X-Lapsed, Episode 134 – Fantastic Four #26 (2021)

X-Lapsed, Episode One Hundred Thirty-Four

Fantastic Four (vol.6) #26 (January, 2021)
“One Stop From Everywhere”
Writer – Dan Slott
Art – R.B. Silva
Colors – Jesus Aburtov
Letters – VC’s Joe Caramagna
Edits – Martin Biro, Alanna Smith, Tom Brevoort, C.B. Cebulski
Cover Price: $3.99
On-Sale: November 18, 2020

Continuing our trek off the beaten Dawn of X trail… we’re stopping to take a look at the issue of Fantastic Four (vol.6) where it was revealed that Franklin Richard is NOT… and never HAS BEEN a mutant.  I’m sure it’ll be handled quite gracefully… and not feel like a last-minute attempt to “solve a problem”.

I’ll also share with you my life and times as a fan of the Fantastic Four… it’s not that thrilling a story, but you’ll get it anyway!

All that and great mailbag to boot!  Be a pal, have a listen!

@acecomics / @cosmictmill / weirdcomicshistory@gmail.com





One thought on “X-Lapsed, Episode 134 – Fantastic Four #26 (2021)

  • Damien Drouet-Whiter

    This issue of Fantastic Four made me really angry. More specifically one page of this issue made me furious.

    We all know that being a mutant has frequently been a metaphor or allegory for being a member of an oppressed group. Starting with allusions to anti-semitism and the red scare, moving through the civil rights movement and feminism into becoming an allegory for being  LGBT. The recent X-Men/Fantastic 4 series really leant in to the LGBT interpretation of mutanthood. Chip Zdarsky was clearly referencing conversion therapy and the push and pull between family and identity in his storyline. Ultimately we got a happy ending where Franklin was able to be a full mutant and a full part of his family. Reed and Sue realised that Franklin could have a life apart from their experience without any loss to the family.

    When we were reading that series these parallels were not lost on me and I know that a lot of LGBT+ people felt the same. I read a very moving article by a trans woman who was greatly effected by this story (unfortunately I can't remember where). I also saw Chip Zdarsky reference in an interview that he was internationally referencing LGBT family dynamics and Marvel editorial must have been aware of the response to the series.

    And then they do this. An all-but omnipotent patriarch tells Franklin that he was faking it all the time. LGBT people go through their lives with people constantly telling them that they are not who they are. Just yesterday I was talking to someone on the bus about the Covid vaccine and I mentioned that I had no side effects but that my husband had a fever for a few hours, she felt it was appropriate to say that I should try getting with a woman and that she would pray for me. This is some random woman who I faintly know because she sometimes comes into the shop I work in and she feels she has a right to question the legitimacy of my marriage. This is a relatively common experience and I live in London where people are generally more socially  liberal than many parts of the World.

    Imagine being someone who is relatively isolated who has taken joy and hope from Franklin's story, how will they feel now? Marvel Comics is standing with all the people who tell us that it's just our imagination.

    I'm sure this was not the intention. It'll be something ridiculous to do with the Marvel Universe where they don't want Franklin to be an X-Man character and they want to keep him affiliated with the Fantastic Four. Probably somehow Movie related. But they should have realised how this page links to the previous storyline that was very recent. It is a sign of the lack of diversity at Marvel that no-one was able to notice how bad this would play with an LGBT audience.

    Of course when something is bad we can always rely on Dan Slott to make it worse. On the day this comic was released fans tweeted about the unfortunate consequences of this story and Dan Slott insulted them publicly. I do not think he wrote that page in order to be homophobic or transphobic but he could have held his hands up, explained it was unintentional and even crowd-sourced ways of mitigating the error. Instead he chose to insult fans. In particular he chose to insult marginalised fans who are often abused by other fans.

    And so I'm angry. Angry that it is still acceptable to drown out LGBT voices. Angry that our bad experiences are mined for story material when it suits them but dropped without a thought. Angry at the toxicity of much of online comics' fandom. And I'm angry that I will never be able to reread any of my old Dan Slott comics without being aware that he is a monumental Dick who thinks people like me are beneath him.

    As Jack Kirby famously said,  comics will break your heart.


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