first but still interesected it repeatedly. Simonson used a "turn to page X" type of gimmick for the battle, as explained in an editor's note on the mail page...
The story in FF #352 begins as a single timeline, but when Reed and Dr. Doom begin their battle, the timeline bifurcates. While the restof the Fantastic Four continue to live in ordinary time, as indicated by the rectangular clock at the bottom of each page, Reed and Dr. Doom make jumps backward and forward in time while the duel. To follow Reed and Dr. Doom's story linearly, as they would experience it, turn to the time/page indicated by the round teleportational timeclock at the bottom of each black and white timejump panel... P.S. Be sure and check out the cover!
It's a storytelling trick I haven't seen before or since, and it's one of the reasons why I love Simonson's stint on the book as much as Kirby's (who created all of this in the first place) and Byrne's (whose run is what I grew up with).

I'd found a few sample pages online, but I wanted to showcase just how crazy-awesome this entire comic is. So, ladies and gentlemen, here is Fantastic Four #352 in its entirety...

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Matt K said...

This one's definitely a masterpiece.

I came to it as a result of liking the series and the characters, but I can't help imagining that it should be nearly as fascinating to anyone interested in comics as a storytelling medium, even if they have minimal interest in The Fantastic Four.