We all know who the Fantastic Four is — movies notwithstanding. A team. A family. And just plain super. But what makes them as great as they are? What makes them the Fantastic Four?

It’s not because they’re under control of some godlike supernatural entity, or even because they are bound by the dubious effects of radiation. No, they keep their shit together through the application of their own set of rules, each based on one of the members: The Fantastic Four Agreements:

  1. Be Reed Richards. Reed’s a scientist, he speaks simply and with great truths. He believes what he says and he only says what he believes. His word is his integrity. To some people, Reed Richards is almost… quaint… in his belief in the human spirit, but that doesn’t stop him from believing. Believe in people and treat them with respect and integrity — especially yourself. Be Reed Richards.
  2. Be Ben Grimm. Grimm’s an ordinary guy, not possessed of lofty ideals, and he’s practically impervious to anything you can throw at him. Chairs, rutabegas, lifesize inflatable Madonnas, anything. Ben’s a rock solid fella, and loyal as all get out. How does he manage such great strength without it going to his head? He lets it slide off his back. And arms. Whatever. Ben doesn’t let it get to him. Don’t let stuff get to you, either. Be Ben Grimm.
  3. Be Sue Storm*. Be clear in your doings, ask questions, learn what’s really happening. Strive for honesty and transparency in your life wherever possible. Temper your interactions with understanding. Be Sue Storm.
  4. Be Johnny Storm. Johnny’s young and quick to emotion, but this is tempered by his overriding sense of wanting to help. No matter how anyone might judge Johnny, it’s evident that Johnny does his best. It’s never easy having things that make you stand out, but you can’t let that control you. Do your best no matter what. Be Johnny Storm.

Don’t ask me to do the Avengers next, because that shit just ain’t gonna fly.

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* Yes, I know she’s Sue Richards now, but don’t dash my boyhood dreams, you nitpicky cad!