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Thing (comics)

''This article is about the comic book character. For other meanings of thing, see thing (disambiguation).

Ben Grimm aka The Thing is a fictional character from the Marvel Universe, a founding member of the superhero team the Fantastic Four under the guise of the superstrong Thing. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first appearing in Fantastic Four #1 (1961).

The cantakerously lovable, cigar-smoking native of Brooklyn is popularly recognized as being the alter-ego of Kirby. Pilot Ben Grimm accompanied by long-time friend and scientist Reed Richards, his fiancee Susan Storm and her brother Johnny Storm took an experimental ride into the upper atmosphere of Earth where they were unluckily pelted by a cosmic ray storm. Upon crashing down to Earth each of the four learnt that they had developed fantastic superpowers. Grimm had been transformed into a massive orange humanoid pile of earthy rock. Richards proposed the quartet band together to use their new abilities for the betterment of humanity and Grimm, in a moment of self-pity, adopted the superheroic sobriquet of the Thing.

Trapped in his monstrous form Grimm was an unhappy yet reliable member of the team. He trusted in his friend Reed Richards to one day develop a cure for his condition. However, when he encountered blind sculptress Alicia Masters Grimm developed a subconscious resistance to being transformed back to his human form. Fearing that Masters preferred him to remain in the monstrous form of the Thing, Grimm's body rejected various attempts by Richards to restore his human form lest he lose the love of Masters. His subconscious fear kept in in his rocky form and Grimm remained a stalwart member of the Fantastic Four for years. He left the team when he opted to remain on an alien planet where he could control his transformation to and from his rocky superpowered form. Upon returning to Earth he learnt that Masters had become romantically involved with another while he was absent. Grimm wallowed in self-pity for a time but eventually returned to his surrogate family and even became the leader of the Fantastic Four for a time.

After being further mutated into a more monstrous rocky form and briefly being changed back to his human form, Grimm has once more returned to his traditional orange rocky form. He remains a steadfast member of the Fantastic Four and one of the most easily recognizable characters of the Marvel Universe.

According to recent interviews, writer Jack Kirby had intended Ben Grimm to be sort of alter-ego. However, as was usual for comic-book characters of that era, no religion was publicly mentioned. A recent issue of the Fantastic Four made the news - especially many major American Jewish newspapers - when Grimm was revealed to be Jewish in the issue "Remembrance of Things Past".

BeliefNet article on Ben Grimm and Jewish comic book writers