Reed Richards was a scientific genius who dreamed of exploring the stars. His roommate at New York's State University was football star Ben Grimm. Reed shared his dream of building a starship and Grimm, who wanted to become a pilot, promised to fly it. Grimm subsequently joined the US Air Force and became a test pilot and astronaut. Meanwhile, using his own family's fortune as well as money from the government, Richards built a starship. When the government threatened to withdraw its funding, Richards decided to take his prototype ship on a test flight with Grimm at the helm. Richards' fiancee Susan Storm and her teenage brother Johnny came along for the ride. Soon after takeoff, a solar flare bombarded the ship with an unknown form of cosmic radiation that mutated their bodies and gave them fantastic powers. Reed became Mr. Fantastic, Susan Storm became Invisible Woman, Ben Grimm became the Thing, and Johnny Storm became the Human Torch. So from that day on they became the Fantastic Four!