Yancy Street Gang

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The Yancy Street Gang harasses the Thing in their first appearance; panels from Fantastic Four #15 (June 1963). Art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. © Marvel Comics.

The Yancy Street Gang are a fictional street gang occasionally featured in the Fantastic Four comic book published by Marvel Comics. The Yancy Street Gang was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Fantastic Four #15 (June 1963), though mostly off-panel; as in most of their appearances, only their arms are visible as they throw objects at the Thing and yell insults. The gang was first mentioned, although not seen, in Fantastic Four #6. Yancy Street is named in reference to the real Delancey Street, which extends from The Bowery in Manhattan's Lower East Side eastward to the Williamsburg Bridge.[1] However, Yancy Street is seen in Fantastic Four #15 (June 1963) to intersect with 10th Avenue, which is on the west side of Manhattan.

Fictional group history[edit]

The gang is depicted as frequenting downtown Manhattan, and serves as a recurring antagonist of the Thing, tormenting him for typically humorous effect. The gang was originally depicted as composed only of youths, but later depictions have both youth members as well as adult members from an earlier generation, who have passed their grudge against Thing to the younger members.

The adult members of the Yancy Street Gang, all apparently blue-collar workers who still live in the neighborhood, are usually seen tormenting Thing in some way, usually by throwing things at him and shouting abuse whenever he entered Yancy Street. They were also thought to send him booby-trapped parcels, although a retcon in Fantastic Four vol.3, #61, written by Mark Waid, revealed that these packages were actually sent by the Human Torch. Ben Grimm formerly led the gang, and the others, who have retained their loyalty to it even in adulthood, seemingly resent him for having "sold out" and "abandoned" the neighborhood. However, they are generally portrayed as good-natured at heart, and have occasionally helped the Fantastic Four if a supervillain threatens the Street itself or if they think a villain is giving Thing too much trouble (they mentioned "That's our job" in those occasions). They sometimes seem to genuinely like the Thing, if only because he makes such an effective and (sometimes) good-humored target for their pranks; they were quite remorseful when he seemingly died in action, only to quickly retract the sentiment when he proved to have survived.[2]

Other heroes have become involved with the local life, such as when Spider-Man cleared out a Negative Zone invasion from Yancy Street and saved three residents from being lost forever.[3]

Making peace[edit]

In The Thing #6 (2006 series), Thing's relationship with Yancy Street was finally reconciled, after the millionaire (following events in the on-going Fantastic Four comic) Thing donates a state-of-the-art recreational facility to the neighborhood. Initially resentful because they regarded the project as an exercise in ego, they later learned that it was named in honor of the Thing's deceased brother, Daniel Grimm Jr. (another Yancy Street Gang alumnus), and they declared the facility to be under their informal protection.[1] The facility is later seen again when Benjamin is encouraging the local youth to make use of the location, to hit the bags instead of each other. [4]

The adult Yancy Street Gang members are traditionally shown in the comics with their faces obscured by the shadows of their hardhats or other headwear. The younger "next generation" Yancy Streeters, however, have been fully seen, including in one story (Fantastic Four #361 "Miracle On Yancy Street!" by Paul Ryan & Tom DeFalco) which portrays the Gang with gimmicks and codenames similar to Kirby's DC Comics kid gangs.

Civil War[edit]

The Yancy Street Gang has become deeply involved in Marvel Comics' Civil War. They are part of a large group of New York citizens protesting the arresting of superheroes who do not wish to register with the United States Government. Ben Grimm becomes involved with the dispute, being asked by police forces to talk with the Gang regulars. Ben meets with Cee, a young man in a leadership position. Both Cee and the police wish for Ben to take a more active role, but he maintains his neutrality. While negotiations are going on, another gang member, Mouse, has become involved with long time FF villains Puppet Master and Mad Thinker. The two men put in motion a plan that brings a superhero prisoner convoy down Yancy Street itself. Though Spider-Man recognizes the potential trouble as the convoy turns in, it is far too late.[5]

Military forces and superheroes on both sides of the Registration Act, some affected by the villains and some fighting with their own agendas, engage in a property-damaging fight. Mouse, not in control of his own mind, drops a bomb into the middle of the fight. In an effort to save lives, Ben Grimm smashes a large, empty truck onto the bomb. This effort fails as the explosion kills Cee. Ben furiously hands Cee's body to the other gang members and shames the people involved into quitting the fighting.

The physical Yancy Street itself is obliterated during the Fear Itself storyline by Thing (in the form of Angir: Breaker of Souls).[6]

Members[edit]

  • "Dictionary" Dawson -
  • "Lugwrench" Lubowski -
  • "Rhythm" Ruiz -
  • Jack -
  • Larry "Little" Lee -
  • Manny "Smooth" Merengues -
  • Stan -
  • Tommie "Two-Fisted" Boyd -

Former members[edit]

  • Cee - Member of the Yancy Street Gang. He is killed in the crossfire between the Pro-Registration forces and the Anti-Registration forces.
  • Daniel Grimm Jr. - The older brother of Thing who was heavily involved with the Yancy Street Gang. Killed during a gang war between the Thompson Avenue Gang.

Other versions[edit]

Fantastic Four: The End[edit]

In the alternate future of Fantastic Four: The End, Ben Grimm has named his daughter Yancy, possibly in honor of the gang.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • In the unique 1979 Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon Fred and Barney Meet the Thing, the Yancy Street Gang (here reimagined as a trio of bikers who like to humiliate the Thing with practical jokes), were recurring, if fairly harmless, antagonists.
  • The Yancy Street Gang did not appear in the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon itself, but they did appear in the 1996 Incredible Hulk/Fantastic Four crossover episode "Fantastic Fortitude" where the Yancy Street Gang (who were always off camera) pull a prank on the Thing. After Thing was defeated by Ogress, the Yancy Street Gang distributes leaflets marked "The Thing Beat by a Woman!" from a passing airplane.
  • The Yancy Street was mentioned in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "If This Be My Thanos!". They are mentioned when Thing was arguing with Hulk on who's the strongest whilst battling with the Skrulls in space.

Video games[edit]

  • The Yancy Street Gang appear as a common street thug gang in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game, where they all get beaten up by Spider-Man. None of the gang's members get actually named nor is a reference to the Thing made (except when one thug says "It's robberin' time", a play on the Thing's catchphrase "It's clobberin' time").
  • The Yancy Street Gang also appear in the Fantastic Four video game (based on the movie). This version is a gang of vicious looking bikers who capture Alicia Masters in a Thing solo segment.

Non-fiction[edit]

  • The gang is mentioned, via their adversarial relationship with the Jewish Ben Grimm, in the non-fiction novel From Kraków To Krypton. This also mentions the gang confronting the villain Powderkeg when they feel Ben needs assistance.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 13. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6. 
  2. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #48 (1974)
  3. ^ "Spider-Man" #90 (April 1998)
  4. ^ "Might Avengers" Vol 1. #25 (July 2009)
  5. ^ "Fantastic Four" 538 and 539
  6. ^ "Heroes For Hire" #9-11 (September 2011)
  7. ^ Kaplan, Arie (2008). Krakow to Krypton: Jews and comic books. Jewish Publication Society. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-8276-0843-6. 
  8. ^ Weinstein, Simcha (2006). Up, up, and oy vey!: how Jewish history, culture, and values shaped the comic book superhero. Leviathan Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-1-881927-32-7. 

External links[edit]