Baxter Building
Baxterbuilding.jpeg
The original Baxter Building
Art by Jack Kirby
First appearanceOriginal version:
Fantastic Four #3 (Mar. 1962)
Current version:
Fantastic Four vol. 3 #38 (Feb. 2001)
PublisherMarvel Comics
CreatorsStan Lee
Jack Kirby

The Baxter Building is a fictitious 35-story office building appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The building is depicted in Manhattan, and its five upper floors house the Fantastic Four's headquarters.[1][2][3]

Publication history

The Baxter Building first appeared in Fantastic Four #3 (March 1962) and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.[4] The Baxter Building was the first comic-book superhero lair to be well known to the general public in the fictional world.[5]

The Baxter Building is destroyed in Fantastic Four #278 (May 1985), written and drawn by John Byrne. Explaining why he chose to destroy the iconic structure, Byrne said, "The FF’s HQ building had long been established as 35 stories in height. Quite impressive in 1962, but not so much in 1980, when I came to the book. It didn’t seem like I could just start referring to the building as taller than all those previous stories had made it, so I decided on something a wee bit more dramatic."[6]

Fictional description

Located at 42nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York City,[7] it had been built in 1949 by the Leland Baxter Paper Company. Originally designed as a high-rise industrial site to accommodate pulp recycling machinery to serve the mid-Manhattan area, each floor height is 24 feet (7.3 m).[4] The top five floors of the 35-story building were purchased outright by the Fantastic Four.[8]

The building's steel frame construction utilized the first application of "K bracing" in the world and is one of the strongest structures of its kind. The Baxter Building is located a few city blocks from the United Nations Building. Reed Richards has applied for many land-use zone variations to allow massive reconstruction of the top five floors for the installation of a heavily silenced silo, with a muffled rocket.

The design of the headquarters of the Fantastic Four is along strictly utilitarian lines, except for apartments and public areas. All aspects of the design are constantly being improved, including security. For example, windows are 2 ft (0.61 m) thick composites of various glasses and plastics which are mirrored on the outside. Solid, armored, exterior walls are also mirror-clad and are indistinguishable from transparent sections.

The top five sections of the Baxter Building are completely airtight; all doors are airlocks. Complete environmental support (including atmosphere) is provided by the area between elevators 2, 3, and 4 on all floors. The building's steel-alloy framework is rigid enough to be stood on one corner and not collapse (It was suggested that the Baxter Building did not collapse under its own weight due to the use of tactile telekinesis by Gladiator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Reed himself stated that even with the reinforced structure, it should not be possible otherwise.).

The buffer-zone is the interface between the top five floors and the lower levels. It provides a rapid-disconnect between upper and lower segments of building. It contains an array of large oil-rams to dampen any oscillations between the five upper levels and the base of the building. The buffer-zone contains some support equipment for the upper levels, but mostly it is the "mechanical floor", which provides heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and elevator support equipment for the lower 30 stories.

Ownership

A running joke for years in the title was that the landlord Walter Collins was initially eager to rent out to a superhero team for the publicity and prestige, but he soon regretted his decision as the building became a constant target for numerous attacks by supervillains starting with Fantastic Four #6 in which Doctor Doom launched the entire building into outer space.[4] The attacks made things difficult not only for the Four, but for the other tenants in the lower floors as well. Eventually, Reed Richards decided to invoke a clause of the rental agreement and bought the entire building to avoid eviction.[8]

Iterations

Eventually, the building was destroyed by Doctor Doom's adopted son Kristoff Vernard, who shot it into space and exploded it in a bid to murder the Fantastic Four.[9] It was replaced by Four Freedoms Plaza, built upon the same site.[10] After the Fantastic Four and other costumed heroes were presumed dead in the wake of their battle with Onslaught,[11] Four Freedoms Plaza was stripped clean of all the FF's equipment by Vernard and Reed Richards' father Nathaniel, who sent it into the Negative Zone to keep it out of the hands of the United States military.[12]

Upon their return, the Fantastic Four could not move back into Four Freedoms Plaza, as it had been destroyed by the Thunderbolts,[13] shortly after the revelation that they were actually the Avengers' longtime foes, the Masters of Evil. Thus, the Fantastic Four moved into a retrofitted warehouse along the Hudson River which they named Pier 4.[14] The warehouse was destroyed during a battle with Diablo,[15] after which the team received a new Baxter Building, courtesy of Reed's former professor Noah Baxter. This Baxter Building was constructed in Earth's orbit and teleported into the vacant lot formerly occupied by the original Baxter Building and Four Freedoms Plaza.[16] The current Baxter Building's ground floor is used as a Fantastic Four gift shop and museum open to the public.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the multiverse, the Fantastic Four have disbanded as the Richards' family have gone on to reconstruct the multiverse,[volume & issue needed] leaving the Thing to join the Guardians of the Galaxy,[volume & issue needed] while the Torch is working as an ambassador for the Inhumans and a member of the Avengers Unity Squad.[volume & issue needed] As a result, the deserted Baxter Building was up for auction, until it was purchased to serve as the temporary headquarters of Parker Industries, much to the initial dismay of the Human Torch.[volume & issue needed] However, Peter Parker explained to the Torch that he outbid Alchemax, Hammer Industries, and Roxxon for the ownership of the building simply to keep it out of their hands, and will give the Baxter Building back when the Fantastic Four reunites. Witnessing a large sculpture of the FF in the entrance hall that was created by Alicia Masters, the Torch reflects that he is glad that the building is staying with family.[17] But when Parker Industries was destroyed during Secret Empire,[18] it was sold out to an anonymous buyer and is currently the headquarters of The Fantastix.[19]

Other fictional versions

1602

In the Marvel 1602 miniseries The Fantastick Four, Sir Richard Reed and Susan Storm are renting a manor house from Lord Baxter. Sir Richard has equipped it with an observatory and chemical laboratory.[volume & issue needed]

Old Man Quill

In the Old Man Logan timeline, the Baxter Building is used as a missile, ultimately killing Loki in the Midwest of America. The smashed remnants of the building still contain many secrets, which attract people from entirely other galaxies. Peter Quill hopes to use these secrets to save what is left of the galaxy.[20]

Spider-Verse

In the Spider-Verse storyline, The Baxter Building of Earth-802 is the main office of Jennix of the Inheritors and houses their cloning facility (which they use to resurrect themselves in case of death). The universe's version of the Human Torch is the head of security. The Scarlet Spiders infiltrated the building and became the site of battle with Jennix in which Ben Reilly sacrificed his life to destroy the building ending the Inheritors' only working cloning facility.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, the Baxter Foundation is a US government think tank, where exceptionally gifted children are offered government positions to use their intelligence to serve their country. The government contacted Reed Richards because of his experiments in teleportation; they had found small toy cars that he had sent into the N-Zone. At the Baxter Building, Reed meets Professor Franklin Storm; Storm's two children, Susan and Johnny; as well as Victor Van Damme (Dr. Doom). The building is overseen by General "Thunderbolt" Ross. Security duties are overseen by the soldier Willie Lumpkin.[volume & issue needed]

In this version, the Mole Man is originally Dr. Molekevic, a former employee of the Baxter Building. His service is terminated when his projects are deemed "unethical".[volume & issue needed]

After the accident that gave the Fantastic Four their powers, the children who were not altered were moved to another facility in Oregon. The Baxter Building then becomes the FF's headquarters.[volume & issue needed]

The Baxter Building also appears in Ultimate Iron Man, volume 1, issues 4-5.

In other media

Television

Film

Video games

Commercial depictions

See also

References

  1. ^ Jeffrey Kahan, Stanley Stewart (2006). Caped crusaders 101: composition through comic books. MacFarlane. p. 47. ISBN 0-7864-2532-6. Reed and his cohorts use his fortunes to turn his company's headquarters, the Baxter Building, into an intelligence tower, from which his people monitor conflicts around the world and intervene when their services are needed((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Gina Misiroglu (2004). The Superhero Book. Visible Ink Press. p. 567. ISBN 1-57859-154-6. The Baxter Building, a gleaming skyscraper in the heart of Manhattan, serves as the Fantastic Four's home and base of operations.((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ Scott Bukatman (2003). Matters of gravity: special effects and supermen in the 20th century. Duke University Press. p. 57. ISBN 0-8223-3119-5. The Fantastic Four even had their own skyscraper -the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-style Baxter Building (all of these headquarters were revealed in panoptic cutaway views detailing the location of hangars, living quarters, training areas, and missile launchers). ((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 42–48. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
  5. ^ Simcha Weinstein (2009). Up, Up, and Oy Vey: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero. Barricade Books. p. 73. ISBN 1-56980-400-1. Unlike previous superheroes, the Fantastic Four did not rely on double identities and disguises. In their alternate world they were celebrities headquartered in the Baxter building on New York's Fifth Avenue.((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Powers, Tom (February 2010). "John Byrne's Fantastic Four: The World's Greatest Family Magazine!". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (38): 19.
  7. ^ Irving, Christopher (2009-03-01). "A Land of Geeks and Goblins". New York. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  8. ^ a b Martin, David E. (1987). Marvel Super Heroes: The Fantastic Four Compendium. TSR, Inc. pp. 76–79.
  9. ^ Fantastic Four #278 (May 1985)
  10. ^ Fantastic Four #289 (April 1986)
  11. ^ Onslaught: Marvel Universe (October 1996)
  12. ^ Tales of the Marvel Universe #1 (February 1997)
  13. ^ Thunderbolts #10 (January 1998)
  14. ^ Fantastic Four vol. 3 #2 (February 1998)
  15. ^ Fantastic Four vol. 3 #35-36 (November–December 2000)
  16. ^ Fantastic Four vol. 3 #39 (March 2001)
  17. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #3
  18. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4 #31 (2017)
  19. ^ Fantastic Four Vol. 6 #4 (2018)
  20. ^ Old Man Quill #1-12 (2019)
  21. ^ Bonanno, Luke (2005-07-12). "Fantastic Four: The Complete 1994-95 Animated Television Series DVD Review". Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  22. ^ Otto, Jeff (2004-11-23). "Fantastic Four Set Visit". IGN FilmForce. Archived from the original on November 25, 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  23. ^ Smith, Andrew A. (2007-06-12). "A primer on the Silver Surfer". Scripps Howard News Service. Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  24. ^ Ens, Paul (2007-05-22). "Fantastic Four Set Visit: The Writer". ComingSoon.net. Archived from the original on 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  25. ^ "Marvel Comics Walking Tour of New York City" (PDF). New York Skyride. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  26. ^ "Marvel Super Hero Island Dining". Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29.