Benjamin Jacob Grimm was born on Yancy Street in the heart of New York City into a poor Jewish family. When Ben was a young kid his older brother, Daniel Grimm, was the leader of the Yancy Street Gang, a group of young trouble-makers from the area. When he was old enough Ben joined this gang as well. He was inducted into the gang by being âbeaten in.’ Growing up poor along with his gang affiliation and related activities made Ben street-smart, tough and ‘hard’ very early in life. All of these personality characteristics have served him well throughout his lifetime of brawling and adventuring.
During Ben’s formative years tragedy struck his family hard; his older brother Daniel was killed in a gang fight when Ben was still a kid and his parents Daniel, Sr. and Elsie both died in an accident when he was a teenager. Ben was placed in the custody of his Uncle Jake (his father’s brother) and Aunt Alyce (Jake’s first wife) who took him from New York to Arizona. Unfortunately, Alyce died relatively young. After Alyce’s death, Jake Grimm re-married. His second wife’s name was Sophie, whom he also out-lived. Jake married yet a third time, this time to a much younger woman named Petunia (whom Ben speaks of quite often).
Now physically removed from his past troubles, Ben did well in high school, using his natural talent to his advantage becoming an excellent football player, Ben won an athletic scholarship to Empire State University where he met, roomed and became best friends with Reed Richards. While attending university Ben and Reed also meet Victor Von Doom who was studying there as well.
After college, Ben joined the US Air Force and became a fantastic pilot, often testing experimental aircraft and even flying top secret missions for the US government. His piloting skills eventually landed him a spot at NASA.
The Thing was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a member of the Fantastic Four. What made the Thing unique was the fact that he was the first superhero who didn’t look like a superhero. He looked like a monster. Stan decided that having a heroic character who was stuck in the form of a monster would be an interesting departure from the standard superhero stories of the time. Jack Kirby had been in the comic book industry for well over two decades at the time and was very well versed in the design and depiction of practically any type of comic character including, most recently at that time, monsters. Before the Fantastic Four ushered in the ‘Marvel Age of Comics’, monster comics were very popular. Playing off the popularity of monsters, Kirby designed the Thing as a big, lumpy orange-skinned brute with superhuman strength. The Thing first appeared in Fantastic Four # 1 in 1961.
In the Thing’s first appearance, Jack Kirby (the original illustrator) had intended his skin to be something like a dinosaurs hide. Over the years his skin has evolved growing more into rocky plate like structures. The rocky exterior moves over a more viscous inner hide. This can be seen in story lines from the 1980s where Reed Richards attempted to cure the Thing. He succeeded in removing the rocky exterior but was not so successful in removing the inner hide which left the Thing looking like bumpy mush for a period of time. It is commonly accepted that the evolution and physical changes to the Thing’s skin correlates to and is consistent with changes in his size and strength. The harder/rockier/spikier he is the more strength he has.
It has been rumored for years now that Stan Lee received his inspiration to create the Fantastic Four from DC’s Sea Devils team. If that is true, then it’s likely Ben Grimm’s character was loosely based upon Biff Bailey from the Sea Devils. It has also been said that Ben Grimm’s gruff, street-wise tough-guy demeanor was based on the character’s designer and co-creator Jack Kirby.
Ben was later contacted by his old friend Reed who wanted him to pilot his experimental rocket into space (as they joked about doing when they were in school together). Ben was reluctant to pilot the ship as he was unsure that it would be safe for them. Ben was persuaded to do so anyway and they took off with Susan Storm, who helped fund the project, and her younger brother Johnny.
Still not cleared for takeoff, Ben took off at the others request and they made their fateful trip into outer space. Unfortunately, Ben was right to assume the safety risks, and the ship was bombarded with cosmic rays. When the rocket ship eventually crash-landed back on Earth the crew saw Sue briefly disappear when as turned invisible. This caused Ben to get angry with and aggressive towards Reed which triggered a radical physical transformation causing Ben to suddenly changed into a monstrous “thing.” Ben tried to attack Reed, but Reed transformed into Mr. Fantastic, using his lengthy arms to wrap them around Ben. Johnny then suddenly changed into the Human Torch. Reed gathered the group together and convinced them that they must use their powers to help mankind. Thus the Fantastic Four was formed, though Ben was somewhat reluctant. By the way, it was Susan Storm who first called Ben “a Thing” and so when it came time for each member of the team to choose names, Ben decided to go with the name that Susan had already given him. This must have been Ben’s way of getting back a little at Reed and Sue, for their being at least partially responsible for his tragic transformation.
It must be mentioned that Ben did not want to pilot the rocket-ship and only did so because Susan Storm called him a coward. Hence, in a very real sense, Susan is just as much to blame for the Thing’s condition as Reed Richards. It’s also possible that Susan’s goading worked on Ben because had strong emotional feelings (possibly love) for her. It is rather strange that Stan Lee only saddled Reed Richards with guilt over Ben Grimm becoming the Thing, when Susan Storm was the one that really got Ben to agree to pilot the ship. One would think that Susan Storm would also have been crushed with guilt through the years for her part in Ben Grimm transforming into the Thing, but such was not to be the case. As for Ben’s romantic feelings for Sue, despite the fact that the FF Bullpen claimed for a long time that Ben was no longer in love with Sue, they were eventually proved wrong. When Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom went missing and presumed dead, Ben actually wondered to himself if he might finally have a chance with Susan.
Ben remained a reliable member of the team, but was constantly shunned and often dwelt on his monstrous appearance, usually trying to make jokes about it to keep his spirits high. Although he considered himself deformed, his transformation gave Ben incredible strength and durability, making him the physical powerhouse of the team. Reed blamed Ben’s appearance on himself and swore to cure Ben one way or the other. Ben would often wear a trench coat and hat to cover himself up to avoid scaring anyone or people gawking at his appearance. He soon started a love/hate relationship with Johnny storm, saying that at one time he could kill him for being annoying as heck, and other times seeing him as the best pal or the best younger brother a guy could have.
Ben developed a different point of view about his problem when he met the blind sculptress Alicia Masters. She loved Ben for Ben, not his appearance. This made Ben believe that she actually loved him not as a man but as a rocky hided monster and made him subconsciously averse to reverting to his original human form. Ben and Alicia’s relationship went on for a long time, surviving many turbulent ups and downs such as the alien Silver Surfer forming a bond with Alicia when he first arrived on Earth, multiple attacks on Ben by Alicia’s stepfather Phillip Masters (A.K.A. the Puppet Master) who did not approve of their love and Ben’s own insecurities based on deep-seated underlying doubts of his worthiness of Alicia’s affections and fear of her leaving him because he was the monstrous looking “Thing” while at the same time secretly believing she would only love him as the Thing not as Ben Grimm the normal man if he were ever finally cured. Eventually Ben and Alicia’s relationship did end when Ben stayed behind on Battleworld for some personal introspection and exploration at the end of the first Secret War.
When Reed and Sue were married and had a son named Franklin, they asked Ben to become the child’s Godfather. Ben was very honored that they choose him. He became known to Franklin as “Uncle Ben”.
Through the years Ben has had innumerable adventures with not only his teammates but many, many other heroes, super-beings and even aliens throughout the Marvel Universe. In the course of these adventures and team-ups, Ben has made many acquaintance and friends including Justice, whom Ben met while defending the boy against his future-self from the 30th century, Goliath (Bill Foster) whom Ben convinced to stop calling himself “Black Goliath”, Quasar, the future Protector of the Universe who was then director of security for Project Pegasus, Skull the slayer; whom Ben talked into returning to the present to clear his name and even an earlier, alternate universe version of himself. Ben also encountered and/or teamed up with old sparring partners like the Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Black Bolt, Power Man, Nick Fury and Silver Surfer while establishing new sparring partners such as Wonder Man, Sasquatch and Hyperion. He also teamed with many of the highest profile heroes including Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, Daredevil and Dr. Strange. Ben faced and fought foes ranging from the most obscure all the way to universal threats like Thanos. The time spent with these many and varied members of the superhero community has built bonds of trust and friendship for Ben that have enhanced his reputation as one of the most honest and dependable superheroes anywhere, despite his monstrous appearance. A great many of these friendships have served him well and endure to this very day.
Ben is famous for a lot of his colorful catchphrases including;
- His battle cry – “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” – which he often yells when going into battle or at the decisive moment of a fight.
- Referring to himself as “The ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing” and also as the “Idol of millions”.
- Ben often called both Thundra and Bill Foster (then known as Giant-Man) “High-pockets” due to their extremely tall height.
- He’s also known for throwing a hay-maker (a devastating power-punch) and referring to it as his “Sunday Punch.”
- More then just once he has preached the name of “his Aunt Petunia” (even referring to himself as ” Aunt Petunia‘s favorite nephew.”), who later turned out to be a surprisingly young, beautiful and quite real person!
- Another thing Ben is famous for in the superhero community is his long-running poker game/tournament. Many members, both prominent and not-so-prominent, of the superhero community will come play when one of these is held.
- Thing is also famous for quite often saying “What a Revoltin’ Development!” when something bad happens.
Ben also has a long-standing and continuing feud with some youngsters from his old neighborhood Yancy Street. Calling themselves the Yancy Street Gang, they play practical jokes on Ben because they think that Ben considers himself a ‘big-shot’ now and that he has forgotten where he’s from; where his roots are. The gang figures that being from his old neighborhood and being members of his old gang gives them the right to harass Ben.
Major Story Arcs
Ben became a well-known, widely respected and highly trusted presence in the superhero community through his activities as a member of the Fantastic Four as well as the many team-ups with other heroes. Eventually, his reputation and several of his team-ups lead to him being a permanent member and part-time security adviser of the P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Project. There he fought alongside heroes like Bill Foster (a.k.a. Goliath) and Wendell Vaughn (a.k.a. Quasar) to stop a criminal organization (Roxxon Oil) from getting their hands on the Serpent Crown. Although they managed to stop this from happening, and thus prevented Earth from being remade in the image of the serpent Set, the Serpent Crown would appear some years later and create more havoc. Another of Ben’s notable experiences at Project: Pegasus was the time he, Quasar, Bill Foster, Aquarian and Thundra teamed up to stop the Nth Man from consuming the entire universe.
Secret Wars & Battleworld
Ben, Reed and Johnny, along with many other high-profile heroes (and villains) were transported to a different planet called Battleworld during the first Secret Wars, by a being called the Beyonder. This being wanted to see which force was stronger and who would win between the forces of good or the forces of evil. A lot of dramatic events happened during this time but one of the most important things to happen to Ben was that, on this patchwork planet, he was able to change back to his human form. After the events of Secret Wars, the heroes were victorious and they all went back to Earth, except for Ben. He decided to remain on the planet and elected She-Hulk to be his replacement on the FF. Ben wanted to be in charge of himself and to keep his ability of changing to his human form, even if that meant “never” seeing his teammates, friends or girlfriend ever again. Ben stayed on Battle-world for some time, a strange world with bizarre creatures everywhere. He made a lot of friends, but also a lot of enemies. Ben eventually started to miss his friends and family, and so he returned to Earth. Unfortunately, Ben was shocked to find out that his former girlfriend Alicia was now dating Johnny (although, it later turned out that this was not Alicia but a Skrull named Lyja who infiltrated the ranks of the FF). Learning of this, Ben was extremely angry at Johnny and even the rest of the FF. He left the team just as soon as he had rejoined it, having felt that he had lost the only one who could ever love his “ugly mug”. She-Hulk continued being Ben’s replacement on the FF, while Ben briefly joined the West Coast Avengers. Unfortunately, Ben went through some sort of mutational phase which prevented him from fulfilling his commitment to his new team. After some time wandering the Earth and a temporary attempt to live among other outcasts on Monster Island, Ben eventually returned to the Fantastic Four and finally accepted the relationship that Johnny and Alicia had formed.
Leading the Fantastic Four & Another Mutation
Quite soon after his return, Ben became leader of the Fantastic Four. His first official act as leader was selecting Crystal as his new teammate, which really rankled fellow FF member Johnny. Next, Ben selects his then girlfriend, the super-strong former Unlimited Class wrestler Sharon Ventura, who had just recently returned into Ben’s life and saved the FF from Diablo. The reason for the new members was that Reed and Sue had decided to try to lead a normal life away from the super-heroics while raising their child, young Franklin Richards.
During this time, Ben and Sharon were exposed to cosmic radiation. For Ben this was the second time. But for Sharon, her first exposure, it left her mutated into a “Thing”-like appearance which resembled Ben’s early “Thing” mutation. For the Thing, the additional cosmic ray exposure had the effect of mutating Ben even further causing him to become physically bigger, stronger and “spikey” in his rock-like appearance. Unfortunately for Ben, and typical of his luck, this further mutation made him look even less human than at anytime before. Though Ben and Sharon were both shocked and horrified by this turn of events, they found comfort and an even deeper love in each others’ arms for some time.
Human Again & A Skrull Imposter
Fortunately for Ben, the “spikey” mutated form didn’t last very long, as he soon returned to his human form for good after one of the adventures he had with the then recently-returned original Fantastic Four. Ben still fought alongside his teammates and other heroes such as the Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider in a robotic suit that had the appearance of the Thing and somewhat duplicated his strength and durability as well. After some time, Ben got his powers, and thus his rocky-hided Thing appearance, back. After this, a time of turmoil broke out for the Fantastic Four when they finally learned the truth about “Alicia”; she was actually a Skrull named Lyja who had replaced the real Alicia and had stayed with the FF after the Secret Wars. The real Alicia was kidnapped by the Skrulls during the absence of the FF when they were in the Secret Wars. Lyja was supposed to infiltrate the FF as Ben’s girlfriend, but when Ben didn’t return with the rest of the FF after the Secret Wars, she was to date Johnny. Eventually Lyja had a change of heart and started to help the FF for real, even freeing the real Alicia, who returned to Ben’s loving arms after that. Although Johnny was never really married to Alicia, it pained his heart to see her back in Ben’s arms, but he wished them all the luck.
Some time later, Reed Richards apparently died in a blast, together with his most feared enemy, Doctor Doom. Ben was devastated by the loss of his oldest and best friend. During this time, Scott Lang (the second Ant-Man) became a full-time member of the FF while his daughter Cassie Lang developed a friendly relationship with Kristoff Vernard, who only sided with the FF in the hopes of locating Doom. Also joining the FF, Ben’s nephew Franklin, who had become an adult due to a time-slide in which he was brought to the future. Thankfully, it later turned out that Reed and Doom were just teleported away and not killed. Thus, Reed returned to the team, thanking Scott Lang. Soon after that, Franklin returned to his normal age.
Onslaught & Counter-Earth
When the villain Onslaught became a threat to the entire planet, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers and many other heroes all joined together to stop him. A heated battle was fought over Central Park, in which the heroes managed to destroy Onslaught’s physical form. Although the heroes thought to have defeated him, Onslaught became an even more powerful enemy than before. In order to defeat him, all the non-mutants sacrificed themselves to stop him, including the Thing. For a long time everybody on Earth thought that Ben and his fellow heroes had perished in battle. This while Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue, and Ben’s nephew had preserved their lives and sent them to a Counter Earth he had created unbeknown to even himself. There the heroes remained for some time, with no memories of their pasts. Upon returning to their original reality, Ben learned that Alicia seemed to have a relationship with the Silver Surfer. Although he loved Alicia, he still needed some time to figure out who he was after the confusion of his return.
Return to Earth 616
Ben and the Fantastic Four returned to their old home and base of operations, the Baxter Building, after the new superheroes team Thunderbolts (actually being the Masters of Evil in disguise) had moved out. There they had a lot of fantastic adventures, including meeting the daughter of Sue and Reed from an alternate reality, named Valeria Richards. She later became a member of the FF until she was removed from this time, strangely enough right after this, Sue was around 6 month’s pregnant of a baby. The baby was delivered by non other then arch enemy Doom, who only asked in return to name the child. He named her Valeria. And thus Ben had, though on a strange way, gotten a niece now too.
Seeming Death & Fame
Not long after this, Ben lay on the brink of death after a fight. In what turned out to be a controversial storyline his teammates tried to bring Ben out of his coma and stop him from dying by going right to the top and talking the guy in charge; the One Above All. They did this by traveling to a place which appeared to be a lot like what Heaven would look like. There, Ben, who was dying, met his long-dead brother at the gates of heaven. At the end of the storyline Ben was restored to life, thanks to a seemingly normal looking man who appeared to be Jack Kirby but was actually the One Above All. Ben, and the rest of the Fantastic Four, return to the mortal plane of existence where he recovers and goes on with his life. Things soon changed for Ben, changed dramatically, when he became aware the market value of stock that Reed gave Ben had sky-rocketed! This rise in value made Ben a multi-millionaire. In light of his new found wealth, Ben began living the good life. He dated a movie star, made trips with his nephew Franklin and even took Lockjaw as his pet for some time. It was also during this time that he went to work for a grumpy old grocery-clerk, whom he had known as a youth, on Yancy Street to make amends for destroying the clerk’s property. Although Ben wanted to just buy him of, the clerk would only accept help from Ben himself. This meant that, even though Ben was a millionaire, he had to stock shelves, unload trucks and sweep the aisle’s of a dusty grocery-store. Not only that, but he had to endure being ordered around and shouted at by his ‘boss’ the grumpy clerk as well. After he had re-payed his debt in work (for the damage he done), Ben and the clerk parted ways. Ben was exhausted and took a nap on the buss stop at Yancy Street waiting to go home. During this time, the Yancy Street Gang sprayed his whole body over with graffiti and other filthy things. When Ben woke up, he was reminded why he rarely visited Yancy street anymore.
Civil War & A Wedding
During the Super-Human Civil War, Ben briefly chose the pro-registration side with Iron Man. This was before he witnessed a civilian death caused by villains trying to intensify the already calamitous situation. He told both sides of his disgust for the situation, of their lack of heroism and, not wanting to participate on either side, he decided to become neutral and briefly moved to France. The Superhero Civil War was still unresolved when Ben returned to New York City. He didn’t return to choose a side, however, he returned to protect innocent civilians from the danger the super heroes and their battles against one another presented. At the end of the war, due to the events of the Civil War and the tensions it created amongst them (particularly Reed and Sue), the Fantastic Four met to discuss their future. Reed and Sue temporarily left the team to regain their trust, their respect and to rekindle their love on another honeymoon. They were replaced on the Fantastic Four roster by the Black Panther and Storm. After mending their marriage, Reed and Sue returned to the team. Ben and the Fantastic Four had many more adventures after that, including going to a new counter-earth that was created by an ex-girlfriend of Reed Richards, named Alyssa Moy. He fought the Masters of Doom, whom apparently killed his aunt Petunia. Although nothing is known about a funeral for Petunia where the FF went to, so it could have been just a mirage to scare Ben. Ben even got engaged with a kindergarten teacher named Debbie Green whom he had a passionate relationship with. In the end it didn’t work out, Ben saw all the heroes coming to his wedding, and all had lost the love of their lives because of their superhero alter ego. He thought that he would only endanger Debbie if he married her, and thus canceled the wedding. Ben was found grieving at a bar by his best friend Reed and Johnny. Reed then told Johnny to go and ordered a drink for Ben and himself. The two friends just sat there, having a drink and smiling, without saying a word. Words where no longer needed.
Joining the Avengers during the Heroic Age
In the newest team of “New Avengers”, Luke asks the Thing to join his team. Almost everybody thinks its a bad idea because he is also a part of the Fantastic Four and they feared he could not manage to be on both teams. Ben nevertheless joins the team and is present on their first mission where an evil God who pretends to be the Ancient One, tries to steal the Eye of Agammoto from then-time Sorcerer Supreme; Doctor (formerly Brother) Voodoo. The evil God struck with a demon-invasion from the Astral plane arriving over Manhattan. A battle erupts with the heroes and the hordes of demons, which ends with Doctor Voodoo sacrificing his life in order to seal the gate and defeat the evil God. Ben came up with a new battle roar; “It’s Payback Time.” Later even he says “Playtime’s over!” as a potential new “Avenger-friendly” catch-phrase but Spider-Man doesn’t like it.
Death of a Teammate
During an adventure in the Negative Zone, Ben stood alone with friend and teammate Johnny Storm, plus the organization formed by Reed, known as the Future Foundation. The Annihilation Wave was about to strike through a portal to get to earth, pretty likely destroying it, like it had done with so many other planets during the Annihilation story-line. Main goal was to close the portal before the Wave would come. The one problem the group had was that the portal could only be closed at the side of the Negative Zone, thus leaving someone trapped in there with the Annihilation wave. Ben wanted to sacrifice himself for this duty and told the Torch, his nephew and niece (plus the rest of the Future Foundation team) to go to the other side of the portal. But before Ben could do a thing, Johnny pushed Ben and the others back into the portal, to earth, and pressed the button himself to close the gate. Ben stood horrified, not being able to do anything but watch as Johnny was about to encounter the wave, when the door shut. Ben was laying on the ground with his nephew and niece in his arms, knowing he had lost one of his best friends. After these events the FF where stricken with grief, and the group disbanded soon after. The remaining members of the FF, including Ben, joined the Future Foundation team, even with a new member; Spider-man. When little Valeria invited Doctor Doom to join the group, Ben was not a happy camper!
As the Serpent began to choose his Worthy to help destroy Earth in his war with Odin, one hammer fell on Yancy Street. The Future Foundation arrived in an attempt to remove and study the hammer but due to Ben’s continuing guilt over the death of Johnny Storm, Ben was chosen and transformed into Angrir Breaker of Souls. He quickly destroyed Yancy Street and killed dozens of spectators who were watching the action.
As Angrir continued his rampage through New York, he found himself in conflict with The Red Hulk, who attempted to talk Angrir down but failed and engaged him in battle. After a long fight, Angrir beat The Red Hulk and sent him flying so far away from New York that he never returned. Shortly afterward, Angrir destroyed Avengers Tower and the surrounding areas with his Hammer. Eventually, Ben and the Hulk were sent by the Serpent to take down Thor and in the ensuing battle, Mjolnir pierced Angrir’s body and fatally wounded him. As Thor battled with the Hulk, Franklin and Valeria Richards came to their godfather’s side and as the Thing laid dying, Ben’s true persona broke back through telling Franklin and Val that it was OK, that this was meant to happen. However, Franklin instead shocked Ben by saying that he had his powers back and while he promised never to use them again, he lied and healed the Thing completely, pushing out the possession of Angrir and returning Ben back as the Thing. After quickly recovered he told Franklin, “Your parents are going to kill us.” due to the fact that Franklin was using his powers again.
Avengers vs. X-Men
The Avengers learn that the Phoenix Force is hurdling towards Earth in an attempt to find a new host. In an attempt to put Hope Summers, the thought to be next Phoenix Host, into protective custody the Avengers begin a battle with the X-Men in order to take her. The Thing battles King Namor. With Hope leaving, the X-Men go into hiding and the Avengers prepare for the next battle. There are more battles and eventually the Thing and Avengers end up on the moon with the X-Men when the Phoenix Force arrives. Tony Stark using a new armor manages to shatter the force which sends itself into 5 mutants, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik. The Avengers eventually battle the Phoenix amped Namor in Wakanda. The Avengers throw everything they can possibly dish at the cosmically crazed King but he seems to keep coming. Wanda and Namor end up exchanging energy blasts which knocks them both out and causes the Phoenix Force portion to leave Namor and into the other avatars. Thing kicks Namor just for being Namor. After the fight, Thing and the Avengers retreat into hidden location of K’un-Lun.
Guardian of the Galaxy
During the events of Secret Wars, the Marvel Universe is destroyed after colliding with the Ultimate Universe. Using the power of the Beyonders, Doom manages to use surviving pieces of the various universes to construct a new Battleworld for the survivors to dwell. However, he erases the memories of all those living there, causing them to forget the previous universes they came from. On this world, Doom convinced Ben to become part of the Shield, the massive wall that protects the citizens of Battleworld from the Marvel Zombies. When Ben learns that he’d been lied to, he leaves the Shield and joins the battle against Doom’s forces.
Though reality is restored, Reed and Sue are both assumed to have perished, along with Franklin, Valeria, and many of the Future Foundation students. With the Fantastic Four having disbanded, Ben joins the Guardians of the Galaxy, who are temporarily under the leadership of Kitty Pryde. Ben has a number of adventures with the team, battling foes such as Hala the Accuser and the Badoon . He also finds that on the alien worlds the team visits, he’s no longer viewed as a freak because of his monstrous appearance. Ben even briefly finds love with an alien woman, though the relationship doesn’t last. When the Guardians become stranded on Earth during the second superhuman civil war, Ben accepts Maria Hill‘s offer to become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Ben’s time as a Guardian comes to an end after a massive battle with Thanos, as he, Kitty, Angela and Agent Venom choose to stay behind while the rest of the team returns to space.
Suiting his physical appearance and powers, Ben is strong-willed, gruff, stubborn and has a tough exterior. He is always ready for a fight, can at times be short-tempered and is often making wise-cracks.
Despite this, Grimm has a heart of gold and is very likable and often optimistic.
Powers & Abilities
The Thing has immense superhuman strength. When he was first transformed into the Thing he could only lift 5 tons, but over the years his strength continually grew to the point where Ben could lift 85 tons. This is where his strength level appeared to level off, staying steady for quite some time. As more time passed, Ben increased his already immense physical strength through consistent, intense weight training and further physical mutation. Through these means Ben’s strength has increased to much higher levels allowing him to now lift in excess of 100 tons. Ben’s strength is such that he once stopped a multistory building that weighed roughly 30,000 tons from toppling and then pushed it back into place; this require him to able to ‘push’ at least 12,000 tons, resulting in an overhead pressing ability of at least 8000 tons. He also once knocked out the Hulk with one punch, though not entirely on his own (he had help from Reed and Sue). He also knocked down a living black hole with one punch and put great damage to it, though it was stated he hurt himself more than he hurt the black hole.
He has enhanced stamina which allows him to exert himself at maximum effort for at least up to an hour before he starts to fatigue. Over the same period of time as his strength increased Ben’s size has also increased. Ben’s mutated epidermis (skin) is composed entirely of interlocking stones of irregular sizes and shapes. One notable point about his mutation is that he no longer has any outer ear structure, though his hearing hasn’t been diminished in any way because of this. Presumably, due to the mutating effects of the cosmic rays, all of Ben’s ear/hearing physiology has been internalized though with no loss of function or acuity.
All of Ben’s internal organs and soft tissues have been enhanced as an adaption to his new physical size and body composition. His skin/body can withstand extreme environments including temperature extremes from -75 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. His skin can also withstand at least 15 pounds of explosives per square inch and deep crushing pressures of the ocean floor. The Thing’s skin is so hard it is practically impervious to being punctured or breached by anything from blades to multiple high caliber bullets. The Thing’s enhanced physique has even proven durable enough to withstand extreme blunt-force impacts from the Hulk‘s fists and Thor’s hammer(although Thor never intended to really hurt Ben) It only incurring minor or insignificant chipping. However, Ben was injured by Wolverine’s Adamantium claws so his durability does have its limits.
Despite his monstrously large size, he still has an impressive level of quickness, agility and flexibility.
He is trained, experienced and highly skilled at piloting a multitude of varied aircraft; including many invented by his friend and teammate Reed Richards.
Ben has been trained in military hand-to-hand combat techniques, he has trained and competed as an amateur boxer, he is a very skilled wrestler and he has years of street-fighting experience from growing up on the mean streets of New York City where he had many altercations due to his gang involvement. He has trained in judo and jujitsu. Ben has combined this training and experience into his own unique and effective style of brawling, which he has used quite effectively against a veritable ‘who’s who’ of strongmen in the Marvel Universe (both heroes and villains); many of whom are physically stronger and/or more durable than he is.
It has been stated that Ben only ages when in his human form. If this is the case, then as long as Ben remains in his “Thing-form” his age will remain the same which should presumably give him incredible longevity though probably not true immortality.
Character Cultural Weight
Benjamin Grimm represents in many ways the American dream: a poor boy from a tough neighborhood who strives for a better life and gets one by way of a university scholarship thanks to his athletic talent, exertion and dedication to sports. Then, while attending the university, he became the best friend to the most intelligent man in the Marvel universe. Ben then served his country in the armed forces where he put his life on the line many times over.
All along his career as a comic character, he has never stopped improving and acquiring new know-how despite an initial transformation that he resented as being a curse and that would have lead many lesser men to simply give up on life.
Able to put aside his own emotional pain and problems, he remains selfless and cares about others first and foremost.
His permanent quest to appear as something else than the apparent monster he is will lead him to not only try to right his past wrongs, but also to constantly help anyone in need.
As a reward of sorts for his relentless efforts, Ben Grimm has traveled to the stars and seen the universe as no man could. He is a simple man constantly confronted by things way larger than he is both at the emotional and physical level, but who gives his best effort in every situation and almost always succeeds, even if it sometimes require the help of his friends. It can easily be argued that there would be no Fantastic Four without Ben Grimm; not just because of his immense strength, but because of his tremendous heart, his relentless loyalty which make him the central familial focus point he is for the team.
Weight: 1200 lbs.
Hair: None (brown before transformation)
In the Ultimate Universe the Thing is a bit younger than his Earth-616 counterpart, though each is a member of his Earth’s Fantastic Four. Much like the mainstream Thing, Ultimate Thing is also shown to be very sensitive about his condition and what people have to say about it. It’s even been shown and stated by Ben himself, many times, that he has tried to commit suicide. It is also shown that this version of Ben could be stronger than the Ultimate Version Hulk as he was able to take out the Zombie Hulk when they went to the Marvel Zombie universe to save Reed and was also able to defeat Ultimate Hulk. However, this was while the ultimate Hulk was being suffocated by Sue Storm and Spider-man as well as taking a beating from the Ultimate’s. During Ultimatum Ben was alone for the first time since the fantastic four formed as Johnny was missing and Reed leaves to try and bring Nick Fury back to the Ultimate universe. He is forced to find the Mole man as Sue slipped into a coma and Mole man is the only person who can help her. They use Pym particles to shrink down to microscopic size to wake her up. He helps Sue fight Dormammu to get Johnny back and joins S.H.I.E.L.D after the Fantastic Four disband. Ben travels to Latveria under Reeds request to kill Doctor Doom for the part he played in Ultimatum.
Sue Storm, genius biologist and ex-teammate of the world famous Fantastic Four, uses her invisible powers to hide herself from the rest of the world while taking a walk through the city. She feels better when not being a world spectacle for once. Once back in the Baxter she wonders alone through the building only to find Ben Grim, who interrupts her loneliness. After briefly catching up Sue examines Ben’s recent shedding of rocks and Ben drops a bomb on her by telling her that he loves her. Now that her relationship with Reed is over he seizes the opportunity to tell her that. One of the Thing’s rocks falls off as he leaves Sue saying: “something to remember me by”. Then a huge, purple, cloud/octopus-like creatures overtakes the Baxter building and even Ben while trying to stop it he is thrown to down the street.
In the MC2 universe Thing is a member of the Fantastic Five alongside Human Torch, Ms Fantastic, Franklin Richards and Big Brain. Much of the past history of the Fantastic Four remains as it is in the 616 reality. His left arm and much of the body has been replaced by cybernetic parts needed after a battle with Terrax.
Thing married Sharon (later to become Sharon Ventura after remarrying) and had two children named Alyce and Jake.
In the Marvel Zombies universe the Thing has, as most of earth’s heroes been turned into a zombie.
In this reality, also known as Earth A, (first seen in Fantastic Four #118), Only Reed Richards and Ben Grimm was aboard the spaceship and got exposed to cosmic rays. Afterwards Reed Richards got the Thing powers and Ben Grimm got the Mr. Fantastic powers. Furthermore Johnny Storm was believed to have died in Vietnam, but he became Gaard and later Vangaard. Sue Storm married Ben Grimm.
In the 1602 reality, Benjamin Grimm got his powers from the Anomaly and became a member of The Four of the Fantastick.
In the “House of M” reality, Doctor Doom is leader of the Fanatic Four which consists of himself, Invincible Woman (Valeria Von Doom), Inhuman Torch (Kristoff Vernard) and The Thing, here known as The It.
In this alternate reality, the Fantastic Four all gained the same powers as the Human Torch. Instead of becoming the Thing, Ben Grimm received flame powers. Due to tragic events, this world’s Fantastic Four disbanded and Johnny Storm became a world class race car driver. While Grimm took on the mantle of the Human Torch and joined the Avengers.
In this alternate reality, there was no miscarriage and the Fantastic Four’s second child was born. Ben Grimm inexplicably finds himself reverting back to his human form permanently. During a nighttime celebration out on the town, Grimm is fatally wounded by a gunman seeking vengeance. In critical condition at the hospital, Grimm lost his life when the succubus known as Suzy Richards drained whatever living energy he had left.
In this reality, the Thing is a member of the Fantastic Five alongside Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, Invisible Woman and Spider-Man.
In this reality, the Thing is a member of the Fantastic Five alongside Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, Invisible Woman and Namor.
In this reality, the Thing is a member of the Fantastic Five alongside Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, Invisible Woman and Silver Surfer.
The Thing was also a member of the Fantastic Five in this reality, alongside Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, Invisible Woman and Spider-Man. They were all killed by Hyperion and Weapon X.
Earth-295 (Age of Apocalypse)
In a “What if…?: Age of Apocalypse”, Ben is a member of the Defenders, the AoA version of the Avengers. In this reality where Legion killed both Professor X and Magneto leading to the X-Men to never be formed, The Defenders are composed of Ben, Captain Britain in Iron Man’s armor, Wolverine aka Weapon X, Brother Voodoo, who is the Sorcerer Supreme in this universe, X-Man, Molecule Man, Colossus and Sauron with their leader, Captain America, in possession of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Ben was killed by Apocalypse’s son, Holocaust.
In the Marvel Mangaverse, Ben is a member of the Fantastic Four, a team that battles giant monsters with their mecha power packs. The whole team was killed by The Hand, except the Human Torch.
In this reality, the Thing is a member of the Avengers and is married to Alicia Masters, but has tragically been rendered paralyzed by the evil entity known as Charnel. To move and fight, the Thing must be connected to a mechanical exo-skeleton.
In this reality, the Thing, like the rest of the Marvel heroes, is quite a bit older. He is married to Alicia and they have two children that look just like him named Buzz and Chuck.
Doc Fantastic and his Five for the Future
In this reality, Ben was the only one sent on Reed’s space flight. Set in the 1930’s, Ben was the pilot of a satellite that was shot into orbit around the Moon. Because of his disfigurement, Ben hides his appearance with a mask, gloves and long coat. He is a member of the Five for the Future. He goes by the name Mister Grim.
Challengers of Doom
In this reality, Ben Grimm was married to Sue Storm. Because of some incident, they were divorced and he was not allowed to be near her through a court ordered restraining order.
- The Thing is a featured character in the 1967 Fantastic Four cartoon, voiced by Paul Frees.
- The Thing is a feature character in the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera. The character was voiced by Ted Cassidy.
- Although The Thing has always been closely identified with the Fantastic Four, he did appear as a solo character in a bizarre and short-lived 1979 spin-off of the animated series The Flintstones, entitled Fred and Barney Meet the Thing. This incarnation of the Thing was a scrawny, teenaged “Benjy” Grimm, who could transform into his heroic identity with his “Thing rings”, one worn on each hand, by bringing his fists together to connect the rings (with the cry, “Thing rings, do your thing!”).
- In an episode of Saturday Night Live, Thing was a guest at a party hosted by Superman ( Bill Murray) and Lois Lane ( Margot Kidder). The Hulk (played by John Belushi) was also in attendance.
- The Thing is a regular character in the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon, voiced by Chuck McCann.
- Thing later appears in the ’90s Spider-Man cartoon (voiced by Patrick Pinney) during the “Secret Wars” story-line, along with the rest of the Fantastic Four, and he plays a major role in the final conflict with Doctor Doom. Doom captures the Thing, reverts him back into his human form, uses the information he gives Ben to steal the Beyonder’s power, and is only defeated when he turns his own weapon on him.
- The Thing also makes a single episode appearance in the ’90s Incredible Hulk cartoon, with Chuck McCann reprising Thing. The episode seems to place this show in the same continuity with the Fantastic Four cartoon of the same decade as this episode plays off the Hulk’s appearance in the other show. She-Hulk flirted with him, but Ben chose to rekindle his relationship with Alicia Masters.
- Thing appears in Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes with the Fantastic Four symbol spray painted onto his chest. He is voiced by Brian Dobson.
- Dave Boat voices Thing on The Super Hero Squad Show series on Cartoon Network. He makes a cameo appearance with the other Fantastic Four members in the show’s pilot episode, and has a much bigger role on the third episode where he helps save the Silver Surfer.
- Ben Grimm/Thing briefly appeared in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in a photo with the rest of the FF in the episode “The Man Who Stole Tomorrow”. He later makes another cameo appearance in “The Casket of Ancient Winters” helping Captain America battle Dark Elves/Ice Monsters alongside Johnny Storm. He finally makes a full appearance in the episode “The Private War of Doctor Doom”, and in the episode “New Avengers”, voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
- The Thing appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode “The Incredible Spider-Hulk,” voiced by Dave Boat.
- The Thing makes a brief appearance in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode “The Collector,” with Dave Boat reprising his role yet again.
- Dave Boat also voices the Thing in the Avengers Assemble episode “Hulk’s Day Out.”
The Fantastic Four
Michael Bailey Smith plays Ben Grimm (with Carl Ciarfalio portraying The Thing) in the 1994 Roger Corman produced The Fantastic Four. Created to secure copyright to the property, the producers never intended it for release although the director, actors, and other participants were not informed of this fact.
Fantastic Four (2005)
The Thing is featured in the 2005 Fantastic Four film released by 20th Century Fox, in which he is portrayed by Golden Globe-winner Michael Chiklis ( The Commish, The Shield). In this film, a small explanation is given for why his physical alterations are the most severe, as he is exposed to the cosmic cloud with the least amount of protection, being outside the space station carrying out surveys while the rest of the team were inside. Although he is briefly cured of his ‘condition’ when Victor von Doom perfects a chamber that can negate the cosmic radiation that transforms him, after he learns that Doom perfected the process so that he could drain the power of the Thing and use it to enhance his own, he subjects himself to the chamber again so that he can turn himself back into the Thing.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Michael Chiklis reprises his role as The Thing in the 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Jamie Bell portrays the Thing in the 2015 film The Fantastic Four. The movie’s version of Ben Grimm is the childhood friend of Reed Richards, similar to his Ultimate counterpart. When Reed is accepted into the prestigious Baxter Building in New York, Ben goes to visit him. Ben is present at the same accident that transforms the other members of the group, and becomes a creature made of rocks.
He is forced into performing missions for the military, and helps capture Reed after he goes rogue. He later reconciles with his old friend, and helps him battle Doom. At the close of the film, the four friends choose to stay together as a team of heroes.
- The Thing’s first video game appearance was in 1984 in the Scott Adams adventure game Questprobe featuring the Human Torch and the Thing which was released for the following 8-bit platforms: Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and a DOS version for the PC.
- The Thing’s first console appearance was a cameo in the Spider-Man game based on the Spider-Man 1994 animated series for Sega Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. After reaching certain levels of the game, the player can call the Thing a limited number of times for assistance against enemies.
- An evil doppelganger of the Thing appears as an enemy in Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems for the SNES.
- The Thing is a playable character in the Fantastic Four game for the PlayStation.
- The Thing is also playable in the game based on the 2005 film. The game was released on several consoles and the Thing was voiced by Michael Chiklis in the main game- including one level featuring him returned to his usual Ben Grimm identity and having to avoid Doom’s robots to reactivate the chamber to restore him to the Thing- and by Fred Tatasciore in the bonus levels.
- The Thing and the Human Torch are playable characters in the fighting game Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.
- The Thing is also a playable hero in the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Gregg Berger. He has special dialogue with Rhino, Human Torch, Karnak, Black Bolt, Lockjaw, Crystal, Uatu, and the Vision. The costumes available for him are his Classic costume, his Ultimate costume, his Original costume, and his Modern costume. A simulation disk has Thing protecting Mr. Fantastic from Rhino on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Omega Base.
- The Thing is a playable character in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer voiced by Joey Camen.
- The Thing appears in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, in which Fred Tatasciore reprised the role. Like in the comics, Thing tries to stay neutral regarding the Superhero Registration Act, becoming unavailable in Act 2 of the game as the Act goes into effect, although he becomes available again during a mission involving a superhuman prison convoy moving through New York; if the player is Anti-Registration, the Thing will agree to help them after witnessing the Pro-Registration side’s use of nanite-controlled supervillains as agents, and if the player is Pro-Registration he sides with them after the White Star- renegade S.H.I.E.L.D. agents working with Captain America’s forces- endanger civilians while trying to put the team down.
- The Thing appears in the Marvel Super Hero Squad video game, in which Dave Boat reprised his role as the voice actor.
- The Thing appears as an unlock-able character in the Marvel: Avengers Alliance video game on Facebook. He is a Bruiser Class character.
- The Thing appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, voiced by David Boat.
- The Thing appears as a DLC character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, voiced again by Dave Boat.
- The Thing received a figure from Mego.
- The Thing was featured in ToyBiz’s Marvel Super Heroes line.
- The Thing was featured in ToyBiz’s Fantastic Four line for the animated series.
- ToyBiz produced a snap-together model kit of The Thing.
- The Thing was featured in ToyBiz’s second Marvel Legends wave. A variant showing him in his trench coat disguise was also released. The figure was later rereleased as part of a Fantastic Four box set.
- Another Thing figure was later produced for the Marvel Legends Legendary Riders wave, this time depicting his original, lumpy form from the early issues of Fantastic Four.
- Diamond Select released a Thing figure for the Marvel Select line.
- The Thing was featured in ToyBiz’s Fantastic Four Classics line, a sister line to Marvel Legends.
- The Thing was featured in ToyBiz’s line for the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.
- ToyBiz produced one final Marvel Legends figure for the Thing in their House of M box set, featuring his The It form from that continuity.
- Once Hasbro took over the Marvel license, Thing was featured in the Marvel Legends Ronan Build-a-Figure wave. A repainted version of the figure was later released as part of a two-pack with Mister Fantastic.
- The Thing was featured in Hasbro’s line for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
- The Thing was featured in Hasbro’s Super Hero Squad line.
- The Thing was featured in Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line.
- The Thing was later given a new Marvel Legends figure from Hasbro, this time as a Walgreens exclusive. A repainted version of this figure with a new head was later released as part of the Super-Skrull Builid-a-Figure wave.
- The Thing was featured in Funko’s Pop! line of bobbleheads.
- Companies like Sideshow Collectibles, Bowen Designs, Dark Horse and Dynamic Forces have created statues and busts of The Thing.