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The Greatest Thing (Ben Grimm) Stories Ever Told!

Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Thing (Ben Grimm) Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

Just for the sake of the picky ones among you, I’ll make this list 11 choices (I’ll explain why later)!

11. Marvel Two-in-One #51 “Full House – Dragon’s High!”

This great one-shot, written by Peter Gillis and drawn by Frank Miller (!!), with a cover by George Perez, is an impressive look at how, for quite a long time, Thing basically was the centerpiece of the Marvel Universe. He knew everybody and everybody knew him – heck, they’d all play cards together, for crying out loud!

10. Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #8 “Prisoners of the Puppet Master!”

The first appearance of the Puppet Master, but more importantly, the introduction of the love of Ben Grimm’s life, Alicia Masters!

9. Fantastic Four (Vol. 3) #56 “Remembrances of Things Past”

In this great one-off issue by Karl Kesel (who I still can’t believe has never been given a run on FF) and Stuart Immonen, Ben’s Jewish heritage is explicitly referenced for the first time ever!

8. Marvel Fanfare #15 “That Night….”

It’s a Barry Windsor-Smith written and drawn story featuring the Thing! How could it NOT be awesome?

7. Marvel Two-in-One #50/100 “Remembrances of Things Past!”/”Aftermath”

How funny is it that we have two stories by the same title on the list? In any event, this unique two-parter (unique since it is separated by 50 issues of comics) was the introduction to how awesome John Byrne was as a WRITER as well as an artist! In #50, he has Ben Grimm go back in time trying to cure himself in the past (shockingly, he and Ben from the past don’t get along) and in #100, he returns to the alternate universe to see how things went after the events of #50. Classic stuff. Ron Wilson drew #100 while Byrne wrote them both.

6. Marvel Two-in-One #86 ” Time Runs Like Sand”

In this one-off issue, Ben spends time at a bar with the Sandman as the two share their past and marvel at how much they have in common. This was the beginning of the slow redemption arc that Sandman went on from the early 80s until the late 90s, when he was turned back into a villain. Tom DeFalco wrote it and Ron Wilson drew it.

5. Fantastic Four #38-40 “The Battle for the Baxter Building”

Stan and Jack at their finest in this Daredevil crossover that finishes with an amazing Doom/Thing fight that is so awesome that they even talk about how awesome it is on the cover above!

4. Fantastic Four #25-26 “Everybody vs. the Hulk”

We had an idea of how dogged the Thing was in his determination to hang in there in a fight, but we never had an idea of HOW much determination he had before this epic battle with the Hulk. Completely outclassed, Ben just refused to lay down for the Hulk, no matter what the odds are. Beautiful work by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

3. Marvel Two-in-One #53-58 “The Project Pegasus Saga”

Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenald wrote this six-parter that featured, amazingly, three issues by John Byrne and three issues by George Perez! Talk about a treat! In this storyline, featuring many guest-stars, the Thing’s old friend, Wundarr, is being treated at Project Pegasus, but an evil scientist is planning to use a experimental black hole generator in a deadly scheme. Can Ben and the heroes of Pegasus stop him? And what role will Wundarr play in all of this? Find out yourself, as the Project Pegasus story is back in print this year from Marvel!

2. Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7 “And They Shall Call Him Champion”

Remember what I said about the Hulk fight from the 4th story on the list? Well, Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson took all the spirit of the story in that fight and turned the dial up a notch to give us the battle between the Thing and the Champion – a being who comes to worlds to destroy them unless someone can beat him in a fight. He chooses a sampling of Earth’s heroes, but only Ben Grimm can stand with him.

1. Fantastic Four #51 “This Man, This Monster”

Here’s why we have 11 choices, for those who don’t wish to count #51 as a “Ben Grimm” story, you can still have a Top 10!

For the rest of you, I presume you all worked under the notion that Jack and Stan’s “This Man, This Monster,” the tale of an anonymous scientist who steals Ben’s powers so that he can kill Reed Richards, only to be so moved by Reed’s selflessness that he sacrifices himself to save Reed’s life, still works as Ben Grimm story because:

A. It is Ben’s goodness that leads to Reed being willing to sacrifice HIMself to save Ben, and if it were not for the Reed/Ben relationship, the scientist would likely not have been so moved. Thus, this impostor showed us how the FF REALLY feels about Ben

and

B. Likely even more importantly, Ben is IN the comic! He deals with the fact that his mutation is gone and what that means for his life.

But anyways, there you go – something for everyone!

That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

Be sure to check out all the other Greatest Stories Lists out here!

42 Comments

How on earth did Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7 “And They Shall Call Him Champion” not get first? I know that the first story on the list is considered pretty cool, but well…Two-in One Annual #7 is so much more iconic.

I was expecting the Champion story to be #1 too.

And man, that Marvel Fanfare cover sure is classy!

My thoughts on the list.

11. MARVEL TWO IN ONE # 51: The only one that I have not read.

10. FF 8: Classic tale.

9. FF 56: Frankly, were it not for the fact that this issue confirms that Ben is Jewish (Which just about everybody assumed), I don’t think that it would have made it.

8. MARVEL FANFARE 15: Worth it for the great BWS art alone.

7. MARVEL TWO IN ONE 50/100: The old teaming up with myself idea is nicely handled in this one.

6. MARVEL TWO IN ONE 86: An unbelievably cliched story.Seriously, this one was hoary (Stan Lee, where would I be without you?) when Jimmy Cagney was in shortpants.

5.FF 38-40: Classic story. The battle between Doom and Ben at the end of issue 40 is one of the jewels in the Lee-Kirby FF run, a near perfect combination of words and art.

4. FF 25-26: The definitive Thing vs. Hulk fight.

3. MARVEL TWO IN ONE 53-58: Probably the best continuous story in the history of MARVEL TWO IN ONE.

2.MARVEL TWO IN ONE ANNUAL7: A moving portrait of Ben’s never say die attitude.

1. FF 51: Another genuine classic. It deserves to be ranked number one simply on the strength of Jack Kirby’s splash page portrait of a melancholy Thing in the rain.

Surprises: It is interesting to see that nothing from Ben’s solo title made it. I would have expected the John Byrne origin tale in THING # 1 (Which delineates Ben’s youth and childhood) to have cracked the top ten.

It is interesting to see that nothing from Ben’s solo title made it. I would have expected the John Byrne origin tale in THING # 1 (Which delineates Ben’s youth and childhood) to have cracked the top ten.

It was actually the next story on the list, #12.

An awesome list of Marvel goodness.

If you do not list Dan Slott’s run on The Thing, even if it is in slot #10, this list will forever suck.

I’m surprised that you didn’t include that story where Ben went to Crystar’s world and got turned from rock to gemstone, and then it ends with a guitar jam between the Thing, ROM, Crystar and Skull the Slayer, with a laser lightshow by Dazzler refracting her light through Ben like a prism. That story was freaking awesome.

As Marvel Two-in-One arcs go, the three-issue Stogie Quest Saga with Nick Fury, Wolverine and Howard the Duck is pretty hard to beat.

Nice. This is the team-up book heaviest list yet!

Dan Slott’s series was lots of fun and was on my list, but it’s hard to argue with these choices. There’s lots of good comics here!

This Man, This Monster is a natural and worthy winner!

Wasn’t there a great Marvel Two-in-One Annual centring around a poker game with Ben’s Avengers buddies?

This Man, This Monster is a natural and worthy winner!

Wasn’t there a great Marvel Two-in-One Annual centring around a poker game with Ben’s Avengers buddies?

Nope, wasn’t an annual.

But the Floating Poker Game is awesome.

Love Project Peagasus!

I think I’ve only read about 2 issues of Marvel Two-in-One. I think I’ll need to start hunting them down in bargain bins. It seems chock full of Bronze Age goodness.

I didn’t remember seeing you announce a poll for Ben Grimm. I wonder how I missed it.

There are a lot of old stories on this list, much more so than the others I’ve seen. I wonder if that’s because the Fantastic Four hasn’t been so great in recent decades. I know there have been some really good stories, but it doesn’t seem like there have been any extended periods of greatness like in the past.

I really like that Sandman story. It’s the only one of these I own, although I have read some of the others. I miss the reformed Sandman. (Sadly, in his most recent appearance in Spider-Man, he was much more vicious, and psychotic, than I can remember ever seeing before.)

Bill K, I think that you might be referring to MARVEL TWO IN ONE # 75, a double sized issue. Ben invites the current Avengers roster over to the Baxter Building for a poker game. Naturally, the game is disrupted by supervillians (Blastarr, Annihilus, and the Super-Adaptoid.

This is a pretty great list and timely for me personally. Mr. Grimm is the namesake of a certain blue-eyed newborn sleeping a couple feet from me.

Nothing from DeFalco’s Marvel Two-In-One run can ever be considered among the “best” of anything. Early DeFalco (which his MTIO falls under) is uniformly godawful.
It would be a couple of years at least before he wrote anything that didn’t outright suck.

I like how this list turned out, even though it’s quite different from mine:

1. Marvel Two-in-One Annual 7 (vs. Champion)
2. This Man, This Monster (FF 51)
3. Marvel-Two-in-One 100 (with Ben Grimm)
4. FF 193-194 (vs. Diablo and Darkoth)
5. Thing 4 (Slott series)
6. Thing 1 (Byrne series)
7. Marvel Two-in-One 96 (in hospital)
8. What If? 37*
9. Fantastic Four 91 (vs. Torgo, Skrulls-gladiator fights)
10. FF 25-26 (vs. Hulk)

*”What If Thing Kept Mutating?”, possibly the happiest ending in What If? history

I’m also surprised that nothing from Thing’s own title made the official list (although MTIO was sort of his own title, I guess). Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Wolverine list similarly was crowded with more X-men stories than his own series. Some characters are at their best as supporting players interacting with teammates (Hawkeye’s another one, hotheads are really more fun picking fights with their peers…)

I would like to see Bendis revive the poker game tradition now that Ben is a New Avenger.

Most excellent: my best score for any of the lists I voted on: 6 out of 11 (it would have been 7 if I didn’t do a last minute “naaah” for that Marvel Fanfare story); another first for me is that I’ve read all but two of these stories. By the way, Brian, did that Marvel Graphic Novel team-up with the Hulk by Starlin crack the top 15? That’s a personal favorite of mine.
Anyway, “This Man, This Monster” at no. 1 is expected, and deserved, I guess, even though it was my no. 2 (Project Pegasus was my no. 1 pick). Also – and I realize I’m in a very tiny minority here – I’m surprised at the high ranking of MTIO annual 7. I never really understood all the love that story gets – it was just o.k. for me, and I didn’t even consider it when putting together my own list…

for me the Marvel Two-in-One Annual 7 is one of the greatest super hero stories of all time. after all the other hero’s don’t make the cut only ben gets in the ring and plays by the rules set by the Champion. At the end when he is saved by the bell yet refuses to give up, and states that the Champion will never beat him, even though he is beaten down, god that is what you want from a superhero. it was intresting too how the sandman story kinda continued on during ben’s hospital stay after that beating too. i really hope that the Thing gets the spotlight a bit more now with the Avengers, Ben Grimm is a class act all the way and is everything a hero should aspire to in teh heroic age

“I would like to see Bendis revive the poker game tradition now that Ben is a New Avenger.”

Are you kidding, that and the Yiddish are probably the only reason he’s on the team.

@ Dean:

You named your baby “Mr. Grimm”?

Man, you’re hard-core!

DFTBA

Nice to see stuff from Ron Wilson (a truly nice guy, BTW) up on this list. He’s one of the great Thing artists, IMHO.

trajan23 you are right: MARVEL TWO IN ONE # 75 was it – I recognise the identifier even if I couldn’t remember it. Highly recommended for fans of Bronze Age Ben Grimm :)

One thing to note about MTIO Annual 7: it was good enough to inspire an animated version. Of course Ben gets no respect – his role was taken by a monkey.

Dial M for Monkey vs. Rasslor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS7hEnDLNJw

Travis Pelkie

June 3, 2010 at 2:05 am

FF 51 is awesome, no argument.

The Marvel Fanfare one I have, but forget the story. Gotta dig that out.

The Fallen Son Avengers special when Captain America died featured a poker game with the New Avengers, and I think Ben was there.

I dug the Thing mini from several years back that I think Evan Dorkin wrote and Dean Haspiel drew.

And how about that Thing rap from the FF 9 cent issue? Anyone?

Travis Pelkie

June 3, 2010 at 2:06 am

Oh, just remembered after I posted, sorry, but I think Stan Lee called FF 51 his favorite story of his own.

I think I’ve only read about 2 issues of Marvel Two-in-One. I think I’ll need to start hunting them down in bargain bins. It seems chock full of Bronze Age goodness.

Is there actually somebody who thinks FF #51 doesn’t qualify as a Thing story?

I loved that MTIO 86 comic when it came out. I was also disappointed to learn of the character’s return to being a bad guy later.

I did not realize that was DeFalco as I am generally in the ant-DeFalco camp. I thought his run following Simonson’s run on FF was absolutely horrible (at least the first 4-5 issues or so, I dropped it after that).

Davey Boy Smith

June 7, 2010 at 4:37 am

I had hoped that the final issue (# 8) of Slott’s Thing -series would make the list. A very funny and entertaining poker issue interspersed with multiple vignettes which Slott presumably had intended to use had the series not been cancelled prematurely.

Travis and for all those who are like me and loved this.. the thing rap highlighted by Brian Cronin: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/06/26/intentional-or-unintentional-for-626/

I really loved FF #350, where Ben gives up his humanity so that Sharon Ventura doesn’t have to be as lonely as he was. And watching him singlehandedly save the team (from Doom, no less) is always a good time.

After 30 years of various people writing Ben as morose and self-absorbed, Walt Simonson had a great take on him as someone who was wise, funny, and actually comfortable in his own skin.

ben is one of the greatest marvel has done, i really wish he would have had a chance to really beat down the hulk tho, stupid smug pea pod

“This Man, This Monster” is a worthy winner.

Marvel Two-In-One doesn’t get enough love. The Thing has never been one of my favorite characters, but that comic almost always delivered the goods. It was always near the bottom of my save-the best -for-last stack.

BEING A Marvel afficiendo from way back, I can say these issues show why the THING – ( Ben Grimm ) is stronger than the HULK….via his guts,heart and with determination,spirit ,strength,& his brains,temper.

No love for FF 274?

Yeh,I know…Hulk stronger,Hulk Bigger….yaddah,yaddah,yaddah….but ( tip of the hat to the Bullpen,Stan/Jack K,J.Byrne,etc ) THINK ABOUT THIS:

1. What happens when the Hulk tires…?
2. Does it Happen to the Thing…?
3.Who took shots at/from Galactus,first ?
4. How many teams has jade jaws been on?
5.JUST IMAGINE IF Ben Grimm ever lost his temper ! ( scale: mindless/war hulk ,etc )
6. has The Hulk ever played poker with Sgt.Fury? ( OH,YEH-AVENGERS MOVIE KICKS ASS,LOVE THE WIDOW-THOR IS RIGHT ON )
7.WHO CAME FIRST?
8. who respects the Thing ( hint : Gladiator,Surfer,Thor, y’all followin this ?) ???
9.Betty Ross,Jarella,? / Alicia M,She-Hulk,Thundra,Tigra,Sue,Ms.Marvel,Sharon-she thing,Asguardian Goddesses,Medusa,Crystal,the B.Widow….still following? )
10.has the Hulk ever hit Dr.Doom ( ummm,NO !) ?

ALL THESE FANTASTIC QUESTIONS/answers CAN BE FOUND IN CLASSIC/VINTAGE REAL- Marvel Comics= the best… & Ne’er argue with a “TRUE BELIEVER” ( part of a vintage Stan Lee Quote )

Xavier says Hi.

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