When it comes to early issues of Fantastic Four by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, it's nearly impossible to play favorites. Fantastic Four #1 is obviously important for kicking off the Marvel Universe as we know it. Fantastic Four #5 introduced Doctor Doom. Fantastic Four #12 has that great Hulk crossover. We could go on listing important issues all day long. But the kid in me has always had a soft spot for Fantastic Four #3 — the issue that gave the world the Fantasti-Car.
Even among the steady stream of important keys that the World's Greatest Comic Magazine produced, that symbolic dream of the future always jumps out at me when I see a copy of this issue, such as this Fantastic Four #3 CGC 5.0 copy up for auction this week at Comic Connect.
And yes, Fantastic Four #3 introduced the team's iconic costumes as well, but… if you've ever asked yourself, "Where's my jetpack? Where's my flying car?", Stan and Jack tried to help solve half of that scientific equation in 1962. Here's what I mean:
From 1958 to early 1962 — in other words, leading right up to the release of this issue of FF — Piasecki Aircraft Corporation developed a series of prototype "Sky Car" or "Air Geep" flying cars for the United States Army. Given the timing and that familiar flying-bathtub shape, it seems clear that Stan and Jack were aware of this when the Fantasti-Car was created. Piasecki Aircraft Corporation seems to have had an eye towards developing consumer models if this worked out for the U.S. Army, and one can only imagine that like the rest of us, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would have liked to have seen this symbol of the future become a reality. Perhaps they thought giving it a little bit of publicity might help that along, or perhaps they simply thought it was cool — a small glimpse of the future that pulp and comic science fiction has always promised.
Either way, Fantastic Four #3 has always been one of my favorite issues of the series for that little bit of captured magic. There is a Fantastic Four #3 CGC 1.5 and a Fantastic Four #3 CGC 5.0 up for auction this week at Comic Connect.