- Because maybe by turning his friends into celebrities... ...he could be forgiven for taking their normal lives away. Someday.
Appearing in "Inside Out"
- Fantastic Four
- Franklin Richards
- Valeria Richards
- Mr. Shertzer (Only appearance)
- Mr. Webber (Only appearance)
- Davy Crockett (Mentioned)
- Dr. Miro
Races and Species:
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Leviaverse (First appearance)
- Mandlebot (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Inside Out"
The advertising department of Fantastic Four Incorporated is holding a meeting to discuss a slump in popularity for the group. They have brought on a public relations managed named Mister Shertzer to help boost their profile. Shertzer is unsure what he can do since he's only previously worked with rockstars and this is the first group of superheroes he's represented. The head of the department then suggests that Shertzer meets the Fantastic Four...
This proves to be quite the stressful ordeal as Shertzer finds himself caught between the Human Torch and the Thing who are bickering on board a vessel that the Fantastic Four have piloted into the Leviaverse. There the Fantastic Four locate what they are looking for: a massive Datavore which Reed believes will contain all the information he needs to know about this newly discovered dimension. Shertzer stays aboard the ship with Sue while Reed and the others touch down on the Datavore and battle the insectoid creatures that are protecting it. While they fight off the creatures Sue joins them and grosses out Johnny by describing her attraction to Reed. Eventually the insects are repelled and Reed obtains the data that he is looking for. With their mission over they return to the ship and talk about ice cream. Completely dumbfounded by the experience Shertzer asks if they always do -- whatever it is they were doing -- all the time. Sue jokingly refers to the entire episode as merely a "Sunday drive". When they return to the Baxter Building on Earth they are greeted by Franklin who is excited to see his parents have returned. Reed gives the boy a present from their trip: a macroatom. Shertzer is also shocked to learn that Reed and Sue's younger daughter is being babysat on the moon. Sue questions Reed's need to hire Shertzer to boost their PR, but Reed explains that it is necessary in order for them to maintain their lifestyle as the licensing revenues help fund their operations and day-to-day life. As the Fantastic Four contemplate this they are unaware that one of the Leviote creatures had stowed away on their ship and is now skittering around the hanger of the Baxter Building.
The following day Shertzer is having yet another stressful experience as he is held aloft high above the city while the Human Torch and Sue inspect damages done to their security systems by the Mad Thinker. While this height frightens the PR man, Sue and Johnny nonchalantly discuss Johnny's recent break-up. Sue tries to calm Shertzer down by proving her invisibility powers are safe by turning him partially invisible, but this only frightens him more. When Sue presses the issue of Johnny being more responsible and tries to make an offer for him he quickly changes the subject and flies away.
Shertzer reports back to Mr. Webber about his experiences with the Fantastic Four, explaining how unnerving it is to listen to Mister Fantastic's body stretch as he tries to contain a spill of anti-gravity fluid at the Cause Cerebral event. As the Fantastic Four save some scientists from floating into space, he explains how he is going to have a hard time trying to sell the group as famous family like the Kennedy's, and demands that if he succeeds in his task he deserves a double promotion. Once the crisis is over, the rest of the Fantastic Four note that this is the first year that Reed was not invited to participate and wonder if this is the reason why Shertzer was hired. When they question him, he tells them he doesn't know the real reason why he has been employed by the Fantastic Four. As the day progresses and the Fantastic Four battle the Skrulls and later help an African village with a strange alien plant, Shertzer begins to think about the groups dynamics and wonders how they are able to do what they are doing. This report is read by the Thing who has been looking over Shertzer's shoulder and he asks what Shertzer thinks. When Shertzer replies that its because they are superheroes, Ben just laughs and walks out of the room.
Shertzer is spending time in Manhattan with the Thing who answers Sherterz questions about his feelings about being merchandised. When he learns that a rapper is writing songs about him Ben doesn't think rap is music at all. This opinion quickly changes when they incidentally bump into the rapper himself and learns that he is a huge fan of the Thing. The musician passes Ben a copy of his CD, titled "Clobberin' Time" . Ben is flattered when the rapper and his friends sing one of their songs. Ben still isn't convinced but decides that its way better than hearing woman scream in terror at the sight of him....
.... However by the next day the Thing is singing the lyrics to himself while he sits down to read a book...
Sue and Reed are out at a museum where artifacts pertaining to the Fantastic Four's adventures are on display. Sue takes this opportunity to ask why he has hired Shertzer to boost their profile. Reed dodges the answer and soon they are swarmed by fans requesting autographs.
Shertzer is meeting with artists who show off the proposed cover to the next issue of the Fantastic Four. Seeing the gaudy and "extreme" versions of the characters Shertzer tells them that they have the entire concept wrong. He explains to them that treating the Fantastic Four as superheroes is the wrong way to go about it. He explains that they are explorers and adventurers and that the fact that this leads to superheroics is just incidental. He goes on to say that the only "old" thing about the Fantastic Four is the fact that they never stop discovering something new. He tells them that if they are going to do a comic book about the Fantastic Four, and do it right, it has to be about the people -- not the costumes they wear. As they exit the Baxter Building they all get to wonder how the Fantastic Four could and would want to sustain the life of celebrity. Overhearing this, Reed decides to explain it to his daughter Valeria knowing that she will not be able to tell the show. Reed explains that once upon a time he was but an arrogant scientist who risked the safety of his friends and family which led to the accident that gave them their powers. Feeling guilty, Reed established the superhero dynamics of the Fantastic Four in order to win the public over and gain celebrity so that they could avoid a life being shunned or being turned into experiments. In reality this was all to give them a quality of life that he hopes will make up for what had done to their lives and the hope that he can forgive himself for what he had done, someday.
After Reed puts Valeria down to be, Johnny and Ben come running down the hall wearing Native American outfits telling Reed that Davy Crocket needs their help. As he rushes outside, Sue tells him that M.I.T. called. When Sue points out that most people tend to get days off she can always rely on the fact that they will always have something to do. Reed tells her he certainly hopes that will always be the way it is.
- This story recaps the Fantastic Four's origins as depicted in Fantastic Four #1. This version of the story states that the Fantastic Four's ship crash landed in the woods somewhere in California. This contradicts previous accounts such as Fantastic Four #245 which states they crashed in Ithaca, New York, and Fantastic Four #296 that states they crashed near Stockton, New York.
- Among the merchandise on the table during the meeting is a copy of Fantastic Four #1. At the time of this story, per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 the Fantastic Four have existed for roughly 11 years in Marvel Time.
- This story makes a number of Topical References that should be generalised per the Sliding Timescale. These facts would be:
- References to Howard Stern having a radio show. At the time of this story, Howard Stern was still on traditional radio. He has since moved onto satellite radio.
- Likewise references to Danny Bonaduce bumping Johnny Storm for the interview on the Howard Stern Show is also topical.
- References to Wizard, the once popular comic book price guide and news magazine, should also be considered topical as the magazine ceased publication in 2011.
- It is also implied that Johnny was recently dating actress Jennifer Garner which should be considered topical as well. Also the reference is not accurate because in 2002 (the year this story was published) she was married to actor Scott Foley.
- References to the groups Cypress Hill and Linkin Park being used in the present tense should also be considered topical.
- Reference to the Mandlebot having rampaged through the USSR should also be considered topical. While many of the Fantastic Four's early tales were published at the height of the Cold War all references to it in the "present" tense should be considered topical, particularly since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. While this story was published in 2002 it would have still be possible for the USSR to be mentioned due to the fact (as explained above) the Fantastic Four have been operating for about 11 years. At the time of publication the USSR would have still been a factual reference however this is no longer the case.
- Sue mentions her recent pregnancy. She was made pregnant again in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #49 when Franklin used his powers to resurrect the baby she lost back in Fantastic Four #267. Sue later gave birth to Valeria in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #54.
- The comic book that Franklin is reading when the Fantastic Four return from another dimension is Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #59.
- References to Valeria being on the moon is regarding the fact that the Inhuman Royal Family act as Valeria's babysitter on occasion since her birth in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #54.
- Johnny mentions a recent battle against the Mad Thinker. This battle is at this time unrecorded. The last time the Fantastic Four were depicted battling the Mad Thinker was in Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #23, they don't face him again until Fantastic Four: Foes #1–5.
- The proposal that Sue has for Johnny is to help run Fantastic Four Inc. as revealed next issue.
- On page 21, some of the marketing team display a new, edgier version of a Fantastic Four comic which is described as, "widescreen, authoritative". This is in reference to Warren Ellis' work on DC and WildStorm's The Authority which was known for being controversially violent and used a decrompressed storytelling style which allowed minimal dialogue and much of an issue to be carried forward by Bryan Hitch's visuals.
- First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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