The Thing (left) tries to rescue Alicia Masters on the cover to The Fantastic Four #66 (Sept 1967).
Art by Jack Kirby
|First appearance||The Fantastic Four #8 (Nov 1962)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Full name||Alicia Reiss Masters|
|Supporting character of||Fantastic Four
Alicia Reiss Masters is a supporting character to the Marvel Comics superheroes the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, she first appeared in The Fantastic Four #8 (Nov 1962).
Alicia is a blind sculptor who is able to create incredibly lifelike representations of real people by touch and memory alone; her sculptures of the Fantastic Four and other superheroes are frequently depicted. A caring, sensitive character, she has been a romantic interest and confidant of The Thing, a member of the Fantastic Four who is frequently ashamed of his monstrous appearance. She has also helped explain human life and emotion to the alien Silver Surfer. Actress Kerry Washington portrays her in the 2005 film Fantastic Four, and the 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Fictional character biography
Alicia is introduced in The Fantastic Four #8, along with her stepfather, the supervillain known as the Puppet Master. She initially aids him out of obedience in his first scheme against the Fantastic Four, though she immediately senses the "gentle" and "sensitive" spirit of the Thing when she first feels his palpably monstrous face. Alicia turns on her stepfather when she realizes that he is mad and power-hungry, and accidentally causes him to fall to his apparent death out of a window. A subsequently published story explains that the Puppet Master had been responsible for her permanent blindness, which was caused by an explosion of radioactive clay during his fight with a rival.[volume & issue needed]
Alicia Masters was a recurring character in early issues of Fantastic Four as the love interest of the Thing, serving as a plot device to cause him to resist changing back to a normal human form, for fear that Alicia would not love him as "plain Ben Grimm." The physically vulnerable Masters was also frequently used as a damsel in distress.
The character plays an integral role in one of the most acclaimed comic book stories of the Silver Age, "The Coming of Galactus," in Fantastic Four #48-50 (Mar - May, 1966). In that story arc, the Silver Surfer first comes to Earth as a herald to the powerful, world-destroying being Galactus, and crashes into Alicia's apartment after fighting the Fantastic Four. Her passionate pleading with him about the value of life convinces him to reject his master and defend the Earth from destruction.
After the Thing chooses to remain on an alien planet where he could change back to human form, Alicia falls in love with the dashing Human Torch, another member of the Fantastic Four. The Thing returns to unhappily attend their wedding.
However, a retroactive rewrite of the story published years later depicts the "Alicia Masters" that the Torch married was actually Lyja, a female member of the shapeshifting alien race the Skrulls, who had abducted and replaced Masters to serve as a spy. After the ruse is discovered, the real Alicia Masters is rescued from suspended animation by the Fantastic Four, unaware that any time had passed.[volume & issue needed]
With her relationships with Ben and Johnny now complicated by Johnny's marriage to 'Lyja' and Ben's prior attempts to resolve his old feelings for her after Lyja's marriage, Alicia subsequently becomes romantically involved with the Silver Surfer and eventually leaves Earth with him, traveling through outer space at his side in an armored suit that allows her to see energy signatures and take a more active role than she was previously capable of. Alicia later returns to Ben, but their reunion was short-lived due to the manipulations of the Puppet Master, and, with both having felt they'd moved on, they resolve to stay friends.[volume & issue needed]
Alicia is frequently trusted as a babysitter for Franklin Richards, the son of Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic. During the year long period in which the FF were missing ("Heroes Reborn") Alicia is seen as his primary caretaker.
After their breakup, Ben's newfound discovery of his vast fortune leads him to mingle with the rich, including a brief relationship with a starlet named Carlotta. At the end of his most recent solo series, Ben and Alicia are shown to be back together once again.[volume & issue needed]
Following the events of the Secret Invasion, Alicia is made part of a support group for people replaced by the Skrulls, as she has firsthand knowledge of what it is like being replaced and then returned after a long period of time.
In the alternate future of Earth X, Alicia has married Ben Grimm. They have two children, Buzz and Chuck, who have Ben's orange-rock skin. Like most of humanity, Alicia has been granted powers due to the release of a mutative agent.
This took place in an alternate future of the Fantastic Four where Franklin and Valeria were killed by a cyborg-like Doctor Doom and The Fantastic Four have disbanded. Alicia is married to Ben Grimm and they have three children and live on Mars, where she uses her sculpture talents for terraforming.
House Of M
Alicia is part of the 'human resistance', struggling against the ruling class of mutants. She recruits a mutated Ben Grimm. She has spent some time as a sculptor, J. Jonah Jameson had commissioned one of himself for his home. 
The character was introduced into the modern revamp of the Fantastic Four, Ultimate Fantastic Four, in issue #29, where she is a sculpture student at an arts college. She finds a depressed Ben in the park; her simple gesture of friendship instantly places her in mortal danger from Doctor Doom.
In other media
- Alicia made her animated debut in The 1982 Incredible Hulk cartoon. She appears in the episode "Bruce Banner: Unmasked" where her stepfather gets control of the residents in Metro City, as well as The Hulk. She is the only person of whom he does not make a puppet and assists the Hulk in defeating him.
- Alicia Masters was a regular character in the 1994-1996 Fantastic Four cartoon voiced by Pauline Arthur Lomas.
- In Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, Alicia is portrayed as an African-American woman and voiced by Sunita Prasad, keeping some level of visual continuity with the feature film.
- Alicia Masters appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Blind Rage Knows No Color" voiced by Tara Strong.
She also appeared in the 2005 film Fantastic Four, where she was played by Kerry Washington and was once again the love interest of the Thing after Ben's fiancée left him because she couldn't cope with his new appearance. In a scene in Alicia's studio, Ben notes a number of puppets on the wall, which she says belong to her "stepfather". Washington reprised the role in the 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which gives the character a larger role than in the previous film. In contrast with Alicia's important role in the story of the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four #49, the two characters do not interact in the film (In Rise of the Silver Surfer, it is Susan Storm who successfully convinces the Surfer to rebel against Galactus).
She also appeared in the game based on the movie (played by Cree Summer), where the Thing and Mr. Fantastic must rescue her from the Mole Man's minions. In a later level, her step-father, the Puppet Master, brings the Egyptian and Prehistoric exhibits to life to attack the Fantastic Four, as he feels that association with the Thing will be dangerous for Alicia.
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 11. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- See Fantastic Four #25 (Apr, 1964), page 2.
- Cronin, Brian (February 19, 2010). "A Year of Cool Comics – Day 50". Comic Book Resources CSBG Archive. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "Dearly Beloved," by Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Sal Buscema. Fantastic Four #300 (March 1987).
- Thunderbolts #2
- See Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #5 (July, 2007), page 3.
- Avengers: The Initiative #20
- "Universe X" #1-14 (2000-2001)
- "Fantastic Four: The End" #1-4 (2007)
- "House of M" (2005)
- "Spider-Man: House of M" #3 (2005)
- "Ultimate Fantastic Four" #29 (2005)
- Alicia Masters on the Marvel universe Character Bio Wiki
- The Women of Marvel Comics Alicia Masters Page
- Alicia Masters at the Grand Comics Database.