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Thing (Ben Grimm): Misc


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Real Name
Benjamin Jacob Grimm
Current Alias

Bashful Benjy, Uncle Benjy, The Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing, Idol of Millions (self-proclaimed), Grim Ben, Dr. Josiah Verpoorteen, Blackbeard the Pirate, El Morrito.



Founding member of the Fantastic Four; Former member of the Avengers West Coast, and Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, Thunderiders, pawns of Grandmaster, Project: PEGASUS staff, Defenders associate, NASA, U.S. military. Yancy Street Gang

unnamed maternal grandmother (deceased), Petunia Grimm (aunt-in-law), Sophie Grimm (paternal aunt, deceased), Alyce Grimm (paternal aunt and former legal guardian),

Jake Grimm (paternal uncle and former legal guardian), Daniel Grimm (father, deceased), Elsie Grimm (mother, deceased), Daniel Grimm Jr (brother, deceased), Franklin Richards (godson)

See also: Fantastic Family Tree, Category:Grimm Family



6' 0"

500 lbs (227 kg)




Unusual Features
The Thing's body is covered with an orange, flexible, rock-like hide. The Thing has no apparent neck. He has only four fingers (including the thumb) on each hand and four toes on each foot. The increase in the volume of his fingers has not decreased his manual dexterity. His skin is apparently susceptible to "drying" or what in a normal human being would be called loss of skin oil, for his skin can be "chipped" under certain circumstances. The Thing has no outer ear structure.


Marital Status

Adventurer; former construction worker, security guard, astronaut, test pilot, college football player, student, wrestler

College graduate (State University), U.S. military pilot training, NASA astronaut training

Mutate - exposed to cosmic rays

Place of Birth


First appearance

Fantastic Four #1
(November, 1961)


Image:Quote1.png It's Clobberin' Time! Image:Quote2.png
-- Thing

Benjamin J. Grimm was born on Yancy Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where he grew up in poverty. His father, an alcoholic, was unable to hold a job. Much of the family's income came from Grimm's older brother, Daniel, who obtained funds illegally as leader of the Yancy Street Gang. Grimm, who idolized his brother, became embittered against the world when Daniel was killed in a battle between rival gangs. Grimm was only eight years old at the time. Within ten years, he had succeeded his brother as leader of the Yancy Street Gang. After his parents died, Grimm was taken in by his Uncle Jake, who had risen from poverty to become a successful physician. At first, Grimm resisted his new guardians' kindness toward him. But eventually, he came to return their love. He left his life with the Yancy Street Gang behind, entered high school, and became a football star there. While he was a senior at Stuyvesant High School, Ben received a football scholarship to State University in Hegeman, New York. On the football field, Ben received the nickname "Grimm Reaper."



Early Years

Grimm's freshman year roommate was the brilliant science student Reed Richards, who became his closest friend. During their first meeting Richards confided in Grimm his intention someday to build a starship for interstellar travel. Grimm jokingly promised that he would pilot the starship for Richards if he ever built it.[1]

Upon graduating Grimm went into the U.S. Air Force and became a highly skilled test pilot and astronaut. In the meantime Richards went ahead with his project to build a starship, using both his own fortune and funding from the Federal government. On the day that Grimm left the military, Richards came to him to remind him of his promise to pilot the starship.

Fantastic Four

Richards' project was based in Central City, California. When the federal government threatened to withdraw its funding from Richards' project, Richards decided to take the starship on a test flight himself as soon as possible. Grimm was opposed to the idea, warning that the starship's shielding might prove to be inadequate protection from intense radiation storms. Nevertheless, Grimm was persuaded to serve as pilot, and Richards' future wife Sue Storm and her teenage brother Johnny insisted on accompanying Richards' as passengers. The four friends stole into the launch facility, entered the starship, and launched it. They intended to travel through hyperspace to another solar system and back. However, unknown to Richards, a solar flare caused Earth's Van Allen radiation belts to be filled temporarily with unprecedented, ultra-high levels of cosmic radiation. Since the ship was designed to shield against ordinary levels of radiation, the cabin interior was subject to intense cosmic ray bombardment which irradiated the four passengers and wrought havoc on the ship's controls. Pilot Grimm was forced to abort the flight and return to Earth.

Once back on Earth, the four passengers discovered that the cosmic radiation had triggered mutagenic changes in this bodies. Grimm was transformed into an orange-colored, thick-skinned, heavily-muscled, and superhumanly strong "thing." Richards convinced the three others that the four of them should use their new powers for the good of humanity as members of a team named the Fantastic Four. Richards called himself Mister Fantastic, Susan and Johnny Storm took the names of the Invisible Girl (later Woman) and the Human Torch, and Grimm, morose over his new grotesque appearance, named himself the Thing.[2] Under Richards' leadership the Fantastic Four has become Earth's most honored team of superhuman adventurers, and has saved the world from conquest or destruction many times. Their incorporation heralded the modern age of superheroes.

Ben's early costume

The Fantastic Four were not just Ben's friends. They became his surrogate family, and he was like a beloved uncle to Reed and Sue's children, Franklin and Valeria. The Thing remains the big-hearted, brick-hided backbone of the Fantastic Four to this day.

Alicia Masters

Over the years the mutations to the Things body have continued to progress slowly. The composition of his epidermis changed from an abnormally dense, somewhat lumpy but still comparatively smooth hide to a flexible, interlocking network of rock-like lumps. His superhuman strength increased considerably over time. Early in Grimm's life as the Thing, he would sometimes revert to his original human form unexpectedly. But neither these changes nor those induced by Richards in his efforts to turn Grimm back to human form ever proved to be permanent. Eventually Grimm always reverted to his monstrous, superhumanly powerful form. Appalled by his appearance, Grimm was at first filled with anger at his situation, but he eventually became resigned to his fate, although he continued to be disturbed by his appearance and to hope for a means of regaining his human form that would last. Instrumental in helping Grimm to adjust to his life as the Thing was the blind sculptress Alicia Masters, with whom Grimm fell in love. Reed Richards eventually discovered that Grimm had reached a state in which he could transform from his Thing form to human form and back at will. However, Grimm feared that Alicia Masters would only love him as the Thing, for she had not known him before his initial transformation. Hence, Grimm suffered from a subconscious mental block that prevented him from becoming human.

The relationship between Grimm and Masters was suffering from strains when Grimm was transported to the distant "Battleworld" by the alien Beyonder for the first of the so-called "secret wars." On that planet Grimm found himself able to change to human form and back. Concealing his discovery of Grimm's mental block for fear of hurting his feelings, Richards claimed that the nature of the planet itself was somehow responsible for Grimm's ability to transform back and forth. Once the "secret war" was over, Grimm remained on the planet for months. Eventually, however, he found himself trapped once again in his monstrous form, unable to change to human form, and he returned to Earth. There Grimm learned that his teammate Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters had become lovers, and that Reed Richards had concealed the information about his mental block from him. Furious and distraught, Grimm quit the Fantastic Four. He worked for a time as a superhumanly strong wrestler for the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, and also participated in missions with the West Coast Avengers.

Grimm was about to accept membership in the West Coast Avengers when he began to undergo further mutation, becoming, at least in his own mind, still more grotesque. Greatly disturbed, Grimm journeyed to Monster Island, where he had first encountered his foe, the Mole Man. Now, however, the Mole Man befriended the Thing and welcomed him into the society he had organized in his underground realm, composed of physically ugly people like himself who had believed themselves to be outcasts in the surface world. Grimm agreed to help the Mole Man in his attempt to use an earth shifting machine to raise a small continent in the Pacific Ocean to serve as a homeland for the Mole Man's society. While Grimm lived in the Mole Man's realm, his most recent mutations went into remission, leaving him looking little different than before these recent mutations had begun.

The three other original members of the Fantastic Four found the Thing in the Mole Man's realm, where Reed Richards realized that by raising a continent in the Pacific, the Mole Man would trigger earthquakes that would destroy California. The Thing joined Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, and the Human Torch in destroying the Mole Man's earth-shifting machine, and rejoined the Fantastic Four.

When Reed and Sue retired from active Fantastic Four duty to focus on raising their son, they left Ben in charge. He recruited Crystal and Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura) to replace them and served capably as team leader, starting a romance with Sharon that deepened after new cosmic radiation exposure further mutated them both, turning Sharon into a sort of "She-Thing" and Ben into an even stronger, more hideous spiky-hided Thing. Their romance continued through several more changes of form (with Ben eventually settling back into his classic Thing form), even after Reed and Sue rejoined the group; but they were estranged after Sharon accepted Doctor Doom's aid in regaining human form. Ben has not yet had a serious relationship since his split with Sharon, though he has flirted with Reed's old friend Alyssa Moy and briefly dated Damage Control executive Kathleen O'Meara. When the Alicia who had eventually married Johnny was revealed to be the shape-shifting Skrull spy Lyja, the Fantastic Four found and rescued the real Alicia, but she and Ben have remained only good friends.

Ben maintained a bizarre enmity with the Yancy Street Gang, his former peers having passed down their resentment of Grimm to the next generation of Yancy punks. Over the years, the gang perpetrated a seemingly endless series of practical jokes, verbal abuse and petty assaults on Grimm, though many of the practical jokes credited to the Yancy crowd were actually played by a sneaky Johnny Storm. At the same time, the Yancy Streeters took a perverse pride in their distinguished alumnus, and were known to come to Ben's aid on occasion. They seemed to think only they had the right to abuse him. Though estranged from the gang, Ben remained friendly with some of his childhood chums from Yancy Street, including Cholly (now owner of the Yancy Street Bar and Grill), helicopter pilot Hopper Hertnecky and old high school buddy "Slugger" Sokolowski. Ben also kept in touch with his uncle Jake, who married a new wife-the much younger Petunia "Penny" Grimm-after Alyce died. Ben took a great liking to Petunia, whom he often jokingly described as a little old lady until the Fantastic Four actually got to meet the beautiful Mrs. Grimm in person. Alynn Cambers also renewed her friendship with Ben (though not their romance), seeking his guidance and support after a stroke left her disfigured and partially crippled.[3]

Ben was once killed during a battle with Doctor Doom. However, Reed was certain that Ben could be resurrected. He convinced Sue and Johnny to join him in this quest, which ultimately led them to the gates of Heaven itself using a modified model of Doom's old afterlife machine. Persuaded it was not yet his time, Ben agreed to return to the land of the living with his friends-and the Creators allowed it.

Civil War

Initially in the Super Hero Civil War Ben was a reluctant member of Iron Man's side, until the Thing witnessed a battle on Yancy Street where Captain America's forces tried to rescue captured allies held by Iron Man's forces. Old Fantastic Four foes the Mad Thinker and the Puppet Master tried to escalate the battle, using a mind-controlled Yancy Streeter to deliver a bomb. The young man died and the Thing verbally blasted both sides for not caring about the civilians caught in the conflict.[4] He announced that while he thought the registration was wrong, he was also not going to fight the government and was thus leaving the country for France. While in France he met Les Heroes de Paris (The Heroes of Paris).[5]

"Are you lookin' at me?"

Ben returned to New York as both sides of the SHRA battled in the city. Ben, oblivious to which side got in his way, made it his job to protect the civilians from harm.[6] At the conclusion of the war, Reed and Sue Richards decided to “take a break” from the Fantastic Four, leaving an opening on the team. With the Wakanda embassy in New York destroyed, the Black Panther and his wife Storm were invited to stay in the Baxter Building and along with the Thing and the Human Torch they formed a new Fantastic Four.[7]

Ben once again tried to take on the Hulk within the events of World War Hulk.[8] He was among the captives held in Madison Square Garden, which the Hulk had turned into a gladiatorial arena with an obedience disk fitted on him.[9]

During the Skrull invasion, the Skrull Lyja, posing as Sue, sent the Baxter Building, with Ben, Johnny, Franklin and Valeria inside, into the Negative Zone. With the aid of the Tinkerer, Ben broke out of the Negative Zone Prison,[10] and they were able to return home just after the invasion had ended.[11]

Powers and Abilities


The Thing received his powers when cosmic rays bombarded his body. The Thing's powers represent the element of earth.

Rock-like Skin: The Thing possesses a smooth, rock-like hide as a result of exposure to cosmic rays. The mutagenic process caused his musculature, bone structure, internal organ composition, soft tissue structure, and skin to greatly increase in toughness and density.

  • Superhuman Strength: The Thing's primary superhuman power is his great physical strength. Initially, he was only strong enough to lift about 5 tons. Over the years, through rigerous training and further mutation, his strength dramatically increased to the point where he could lift roughly 85 tons. He has continued to exercise over the years using special equipment designed by Reed Richards. It is believed his strength has increased further, sufficient to lift at least 90 tons , and will continue to do say as a future version of the Thing states.
  • Superhuman Stamina: The Thing's advanced musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a normal human. At his peak, he can exert himself for about 24 hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood begins to affect him. Incidentally, The Thing's lungs are of greater volume and efficiency than a normal man's, enabling him to hold his breath underwater for up to 9 minutes,despite the fact that he used to smoke.
  • Superhuman Durability: The rock-like composition of the Thing's body renders him highly resistant to physical injury. The Thing's body can resist extremely powerful impact forces, such as the force of the Hulk's punches (the Hulk can lift/press 100 tons making his punches particularly strong). He can also withstand exposure to high levels of explosives, such as being struck full with bazooka shells, without sustaining injury. His body can also withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -75 degrees to 800 degrees Fahrenheit for up to one hour before exposure or heat prostration occurs. However he couldn't withstand being slashed by Wolverine's adamantium claws, and sustained some injury, making adamantium one of the few things that can pierce the Thing's impenetrable body.
  • Superhuman Sensory Adaptation: Though his senses aren't superhumanly acute, his five senses can withstand greater amounts of sensory stimuli than he could when he was a normal human being, with no reduced sensitivity.
"Now, where is that crumb-bum?"
Power Grid [12]
Energy Projection
Fighting Skills


Expert Pilot: Ben is an exceptionally skilled and experienced pilot, proficient with many varieties of both conventional and exotic aircraft

Experienced Astronaut: Ben has also trained as an astronaut and was piloting Reed Richard's spacecraft during the team's fateful bombardment with cosmic rays.

Master Combatant: He is uniquely gifted in the art of hand-to-hand combat (a skill Ben honed long before he became the Thing), though his fighting style tends to be a rather loose brawling technique all his own. This style often incorporates wrestling techniques, boxing (as he has been stated to have spent hours upon hours honing his boxing skills in the gym during college), and on at least one occasion even Jujitsu. In his youth, Ben was a talented football player.

Strength level

Class 90; (originally 5 Tons), now at least 90 Tons. In future the Thing's strength will continue to increase[13].



  • Fantastic Costume: The Thing's costume, and the rest of his wardrobe, is constructed of unstable molecules. The Thing's costume has a complete data processing and telemetry system woven into its fabric on a molecular level, making it a wearable computer. The costume forms a network with the rest of the Fantastic Four, providing a constant, real time uplink of everyone’s physical condition as well as their location and current situation. The costume is capable of displaying data and has touch-pad controls on the gauntlets. Its sensors can track all of the team’s uniforms and provide a picture of their immediate vicinity. The costume has an intricate scanner system which can detect things around the wearer, from how many people are in the next room to what dimension or planet they are on.
  • Fantasti-Flare: The Thing normally carries a miniature flare pistol capable of creating a fiery “4" signal in the sky. Used as a weapon, the incendiary charge will ignite flammable materials.

Fantasti-Car MK II, Pogo Plane MK I. Also, see Vehicles of the fantastic four. Formerly Avengers Quinjet.


  • Benjamin Grimm is Jewish as is his character's creator Jack Kirby.


  • Barney Meet the Thing was an animated television series that aired in 1979. Each hour-long episode of the series had two distinct segments: one featuring The Flintstones and the other featuring a very loose adaptation of Marvel Comics' character The Thing.
The first segment consisted of stories following the Thing as a boy named Benjy Grimm who transforms into the rock-skinned superhero by touching together magic rings and reciting the words "Thing ring, do your thing!" This was a complete departure from the comic book version of the Thing: jaded adult Benjamin "Ben" Grimm who is permanently trapped in his rock-like form and is a member of the adventurers the Fantastic Four. In this series The Thing is the only character from the Marvel Universe and has no relation to the Fantastic Four.
Despite what the title implied the two segments remained separate and did not cross over with one another. The Flintstone characters, The Thing, and The Shmoo (see below) never met in the course of any story on the program. The closest were their depiction in brief bumpers between the segments.

Appearances in Other Media

The Thing

Once a skilled fighter-pilot, Ben Grimm is now the Thing, a member of the world-famous Fantastic Four . Bathed in cosmic radiation during a fateful trip into space with his three friends, Ben was transformed into a hideous creature of craggy, orange stone with superhuman strength. Many find him unsightly, but Ben has maintained his sense of humor and honor - because under that rocky exterior lies an ever-lovin' heart of gold! The Thing possesses superhuman strength, endurance and durability. -Description from Marvel Legends packaging

  • Video Games- The Thing appeared as a playable character in the comic-based video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance. He has a special conversation with The Rhino(NPC).
  • First Appearance Marvel Legends Series 11: The Legendary Riders
1st Appearance

Once a skilled fighter-pilot, Ben Grimm is now the Thing, a member of the world-famous Fantastic Four . Bathed in cosmic radiation during a fateful trip into space with his three friends, Ben was transformed into a hideous creature of craggy, orange stone with superhuman strength. But despite the fact that many find him unsightly, Ben has maintained his sense of humor and honor - because under that rocky exterior lies an ever-lovin' heart of gold. -Description from Marvel Legends packaging


Discover and Discuss

  1. Fantastic Four Annual #2
  2. Fantastic Four #1
  3. Thing #2
  4. Fantastic Four #539
  5. Fantastic Four #541
  6. Civil War #7
  7. Fantastic Four #543
  8. World War Hulk #2
  9. World War Hulk #4
  10. Secret Invasion Fantastic Four #3
  11. Secret Invasion #8
  12. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 12
  13. Fantastic Four#547

This article uses material from the "Benjamin Grimm (Earth-616)" article on the Marvel Database wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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