#2570: Marvel Selects Fantastic Four #2 (2000)
And here’s another weird one.
Following up on yesterday’s post about Marvel Selects Spider-man, we find ourselves with Marvel Selects Fantastic Four, also a reprint of material from the 1970s. Like the Spider-man book, this one has reprints of ads for companies that no longer exist.
What is more strange, though, is that when I was counting the story pages I miscounted. I had 20 pages for the main story, 6 for the back-up story, 6 pages of the weird ad reproductions, a cover, an editorial page, two external ads, and a back cover. Great. Add it all up and it’s a 37 page comic book.
Now, I miscount pages all the time. It’s trivially easy to do that, and you just start again to find the error. So, I recounted the pages, three times. I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out how I got an odd number, particularly given that the story pages are numbered, making the count a lot simpler.
Well, it turns out that this reprint of the first story, “The Monstrous Mystery of the Nega-Man” from Fantastic Four #108, skips from page 11 to 13, reducing the page count for the lead story to 19 pages and bringing us in at a nice, logical, divisible by four total of 36.
I then wondered: “what kind of half-assed reprint series skips a page of the comic book that they’re reprinting?” and I went to look at FF #108 to find out what got cut. The electronic version that I have, however, is no help at all - because that comic also jumps from page 11 to 13. Indeed, there is no story gap at all - the dialogue between Ben and Reed continues in a manner that suggests there was never a twelfth page.
It took another moment of looking to see the answer: Page 13 here also has a panel with the page 12 numbering. Clearly, in the original publication, both pages were half-story and half-advertising or editorial content, and they have been conjoined in the reprints.
A good reminder that the role of the coder in this project is to actually count the pages, and not simply rely on Marvel editors from the 1970s to do it for us! Sometimes a twenty page story is only nineteen pages long.