THE FANTASTIC FOUR #12 (1963): The Birth of the Shared Universe

So many great issues…Already we’ve had the one where they met Namor, Thing-As-Blackbeard, and of course that amazing origin story and the battle against the Mole Man…Now Hulk!

The military hires the Fantastic Four to kill Hulk.  But instead of being smart about it, they just drop Thing on him and the two fight a big, rambunctious Jack Kirby fight.

And of course, Thing ends up in a hole.

Imagine being a kid in the second week of March 1963, going to the newsstand, and picking up both this comic and The Amazing Spider-Man #1.  Quite a ride.  This issue of F4, where Thing and Hulk fight the first of many epic battles, was the first time two Marvel characters from different comics fought each other. 

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 featured the FF and Spidey having a misunderstanding, as well, so this week in 1963 is officially the start of the shared Marvelverse.

But the weird thing about this issue is how it starts with Ben and Alicia on a date at a fancy symphony.  This is the first time we as readers see them dating–but no big deal is made of it.

Creators: StanJack.
First appearances: None.
Grade: A+

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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