Friday, November 4, 2011
Thing Of Beauty!
Arguably, Jack Kirby's greatest and most complete creation is Ben Grimm, the Thing. The character was the closest to Kirby's own personality if reports are to believed, and that rich character, a tragic figure remains to my feeling Marvel's most interesting. The character clearly evolved over the years, becoming less a monster and more a peculiar and powerful figure. The Thing as drawn by Kirby looked like nothing else, and despite the great talent which has followed, no one ever drew the character as well as the King.
Here is Kirby alongside his greatest creation at the San Diego Convention in 1980. According to this report, this drawing was done before the admiring eyes of those in attendance.
The greatest Thing story, and possibly the greatest single story from Mighty Marvel is "This Man...This Monster!" from Fantastic Four #51. Here's a reflection on that classic. And here's another and another.
I didn't really appreciate Ben Grimm when I first started reading comics. I was a Hulk guy, but the Thing won me over with Kirby's last great FF epic, a story featuring the Thing. The saga of the Skrull planet Kral, a planet of gangsters where Ben Grimm is kidnapped and turned into a gladiator is a stirring tale. What it might lack in the grandeur of earlier FF sagas, it makes up in rich characterization.
To close, here are some originals featuring the King's Thing.