Though the majority of single-issue comic book sales are still largely seen as the product of a niche market, the biggest events in the lives of America's superheroes still rate with national news organizations hungry for an accessible water cooler hook. So it should come as no surprise that Marvel Comics has revealed to the Associated Press which member of their first family dies in "Fantastic Four" #587 in a story that's being picked up by several newspapers including The San Francisco Chronicle.
In an article titled "After half century, it's 1 Fantastic's farewell," AP writer Matt Moore digs into the revelations at the heart of the Jonathan Hickman/Steve Epting-created issue, which goes on sale today as an early release in comic shops. In deference to our readers still hoping to experience the story straight out of the promotional "death bag" it's shipped in, CBR News is quoting details from the AP story BELOW the following cover image and SPOILER WARNING.
SPOILER WARNING: Massive spoilers for "Fantastic Four" #587 lie below! Turn back now!
In the AP story, Hickman, Marvel SVP of Publishing Tom Brevoort and CCO Joe Quesada revealed that Johnny "The Human Torch" Storm will meet his demise in the comic (the character at the lead of yesterday's CBR poll). Brevoort confirmed that "588 is the final issue of the 'Fantastic Four.' Beyond that, we're not ready to say exactly what we're doing. There won't be an issue 589."
Hickman added that his story's overall direction moving forward will "converge in a new thing that will be exciting and different and yet, very familiar and very much the same.
"Our readers get heavily involved in the lives of these characters. They fight alongside them, they share their triumphs and pitfalls. They live with them and they grasp them very tightly to their breast. They take them on in a very one to one, very personal sort of way," the writer added.
Quesada chimed in on the possibility that the Torch could be reborn, saying "Whether the human torch comes back or not is really a question that will be answered in time...While I will never discount that a character can come back from the dead because it is one of the staples of comic book story telling . I'm not going to tell you if he will, or when he will and if he does, how he will, but I can assure you that it's going to be very, very interesting and not what anyone expects."
For more on the impermanence of comic book death, read the AP's story at SFGate.com with quotes from former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas.
Whether or not this change and its high placement in certain newspapers will bring extra sales to the issue throughout today remains to be seen, but check back with CBR later this week for an interview with Hickman on the issue and all the news surrounding the events of "Fantastic Four" #587.