It was announced a few months back that Marvel Comics was cancelling their Fantastic Four comic books. Not only that, but word came that Marvel sent out directives to all their creators to not use any of the characters in their own comics and it looked like Marvel was burying the First Family of Marvel Comics and trying to erase them from memory.
The prevailing theory is that Marvel wanted to get people to forget about The Fantastic Four so that, when Fox released their Fantastic Four movie in 2015, it would hurt the movie. Marvel wanted to deal with Fox a couple of years back to use characters like Silver Surfer and Galactus in exchange for letting Fox keep Daredevil. Fox refused and Marvel got Daredevil back.
Next year, Daredevil will return in a Marvel Netflix series, but it seems that Marvel is holding a grudge. Why else would they cancel The Fantastic Four ahead of the Fox movie release?
Disney is Marvel’s parent company and Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn was asked about this and said that it was an independent decision by Marvel and he doesn’t know anything about it. He then trailed off by saying “I mean, honestly, we don’t even…” From the sound of that, it sounds like they either (a) don’t care about The Fantastic Four at Disney or (b) don’t care about the comics.
The word from Fox Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos is that the comic book was cancelled because it was not a huge seller. He said that he didn’t know what played into the decision, but that he knows it wasn’t a big seller. However, it still makes no sense because a Fantastic Four movie, if successful, would jack up the sales of the comics. Cancelling the book now will mean Marvel will get nothing if the movie hits it big.
Gianopulos said that the Fantastic Four movie is awesome and the characters are established so the cancellation of the comic shouldn’t matter at all for Fox. Whether or not this is even true remains to be seen. With the Fantastic Four casting controversies, the change in the origin and the recent major change to Doctor Doom, there is a lot to worry about.
Regardless, Marvel Comics cancelling The Fantastic Four at this time has to mean more than just low sales. It still smells like Marvel is sour at Fox and wants to hurt the movie, or at the least, hurt its box office and get it back in their control.