“Fantastic Four” Bizarre Baseball Cultures that are probably way better than the new movie

The new Fantastic Four movie recently came out. It was a total and utter disaster, with a Rotten Tomatoes score that can only be seen with a microscope and a box office performance so pitiful it couldn’t even win it’s week. It’s hardly surprising, really, as A) it was not made by Marvel itself, but rather FOX, which only has the rights to make these movies due to a deal it made way back in the early 1990s when Marvel was in the direst of financial straits, and B) it was trying to turn what is arguably the most optimistic and adventuresome of comic books into a dark and moody techno-thriller. I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!?

With luck, this failure will lead to the Fantastic Four and their stable of villains (most notably DOCTOR DOOM) back to the Marvel line, so we can see a real and proper movie featuring the FF, with Doctor Doom done right, and maybe with a Hulk-Thing fight thrown in, too, because after how badly this and the previous movies have hurt the reputation of “Marvel’s First Family”, they’re going to have to go all out to win back the crowd.

But, anyway, enough rambling. Here are the Bizarre Baseball Cultures that featured the Fantastic Four. All of them, no doubt, are better than the current film:

2007’s AAA Baseball Heroes

This Marvel/AAA Baseball crossover is great in that it shows off how the Fantastic Four are basically an ordinary family who happen to go exploring alternate dimensions and fight space-gods in their spare time. I mean, look, they all are at a ballgame together!

 

2007GiveawayComicPage1From what I understand, the latest movie has none of this stuff. And it flopped big time. Coincidence? I think not.

It also has a Hulk-Thing fight and this, the greatest image in the history of art:

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 5.53.33 PM2008’s AAA Baseball Heroes

This installment of the Marvel/AAA Baseball didn’t have as much Fantastic Four fun, really only featuring Reed Richards and the Mole-Man (who served as the villain). However, unlike the new movie, it showed the Fantastic Four as part of a large and vibrant universe and as close allies and friends with characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man. Which, if you ask me, instantly makes it better than whatever piece of crap 20th Century Fox just put out.

We also see the Mole Man cry tears of joy, which still makes me laugh for some reason:

And the Mole Man wept...

Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius Super Summer Spectacular

A good, innocent, all-ages comedy comic about Franklin Richards, the eldest son of Reed and Sue Richards, as he tries to cheat in little league by using a Flubber-like explosive substance on his bat to hit some home runs.

It also has this image:

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 10.37.50 PMAh, such light-hearted whimsy. If only the new Fantastic Four movie had some of that, maybe it wouldn’t have been called something that “not only scrapes the bottom of the barrel; it knocks out the floor and sucks audiences into a black hole of soul-crushing, coma-inducing dullness.”

That’s something that somebody actually wrote. Go look on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cameos

The FF has also made brief appearances in my run-down of Marvel Universe appearances by Yankee Stadium, and in the Bullseye miniseries. I won’t go in depth on those, as we are forgetting about the unofficial fifth member of the Fantastic Four, their arch-nemesis, the greatest villain in Marvel comics….

DOCTOR DOOM….. who once tried to kidnap Jeff Conine

Okay, this is what Doctor Doom apparently looks like in the new movie:

What. The. Hell. That isn’t Doctor Doom. That’s, like, I dunno, what would happen if evil C3PO had a baby with a Gothic Crash-Test Dummy. Jeez, is it THAT EFFING HARD, FOX?!?! THIS IS WHAT DOOM LOOKS LIKE, IN BATTLE WITH TWO OF HIS GREATEST FOES:

BILLY THE MARLIN and SPIDER-MAN!

MarlinsSpideyCoverI mean, jeez, that’s one of the most iconic things in comic books. It was the partial inspiration for Darth freaking Vader. But, NOOOOOOOO, you have to go make Doom like like a human vacuum cleaner that just got put in the oven for too long.

…Seriously, FOX, give back the rights to Marvel. They’re Disney. They have the money. They have the X-Men television rights you want. For the good of all that is holy. PLEASE!

(ahem)

Anyway, Doctor Doom made one of the most notable appearances in Bizarre Baseball Culture when he went and tried to kidnap Jeff Conine to force him to play for the Latverian national baseball team, only to be foiled by Billy the Marlin and Spider-Man. Truly, words cannot describe the greatness of this story. If Marvel ever gets the rights to Doctor Doom back, the very first thing they should do is make a deal with a Marlins and put into production a adaptation of this, albeit with Giancarlo Stanton taking the Jeff Conine spot.

I mean, look at this brilliance:

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 11.05.15 PMI mean, behold this:

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 1.44.38 PMSeriously, this is probably better than that new movie, and the Fantastic Four aren’t even in it!

…So, anyway, that concludes a look back at Fantastic Four appearances in Bizarre Baseball Culture. Keep an eye open in the next few days for the next installment, featuring Popeye the Sailor Man, a known user of performance-enhancing substances (i.e. spinach).

 

Bizarre Baseball Culture: BILLY THE MARLIN guest-starring SPIDER-MAN

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

What if I told you there was a comic about Doctor Doom invading 90s Miami in order to kidnap Jeff Conine, only to be foiled by Spider-Man and Billy the Marlin? And what if I told you that Robb Nen also had a brief cameo? Would you be interested in this comic?

Well, seeing as how you are currently looking at this, the answer is probably yes. And, guess what? You are in luck, as this comic does exist:

MarlinsSpideyCover

Yes, it’s time for Bizarre Baseball Culture to jump into Billy the Marlin, guest-starring Spider-Man! Read below to see the background of it, or go below the jump for an overview and analysis:

The comic, as far as I can tell, was given out in either 1996 (that’s the copyright date in the book and also fits with some of the Marlins portrayed) or 1999 (that’s where it’s listed on some online websites, but doesn’t fit since Conine and Nen weren’t on the 1999 Marlins team) for Billy the Marlin’s birthday, a nice little treat for kids who were at the Marlins game. Based on what I could find, Billy the Marlin’s birthday is usually celebrated in August, so presumably this comic came out in August of 1996 or 1999 (I personally think 1996).

The writer and colorist of this comic was Mark Bernardo, who primarily worked as a colorist and editor at Marvel during the 1990s, primarily in Spider-Man books- he was one of the many cooks in the kitchen during the disastrous “Clone Saga” (which was apparently so complicated both in-story and out that I don’t quite understand it even from what I can find online).

Pencilling the story was Alex Saviuk, a prolific artist who is, according to the “Comic Book DB”, best known for his work involving Spider-Man, including a Sunday newspaper strip.

Greg Adams did inks, Janice Chiang did letters and Glenn Herdling was the Editor. All three had plenty of experience in comics.

End of background, go BELOW THE JUMP for overview and analysis (Warning: image-intensive!):

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