Happy Father’s Day to any fathers out there, and welcome to a special Father’s Day edition of Cure For Kryptonite! In today’s post, I wanted to write about my dad’s favorite superhero: the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.
If you ask the average comic book junkie who their favorite superhero is, you’ll probably get some long, drawn-out answer about how it’s impossible to judge different characters in different comic book universes. If you ask my dad, you’ll get a very different answer. How do I know? He gives the same answer to anyone who asks about his favorite superhero, and it goes something like this:
“My favorite hero has to be The Thing. He’s the reluctant hero. That which gives him his strength, also makes him ugly and alienates him from society.”
I’ve heard my dad say those words hundreds of times. And the more I think about it, the more I realize he’s right. The Thing is an interesting character with a deep personality.
In 1961, The Thing was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He made his first comic book appearance in Fantastic Four #1 that same year. Since then, The Thing has skyrocketed in popularity. He’s had a huge impact on everything from comic books to movies and video games. In fact, a new Fantastic Four reboot movie featuring The Thing is scheduled to be released in June 2015.
But his popularity as a character isn’t what makes The Thing special, it’s the layers to his personality that set him apart. On the one hand, we have Ben Grimm the brawler from Yancy Street with some serious power. (And when I say serious, I mean serious. Sometimes people don’t give Thing enough credit, you’ve got to remember, he’s got enough strength to stand toe-to-toe with the Hulk.)
However, there’s also a very different side to The Thing. Deep down, underneath his rocky exterior, he has the heart of a man. Thing wants nothing more than to be accepted by a society that sees him as an outcast. He craves acceptance so much that he would gladly give all of his strength just to be seen as normal.
The tragedy of his character is that society doesn’t accept him. People tend to treat The Thing poorly, they stare at him and call him names. But when hordes of Doombots are attacking the city, he’s still the one they turn to. And regardless of everything society has done to him, The Thing doesn’t hesitate to stand up and protect the very same people that look at him with disgust. That’s powerful stuff… even for a comic book character.
So why does The Thing continue to fight for people that sometimes hate him? Easy, he has an unbreakable spirit. We can see another example of his unrelenting will in the iconic fight with Champion. For those of you who don’t know, Champion is an omnipotent character that satisfies his lust for fighting by traveling across the universe and challenging the heroes of a planet to a boxing match.
When Champion traveled to Earth, he went up against some heavy-hitters in the Marvel universe. Namely Thor, Hulk, Colossus and a few others. He was able to defeat/disqualify all of them with ease. Then, Champion came to his final opponent: The Thing. In my humble opinion, this was and always will be one of Thing’s shining moments in comic book history.
Champion hits him hard, and Thing goes down right off the bat.
Wow, maybe that wasn’t as epic as I remember. Oh, right, here’s the epic part!
He get’s back up! Do you know what happens next? Champion knocks him down again… and again, and again, and again. But each time he gets knocked back on his rocky butt, Thing gets back up. After two rounds, Thing’s jaw is broken and he’s crawling across the ring. And yet he continues to fight…
At this point, Champion realizes that he’ll never beat The Thing without killing him. He yields the fight, remarking that he might break The Thing’s body, but he could never break his spirit.
Well, there you have it folks, a brief analysis of my dad’s favorite superhero. What do you think about The Thing? Let me know in the comments section below! Oh yeah, and one more thing….
IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!!!