Marvel's Fantastic Four have often traveled up and down Yancy Street, but now they're living on it - setting up their new headquarters at 4 Yancy Street. That's a fun little factoid, but moving past that, you have to wonder what a universally-known superhero team moving into your neighborhood would do for the place.
In August 28's Fantastic Four: 4 Yancy Street #1 writer Gerry Duggan and artists Greg Smallwood and Luciano Vecchio are showing where the rubber meets the road - hitting on everything from rising rent prices to neighborhood kids spraypainting community centers with the Grimm name on it.
Duggan spoke with Newsarama about this one-shot (the first of several) dealing with when the Richardses and Grimms are your new neighbors.
Newsarama: Gerry, what do the Fantastic Four mean to you?
Gerry Duggan: It's the best, right? Jack & Stan at the height of their considerable powers bringing something into our world that helped create an entire universe. It's a good thing I don't get stage fright. They are the first family of the Marvel Universe.
Nrama: The FF recently came back home and set up shop at 4 Yancy Street, a fabled street in Marvel lore. What type of neighborhood would you say Yancy Street goes through - at least before the FF come into the picture?
Duggan: Well, the Lower East Side has always been...the Lower East Side. Yancy was always working class, and tough, but a community. The Yancy Street Gang could rumble and take care of business, but at the end of the day - they all went home.
This comic is an exploration of how Yancy has changed since the FF moved in. It's safe to say - there have been disruptions.
Nrama: So what does the FF bring to this community?
Duggan: Well, they've brought problems for sure as rents have skyrocketed, but if Ben Grimm has his way, he'll serve up some clobbering and some solutions.
The interior of 4 Yancy Street, the FF's new home is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. Imagine if you could bring that to overcrowded neighborhoods?
Nrama: This story centers on the Thing - from what little I know of you, I could see you being paired up with Ben Grimm. What's Ben doing in this one-shot?
Duggan: Well, Ben's brother was killed when he was the leader of the Yancy Gang, and now he's out in the streets looking for a kid with a spray can after the youth center that Ben opened in his brother's name was vandalized with a message calling for the FF to pack up and return to their fancy tower. Needless to say, Ben doesn't handle it so well.
Nrama: For this you're bringing back one of Lee and Kirby's lesser-known teams - the Terrible Trio. What led you to Bull, Handsome, and Yogi?
Duggan: Well, it was a cool old villain group that I've never played with, and there is another reason, but one that won't be revealed until the story's end. We're following one thread and then the story reveals itself to be a little bigger than you thought.
Nrama: The solicit says this is "the first of a series of regular essential releases" - do you have more planned for the FF? And can you say anything about it?
Duggan: Why not threaten you with another collaboration from myself and Ron Garney, who made me look great on our Savage Sword of Conan collaboration?
He had an idea for another Ben Grimm story that excited Tom Brevoort and I. We can't wait. I'm wrenching on that next week - so it will be a while.
Nrama: Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, for this debut issue you have artist Greg Smallwood as well as Luciano Vecchio. You and Smallwood worked on Doctor Strange: The Best Defense - is he someone you were asking/hoping for when it came time for Fantastic Four: 4 Yancy Street?
Duggan: Oh, yes. Greg is a sublime talent. That Dr. Strange issue was lightning in a bottle for us.
I loved that Defenders event - and our chapter was already about death and immortality through your work... then we heard Steve Ditko passed, and our collaboration took on a new meaning. He brings that same energy and passion to his part of this FF story, too.
All our guests artists did amazing work.
Nrama: Last question - imagine Gerry Duggan living on Yancy Street. How would he fare - what kind of neighbor would he be?.. And would he be on Ben's good side, or bad side?
Duggan: I'd like to think I would tone shift quickly - I'd be Ben's Deadpool. You don't know if I'm gonna ask him to have a beer or throw a pie in his mug. Would be fun!