How a dispute over fillers kept the fantastic four Waid/Wieringo going

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In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out how a conflict over two filler issues led to Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo The Fantastic Four run continuously

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and fifty-first installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions. Click here for the first caption in this episode of All Captions by Mike Wieringo.

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COMIC CAPTION:

DC doesn’t want to let Mike Wieringo do two replacement numbers after his The Fantastic Four the end of the run caused him to stay on the title when Mark Waid returned to the series after their brief withdrawal from the book.

STATUS:

True

A fascinating controversy from nearly twenty years ago took place when Marvel Vice President Bill Jemas decided he no longer wanted Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo to continue their run. The Fantastic Four (where Wieringo was inked by the great Karl Kesel, while the amazing Paul Mounts did the colors).

Although the series was a critical success and a strong seller, Jemas believed the series needed a more grounded approach. As I detailed in an old Legends Revealed comic (sixteen years ago – yuck), Jemas originally hired writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Steve McNiven to make a The Fantastic Four maxi-series that would run alongside the main Waid/Wieringo Fantastic Four series. Then Jemas decided to replace Waid and Wieringo with Aguirre-Sacasa and McNiven soon after. The Fantastic Four #500, making this maxi-series instead of just numbers from the main Fantastic Four series, starting with The Fantastic Four #509 (which would follow a final arc on Waid’s Fantastic Four).


Jemas then left Marvel, and Marvel editor Joe Quesada instead decided to give Aguirre-Sacasa and McNiven their own Marvel Knights Fantastic Four series called Marvel Knights 4 (part of that was that McNiven was a little behind the deadline, so they couldn’t pick up the book when they originally planned to)

Waid and Wieringo then re-teamed on the book with The Fantastic Four #509 to do thirteen more issues together on the series, including a classic arc involving the Fantastic Four invading Heaven itself to bring the Thing back to life.

RELATED: The Spider-Man / Fantastic Four team that was a tribute to a great Marvel artist who died


The interesting thing about the change is that it was fixed fast enough that Waid never stopped writing the comic, but originally, once the Aguirre-Sacasa/McNiven run was snuffed out, Waid was still not going to return to the book. He and Wieringo would instead team up on Legion of Super-Heroes in DC. However, when the Aguirre-Sacasa/McNiven run wasn’t going to happen, editor Tom Brevoort convinced Waid and Weiringo to do at least a two-part companion story that would serve to both wrap up their run and give also to the team that would follow the time to prepare.


Wieringo, meanwhile, was signing an exclusive contract as part of its launch deal Legion of Super-Heroes (part of the hook for the new series would be that DC now had the guys who were unfairly fired from The Fantastic Four) with Waid. However, he explained to DC that he had to do those final two issues first. The Fantastic Four. This…didn’t go well.

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Tom Brevoort reminded of Ben Morse in a great oral history of this race last year to Newsarama:

I called Ringo and Ringo was on board for that too, he didn’t need to start Legion yet. Then I guess a day or two later they sent his exclusive deal for Legion, and he called Dan and said “That sounds good, I just need to finish two more issues of FF and then I’ll be ready to start.” “What do you mean by two more FF numbers?” “Mark and I are going to do two more numbers to finish the race.” Dan exploded, his head exploded. “The whole point of this is that I want the guys who got fired from Marvel, not the guys who came back and finished the race!”

He basically said to Ringo, ‘If you come back and do this, [expletive] you, we’re not going to give you an exclusive. Ringo called me, told me all about it and said he was still going to do both FF numbers because he told me he would. I told Joe all of this, and at the end of the day, Ringo got his Marvel exclusive contract paperwork that matched all the terms DC gave him.

At that point, we figured out why only do two numbers, everyone’s back, let’s do more! [Tom laughs] We had so much material from the Doomsday arc that there was literally no downtime. There was a lot of storm if you were online or following Wizard or whatever, but just reading the comic you wouldn’t have any idea what happened.

Waid then teamed up with Barry Kitson, instead, on this Legion Course…

And instead we have a whole bunch of other awesome Waid/Wieringo The Fantastic Four problems!

All’s well that ended well!

Many thanks to Ben Morse and Tom Brevoort for this well summarized information (I was going to quote Wieringo himself from an old interview, but Tom’s answer was much more detailed).

DISCOVER A TV LEGEND REVEALED!

In the latest TV series Legends Revealed – Find out how Debbie Allen fought to save Lisa Bonet from being fired from A Different World.

PART THREE COMING SOON!

Check back soon for part 3 of the legends of this episode!

Feel free to send me suggestions for future comic legends at [email protected] or [email protected]

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