The Fantastic Four #5, July 1962
Stan Lee & J. Kirby
This is a great comic, and I’ll tell you why: Because Doctor Doom is the SINGLE GREATEST VILLAIN IN THE HISTORY OF FICTION. He throws a net over a building, has a tiger as a pet of a robot duplicate of himself, has a rocketpack to get away from his own castle that he lets burn down for no reason, and has a time machine. And this is all just in his first appearance.
The issue starts with the FF being captured by one of Richards’ old classmates, Victor Von Doom, a mad scientist and practitioner of the black arts who’s face got horribly scarred in an experiment. Now he has a time machine, and he demands that Johnny, Reed, and Ben go back in time to steal the treasure chest of Blackbeard the pirate. He says this while petting a tiger. The three don’t have much of a choice, so they go back to pirate times.
They dress up as pirates and get drugged and kidnapped aboard a pirate ship. They assume that the first ship they see on the horizon belongs to Blackbeard, so they attack it and easily take it’s treasure using their super powers. However, as a twist, it turns out that boat was just a normal boat, and this was a boat of pirates, and now everyone thinks that The Thing is Blackbeard, because of his disguise. Ben goes nuts and doesn’t want to leave, but a freak tornado breaks up the boat and they all get back on land in time to go back to the future.
In the present (/future/past/whatever), Doom reveals that the reason he wanted the treasure was because the gems originally belonged to MERLIN and they’d let him take over the world. However, Mr. Fantastic dumped out all the gems back in the past and replaced them with heavy chains, just to fuck with Doom because he said he only specifically wanted the treasure CHEST, not the treasure inside it. They fight and break the first of many Doombots in their career, then put up a fire wall around Doom’s castle and fly away, while he jetpacks out of there, hoping that his castle and all it’s magnificent secrets burn down.
This issue encapsulates everything I love about 60’s Marvel comics. It’s so fucking over-the-top goofy that you’re constantly wondering what new insanity could be waiting on the next page. The Thing is Blackbeard the pirate, huh? Didn’t see that coming. Stan Lee, wherever you are, never stop doing what you do.