Reed & Sue

As discussed in a previous post, the standards and practices set by the Comics Code Authority that governed comic book content during the Silver Age severely limited the portrayal of intimate relationships, even among legally-married heterosexual couples. I was reminded of this fact recently while reading Fantastic Four #58 (January 1967) by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby.

In the story, the team’s newlyweds, Reed and Sue Richards, embark on a romantic weekend getaway to a beach house in Southampton, New York, a small resort community on Long Island. Sue has been complaining since they got married that her workaholic husband doesn’t “pay enough attention” to her and “neglects” her while working all hours in his laboratories. Clearly, she has decided that the only way to capture his undivided attention is to get him out of the Baxter Building and into a private little love nest somewhere. But Reed, naturally, has brought along some of his scientific apparatus to tinker with when Sue is otherwise occupied. He gets out one of his gizmos and some tools when he assumes she is dressing so they can go out to dinner. However, Sue is planning a more intimate evening of dining in. As such, she comes into the room ready to seduce her husband… wearing her F.F. uniform.

Well, okay. I suppose it’s a good thing she was wearing it, as they are promptly attacked by Doctor Doom. But it doesn’t seem very likely. Surely she would have thought a slinky negligée would improve her chances of tearing Reed away from his technology. Now, a curious thing about Susan Storm Richards. She designed the F.F.’s uniforms, which include a pair of black leather gloves. And she seems to wear those gloves almost all the time. She wears them when she’s drying dishes (FF #44), she wears them when she’s doing her hair (FF #47), she wears them when she’s serving Reed coffee (FF Annual #4), she even wears them when she’s making a pancake breakfast (FF #67). In short, she keeps her gloves on when any other woman would have taken them off. Perhaps this is indicative of a certain predilection on the part of her husband? Could Reed Richards have a bit of a fetish? Remember, when Reed created special outfits for Wundarr and the Sub-Mariner, they were both tight, black, and shiny. Coincidence? Or does Mister Fantastic have a hidden pervy side? If so, it would stand to reason that, having already gone to great lengths to stir her husband’s passions, Sue would want to be at her naughtiest on this particular night. Thus, we might imagine the scene looking more like this…

Sadly, the Comics Code as it stood in the 1960s would never permit Sue to explore her kinky side. First of all, “indecent or undue exposure” and “suggestive and salacious illustration” were expressly forbidden. Furthermore, it was required that characters “be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.” Filmy negligées, especially paired with kinky boots, were strictly the province of “under the counter” magazines in those bygone days. Also, Reed’s harmless little glove fetish would have set alarm bells ringing, as “Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.” And although the use of such “marital aids” is completely understandable, especially in the high-stakes, high-stress lifestyle of the Fantastic Four, it was not an option for Reed and Sue, as “Passion or romantic interest shall never be treated in such a way as to stimulate the lower and baser emotions.”

It’s no wonder Reed and Sue had such a rocky start to their relationship. They are a perfect example of why it’s so important to keep the government out of the bedroom!


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