“Fantastic Four 278 Page 13” (May 1985)

From 20 years ago this month, a highly charged incident from FF 278…

“Fantastic Four 278, page 13” (May 1985)
by John Byrne (1950-) and Jerry Ordway (1957-)
11 x 17 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

In New York City, Johnny and Alicia are walking through Times Square. Along a fence Johnny notices a poster advertising Reverend Thomas Scott-Harmon’s payer meeting for racial equality. He is shocked to see that someone as defaced the posters by placing banners over them with derogatory slurs. Disgusted by what he is reading, Johnny explains what he has seen to Alicia then spots the man vandalizing the posters.

When Johnny turns the person around he is shocked to see that it’s actually a young boy, and worse a fan of the Human Torch. When Johnny asks what he’s doing, the young man begins to talk about a man named Mister Unger who has been teaching the boy that the only way to achieve peace is to acknowledge hatred. The boy then hands Johnny a pamphlet on “Hate” and starts spouting racist ideals about white supremacy. Johnny hears enough and tells the kid to get lost, sending the racist bigot off with a kick in the butt to see him off. Then using his flame powers, Johnny burns off the racial slurs from the posters before deciding to walk Alicia home instead of going on their date. As young Johnny Storm leads his blind girlfriend on, they are unaware that a mysterious figure is watching and pleased that his plan is coming to fruition, a plan that will see the annihilation of all mankind.