Fantastic Four's Long-Time Colorist Paul Mounts Talks Ending His Run, What's Next

ThingLast week, reported that the first issue of the newest Fantastic Four reboot (which we reviewed at length here) featured the color work of Jesus Aburtov, stepping up to replace Paul Mounts, who had been on the book for more than 100 (he counts 130) issues of the series, having survived a number of creative changes and a couple of total reboots along the way.

With the departure of Tom Brevoort as editor of the title, though, Mounts was off Fantastic Four and, becuase colorists and letterers aren't generally advance-solicited for Marvel and because the credits page was not visible on any of the title's handful of online previews, it wasn't until the book hit the stands that readers realized that Mounts hadn't made the transition.

The reaction was quiet -- as, again, many fans don't react as viscerally to inker, colorist and letterer changes as they might to a new writer, penciller or in some cases even editor --- but for those who took notice, it was generally with some degree of disappointment.

“So @PaulMounts isn’t coloring the new FF? Truly the end of an era,” tweeted Tales From the Longbox, a comics podcast. The prolific comics blogger who goes by Ben Grimm did some number-crunching, and figured out that "If you laid out all the Fantastic Four comics ever printed and threw a dart at 'em blindfolded, you'd be more likely to hit a issue that's been touched by Paul Mounts than anyone except ol' [Stan Lee] himself."

"The book does NOT look right without Paul," added Comics Nexus Editor-in-Chief Grey Scherl.

Mounts is certainly one of the most prolific colorists in the title’s history, although it’s hard to know just who ranks where since the first 129 issues featured no colorist credit at all (comics historian Mark Evanier says Stan Goldberg colored many of those issues).

Asked whether Mounts is off the title for good by a regular reader, Marvel Executive Editor/Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort responded via Formspring, “Seems to be,” which was the only comment anybody from Marvel had made yet. We had reached out to the publisher, as well as Mounts, neither of whom had responded as of our previous writing on Saturday.

Mounts responded to our inquiries via e-mail, though, and while he said that there really wasn't much of a story, it still seemed to us like doing more than 100 issues of one of the most recognizable comic books on the market merited a little recognition for a job well done.

Here's what Mounts had to say about his time on Fantastic Four, leaving the title and what's next:

Tom Brevoort had been editing Fantastic Four even longer that I had been coloring it, and after a record-breaking run on the title decided that it was time to give someone else a shot at editing it. And, of course, when a new editor takes over a title, he/she is going to want to bring in his/her own team, make his/her own mark. I’ve moved on to around 17 other projects, and frankly had forgotten that the new Fantastic Four was coming out until several people noticed my absence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and a couple of blogs.

I tend to always look forward to the next project than to look back at the past, but I guess after 11 years and (I think) nearly 130 issues, it’s a change worth a mention. Someone who was nine years old when I started would be twenty now - yikes!

It was a great, enjoyable run and I’ll alway be in Tom’s debt for keeping me around through all of the creative team changes. And now we slough forward! I’m in the middle of some X-Men fun with Clay Mann, just finished an incredibly well-written and well-drawn issue of Harley Quinn (Issue 4! Out soon!), some new Painkiller Jane issues (a book which is criminally under-noticed), coloring the revived Badger for the equally revived First Comics (a blast - some of my earliest work was on the original Badger from First Comics 1.0) (and come to think of it, between Painkiller Jane, Badger and Harley, all I’m coloring are crazy violent sorta-psycho characters. I’ve gotten really good at blood), a ton of covers for Marvel, DC and others, and a few things I can’t even tell you about.

Thanks to everyone who inquired about my stays on FF. If you liked my work there, keep your eyes out for the books I mentioned above. And watch the new Fantastic Four - I know several of the folk involved, they’ve got some great things coming up there, and I wish them all the best.