Mar 082009

I’m not a comic book guy, but I know some of you are. I do, however, think of certain rockers in terms of their comic book-style superpowers, so I’m looking forward to what I may learn from this discussion. Rock superpowers can be very important skills.

From what I can gather regarding the Marvel comic The Fantastic Four, which debuted in 1961, this was a new kind of superhero group, one that was as in touch with its “family” dynamic, human flaws, and celebrity as much as its responsibility to fight bad guys and display their superpowers. Since they came on the comic scene shortly after the birth of rock ‘n roll, I’ve chosen them in our quest to design a rock ‘n roll analogy.

Who’s your Rock ‘n Roll Fantastic Four, your Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Thing? Full bands can count if covering all four characters, but they cannot count collectively for one character, dig? You must select four individual musicians (they can be members of bands) based on their rock superpowers, crime-fighting abilities, and maybe more importantly, psychological profile.

If you need some help thinking about this Fantastic Four concept, here’s Wikipedia’s description of the original Fantastic Four:

The four core individuals traditionally associated with the Fantastic Four, who gained superpowers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific mission to outer space, are: Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), a scientific genius and the leader of the group, who can stretch his body into incredible lengths and shapes; the Invisible Woman (Susan “Sue” Storm), Reed’s wife, who can render herself invisible and project powerful force fields; the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Sue’s younger brother, who can generate flames, surround himself with them and fly; and the monstrous Thing (Ben Grimm), their grumpy but benevolent friend, who possesses superhuman strength and endurance.

Since the original four’s 1961 introduction, the Fantastic Four have been portrayed as a somewhat dysfunctional yet loving family. Breaking convention with other comic-book archetypes of the time, they would squabble and hold grudges both deep and petty, and eschew anonymity or secret identities in favor of celebrity status. The team is also well known for its recurring struggles with characters such as the villainous monarch Doctor Doom, the planet-devouring Galactus, the sea-dwelling prince Namor, the spacefaring Silver Surfer, and the shape-changing alien Skrulls.

Here’s a blog tribute to them that also may help you form your analogy. Feel free to extend this discussion to related characters in the Fantastic Four saga.


  12 Responses to “Rock ‘n Roll Fantastic Four”

  1. dbuskirk

    Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards)
    -David Byrne

    The Invisible Woman (Susan “Sue” Storm)
    -Meredith Monk

    the Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
    -The late Ron Ashton

    Thing (Ben Grimm)
    – the lead singer of the Novas (of “The Crusher” fame…

  2. Mr. Fantastic- Jon Brion

    The Invisible Woman- Darlene Love

    The Human Torch- Arthur Brown

    The Thing- Al Anderson

  3. My Guitar Player Fantastic 4

    Mr. Fantastic – Nels Cline

    The Invisible Woman – Chrissie Hynde

    The Human Torch – Link Wray

    The Thing – Johnny Ramone

  4. Plus, Dick Dale as, what else, The Silver Surfer.

  5. Mr. Fantastic – Bono
    Invisable Woman – Amiee Man
    Human Torch – Iggy Pop
    The Thing – Bruce Springsteen

  6. this is too complex for me.
    I would have loved for the Ramones to fight KISS on top of the World Trade Center.

  7. mockcarr

    Bass version

    Mr Fantastic: Mike Watt
    Invisible Woman: Carol Kaye
    Human Torch: Flea
    The Thing: Dusty Hill

  8. sammymaudlin

    Mr. Fantastic – Andy Partridge
    Invisible Woman – Robyn Hitchcock
    Human Torch – Jimi
    The Thing – Courtney Love

  9. alexmagic

    Mr. Fantastic: Diamond Dave – the brains (Dave reads two books a day!) and frontman of the group and, like Mr. Fantastic, mostly responsible for getting them into all the shit they got into; also, Roth’s on-stage acrobatics likely involved an extensive regimen of pre-show stretching

    The Human Torch: Eddie Van Halen – hothead, flashy, constantly smoking

    The Invisble Woman: Alex Van Halen – sibiling of the Human Torch stand-in, the one nobody really pays attention to

    The Thing: Michael Anthony – the squat, hulking dude who people ridicule and shun from society, but much like The Thing had a heart of gold and was important to the team, Michael Anthony contributed in a big way with his angelic backing vocals

    Dr. Doom: Diamond Dave, after they fired him

    She-Hulk: Sammy Hagar

    Willie Lumpkin, The Fantastic Four’s Mailman: Gary Cherone

  10. saturnismine


    Mr. Fantastic – Jimi Hendrix
    Invisible Woman – Meg White
    Human Torch – Jay Reatard
    The Thing – Jason Pierce

  11. dbuskirk

    Nice job Alex, that Van Halen=F4 is a pretty nicely tailored fit!

  12. Here’s my version of a Fantasti-4 band;

    Mr. Fantastic – Overend Watts of Mott the Hoople, ‘cuz his name is “Overend Watts” – bs

    Invisible Woman – Mary Margaret O’Hara -vcls

    Human Torch – Ruyter Suys from Nashville Pussy – gtr

    The Thing – Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor of the original Motorhead – drms

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