The Fantastic Four are a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The group debuted in Fantastic Four #1, cover dated November 1961, which helped to usher in a new level of realism in the medium. The Fantastic Four was the first superhero team created by artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby and editor/co-plotter Stan Lee, who developed a collaborative approach to creating comics with this title that they would use from then on.
The four individuals traditionally associated with the Fantastic Four, who gained superpowers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific mission to outer space, are Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), a scientific genius and the leader of the group, who can stretch his body into incredible lengths and shapes; the Invisible Girl (Susan “Sue” Storm; later “Invisible Woman”), who eventually married Reed, who can render herself invisible and later project powerful invisible force fields; the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Sue’s younger brother, who can generate flames, surround himself with them and fly; and the monstrous Thing (Ben Grimm), their grumpy but benevolent friend, a former college football star and Reed’s college roommate as well as a good pilot, who possesses tremendous superhuman strength, durability, and endurance due to the nature of his stone-like flesh.
The team is also well known for its recurring encounters with characters such as the villainous monarch Doctor Doom, the planet-devouring Galactus, the Kree Empire’s ruthless and tyrannical enforcer Ronan the Accuser, Annihilus, ruler of the Negative Zone, the sea-dwelling prince Namor, the spacefaring Silver Surfer, and the Skrull warrior Kl’rt.