Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Favorite Comic Book Families

August 8, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Fantastic Four Marvel

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Infinity Wars #1, The Walking Dead #182, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we discussed Comic Book Series Cancelled Too Soon. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Travis Homewood: “I was reading incredible hercules and it was awesome. Sadly they kept forcing the agents of atlas in the back. That was a bad period for marvel because they had too many books out. Hercules and captain brittain started out of secret invasion and there were just so many tieins at that time.”

Prez Gar: “I’m going old school on this. Marvel Saga. It was released around Marvels 25th Anniversary, so it ran 25 issues. It covered the history of the Marvel Universe (aside from one special issue just one special issue on Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s history around the time they got married. But they ended with the Galactus saga, which was only about five years in. So many great events that never got covered. The Kree-Skrull War, the Dark Phoenix Saga, the death of Gwen Stacy, the Korvac Saga, Thanos, et al.”

Bop: “Malibu’s The Protectors
Malibu’s The Ferret
Ultraverse’s Firearm
Marvel’s Heroes For Hire (2006)
DC’s R.E.B.E.L.S (Tony Bedard run)
Marvel’s Agent-X (Gail Simone run)
DC’s Firebrand”

Earl Chatterton: “Mostly recently, the Kate Bishop solo version of Hawkeye was canceled too soon. I love the Bishop character from previous books and thought her Kelly Thompson-written comic was the perfect showcase for her.
The all-female team book Fearless Defenders and the second vol of Young Avengers were superb books that should have had longer runs too.”

Richard H1S: “The original Run of Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle.
The following 52 Booster Gold.”

Elway Horseface: “It wasn’t always great, but man, I was a huge fan of Darkhawk in the early 90’s.”

Mr.Greed: “Nextwave and I, Vampire.”

D2Kvirus: “Crossgen going belly up led to a whole bunch of premature cancellations, with El Cazador being the one that springs to mind first and foremost”

DandySkull: “I was really loving A-Force when it came out, and Unstoppable Wasp. I was really bummed for that to end.”

Jeffrey: “Shadowpact for me.”

Mike Watson: “Mark Russell’s The Flintstones was too good to only be 12 issues and a special.”

To read last week’s column, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we ask…

Favorite Comic Book Families

It has been 57 years since the Fantastic Four was introduced to the world. Fantastic Four #1 hits stores this week so Marvel put out a behind-the-scenes look at the Fantastic Four, which you can check out below.

In celebration of the series coming back, I thought it would be fun to celebrate our Favorite Comic Book Families this week.

As you’ll see, I use the term family pretty loosely.

Did you know that DC put out a Batman Family series which ran from 1975 to 1978? They also put out a Superman Family (1974–82), Super-Team Family (1975-1978) and Tarzan Family (1975–76). But I want to talk about Batman’s “family” first, perhaps the largest one that will be on here. This “Family” operates more like a tight knit network under the guidance of Batman. He’s pretty hands on and like any family, sometimes that can be a little overwhelming. But each one knows where they stand and support one another. Yes, they’ll speak out if someone steps out of line or they don’t agree with a decision. What stands out most is how Batman/Bruce Wayne relies on this surrogate family, keeping him from being fully swallowed by his vigilante quest. With Batman as the head, you can count (and I know I’ll miss someone) Alfred Pennyworth, James Gordon, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, Flamebird, Blackbat, Batwoman, Nightwing, Red Hood, Catwoman, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, Red Robin, Azrael, Huntress, and Harvey Bullock. That’s quite a group to rely on.

Can you imagine spending the holidays with the Magneto and the fam? Not only do you have the Master of Magnetism, you have Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Polaris. Maybe Quicksilver’s ex, Crystal, can stop by. Or you can have fun explaining how the Vision was married to Scarlet Witch and they had two kids but in reality they were manifestations brought to like from shards of Mephisto’s soul. OK, I never kept up but did Speed and Wiccan turn out to be legit Tommy and Billy? I find conflicting stories on the subject. Regardless, we’ll keep it there. If we start adding in the alternate reality/extended family, we’d be here all day.

Opening up another can of worms, The Summers Family may be the most convoluted one on the list. Looking at him, you wouldn’t think Cyclop’s from the X-Men would be that complex. But add in the backstory of his dad, Christopher Summer or Corsair to his friends, along with Alex, Gabriel, Nathan, Nate, Rachel, Hope…this family could have its own column. I’m not even getting into Nathan/Cable, Nate Grey, Stryfe, or the “other” Rachel. For someone who used to be the boring X-Man back in the day, Scott has a lot of issues.

Speaking of issues, no family has the father/son dynamic like the Grayson Family from Invincible. Invincible (Mark Grayson) is the teenaged son of Omni-Man (Nolan Grayson), an extraterrestrial superhero of the Viltrumite race. Invincible inherited his father’s superhuman strength and ability to fly and he has sworn to protect the Earth. But wait! The Viltrumites are actually a warrior race who conquer planets for their Empire, killing anyone who refuses to join. Invincible’s dad was sent to Earth as an advance agent and Mark, refusing his father’s offer to join the Viltrumites, tries to fight him. Bad idea. He’s almost killed by his dad. There’s way more twists and turns but that right there would make any dinner conversation over a Thanksgiving turkey kind of awkward. Of course we can’t forget about Mark’s half-brother from another planet.

To lighten things up a bit, let’s talk about The Marvel Family. Although I prefer to call them the Shazam Family. The Marvel Family was established in 1942, starting with the original Captain Marvel, Billy Batson. We quickly met Mary (Mary Marvel), Freddy (Captain Marvel Jr.), Eugene, Pedro, and Darla. Seems like one big happy family, right? Not so fast. Every family has a black sheep and this family has their Black Adam. An older Egyptian renegade protégé of the wizard Shazam, who gave Batson his powers, and who was the first to be granted superpowers by the wizard. Adam eventually grew to abuse his power, and became a tyrant. He’s played both sides of the fight over the years and brings his own family along for the ride.

Another family that is pretty clean cut is the Superman Family. Like Batman, Superman sits at the head of a large group of both family and those he considers family. You have his cousin, Supergirl and Superboy, depending on continuity. Ma and Pa Kent are his heart and compass on Earth. Although they were killed, his real parents, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, play a huge part in his life. The icing on the top is Lois Lane. the love of his life. Truly a super family.

The Inhuman Royal Family are the ruling class of the Inhumans. They’ve been in the spotlight a little more recently and definitely belong here. The head of the family is Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans and husband to Medusa, the mother of Ahura and older sister of Crystal. Crystal is the ex-wife of Quicksilver and mother of Luna. Then you have Gorgon, cousin of Medusa and Black Bolt. Karnak is cousin to Black Bolt and brother to Triton. Let’s close the family tree with Maximus Boltagon, aka Maximus the Mad, who is the brother of Black Bolt.

Let’s bring it full circle and end with the Fantastic Four. They are Marvel’s “first family” and have a long, rich history of showing the strength of the family bond in a crazy universe populated by the likes of Doctor Doom, the Mole Man and more. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic and his wife, Sue Storm-Richards/Invisible Woman, her brother Johnny Storm/Human Torch and their friend, Ben Grimm, Reed and Sue’s kids, Franklin and Valeria. While the Fantastic Four movie looks to be in trouble and the comic is going away, make no mistake, this family always finds a way to come out, together.

OK, who’s your favorite comic book family and why? Who did I miss?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!