Where Is the Data Vortex?

By | Friday, March 04, 2022 6 comments
The image you see here is the cover to a comic called Fantastic Four Trapped in the Data Vortex from 2011. It was, as you might surmise from the "Presented by Hitachi Data Systems" and "Not for Resale" bits across the bottom, a promotional comic that was never actually sent out to comic retailers for purchase. That's hardly uncommon actually. Both Marvel and DC have been actively soliciting doing custom comics using their characters for decades. Some of these are used as promotional items internally, some of them are used as customer incentives, some are I'm sure used in ways that I haven't even thought of.

Because of those different use cases, and obviously because of different preferences of the individual working on these projects not to mention whatever budget and time constraints might be imposed, these style and quality of these comics can vary widely. Some probably don't care which characters are used, just so long as they find a use for a certain product. Some are very specific about which characters they want to use and have a very detailed set of points that need to be conveyed. I expect there are some companys who all but write the script themselves. Some might be a simple four page flyer, others might be full-blown graphic novels. Some might only have a couple hundred printed up, others might have hundreds of thousands. The point being that, even though these all might get lumped under a "promotional comic" umbrella, they can vary pretty wildly from one another.

I wanted to bring up Data Vortex in particular because A) I'm a long-time Fantastic Four fan, and B) I've never even seen a copy of this issue for sale anywhere. It doesn't show up at all on any of the online comic shops -- it doesn't even show up in the Grand Comics Database -- and I've had a Saved Search for it on ebay for probably close to 10 years now and it's never been triggered. I started wondering if it was ever actually printed at all since the only images I ever saw of it were clearly from Marvel's original digital files; although, someone did once eventually point me to an actual photograph of one.

I seem to recall hearing that this was extremely limited in distribution; I want to say it was only given away to Hitachi employees who attended an internal conference of some kind. My memory is quite hazy on that and web searches aren't helping. (It's actually easier to find a bootleg digital copy of the issue than any concrete information beyond what's presented in the issue itself.)

I mention all this to say that I'd like to own a copy. I don't often use this platform to look for obscure items, but like I said, I've never even seen this for sale at all. It's not that I saw one and couldn't afford it, or it was sniped from me on ebay at the last second, or anything like that. I've never had the opportunity to get screwed out of a deal because there just hasn't been one available in the first place! If anyone has a lead on where I might be able to find a printed copy -- either the 'regular' or the 3D version -- I'd very much appreciate it if you drop me a note. Thanks!
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Matt K said...

It's shelved next to The Green Ghost #1. :-)

Anonymous said...

Are you still looking for a copy of this?

Yes, I've still not found a copy.

Steve said...

I have a copy that I am willing to let go. It's the 3d version with the glasses and tube. If you are interested then please let me know and we can discuss.

That would be brilliant, Steve. Why don't you go ahead and email me at sean@seankleefeld.com

eivor said...

are you still looking for a copy i also have the 3d version with the glasses and tube