Artwork for the cover of The Thing vol. 3, 1 (Jan, 2006). Art by Andrea Di Vito.
|First appearance||The Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Benjamin Jacob "Ben" Grimm|
|Team affiliations||Future Foundation
West Coast Avengers
Yancy Street Gang
Avengers West Coast
|Notable aliases||Blackbeard the Pirate, Angrir: Breaker of Souls, Dr. Josiah Verpoorteen, El Morrito|
|Abilities||Skilled street fighter and hand-to-hand combatant
Superhuman strength, stamina, and durability
Enhanced lung capacity
The Thing is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is a founding member of the Fantastic Four. His trademark orange rocky appearance, sense of humor, blue eyes, and famous battle cry, "It's clobberin' time!", make him a very recognizable comic book character. The Thing's speech patterns are loosely based on those of Jimmy Durante.
Actor Michael Bailey Smith played Ben Grimm in The Fantastic Four film from 1994, while Michael Chiklis portrayed the Thing in the 2005 film Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Jamie Bell is scheduled to portray the Thing in 2015's The Fantastic Four.
In 2011, IGN ranked the Thing 18th in the Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Powers and abilities
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In other media
- 7 Collected editions
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
In addition to appearing in the Fantastic Four, the Thing has been the star of Marvel Two-in-One, Strange Tales (with his fellow Fantastic Four member the Human Torch), and two incarnations of his own eponymous series, as well as numerous miniseries and one-shots. The Thing was named Empire's tenth (of fifty) greatest comic book characters.
The Thing joined his Fantastic Four partner and frequent rival the Human Torch in #124 (1964) of Strange Tales, which then featured solo adventures of the Human Torch and backup Doctor Strange stories. The change was intended to liven the comic through the always humorous chemistry between the Torch and the Thing. They were replaced with the "modern-day" version of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., who was then already appearing in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos in #135 (1965).
Marvel Two-in-One (1974–1983)
After a 1973 try-out in two issues of Marvel Feature, the Thing starred in the long-running series Marvel Two-in-One. In each issue, Ben Grimm would team with another character from the Marvel Universe, often an obscure or colorful character. The series helped to introduce characters from Marvel's lineup, by way of teaming up with the more recognizable Thing. In 1992, Marvel reprinted four Two-in-One stories (#50, 51, 77 and 80) as a miniseries under the title The Adventures of the Thing. The series was cancelled after one hundred issues to make way for a solo series.
The Thing (1983–1986)
The cancellation of Marvel Two-in-One led to the Thing's first completely solo series, which ran for thirty-six issues. It was originally written by John Byrne and later, Mike Carlin. The series also featured art by Ron Wilson and later by Paul Neary. It was notable for elaborating on Ben Grimm's poor childhood on Yancy Street in its early issue, as well as chronicling the Thing's later foray into the world of professional wrestling. It also featured a major storyline offshoot from Marvel's Secret Wars event, in which the Thing elects to remain on the Beyonder's Battleworld after discovering that the planet enables him to return to human form at will. A full third of the series' stories take place on Battleworld.
2002 – present
In 2002, Marvel released The Thing: Freakshow, a four-issue miniseries starring the Thing, in which he takes time away from the Fantastic Four to ride the rails across America, inadvertently stumbling on a deformed gypsy boy he once ridiculed as a teenager – now the super-strong main attraction of a troupe of traveling circus freaks – and a town full of Kree and Skrull warriors fighting over a Watcher infant. The series was written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Scott Kolins.
In 2003, Marvel released another four-issue miniseries, The Thing: Night Falls on Yancy Street. The story was of a less action-oriented and more character-driven and analytical type than is usual for the Thing. Some reviewers considered the story a nostalgic homage to Silver Age comics, while others found its noir-ish atmosphere "depressing". It was written by Evan Dorkin and illustrated by Dean Haspiel.
After the success of the Fantastic Four feature film and events in the Fantastic Four that resulted in Grimm becoming a millionaire, the Thing was once again given his own series in 2005, The Thing, written by Dan Slott and penciled by Andrea Di Vito and, later, Kieron Dwyer. It was canceled with #8 in 2006.
The Thing was a member of New Avengers, when that team debuted in their self-titled series in 2010. He appeared as a regular character throughout the 2010-2013 New Avengers series, from issue #1 (August 2010) through its final issue #34 (January 2013).
Fictional character biography
Born on Yancy Street in New York City's Lower East Side, to a Jewish family, Benjamin Jacob "Ben" Grimm had an early life of poverty and hardship, shaping him into a tough, streetwise scrapper. His older brother Daniel, whom Ben idolized, was killed in a street gang fight when Ben was eight years old. This portion of his own life is modeled on that of Jack Kirby, who grew up on tough Delancey Street, whose brother died when he was young, whose father was named Benjamin, and who was named Jacob at birth. Following the death of his parents, Ben was raised by his Uncle Jake (who had married a much younger wife, Petunia, who would become a frequent reference used by the character until her death). He comes to lead the Yancy Street gang at one point.
Excelling in football as a high school student, Ben received a full scholarship to Empire State University, where he first met his eventual lifelong friend in a teenaged genius named Reed Richards, as well as future enemy Victor von Doom. Despite their being from radically different backgrounds, science student Richards described to Grimm his dream of building a space rocket to explore the regions of space around Mars; Grimm jokingly agreed to fly that rocket when the day came.
After finishing college, having earned multiple advanced degrees in engineering, Grimm joined the United States Marine Corps, where he was trained as a test pilot. (His exploits as a military aviator are chronicled to a limited extent in issue #7 of the Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders comic, in a story entitled "Objective: Ben Grimm!") While in the Air Force, Nick Fury orders him to serve as pilot during a top secret surveillance mission into Vladivostok in the Soviet Union, along with Logan (the future X-Man Wolverine) and Carol Danvers (the future Avenger Ms. Marvel). Following this, he becomes an astronaut for NASA.[volume & issue needed]
The details of his life story have been modified over the years to keep the character current. In the earlier stories, up until the one published in the 1970s, Grimm had served in the air force during World War II and the space flight in which he was transformed into the Thing was an attempt to reach the Moon, occurring at a time before any manned space ship had escaped Earth's orbit. The Captain Savage story mentioned above was set during the Second World War.
In keeping with an early taboo in the comic superhero world against revealing a character's religion, the fact that Grimm was Jewish was not explicitly revealed until four decades after his creation, in the story, "Remembrance of Things Past" (in Fantastic Four, vol. 3, #56, August 2002). In this story, Grimm returns to his old neighborhood to find Mr. Sheckerberg, a pawn shop owner he had known as a child. Flashbacks during this story reveal Grimm's Jewish heritage, and he even recites the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer often recited over the dead, over the dying Sheckerberg, who eventually recovers. In a later story, Grimm agrees to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah, since it has been 13 years (the age a Jewish boy celebrates his Bar Mitzvah) since he began his "second life" as the Thing. To celebrate the ceremony, Grimm organizes a poker tournament for every available superhero in the Marvel Universe.
The story of the Thing was unusual for another religious reason, as well: the fact that the Thing was actually brought back to life in one story not by science, magic, or alien power or technology, but by the hand of God.
Some years later, Reed Richards, now a successful scientist, once again makes contact with Grimm. Richards has built his spaceship, and reminds Grimm of his promise to fly the ship. After the government denies him permission to fly the spaceship himself, Richards plots a clandestine flight piloted by Grimm and accompanied by his future wife Susan Storm, who had helped provide funding for the rocket, and her brother Johnny Storm, who helped the group gain access to the launch system. Although reluctant to fly the rocket, Ben is persuaded to do so by Sue, for whom he has a soft spot. During this unauthorized ride into the upper atmosphere of Earth and the Van Allen Belts, they are pelted by a cosmic ray storm and exposed to radiation against which the ship's shields are no protection. Upon crashing down to Earth, each of the four learn that they have developed fantastic superhuman abilities. Grimm's skin is transformed into a thick, lumpy orange hide, which gradually evolves into his now-familiar craggy covering of large rocky plates. Richards proposes the quartet band together to use their new abilities for the betterment of humanity, and Grimm, in a moment of self-pity, adopts the super-heroic sobriquet, The Thing. The team clashes with the Mole Man in their first appearance.
Trapped in his monstrous form, Grimm is an unhappy yet reliable member of the team. He trusts in his friend Reed Richards to one day develop a cure for his condition. However, when he encounters blind sculptress Alicia Masters, Grimm develops an unconscious resistance to being transformed back to his human form. Subconsciously fearing that Masters prefers him to remain in the monstrous form of the Thing, Grimm's body rejects various attempts by Richards to restore his human form, lest he lose Masters' love. Grimm has remained a stalwart member of the Fantastic Four for years. The Thing first fought the Hulk early in his career, with many such further clashes over the years. Not long after that, he is first reverted to his human form, but is then restored to his Thing form to battle Doctor Doom.
After the events of the first Secret Wars, Grimm leaves the team when he opts to remain on an alien planet where he can control his transformation to and from his rocky super-powered form. Upon returning to Earth, he learns that Alicia had become romantically involved with his teammate Johnny Storm during his absence  (it is eventually revealed that this Alicia was actually the Skrull impostor Lyja[volume & issue needed]). An angry Grimm wallows in self-pity for a time, later on joining the West Coast Avengers, and hanging out at the West Coast mansion.[volume & issue needed] Eventually, he returns to his surrogate family as leader of the Fantastic Four when Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman leave the team to raise their son Franklin. Ben invites Crystal and Ms. Marvel II (Sharon Ventura) to fill their slots.[volume & issue needed] Soon after Sharon and Ben are irradiated with cosmic rays, Sharon becomes a lumpy Thing much like Ben was in his first few appearances while Ben mutates into a new rocky form.
After being further mutated into the more monstrous rocky form, Ben was briefly changed back to his human form, and returned leadership of the Fantastic Four to Reed Richards. Grimm once more returned to his traditional orange rocky form, out of love for Ms. Marvel. He remains a steadfast member of the Fantastic Four.
Despite his unquestioned loyalty to the Fantastic Four, Grimm has been temporarily replaced on the team twice. First, after Grimm temporarily lost his powers and reverted to human form, Reed Richards hired Luke Cage (then using the code name "Power Man") to take his place until Richards had completed a Thing-suit for Ben (until Ben unexpectedly reverted into the actual Thing again later on). Years later, after Grimm chose to remain on Battleworld in the aftermath of the "Secret Wars", he asked the She-Hulk to fill in for him.
In the 21st century
In a Fantastic Four comic published in 2005, Ben learns he is entitled to a large sum of money, his share of the Fantastic Four fortune, which Reed Richards had never touched, as he had the shares of the other teammates (who were family members) in order to pay off various debts of the group.
The Thing uses his newfound wealth to build a community center in his old neighborhood on Yancy Street, the "Grimm Youth Center." Thinking the center is named after the Thing himself, the Yancy Street Gang plans to graffiti the building exterior, but discovers the building was actually named after Daniel Grimm, Ben's deceased older brother and former leader of the gang. The relationship between the Yancy Streeters and the Thing is then effectively reconciled, or at least changed to a more good-natured, playful rivalry (as exemplified by the comic ending, with Yancy Streeters spray-painting the sleeping Thing).
Some personality traits of the cantankerously lovable, occasionally cigar-smoking, Jewish native of the Lower East Side are popularly recognized as having been inspired by those of co-creator Jack Kirby, who in interviews has said he intended Grimm to be an alter ego of himself.
Civil War/The Initiative
Initially in the superhero Civil War Ben is a reluctant member at Iron Man's side, until he witnesses a battle on Yancy Street in which Captain America's forces try to rescue captured allies held by Iron Man's forces. Old Fantastic Four foes the Mad Thinker and the Puppet Master try to escalate the battle, using a mind-controlled Yancy Streeter to deliver a bomb. The young man dies and the Thing verbally blasts both sides for not caring about the civilians caught in the conflict. He announces that while he thinks the registration is wrong, he is also not going to fight the government and is thus leaving the country for France. While in France he meets Les Héros de Paris (The Heroes of Paris).
Ben returns to New York as both sides of the SHRA battle in the city. Oblivious to whichever side gets in his way, Ben makes it his job to protect civilians from harm.
In Fantastic Four #543 (March 2007), Ben celebrates the Fantastic Four's 11th anniversary along with the Human Torch, and late-comers Reed and Sue. The aftermath of the Civil War is still being felt in this issue, as Ben and Johnny (and even Franklin) consider the future of the team and Reed and Sue's marriage. When Reed and Sue arrive near issue's end, they announce they are taking a break from the team and have found two replacement members: Black Panther, and Storm of the X-Men. The title of the story in this issue is a quote from Ben, "Come on, Suzie, don't leave us hangin'."
Ben Grimm served as one of the pallbearers at the memorial service for Captain America, along with Tony Stark, Ms. Marvel, Rick Jones, T'Challa and Sam Wilson.
World War Hulk
Ben once again tries to take on the Hulk within the events of World War Hulk in order to buy Reed Richards the time he needs to complete his plans for the Hulk. Ben gives his best shots, but the Hulk takes his punches without slowing down. The Hulk proceeds to knock out Ben by punching both sides of his head simultaneously. He is later seen captive in Madison Square Garden, which the Hulk has turned into a gladiatorial arena, with an obedience disk fitted on him.
Released from his imprisonment, Ben, Spider-Man, and Luke Cage attack the Warbound, with Ben fighting Korg. Their battle is brought to an abrupt end when Hiroim repairs the damage to Manhattan Island, drawing the energy to do so from Ben and Korg.
In the Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four miniseries, the Skrull Lyja, posing as Sue, sends the Baxter Building, with Ben, Johnny, Franklin, and Valeria inside, into the Negative Zone. Not long after their arrival, Ben has to protect Franklin and Valeria from an impending onslaught of giant insects. With the aid of the Tinkerer, who Ben broke out of the Negative Zone Prison, they, with the exception of Lyja who stayed behind, were able to return to the regular Marvel Universe just after the invasion was over.
Following the Siege of Asgard, Luke Cage asks Ben to serve on his Avengers team. Although Ben states that his loyalty will always be to the Fantastic Four, Cage confirms that he is not asking Ben to resign from his original team, merely suggesting that Ben split his time between the two teams, as Wolverine divides his time between the X-Men and the Avengers.
During the 2011 storyline "Fear Itself", Ben lifts one of the seven fallen hammers of the god and becomes Angrir: Breaker of Souls. In this form, he then destroys Yancy Street and Avengers Tower, before confronting Thor, who seriously wounds him. Franklin then uses his powers to restore Ben to his normal self, free from the Serpent's possession.
After learning from the eye of the murdered Uatu that Johnny unintentionally sabotaged an experiment that could have allowed him to become human again, Ben is found having apparently murdered the Puppet Master; the crime was committed in a sealed room that even Reed could barely penetrate with Alicia as the only witness. Although Ben claims innocence, his depression over recent events prompts him to accept incarceration in the Raft. Although power-dampners in the Raft restrict his strength to a more manageable level, he is attacked by various other thick-skinned superhumans - including the Armadillo and Ironclad - on orders of the current 'boss' of the prison - Sharon Ventura, the She-Thing. Eventually, Ben forms an alliance with the Sandman and manages to escape the prison with the aid of a plan coordinated by She-Hulk and Ant-Man, allowing him to rejoin Sue and Johnny to investigate Reed's recent abduction.
The Thing is generally well liked amongst other heroes within the Marvel universe. Grimm's relationship with his teammates has been a close but occasionally edgy one given his temper. He and the Torch (aka Johnny Storm) are always arguing and have often clashed, causing no end of mayhem in the Fantastic Four headquarters. When Johnny started a relationship of his own with Alicia Masters and they became engaged, Grimm was upset. However, he had to concede that, unlike himself and his stone-covered body, Johnny could "be a man". He even agreed to act as best man at their wedding.
The relationship between Alicia and Johnny was vehemently disliked by many fans, and was later retconned and explained that the Alicia that Johnny fell in love with was actually Lyja, a member of the shape-changing Skrull race. The real Alicia, who was kept in suspended animation, was soon rescued by the Fantastic Four and reunited with the Thing.
Ben began dating a teacher named Debbie Green. Their relationship went so well that, after only six weeks, Ben asked Debbie to marry him, which she accepted. He later left her at the altar when he realizes the dangers of the wives of superheroes.
Grimm calls Reed Richards "Stretch", as appropriate to the fact that he is naturally tall and can literally stretch his body. However, Grimm also holds Reed responsible for his condition since he had dismissed the potential danger of the cosmic rays that gave them their powers, although Grimm had taken them very seriously. At times of real frustration towards Reed, Grimm refers to him simply as "Richards".
Powers and abilities
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2006)|
As a result of a mutagenic effect due to exposure to cosmic radiation, the Thing possesses high levels of superhuman strength, stamina, and resistance to physical injury. His strength has continued to increase over the years due to a combination of further mutation and special exercise equipment designed for him by Reed Richards.
He is capable of surviving impacts of great strength and force without sustaining injury, as his body is covered with an orange, flexible, rock-like hide. He is also able to withstand gunfire from high caliber weapons as well as armor piercing rounds. It is possible to breach his exterior, however, and he does bleed as a result. One such instance involved Wolverine's adamantium claws scarring The Thing's face. The resulting scar had The Thing begin wearing a mask,[volume & issue needed] until he recovered.[volume & issue needed]
The Thing's highly advanced musculature generates fewer fatigue toxins during physical activity, granting him superhuman levels of stamina. When in his Thing form, he has only three fingers and a thumb on each hand. The loss of one digit on each hand, and the increase in volume of the remainder, does not affect his manual dexterity. However, he has been shown doing things like holding a pencil and using it to dial a phone (from stories during the era when rotary-dial phones were common), or to push buttons on a keypad, to demonstrate how he adapts to using devices that would ordinarily be too small for him.
Aside from his physical attributes, the Thing's senses can withstand higher levels of sensory stimulation than an ordinary human, with the exception of his sense of touch. His lungs are possessed of greater efficiency and volume than those of an ordinary human. As a result, the Thing is capable of holding his breath for much longer periods of time.
Despite his brutish, even monstrous form, the Thing suffers no change in his personality nor his level of intelligence. Despite his greatly increased size, the Thing's agility and reflexes remain at the same level they had been prior to his transformation.
The Thing is an exceptionally skilled pilot, due to his time spent as a test pilot in the United States Air Force and as a founding member of the Fantastic Four. He is also a formidable and relentless hand-to-hand combatant. His fighting style incorporates elements of boxing, wrestling, judo, jujitsu, and street-fighting techniques, as well as hand-to-hand combat training from the military.
After an encounter with the Grey Gargoyle, the Thing seemed to have gained the ability to shift between his human and rock forms at will. That ability has since been lost when it was discovered that he created versions of himself in other universes whenever he transformed.[volume & issue needed]
On occasion, when Ben Grimm regained his human form and lost his Thing powers, he used a suit of powered battle armor designed by Reed Richards that simulated the strength and durability of his mutated body, albeit to a weaker degree. Wearing the suit, which was designed to physically resemble his rocky form, Ben continued to participate in the Fantastic Four's adventures. The first exo-skeletal Thing suit was destroyed after Galactus restored Ben's natural powers and form. A second suit was built (presumably by Richards) and used sporadically when Ben had been returned to his human form.
It has been revealed - after Franklin and Valeria created a formula that allows Ben to become human for one week each year - that Ben is almost immortal when in his Thing form, as he only ages when he is human, Reed and Nathaniel travelling over two thousand years into the future to see Ben still alive after all that time.
In other media
- Although The Thing has always been closely identified with the Fantastic Four, he did star as a solo character in a bizarre and short-lived 1979 animated series, placed alongside a spin-off of The Flintstones in the package show 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 ring, do your thing!").
- In the March 17, 1979 episode of Saturday Night Live, Thing appeared in the skit "Superhero Party", where he was a guest at a party hosted by Superman (Bill Murray) and Lois Lane (Margot Kidder).
- Thing later appears in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon (voiced by Patrick Pinney) during the "Secret Wars" storyline, 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 1990s 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, voiced by Brian Dobson. He is seen with the Fantastic Four symbol spray painted onto his chest.
- 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 second episode where he helps save the Silver Surfer.
- Ben Grimm/Thing appeared in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the episode "The Casket of Ancient Winters", voiced by Fred Tatasciore. He and Human Torch help the Avengers fight ice monsters. He returns alongside the rest of the Fantastic Four in the episode "The Private War of Doctor Doom". He and Hulk have a somewhat childish rivalry because Thing never beat him in a fight. He joins the New Avengers in the episode of the same name after the regular Avengers are trapped by Kang the Conqueror. Thing and the Fantastic Four assist the Avengers while battling Galactus and his heralds in the season 2 finale "Avengers Assemble".
- The Thing appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "The Incredible Spider-Hulk", voiced again by Dave Boat. When Spider-Man (mind-switched into Hulk's body by Mesmero) ends up in town, he is attacked by Thing when he was summoned by Nick Fury to try to contain the Hulk. Spider-Man, Hulk (who is in Spider-Man's body) and Thing eventually clear things up, corner Mesmero, and force him to switch Spider-Man and Hulk's minds back.
- The Thing appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "The Collector", with Dave Boat reprising his role. He is seen playing poker with Hulk, Red Hulk and She Hulk. He is captured alongside them and is taken by the Collector to be a part of his collection. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H and Spider-Man free him along with the other heroes.
- The Thing appears in the Avengers Assemble episode "Hulk's Day Out", voiced again by Dave Boat.
- 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.
- The Thing is featured in the 2005 film released by 20th Century Fox, in which he is portrayed by Golden Globe-winner Michael Chiklis. 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. He is briefly cured of his 'condition' when Victor von Doom powers a chamber Mister Fantastic made that can negate the cosmic radiation that transforms him. After learning that Doom perfected the process so that he could drain the power of the Thing and use it to enhance his own, Grimm subjects himself to the chamber again so that he can turn himself back into the Thing. In this film, the Thing is from Brooklyn, rather than the Lower East Side.
- Chiklis reprises his role as The Thing in the sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in which he has mostly accepted his appearance. He briefly swaps powers with Johnny (Human Torch) to demonstrate Johnny's odd condition. When Victor shows himself Ben immediately charges him and threatens to break his neck. He is later one of three to let Johnny borrow his powers.
- 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 foes.
- An evil doppelganger of the Thing appears as an enemy in Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems for the SNES.
- 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. 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 appeared in three virtual pinball games for Pinball FX 2 released by Zen Studios. The first was the Fantastic Four, while the other were games that were a part of the Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles. The games being World War Hulk and (as Angrir: Breaker of Souls) Fear Itself.
- The Thing appears in the Marvel Super Hero Squad video game, in which Dave Boat reprised his role as voice actor.
- The Thing is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, both in his standard Fantastic Four uniform and in a tuxedo.
- The Thing is available as downloadable content for the game LittleBigPlanet, as part of "Marvel Costume Kit 1".
- The Thing is a playable character in the MMORPG Marvel Heroes, with Dave Boat reprising the role.
- The Thing is the fourth figurine in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
- In The Simpsons episode "I Am Furious (Yellow)", a senile/insane version of Stan Lee (Comic Book Guy says that Lee's brain is no longer in "near-mint" condition) tries to cram a Thing action figure into a Batmobile toy. Also in the "Treehouse of Horror XIV" story "Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off", there is a quick moment where the Simpson family members are turned into members of the Fantastic Four. Homer is the Thing. In "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes" the Thing is shown fighting the Hulk in the middle of an Irish riot (between Orangemen Loyalists and Green Irish Nationalists - the Hulk and Thing taking this conflict to its ultimate illogical conclusion). They are both later shown on the front page of the Springfield newspaper beating up on Homer.
- He is also mentioned in the movie Reservoir Dogs, where Mr. Orange in a conversation with Holdaway states that Joe Cabot (played by Lawrence Tierney) "looks just like the Thing".
- The Thing's genitalia, along with that of fellow Fantastic Four member Mister Fantastic, is discussed in the film Mallrats in a scene guest-starring Stan Lee.
- Xzibit references The Thing in his song "X" with the line "Niggas be weak, I'm concrete like Benjamin Grimm".
- In the Family Guy episode "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey", Lois sets up a gag about the Thing being married to Lorena Bobbitt. It then cuts away to a forest, where the Thing is searching for his penis. A man holds up an orange rock and asks "Is this what you're looking for?"
- Michael Chiklis voices Thing in the Robot Chicken episode "Monstourage." He ends up being swapped with Vic Mackey and attacks the bad guys causing Vic's fellow officers to wonder if Vic looks different from them.
- WWE wrestler CM Punk used the Thing's catch-phrase "It's clobberin' time!" when he made his entrance before every match.
- The Thing and Invisible Woman are referenced in particular along with the rest of the Fantastic Four throughout the fourth season of Arrested Development. The character Tobias Fünke spends an episode wearing a homemade Thing costume and makes appearances with a drug addicted actress who appeared as the Invisible Girl in a 1992 low budget film (a parody of the real life Roger Corman film) made by Imagine Entertainment. After being arrested, Tobias attempts to stage a musical version at the rehab clinic where he works to avoid jail. Lucille Bluth is checked into the clinic and is cast as Lucia von Bardas.
- Essential Marvel Two-in-One Vol. 1 (November 2005; includes reprints of MTIO #1-20, 22-25, Annual #1)
- Essential Marvel Two-in-One Vol. 2 (June 2007; includes reprints of MTIO #26-52, Annual #2-3)
- Essential Marvel Two-in-One Vol. 3 (July 2009; includes reprints of MTIO #53-77, Annual #4-5)
- Essential Marvel Two-in-One Vol. 4 (January 2012; includes reprints of MTIO #78-98 & 100, Annual #6-7)
- Thing Classic Vol. 1 (Thing Vol. 1 #1-10)
- Thing Classic Vol. 2 (Thing Vol. 1 #11-22, Fantastic Four #274)
- Stan's Soapbox, Bullpen Bulletins, September 1997
- "The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters". www.empireonline.com. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
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