Invisible Woman (then known as Invisible 'Girl'), from a 1962 Fantastic Four pin-up page. Artist: Jack Kirby.


Original Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1961
Creator: Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist)
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From the time Wonder Woman became a member of The Justice Society of America until the 1980s, when things started moving toward …

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… parity, it seems every superhero group just plain had to have a token female. The Fantastic Four's was Sue Storm, aka Invisible Girl.

And a token female is exactly what she was, especially at the beginning. She originally came along as somebody's girlfriend (i.e., engaged to group leader Reed Richards, who became Mr. Fantastic). Her super power was passive, suitable at least as much for staying out of the way as for getting anything done. She often served the plot by being used as a hostage. An early sub-plot in the team's personal lives involved her wavering affections between Reed and The Sub-Mariner. Even her superhero name back then indicated her subordinate status. "Invisible Girl" — what kind of name is that for an adult? It wasn't until the 1980s that it was changed to "Invisible Woman", the name she is known by today.

To Marvel's credit, writer/editor Stan Lee made early moves toward liberating her. After the first couple of years, villains held her hostage less often. In 1965, she resolved her romantic quandary by marrying Reed, and the two have stayed together ever since. And in the 22nd issue (January, 1964), she acquired more aggressive super powers, discovering that she could not only turn objects other than herself invisible, but also control "invisible force fields", which proved capable of accomplishing a fair amount of superhero work.

But she remained mostly an adjunct of her husband. In fact, the only time she ever served a stint in another superhero group (a brief sojourn with The Avengers), it was in tandem with him.

After all these years, The Fantastic Four remain The Fantastic Four. Members may stray, but never for long. Invisible Woman is still its matriarch, appearing with the rest of the group every month.


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Text ©2000 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.