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Tony Midyett
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 1  

As much as I love it when he's orange and rocky, I loved it even more when he a was brown and lumpy---he really had that "Timely Monster" look.
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 6:32am | IP Logged | 2  

JB does a good "lumpy" Ben, too.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 7:41am | IP Logged | 3  

This page from FF1 still stands, after all these years, as my favorite portrayal of the Thing.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 4  

Imagine this immense Thing set against a Hulk shown to fit in an ordinary airplane seat!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 5  

What's odd is how quickly the FF went from a "ground breaking" comic, to something much more "ordinary". The Thing represents this most clearly, but the other characters changed rapidly and quite dramatically, too. Look at the cover of the sixth issue (my second, as a fan):

Reed has beefed up, as has Johnny, and Ben has shrunk to much more human proportions. I've often wondered how much was deliberate -- Stan and Jack deliberately pulling back a bit, after coming out of the gate so strong. (It's difficult to know if they were reacting to fan reaction. With a bimonthly, as many as the first four issues could have been in the drawer before the first one hit the stands.)

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 10:49am | IP Logged | 6  

That first issue of FF is such a classic--and I've occasionally wondered what would have happened if Lee and Kirby hadn't pulled back and made things a little more traditional (beefy Reed and Johnny, costumes, a headquarters, etc.). I get the impression that the classic superhero elements were added in partly due to fan reaction--certainly, there was a demand for costumes in the early letter pages.

I wonder how successful the plainclothes, California-based FF would have been if the original conception had been maintained.

The Thing would have been quite ugly and bitter, our heroes might only have faced monsters and weird sci-fi-type threats instead of super-villains, the flare-gun might have been used to get them together in each issue (instead of them all living in the Baxter Building), and so on.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 28 June 2010 at 10:51am
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Jesus Garcia
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 11:03am | IP Logged | 7  

That is one of my favorite versions of the Thing. Nothing cute about him, and his face on the 6th panel looks almost reptilian.

Note his speech pattern which is much less "streetwise" then it later became. No one would have expected this Thing to later launch into battle hollering "It's clobbering time!"

I often wondered why Stan (I'm assuming he did the characterizations) discarded this mode of speech. On this page, Ben sounds just like Victor Von Doom!

Two members of the FF chatting using $20-words perhaps too much?

This is perhaps one of those many What-If concepts that Marvel failed to explore: What If the earliest 1960's Marvel characters had continued to be depicted in keeping with their inaugural tones and styles?

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 11:07am | IP Logged | 8  

That is one of my favorite versions of the Thing. Nothing cute about him, and
his face on the 6th panel...
---
That panel is one that stuck with me after reading ORIGINS OF MARVEL
COMICS as a kid.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 9  

I wonder how successful the plainclothes, California-based FF would have been if the original conception had been maintained.

••

Historical note: I was the one who situated Central City in California, much to my later regret. Like the mythical city in which Spider-Man made his debut, the city in which the FF were originally headquartered had no stated geographical location. (Altho all evidence points to Peter Parker living in Florida, since there is a Mercury launching site on the outskirts of town!)

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 11:14am | IP Logged | 10  

Historical note: I was the one who situated Central City in California, much to my later regret.

+++++++++

Regret?

Also--and I don't mean to dispute your assertion that you established that Central City was in California, but I seem to recall a late-70s Bill Mantlo issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK that established the city's location as California.

So, if you regret the city's location, maybe it wasn't your fault!

 



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 28 June 2010 at 11:20am
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Kevin Corcoran
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 11:38am | IP Logged | 11  

I found the Thing to be a source of comic relief in the Byrne FF run; some people with obvious (or not-so-obvious) disfigurements use humor as a release valve.

Not that he ever really would get used to it. I am reminded of Cyrano and his use of self-depreciating humor.

Especially painful must be (as JB referenced above) is that the world around Ben Grimm is 'papier maché,' as smash-able and malleable as his own form is un-workable and fixed.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2010 at 11:42am | IP Logged | 12  

…I seem to recall a late-70s Bill Mantlo issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK that established the city's location as California.

••

If so, I was unaware of it when I did my FF stories.

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