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The Thing Options
Thundercron
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 12:17:24 PM

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Let's talk about The Thing. In the annals of Marvel characters, he doesn't really stand out anymore as something special. But, back in the day (before most people on these forums were reading comics), The Thing was one of Marvel's most popular characters. Yep, before the 90's when the Punisher, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider popped up everywhere to boost sales, it was The Thing. If a writer needed a token FF member to make an apperance in his book, The Thing was the go-to guy (unless he needed a token scientist--then it was Mr. Fantastic). He was the most likable character in the team. As a testiment to his popularity, Marvel chose The Thing to star in his own team-up book around the same time they decided to have Spider-Man do the same. And after eight years or so when the book ended it's run, he still ran for another three years in his solo series.

So....what happened? My brother was a big fan, and he always told me that his character was never written very well after the 80's. Now he's just another character on another team that nobody really takes note of.

Any thoughts?
Warlock
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 1:19:22 PM

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I would say that the generation of writers who wrote the character well had childhoods in the Great Depression, many of whom were likely 2nd generation immigrants, and had a very good feel for what pulling yourself up by your bootstraps felt like.

It's a wild swing on my part, but the Thing was a guy whose athletic prowess probably got him to college, who was a military guy (enlisted?), who, thru his gutsi-ness as a test pilot, distinguished himself. He was Jack Kirby in a rock costume, right down to the cigar. Brassy, intuitive. Some of the best FF stories ever written centered on the character when he was outclassed by his opponent, facing certain death, and yet won the day through sheer heart.

Those writers have all gone their way, to be replaced by a generation whose imaginations dwell not so much on the complex inner workings of the Everyman, but on the complexity of the Universe and the grand forces and personalities that embody our sophisticated ideas of the world, or on the complex dramas of global powers and politics, and their twisted inner workings. Maybe Kirkman could do something to refresh the Thing, as he puts some real human drama and humor into his plots, but I don't think it would interest him.

That's my impression, at any rate.
Thundercron
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 1:40:36 PM

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Warlock wrote:
I would say that the generation of writers who wrote the character well had childhoods in the Great Depression, many of whom were likely 2nd generation immigrants, and had a very good feel for what pulling yourself up by your bootstraps felt like.

It's a wild swing on my part, but the Thing was a guy whose athletic prowess probably got him to college, who was a military guy (enlisted?), who, thru his gutsi-ness as a test pilot, distinguished himself. He was Jack Kirby in a rock costume, right down to the cigar. Brassy, intuitive. Some of the best FF stories ever written centered on the character when he was outclassed by his opponent, facing certain death, and yet won the day through sheer heart.

Those writers have all gone their way, to be replaced by a generation whose imaginations dwell not so much on the complex inner workings of the Everyman, but on the complexity of the Universe and the grand forces and personalities that embody our sophisticated ideas of the world, or on the complex dramas of global powers and politics, and their twisted inner workings. Maybe Kirkman could do something to refresh the Thing, as he puts some real human drama and humor into his plots, but I don't think it would interest him.

That's my impression, at any rate.


I think that's a pretty good analysis. I liked how you brought up the cigar thing. I really think his character lost something when Marvel went all PC and dropped the cigar.

John Byrne did a pretty good job of writing him. Issue two of his solo series really stands out in my mind:

comicuniversity
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 3:55:09 PM
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Easy.

The Thing went from being a cigar chomping butt kicker to being a whiny (banned).

I mean he went through a two or three year period when every single story he appeared in featured him whining and crying about Alicia leaving him, his monstrous appearance, Reed screwing up or any number of things.

It was embarrasing.



I mean, the Thing always had a certain pathos. That wa spart of his charm. But he went full on crybbaby for several straight years and became downright unlikeable in the process.
pottersan
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 7:17:38 PM

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Warlock wrote:
I would say that the generation of writers who wrote the character well had childhoods in the Great Depression, many of whom were likely 2nd generation immigrants, and had a very good feel for what pulling yourself up by your bootstraps felt like.

It's a wild swing on my part, but the Thing was a guy whose athletic prowess probably got him to college, who was a military guy (enlisted?), who, thru his gutsi-ness as a test pilot, distinguished himself. He was Jack Kirby in a rock costume, right down to the cigar. Brassy, intuitive. Some of the best FF stories ever written centered on the character when he was outclassed by his opponent, facing certain death, and yet won the day through sheer heart.

Those writers have all gone their way, to be replaced by a generation whose imaginations dwell not so much on the complex inner workings of the Everyman, but on the complexity of the Universe and the grand forces and personalities that embody our sophisticated ideas of the world, or on the complex dramas of global powers and politics, and their twisted inner workings. Maybe Kirkman could do something to refresh the Thing, as he puts some real human drama and humor into his plots, but I don't think it would interest him.

That's my impression, at any rate.
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Atilla2k
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 9:10:33 PM

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The Thing is still my 2nd favorite (Marvel) character behind Spider-Man,& all that Warlock said is true, he's just waiting for the right writer to come along and write his epic storyline.

HeavyHog
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 9:22:53 PM
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I think that they needed to get out of his head and get him into action.

Light the cigar and clobber someone for Stan's sake!

One of my favorite issues is FF 112.

The way he takes it to the Hulk...who I also like.


But what do I know. I've not read all the old FFs. But it's on the agenda.
kevscomics
Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:57:59 PM

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I had the Thing # 1(2006 Dan Slott Series) laying around, picked it up and read it the other day, I liked it well enough to pick up the rest of the series(on the way to me now), anybody read/like this?, Thoughts?
MoonKnight1
Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 5:12:09 PM

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Dude,

Dan Slott could write "Adventures of Piece of Crap Boy" and I would like it.

That's a great series. Another one that's great, if you haven't read it yet, is G.L.A. (Great Lakes Avengers). I think it's a perfect mix of comedy, action and pathos. Extremely well done.

He also did She Hulk for a while and that was cool.

If you haven't read his Ren and Stimpy then you are cheating yourself.Laughing

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Atilla2k
Posted: Thursday, August 01, 2013 9:44:36 AM

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MoonKnight1 wrote:
Dude, If you haven't read his Ren and Stimpy then you are cheating yourself.Laughing


+1 (to the infinite)!


kevscomics wrote:
I had the Thing # 1(2006 Dan Slott Series) laying around, picked it up and read it the other day, I liked it well enough to pick up the rest of the series(on the way to me now), anybody read/like this?, Thoughts?


Very cool series, not long enough though!

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