With New York Fashion Week having happened this month — and the recent announcement that Spider-Man is slated to join the Fantastic Four in a new venture called Future Foundation that comes complete with brand new, white costumes — it’s time to look at the Fantastic Four’s gear over the years.
The new look might work for Sue, Reed and Ben, but we’re not so sure if white is a flattering color for our favorite Webhead. Anyway, with that in mind, it seemed like the prefect time to look back at the Fantastic Four’s 50 year history in an effort to call out their other major costume changes over the decades.
Contrary to what you might think, the Fantastic Four didn’t actually get their iconic blue costumes until Sue designed them in 1962’s FF #3. Before that? They just wore regular clothes, oftentimes leaning towards trenchcoats—especially for Thing.
The Classic Blue Look
When Sue originally designed these blue costumes, she created one for the Thing that was also a full body suit along with a helmet to hide his ugly mug. In a battle with the Miracle Man, he tossed the helmet and ripped the shirt of like Superman. By the next issue he ditched the full-on pants and started running around in trunks and boots.
Human Torch’s Red Costume
For over a decade, the Fantastic Four’s costumes had very few changes—with Ben eventually losing the boots, but that’s about it—but that all changed in 1973’s FF #132 when he changed his overall color scheme to orange and yellow instead of blue and white in an effort to honor the Golden Age Human Torch. By #159 he’d be back in the classic blue.
After defeating Annihilus in 1983’s FF #256 and being caught in a wave of Negative Zone energy the FF come out with slightly different costumes in that their collars, gloves, boots and belts turned from black to white. It wasn’t a huge visual change, but after years of sameness, the lighter color definitely stands out and even makes the blues look darker.
For a time, Reed and Sue left the team so Crystal and Ms. Marvel (not the one you’re thinking of, but the one later dubbed She-Thing). While on a mission with Ms. Marvel in space, the pair returned and got exposed to another round of Cosmic Rays which make Ben get even pointier and turned Ms. Marvel in a rock creature herself. Ben stuck with his traditional blue trunk costume while Marvel put on more of a leotard-type number with a big “M” on her chest.
In 1992’s FF #371 things got a bit scandalous as Sue changed from the traditional blue garb to a much more revealing look that showed off a lot more skin than anything previous. Meanwhile Reed started sporting a safari-like vest with lots of pockets, Johnny wore more of a jacket over his costume (a very popular look in the 90s) and Ben wound up getting sliced and diced by Wolverine in the face which lead him to start wearing a full face mask.
Right before they died fighting Onslaught, the FF went through yet another costume transition. This time around the whole group decked themselves out in classic blue costumes with much larger, more stylized “4s” on their chests. First appeared in FF #415 from 1996.
After spending a year in the care of other folks, the FF returned along with the rest of the heroes killed fighting Onslaught sporting something very close to their original costumes, going back to the black embellishments instead of of white.
Return of the Big “4s”
Before returning to the classic blue and black in Fantastic Four Vol. III #40, the FF spent some time in costumes somewhat similar to their pre-Onslaught ones that have more stylized 4s on their chests. Sue even went with a belly shirt for a time, but all that went away when the classic duds returned.
Right up until switching over to the white Future Foundation costumes, Reed and Sue switched over to short-sleeved costumes that basically stuck with the original designs.