Parting Shot: Jonathan Hickman’s Graphtacular ‘Fantastic Four’ Outline
Jonathan Hickman is a comics writer known to his peers, collaborators and hardcore fans as a methodical plotter. The creator of The Nightly News and Pax Romana and writer of Secret Warriors is indeed so diligent in his preparations that his series outlines eschew the standard text-based format and take the form of intricate charts or graphs that delineate precisely what and when something will occur in his long form serialized stories.
The most popular of Hickman’s sagas is Fantastic Four and its spinoff title FF, the last script for which he submitted to Marvel this week. In honor of completing his acclaimed run (one that has prompted copious annotations by our own David Uzumeri), Hickman tweeted what he identified as the first outline for the series. It is an all but inscrutable chart whose secrets we may never understand, but it seems to track the various plotlines as they progress through 30 issues of Fantastic Four. It’s an uncommonly cool artifact from an especially ambitious superhero adventure, and you can see the full-size image after the cut.