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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 177

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at a strong Kirby/Lee moment from their classic Fantastic Four run!

Enjoy!

To set up the scene for Fantastic Four #79, in the previous issue, as a result of some of Reed’s work and energy from the Wizard’s gloves, the Thing was turned into Ben Grimm.

At the end of the issue, Reed tells Ben that if he charges himself with the gloves a second time, he will revert to the Thing, but he will not be able to change back.

So Fantastic Four #79 is filled with Ben determining what he wants to do – he goes to visit Alicia, and while with her (he has the gloves with him) he is attacked by an android created by the Wizard.

That leads Ben to make a fateful decision…

Poignant stuff.

I suppose the finale would be “the” moment – strong work by Kirby (Lee’s dialogue is not bad, too!).

14 Comments

I’m working my way through the Essential FF volumes, and just read this one. I hated FF when I was younger, and thought Lee and Kirby sucked, but I’m coming to realize just how amazing these comics are. Thanks, Brian!

Joe S. Walker

June 27, 2009 at 5:47 am

The Lee/Kirby FFs were past their peak after the Him storyline in 66-67, and declined sharply from the 80s on – basically Jack Kirby had put an enormous amount of invention into the book’s previous few years and been screwed for his trouble, and he got sick of it. Best of the issues yet to come is the two-part Mole Man story in 88-89.

But yeah, that’s a memorable ending – I read it as a kid and found it really upsetting. Note Stan’s reserve in just letting the story stop, with no closing narration or even “next issue” caption. I think that’s unique for Marvel in the Sixties.

Random Stranger

June 27, 2009 at 6:26 am

The version of this same plot device (which Lee and Kirby used a few times) that I prefer is in the Battle of the Baxter Building when Reed is forced to change Ben back when he doesn’t want it and then Ben takes out his rage on Doom. It’s got the same melodrama of Ben losing a cure but in that case it’s cruelly yanked away by a friend and the beatdown that follows it is spectacular.

Random Stranger: that storyline is the moment for me where Lee and Kirby’s FF really takes off. You’ve got Sinnott on inks finally, and Lee and Kirby really nail the relentless momentum of Ben’s progress toward Doom and the just desserts the villain has merited.

My favorite FF stories are #45-87. Didn’t care for this issue, though — the android was a pretty dull, run-of-the-mill design. My favorites past #67 are the Subatomica, Inhumans and Dr Doom stories.

In this issue: “Thoroughly erroneous declaration about The Thing, courtesy of Reed Richards” #14, in a 92-part (and counting!) series.

Collect ‘em all. :)

Johnny’s kind of an asshole.

th emoment has to be where Ben showing how much he loves Alica turns on the gloves and becomes the thing sacrificing his chance to remain as Ben. and Johny has always come off as hot headed part of the dynamic of the thing and the torch.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm

This is also the issue that ends the most support to John Byrne’s later take on the reason Ben couldn’t return to human form. Alicia’s reaction to the now-human Ben one the two or so pages before the ones posted here is striking.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm

*l*ends, not ends.

Great final panels both art and dialogue-wise.

Also showed the evolving dynamic between Johnny and Ben; from resentment and continual pranking to brotherly love and respect. Johnny may be hotheaded, but if Benjie’s in trouble, that takes priority over the chance for some Inhuman action. Another example of character growth that got pushed aside once other writers took over and tried to re-create the way they remembered the characters acting in the early 60′s.

Don’t you just love the big orange lug? Obviously, this is a theme that’s been oft repeated over the years with the Thing. He’s one of Marvel’s truly most heroic characters, because he always eventually chooses to help others over his personal happiness.

I do, however, believe the ending was overly down. This is because I believe a big part of Ben loves being the Thing. Sure he’d prefer to look human, but he really comes alive brawling with the likes of The Hulk. Like Peter Parker, he couldn’t simply call for help when trouble arises. His true nature requires him to do all he can to protect others.

Crystal had a Driver’s Licence?

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