by BK Munn
I've seen some press for an upcoming repackaging of Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four #1, the comic book that arguably launched the Marvel brand of superheroes. The new book tries to place FF1 in its historical context by reprinting it alongside the other Marvel/Atlas comics that were published in the same month, presumably to show what an major departure the title was. Of course, comics historians who have studied the period know that the Fantastic Four is not really a major departure for Kirby, being an extension and articulation of several themes from his previous superhero, science fiction, and romance comics work. Far from being revolutionary, there's a case to be made that the Fantastic Four isn't even the most interesting comic book Kirby himself created that year! Sure, its importance in paving the way for the revival of superheroes at Marvel can't be understated, but most would agree it's not the greatest comic book, even for a kids' comic, and it would be awhile before the title of "World's Greatest Comic Magazine" would even be remotely applicable. Which leads me to ask, what was the best comic of 1961?