"Prior to The Fantastic Four, the family unit was never explored within the comic book genre." (Simcha Weinstein)
This image was used on sweatshirts in the story's early days. It
sums them up.
Everyone knows them by their first names, not their superhero
titles. They are people first.
The super powers and their Fifth Avenue home are just details.
They make the story memorable.
The four are friends. They naturally do things together.
This is Reed Richards, genius scientist and son of a billionaire. He likes to tinker with alien technology.
Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny were friends before they were a team.
Johnny Storm loves to have fun.
After his father was jailed, Johnny was raised by his sister,
...with the help of his long suffering girlfriend Alicia
But it starts with the four friends.
In Act 1 they gain their powers and meet the major characters in the story.
In Act 2 they grow from strength to strength.
This is their golden age: days never to be forgotten.
Sue expects a baby.
Reed plans to give up their career and put the child first. But
will he? That is the question, the heart of the family saga.
This drama is not really about superheroes, it's about a family.
To emphasize the point, from this moment until the end of Act 3,
the team is often seen relaxing in civilian clothes.
Sue was always more able to solve major problems. The child, when he arrives, will have the power to solve all their problems. But will Reed see it?
Or will he continue to sideline others, believing that he has to do everything himself?
They are ready to move on. This is a major turning point. They
are stepping into a new life.
But somehow work becomes more important again.
Yet they still love each other.
The child is growing, but still they want to act like single people.
They refuse to grow up, and they each pays the price.
Families grow. Families change. Children arrive, they grow.
People move in, people move out. A small family becomes several
connected families. Teenagers become adults, adults marry, new
children are born. But the Fantastic Four refuses to grow like a
real family. They lose their direction. The family is in crisis.
Eventually, through great tragedy, Reed realizes that he must put
his family first.