It's impossible to overstate the impact that Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four has had on comic-book fans, writers and artists in the last 50 years. And when it comes to pop culture, 50 years might as well be geological time.
So to commemorate the Fantastic Four's golden anniversary, Dan Merritt, a comics über-fan and owner of Dearborn's Green Brain Comics, curates a new show featuring local artists' take on the first issue of The Fantastic Four. That 1961 installment featured 26 pages of comic-book gold written by Stan "The Man" Lee and illustrated by the legendary Jack Kirby.
This show's concept is simple: Merritt invited 26 local artists (myself included) to each take a page from that debut issue and reimagine it in their own style, as vividly and creatively as possible. Many of the results are stunning and sure to enhance the story when all 26 are hung in sequential order to tell the classic tale.
Lee had a knack for infusing believable human emotions into impossible characters and fantastic adventures. Such qualities brought his creations to life, not their powers — although those didn't hurt. And it all began in 1961 with the introduction of the most incredible quartet — Marvel's first family — ever to jump from the funny pages.
The FF 50th Anniversary Group Exhibit opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Headspace Gallery inside Green Brain Comics, 13210 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-582-9444; greenbrain.biz. The exhibit will be on display through Dec. 31. Admission is free, though a donation to the nonprofit arts and literacy advocacy group Kids Read Comics would be appreciated.