Ever since I picked up Marvel's Greatest Comics #57 (reprinting Fantastic Four #75) waayyy back in 1975, I've been hooked on the adventures and soap operatics Marvel's First Family. Just like every other great comic book title, the covers of The Fantastic Four were packed with the same excitement and near-hysterical drama as the stories themselves, which the sampling below gives you a small glimpse of:
However, within those hallowed halls of attention-grabbing F.F. covers, there exist a handful of "lemons" that clearly don't uphold that grand tradition high adventure...one of which is Fantastic Four #301 (1987).
Following the previous month's big 300th issue blow-out, this cover looks like the haggard, hung-over party guest who staggered out the next morning.
Instead of the action-packed cosmic spectacle you'd expect from an F.F. cover, we get The Thing asleep in a taxi (complete with the cheesy "ZZZZZZZZ" word balloon in case we couldn't figure it out), knocked out by a chemical gas cooked up by The Wizard (carried in a glass test tube in case we couldn't figure that out).
Further ruining the experience is the never-entertaining theme of child abduction, as young Franklin Richards is yanked from the taxi by the leering Wizard. Add to the mix the flush-left positioning of the word "Four" in the title logo (leaving a gaping dead space a truck could drive through) and the dreary brown color of the taxi's interior, and it's no wonder Captain America looks so ticked-off in the lower left-hand corner!
This is "The World's Greatest Comic Magazine"?
With a phoned-in cover like this, it sure didn't seem like it at the time.