Bleeding Cool has confirmed a scoop they brought to light a couple years back in regards to the Fantastic Four and their lack of an official comic book on Marvel’s roster. Back in 2014, an edict from Marvel CEO Issac Perlmutter stated that the Fantastic Four could not be used for stand alone comics or with any promotional material. Marvel shot back that the decision was due to poor sales of the Fantastic Four. Johnathan Hickman, long time Marvel writer, had this to say.
”I think it’s pretty common knowledge at this point that Marvel isn’t publishing Fantastic Four because of their disagreement with Fox…”
When Marvel was facing bankruptcy in the 1990’s, they licensed off their intellectual properties to movie studios to keep the ship afloat. 20th Century Fox swooped in and got the movie rights to the X-Men universe as well as the Fantastic Four. To date, they’ve been able to create three Fantastic Four movies of varying quality. The Josh Trank reboot in 2015 was an absolute mess. While publicly Fox has stated they still have plans to make another Fantastic Four movie as well as a stand alone Doctor Doom movie, the big question will be whether audiences will trust Fox to actually make a quality film.
As a business decision, I get why Marvel doesn’t want to promote the Fantastic Four. By making more stand alone Fantastic Four comics and including them on promotional material, they’re printing money for 20th Century Fox. Yet being that the first family of Marvel kick started everything we love about Marvel Comics today, Marvel’s move is short sighted to say the least, especially since they have no issues in making multiple X-Men and Deadpool titles.
What I would love to see, and what could already be in the works, would be Fox trading the Fantastic Four for the X-Men television rights which they don’t currently have. (They had to obtain Marvel’s permission for the current mutant related televisions shows.) With the established multi-verse that was first introduced in Doctor Strange as well as the upcoming inclusion of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel, we could very well be seeing Marvel Studios finally include the Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fox has no clue how to best utilize the property they have. For the benefit of Marvel fans, Fox returning the movie rights to the Fantastic Four would be beneficial for everyone.