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The Thing

The Thing
Thing on the variant cover of Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 (May 2009). Art by Marko Djurdjevic.

The Thing (Benjamin Jacob “Ben” Grimm) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe,  a founding member of the superhero team The Fantastic Four. He was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961). His trademark  orange rocky appearance, sense of humour, and battle cry, “It’s clobberin’  time!” makes him one of comics’ most recognizable and popular characters.

Character biography

Born on Yancy Street in New York City’s Lower East Side, to a Jewish family, Benjamin J. Grimm’s early life was one of poverty and hardship, shaping young Grimm 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 at some point married a much younger wife, Petunia).

Excelling in football as a high school student, Ben received a full scholarship to Empire State University, where he first met his eventual life-long friend Reed Richards. Science student Richards described his dream to one day build a space rocket and Grimm jokingly agreed to fly that rocket.

Following college, Grimm joined the United States Army Air Force as a test pilot. (His exploits as a military aviator were chronicled to a limited extent in issue #7 of the “Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders” comic, in a story entitled “Objective: Ben Grimm!”)

Some years later, Reed Richards once again made contact with Grimm. Richards had built his spaceship, and reminded Grimm of his promise to fly the ship. After the government denied him permission to fly the spaceship himself, Richards plotted a clandestine flight piloted by Grimm and accompanied by Richards’ future wife Susan Storm and her brother Johnny Storm. During this unauthorized ride into the upper atmosphere of Earth, they were pelted by a cosmic ray storm and exposed to radiation against which the ship’s shields were no protection. Upon crashing down to Earth, each of the four learned that they had developed fantastic superhuman abilities. Grimm’s skin had been transformed into a thick, orange hide, which gradually evolved into his now-familiar covering of large rocky plates. Richards proposed the quartet band together to use their new abilities for the betterment of humanity, and Grimm, in a moment of understandable self-pity, adopted the superheroic sobriquet The Thing.

Trapped in his monstrous form, Grimm was an unhappy yet reliable member of the team. He trusted in his friend Reed Richards to one day develop a cure for his condition. However, when he encountered blind sculptress Alicia Masters, Grimm developed a subconscious resistance to being transformed back to his human form. Fearing that Masters preferred him to remain in the monstrous form of the Thing, Grimm’s body rejected various attempts by Richards to restore his human form lest he lose the love  of Masters. His subconscious fear kept him in his rocky form and Grimm remained a stalwart member of the Fantastic Four for years.

He left the team when he opted to remain on an alien planet where he could control his transformation  to and from his rocky superpowered form. Upon returning to Earth he learned that Alicia had become romantically involved with his team mate Johnny Storm while he was absent. Grimm wallowed in self-pity for a time but eventually returned to his surrogate family. (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.) The real Alicia, who was in suspended animation was soon rescued by the Fantastic Four and reunited with the Thing.

Ben became the leader of the Fantastic Four for a time when the Richards took a sabbatical.

After being further mutated into a more monstrous rocky form and briefly being changed back to his human form, Grimm has once more returned to his traditional orange rocky form. He remains a steadfast member of the Fantastic Four and one of the most easily recognizable characters of the Marvel Universe.

In a Fantastic Four comic published in 2005, Ben learned he was entitled to a large sum of money, his share of the Fantastic Four fortune (which Reed Richards had never touched over the years to pay off various costs and debts of the group, unlike the shares of the other teammates, who were family members). The following year, the Thing, under writer Dan Slott, began starring in his first solo title in more than 20 years. Slott’s series, a critical success, suffered from low sales, and was cancelled after the eighth issue.

The Thing used his newfound wealth to build a community center in his old neighborhood on Yancy Street. Despite constant sabotage of the project, the Thing was able to complete the center with the help of his friends in the superhero community. When the building completed, the Thing took a nap on a bench in front of it. The Yancy Street Gang planned to graffiti the building exterior. But when they discovered that the building was named after Daniel Grimm, the Thing’s deceased older brother, who had been a leader of the Yancy Street Gang at one time, the Yancy Streeters decided to graffiti the sleeping Thing instead, continuing the playful feud the Yancy Street Gang have had with the Thing over the years.

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 Kirby, who in interviews said he’d intended Grimm to be an alter ego of himself. However, as was usual for comic-book characters of that era, no religion was publicly mentioned. Grimm has since been revealed to be Jewish, like Kirby, in Fantastic Four (3rd series) #56, published in August 2002, in a story titled “Remembrance of Things Past”. In the final issue of his solo series, Ben even agrees to have his very own Bar Mitzvah, as he never received one when he was younger. To celebrate the ceremony, Ben invited all of his family and superhero friends to come and see.

Originally Posted by Bane of the Dicefreaks forums.

On this Thread

Benjamin Grimm, The Thing
Medium humanoid (Earth)
Wounds72 WP, 583 VP (22d12+440)
Speed30 ft.
AC35 (+2 Dexterity, +12 natural, +11 defense), touch 23, flat footed 22
Base Attack/Grapple+22/+52
AttackSlam +49 melee (4d6+27)
Full AttackSlam +49/+44/+39/+34 melee (4d6+27)
Space/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Special AttacksChampion of Unlimited Class Wrestling
Special QualitiesDamage reduction 35/adamantium, hyper-breath, resistance to energy (cold, electricity, fire, and sonic) 45, resistance to energy (acid, disintegration, and force) 15, sensory defense, superhuman strength
SavesFort +37, Ref +9, Will +13
AbilitiesStrength 55, Dexterity 15, Constitution 50, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 17, Charisma 16
SkillsBluff +8, Climb +27, Craft (mechanical) +11, Diplomacy +15, Escape Artist +12, Intimidate +20, Jump +27, Pilot +27, Repair +11, Sense Motive +13, Swim +27
FeatsClose Quarters Fighting, Combat Brute, Combat Expertise, Earth’s Embrace, Improved Grapple, Improved SunderImproved Toughness, Power Attack
Epic FeatsEpic Fortitude
Climate/TerrainNew York City
OrganizationSolitary (unique); or with Fantastic Four (team)
Challenge Rating22
AlignmentNeutral Good

Champion of Unlimited Class Wrestling Grimm is a highly experienced combatant. He has perfected boxing to nearly an art form and wrestled for several years against superhuman opponents. He has never been defeated in the ring. His training allows him to battle even vastly superior enemies such as Champion or the Hulk.

  • – Grimm is treated as Large for any consideration of size.
  • – Grimm receives a +10 bonus on any checks involving grappling or opposed grapple
  • – Grimm inflicts +15 bonus damage in grappling combat.
  • – Grimm enjoys a +5 bonus to attack rolls and damage in a slugfest.
  • – Anyone who attacks Grimm in hand to hand combat and misses provokes an attack of opportunity from Grimm. Grimm must use this attack to start a grapple.


Grimm’s lungs are possessed of the same superhuman toughness and Strength as he is. He can hold his breath 50 times the normal length. He also can send out a rush of air equal to a gust of wind effect once every five rounds as a full round action.

Sensory Defense

Grimm’s senses are all resistant to assault. He receives a +10 on any saves to resist attacks on his sense of hearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch.

Superhuman Strength 

Grimm can lift 4 times what his Strength score indicates.

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