or: the Real Thing

This weeks dive into the Long Box of Mystery reveals the Fantastic Four #18. I nearly went with a drawing of the Super Skrull, who makes his first appearance here, but, I'm going with the Thing for a couple of reasons.

One- Nearly every FF job I ever took was for the chance to draw Ben only to find Ben wasn't in the story or wasn't what we would refer to as "classic" Ben.

Two- While Paul Reinman was probably the worst inker Kirby ever had, this is the one thing (pardon the pun) he got right. The cover to issue #18 is the first time we see a hint of what will become known as "classic" Ben.

Ben starts out with "dino" hide, goes "lumpy" when Dick Ayers comes aboard, becomes "cracked" under the brush of Chic Stone... Its not until Frank Giacoia, on #39, that "rocky" Thing becomes standard. Vince Colletta holds the line for a few books and finally, Joltin' Joe Sinnott comes in and nails it down for good.

Having no access to Kirby's uninked originals of the period, I really don't know if Jack was doing it all along and was simply ignored or, if Reinman and others tried something transformative. Either way, #18 is the first time this version makes the printed book if only for the next few covers.


Happy Trails,

1 Comment so far

Gene's picture

My favorite depiction of my favorite era of my favorite all-time superhero. Good old Ben Grimm is a true test of a comics artist. Few get him "right" and even fewer get him perfect. Smitty, this sketch is damn good. Ain't nothing like the real Thing!


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