|Pin-up of The THING, FF #2. Images copyright MARVEL COMICS|
statement of fact. ALAN McKENZIE, writer, editor, and a
written the following guest post which you're now about to read
(if you're smart). I'm making a rod for my own back here, because
after you've read Al's post, the ones I write in future might seem
disappointing by comparison. Never mind, I'll just have to
up my game. Ready? Okay, Al - take it away.
|Narrow doorways? Then how did he get into the store? (From FF #1)|
|Yeah, right. Lose your temper, reach for a tree. I do it all the time|
|The THING rips off his costume. Be still my beating heart|
being they'd all cover their faces - but it was erased before inking.) There
how the character looked at this point in his development.
the first time, The Thing has lost the boots and gained a neck. There
seemed to be a move away from the mudslide look and Ayers was inking
Ben Grimm as though his skin had the texture of dinosaur hide. And this
look would persist for the next year and a bit, so I'd always believed that's
what Kirby had intended. But here's something startling I noticed. Take
a look (below) at how Jack drew The Thing on the cover of FF #7 (dated
ciate with the character's look in 1964. And we know this is what
JK intended because he inked his own cover pencils on #7.
Ayers to look like he has dinosaur hide. Over the next year or so, we'd
continue to have the dinosaur-hide Thing in the Ayers-inked stories. I'm
not saying Ayers invented the dinosaur-hide look though. In fact, below
is a pencil sketch by Jack likely done in the early part of '62 which shows
otherwise... but I do think Ayers was responsible for keeping the dino-
saur-hide Thing going (possibly at Stan's instruction) long past the
point when JK had moved on from that particular look.
|There he goes, ripping off his clothes again - swoon! (FF #18)|
other appearance, on the cover (above), inked by Paul Reinman
...though inside the comic, we still had Ayers' dinosaur-hide Thing. It
wouldn't be until Ayers was moved onto other assignments by Stan,
that George Roussos (as Bell) would come in - at FF #21 (dated
Dec '63) - and start inking The Thing the way that Jack Kirby
was pencilling him... in all his blocky glory (below).
|The rocky, blocky THING that fans came to know and love|
#293, dated Aug '86). In #238, Mister Fantastic tried once again to
cure Ben's condition... the outcome was that The Thing reverted
to his original, mudslide appearance. The condition would last
for a couple of years before The Thing mutated again...
And a great big Crivens thanks to Al for taking the time and
trouble to write this fascinating guest post. Feel entirely free
to register your appreciation in our comments section.