watched my DVD of Fantastic Four recently and I stand proud and unswayed: it’s not a bad movie! Tim Story et al actually captured a lot of the spirit of the original comic books, even down to reviled things like Johnny Storm being into X-Treme Sports – the kid was a trendy hot rodder back in the 60s. I think that the first X-Men is just as flawed as this film, but since it’s not aimed at a family audience, it gets more of a pass.

Of course I’m not deluding myself into thinking that Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer will be as much a leap forward as X2 was – Tim Story is half the director Bryan Singer is, and I say that after Superman Returns – but then something like this new picture of the Fantasticar comes out and I find myself with more than a little faith. I mean, it looks fucking cool!

The picture debuted in USA Today, and the little story (which woefully underestimates the weight of The Thing – it says that all four members of the team weigh 500 pounds combined, and Ben Grimm probably approaches that easily on his own*) with the image gives a glimpse inside the Fantastic Four movie thought process:

[Conceptual designer Tim] Flattery showed several designs to director Tim Story, including one based loosely on the Batmobile, which he designed for 1995’s Batman Forever.

But Story rejected the designs as "too aggressive," Flattery says. "He wanted something that looked less like a predator and more friendly. That’s always been the Fantastic Four theme."

Exactly! Which is why I think so many grown fanboys reject the franchise – it reminds them that the superhero comics they’re reading were originally created with kids in mind. Now if Tim Story had Dr. Doom rape Sue Storm, maybe the internet would have been more kind to the first film. The internet loves grim and gritty!

*Nerd alert! Actually, not as nerdy as I once was – ten years ago I would have checked my copy of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe for Ben’s exact weight. I’m in recovery.