Back when everyone simply had to know that we were in the midst of the Marvel Age of Comics, the publisher had a nifty knack for promoting their pulchritudinous periodicals with defiantly dazzling descriptors. Every adventure promised picturesque peril and powerful peaks of pageantry. For example, the fearsome Fantastic Four #75 was touted thusly: “We’ve had the presses running overtime, but we’ll never satisfy the demand for this one! The Silver Surfer is hiding from Galactus in a strange new world–and no words of ours can describe the wonder that awaits you!” A superlative saga that so staggers the superciliously silver-tongued Stan Lee that he’s struck speechless? This we’ve gotta see!
Lee was of course the word-slinger on this effervescent epic, joined by awesome artist Jack Kirby. The story finds three-fourths of the Fantastic Four–Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch and the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing–a little bruised and battered in their home base of New York City, having spent the preceding publication swapping punches with the Punisher (a different one than you’re probably thinking about, True Believer), who’d been sent by the globe-gobbler Galactus in an effort to retrieve his high-tailing herald the scintillating Silver Surfer. As the hearty heroes await the their interstellar adversaries next move, bashful, blue-eyed Benjamin J. Grimm vents frustration of his mounting impatience.
Galactus may not have heard that huffy howl, but the Fantastic Four are surely shuffling about his mighty mind. He decides his earthbound enemies are exactly the ones ideally equipped to assist in once again securing the services of the Silver Surfer. The best way for Galactus to guarantee that they’ll serve as his steadfast subcontractors is through an all-out attack.
Following a long-distance lashing, the meticulous mind of Mr. Fantastic determines that the only way to secure the sanctity of the society they’re sworn to safeguard is to acquiesce, assisting their astronomical adversary.
“Yes, yes,” you yowl, “but what about the ‘strange new world,” that “no words…can describe’?” A reasonable request, Real Frantic One! The slippery Silver Surfer is shrinking to severely scaled-down size, so small he can soar into the subatomic specks of the smear on one of Reed’s Richard’s microscope slides. That’s where the wonders await.
Certainly staggering, sahib. Although there may be a miscue in the Checklist. No words can describe these wonders? I can think of one: Kirby.
— Captain America #136
— Thor #186
— The Incredible Hulk #138
— The Amazing Spider-Man #91
— Fantastic Four #104
— Thor #183
— Avengers #44
— The Amazing Spider-Man #53
—Captain America #131
—Captain America #132
—Fantastic Four #132
—Amazing Spider-Man #100