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Marvel Legends: Finish the Fantastic Four!

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Dear Jesse Falcon and Dwight Stall,

Hi guys, it’s me again – am I bothering you at this point?

I try not to be a pest, but after putting that X-Men article together and talking with you at SDCC, I feel like there have been some good conversations about the current and future plans for Marvel Legends, so I thought I would press my luck a bit at this point. Yeah, I have a couple more of these chats up my sleeve.

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So, to start on a high note – Marvel Legends really crushed SDCC 2016. I mean, I was sitting right in that meeting room when everything was announced, and I SAW everything in person at the press event and in the booth, but I still cannot believe all of it is true. I mean, some serious swipes were taken at fulfilling long-time requests and needs for the line, and the showing was wonderfully diverse as it has ever been. The last couple of years have had a pointed Avengers theme with some Guardians and Spider-Man flair as well, and trust me – it made perfect sense and I completely understand the approach in aligning with the Marvel Studios production slate.

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However, this year felt different, and, really, so much better. Sure, the added diversity is a product of new movies like Dr. Strange being added into the mix, but I also felt the warm fuzzies when I saw that the Netflix shows were getting some love, and, most importantly to me, a new focus on the comic side of things definitely took hold. I mean, most everyone is going daffy over the new attempts at the X-Men crew (we can talk about Colossus’s costume choice later), and HOPEFULLY they will be more omnipresent in the ML release schedule going forward. I am definitely stoked for them, but the last card played was the one that has me in a complete tizzy …

LOOK! It's H.E.R.B.I.E.!
LOOK! It’s H.E.R.B.I.E.!

Just when I thought the presentation was over, out popped H.E.R.B.I.E. and the most wonderful sight of the entire showing: a, ahem, FANTASTIC, Invisible Woman figure! Died. I DIED, and in the best way possible. Is it true? Is that really Sue Storm, the matriarch of my favorite Marvel team? Robo almost had to splash water in my face. There she was, and while I was still processing how awesome she looked, my mind went in a thousand different directions about the ramifications of the figure and what it could mean for Marvel’s First Family.

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I am not going to go into the real or speculative reasons why the F4 have suffered exposure in all forms over the past several years. Those Internet stories are well-documented out in the webs, and if even if you are only a casual Marvel fan or ML collector, we all know them.  At the end of the day, though, this is the thought in the back of collector’s minds, even if it might not really matter. What DOES matter is that it looks to me like you guys are putting your F4 foot forward, and I am just keeping my fingers crossed for perfection. I know, it is a lot to ask, but as to my previous point, I am taking this opportunity as a potential “only” chance to get this team for the foreseeable future, so I want to get my point across because I love the Fantastic Four so much.

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While I could go on and on and on about the virtues of the team, and get narrowly specific about what I really hope happens for the figures, you guys made it kind of easy for me. That Sue Storm figure you showed off at SDCC — just use that as the basis to complete the rest of the team, and you have got it – easy-peasy! Sue looks great in her CLASSIC blue and black costume, but her details give way to an iconic look, without being artist specific. Just make the rest of the team match her in terms of costume and style. Yes, I favor Kirby, but I also like Byrne and several others who have lent their pencils to Marvel’s First Family, but I am not even asking to be that specific.

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Let’s talk about the leader of the group, Mr. Fantastic first, shall we? You got Sue exactly right, so now just pick the right base body for Reed, I am thinking Bucky Cap because he should be bigger than Johnny, and give him the EXACT same treatment. An iconic, but not artist-specific, head sculpt (don’t forget those graying temples!), along with a matching blue and black uniform is all you need! Sure, I hope you will offer up some swappable attachments to help recreate his stretchy super-powers (please NO stretched-only limbs or otherwise), but really, Reed just needs to be modeled directly after Sue. Easy. Done. I can see him now.

For the Human Torch, I am actually a bit more free-wheeling in terms of how he is executed. Obviously, he needs to in “flame-on” mode if we are only getting one crack at him at present, and since I favor the Bucky Cap base for Reed, it’s best to give Johnny the Pizza Spidey base. Again, for the look, just make him look like the iconic Johnny Torch; I think, at this point, the F4 symbol on his chest is fine, but not necessary, and some nice mixing and matching of translucent flame parts will make him stand out. Now, I am personally a big fan of the black line effect on this character (as used on the old ToyBiz ML series 2 figure), but that is not even required. A great paint job will go a long way in making the best Torch figure ever.

Okay, now we are into the harder (pun intended) part as my favorite Marvel character of all time, The Thing, seems to be the most difficult to get right in action figure form. I could say that I am pretty particular when it comes to this character, and while I do have a few more requirements for how he should look than Reed and Johnny, but in the end, I just want Ben to be the same as that Sue you showed: ICONIC. The request is simple, but the execution might be a little tougher.

Fortunately for me, Benty wrote a great opening salvo for this article with his Building the Perfect Thing article (PLEASE go read it), so I just want to touch on this briefly and make my point in the most simple what possible. This character means a LOT to me, and I know I have spoken to both of you at length about him, so I want to make sure that the summation of what an iconic Thing needs be is all in one place.

At the end of the day, to me, the new Marvel Legends Thing should take his cues from the cover of Fantastic Four #51, “This Man, This Monster.” That cover captures what he needs to be at his very essence, and, in happy coincidence, there are FOUR main points to notice. You cannot see his face in the art, so the additional image helps pull it all together. The Thing figure must include:

  • His orange rock body, with little actual muscle tone. Some, particularly on the arms, is okay, but he should not be ripped and defined. And at least one fist would fit him well. He does clobber, after all.
  • He should have a heavy brow, a slight underbite, and his iconic blue eyes. There really is no exception here.
  • Ben Grimm should not be any taller than Reed or Johnny. Look, I get it, these are action figures, and Ben has kind of been all over the place in terms of scale at times, but an ICONIC Thing is normal human size in height. If you are going to go taller, please don’t make it by too much, and emulate the size of the old two-pack ML Thing from a few years ago.
  • Finally, and this is a big one for me: the Thing wears SHORTS. He wears blue shorts with a black waistband (to match Sue and Reed). Period. An iconic Thing does not wear long pants, nor does he wear boots. Sure, he has done so at various points in time, but your Sue Storm is iconic and classic, so Ben should most certainly match. PLEASE do not fall into the easy realm of possible reuse or otherwise and give him pants. I beg you on this one – shorts and bare feet only! I would be okay with a bit of leniency on the previous three if you can just get this one right. PLEASE. If you do this, I will be your best friend and never ask for anything else again. Except maybe the rest of the Inhumans …

Again, if you have any questions on how to build a perfect Marvel Legends Thing, go read that article mentioned above.

Look, I am normally not so impassioned about possible Marvel Legends figures because I am pretty easy going. However, my favorite character and favorite team are at stake here, and due to the unfortunate current state of things, this might be my only shot at this for a VERY long time. I am not sure if Sue is a harbinger of a F4 wave or maybe just a box set, but nothing else matters here except getting the team — the ENTIRE team — right. You have done it with Sue. Really, you have. Now just follow that pattern and you will give us something we have NEVER gotten in Marvel Legends – AWESOME Fantastic Four Figures.

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Dwight, Jesse, I am not alone, guys. Lots of F4 fans are really counting on this, so I appreciate the time you took to read this. I only bothered because I am so excited about the possibility of getting this right. I have to say my piece. You can do eet! You can make the perfect Fantastic Four. Pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease PLEASE! Finish the Fantastic Four!