Friday, January 15, 2016

Suggestion Unboxed - Wonky-looking Teeth and Other Concerns


Doug: Back in October we ran a post requesting ideas from our readers. We promised to run all of those suggestions at some point. While we've covered many of them, it's been a while since some of those thoughts graced our blog. Here's another one:


DisneyMarvel: I know that there have been discussions of the Thing and his different artists, but I would like to read opinions on if he should be shown with teeth or not. The way Kirby would do it was only show them when great effort or anger was involved. A friend of mine feels that the Thing needs to have teeth to seem more realistic for modern audiences. For me, showing teeth makes him look ridiculous - especially if the proportions are off. He looks like a 'have a nice day' meme of a cat with human teeth. Even Buckler has redrawn Fantastic Four #159 showing the Thing's open mouth now with teeth and I don't like it.

Doug: And I'll add on -- what other aspects of certain characters can just seem "off" to you?

20 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I always assumed the Thing had teeth, how would he eat otherwise ? Suck liquidized food through a straw ? The real question is does he have a you-know-what down below ? Come on, we've all wondered about it :D

Humanbelly said...

If this link works, take a look at the poster below:

http://takshzilabeta.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/21700EThe-Incredible-Hulk-Posters.jpg

I have this one hanging in the Hulk Corner of the comic book room. It's one of my favorites. . . and I've always admired how great the Hulk's teeth look in it. Big, over-sized (even in Hulk-proportions) chompers that could clearly bite through a chain (ha! Or eat a spoon along w/ some beans!) w/ nary a chip in the enamel. . . and yet they still look realistically like. . . teeth! I believe them as teeth.

Now Ben Grimm-- I'm afraid you just can't think about the physical "logistics" of the Thing very much at all--- really in any direction. Some writer in recent years had him make some comment about how complicated/unpleasant it was for him to just go to the bathroom. . . which I thought was simply crass. Colin's right-- we've all wondered about the sexual mechanics (if possible at all) for characters like Ben, or the Hulk, or Juggernaut, etc, etc. Eventually, Juggy & Hulk produced offspring, so that answers their question. With Ben, I may sound surprisingly old-fashioned, but I've generally assumed that one way or another he's "all there", and that any speculation beyond that is strictly between him & his partner, and not really our business. [Geesh-- I'm starting to sound like a lot of the period British television I'm so fond of. That last line could have been spoken by Christopher Foyle in FOYLE'S WAR--]

But my life-long peeve along these lines has always been characters like The Angel (or even angels in general) who have enormous feathered wings sprouting from their shoulder blades. There's just. . . there's nothing. . . NOTHING that makes that a feasible mutation/adaptation/augmentation, etc, etc. Even if purely magical or supernatural in origin, they by themselves don't pass any kind of pragmatic muster at all. If "magical" wings allow a character to fly, then it's the magic- and not the wings- doing the work. So, why have the wings at all? Heck, even Icarus and Daedalus attached the wings to their arms-- recognizing that wings were a part of pre-existing anatomy. . . Ahhhh, it makes me crazy. . .

(But boy, the do always look mega-cool. . . ya just can't deny it. . . )

HB

Anonymous said...

"The Thing needs to have teeth to seem more realistic for modern audiences"
Yes, thats right - guy made of range rocks is more believable if we can see his teeth.
No doubt he would also be much more plausible with four fingers....

Next up - Fin Fang Foom would make for a more "mature" character without the purple underpants.

-sean

Anonymous said...

That should be "orange rocks" above (obviously)

-sean

Humanbelly said...

Ah-hahahaa-!
Sean, I had to look up FinFangFoom images just to refresh my memory about his purple trunks. From a quick glance, I just betcha that they were imposed upon Kirby's original design by the necessity to adhere to the more inane, mindless mandates of the CCA at that time. Probably something like "All characters must wear proper attire/no nude characters allowed in any form"-- something like that. Since FFF talked, that must have made him a "character" rather than a monster, so- even though reptiles (which is clearly what he is) HAVE NO EXTERNAL SEXUAL ORGANS- the steadfast rules of modesty and propriety dictated that, nevertheless, he had to cover up. . . what was never there in the first place.

IIRC, wasn't the Silver Surfer also originally drawn w/ trunks minimally indicated on his person? Really, just three thin lines (waist & both upper thighs)-- but necessary to maintain propriety on a character who seemed to have evolved far past the physical needs of either digestion or procreation, when you think about it. His longing for Shalla-bal always struck me as about as chaste and Victorian-literature-y as it can get. . .

HB

Doug said...

Word is just coming out that Dan Haggerty, most noted to American television audiences as Grizzly Adams in the 1970s, has passed. It's been a rough patch lately for Bronze Age babies, hasn't it?

Doug

Humanbelly said...

It has, Doug, it has. But realistically, that's going to be the new normal for us. We're all getting older & older, but our penchant for our youthful passions tends, I think, to default us to a mindset of soft denial about it (not necessarily a bad thing, mind you--). I couldn't possibly fathom how Alan Rickman got to be 69 years old (same as Bowie!). I thought of him as being only a little bit older than "us", which-- *gulp*-- is sort of the case. . .

HB

david_b said...

I never bothered with the 'teeth idea'.., in all the Kirby and Buscema days, his ivories were never seen.

I just figured, 'Why did he need them.., his lips were rocks..?'

Now that artists have been adding them from time to time, they look kinda silly.

Humanbelly said...

How. . . how could Ben even talk, come to think of it. . . ?

HB

Humanbelly said...

Or the Red Skull???
At best (and assuming he still has a tongue in there), he'd end up sounding like a ventriloquist trying to fake his p's, b's, f's, m's and v's. . .

H-(VERY lax day at the shop!)-B

Doug said...

HB --

Point taken about our ages (no spring chickens here any more!). However, I would say that in my profession my perception about age may be different than many folks'. Although I have certainly advanced through the years (big 5-0 coming up in June), the people seated in front of me each day are always 15-18 year olds. Always. So like Cap, I think I age slower than some others ;) .

I can honestly say that I have always seen Ben Grimm as a man whose skin is made of rocks. Why would he not have teeth? Why would he not need to blow his nose? Why would he not need to urinate? I have personally never had those issues with the character.

Doug

Doug said...

Ears, though. That's a better question.

Doug

Karen said...

Well this is certainly an unexpected conversation this morning.

I imagine the Thing is still essentially human internally, but with that thick rocky hide. But even though it is rocky, it must be somewhat flexible, or else how could he move? Although it looks like rock, it must be more like an elephant's hide.

What's weird is how some artists would depict chunks of rock breaking off when the Thing was hit particularly hard. How did it grow back in? Would Ben have an uneven skin layer as it grew?

I think the Surfer was originally drawn without any trunks or lines to indicate them -just smooth from head to toe. It must have made someone uncomfortable and so he got the addition. Why would he have needed them? Originally, he was a being of pure energy. Then Stan made him a real 'guy'.

Grizzly Adams gone too, and also to cancer. It's getting so I don't want to see the news at all. Well, the presidential race is having that effect on me too.

Redartz said...

Ben's teeth ( or lack of same) never really bothered me, although it does look strange when they are depicted. The Thing just looks 'right' as shown by Kirby with his mouth wide open (often in "Clobberin'Time" mode), with a big gaping black maw.

As for other appearances of question: the Beast. His furry Bronze Age look was perfect. Never have cared for the re-designed look.

HB and Doug- yes, the years are showing, the young kid in my head notwithstanding. Karen- I know how you feel about the news. I get the same discomfort from Facebook these days. All the more reason to get a daily fix of the Bronze Age Babies...

Edo Bosnar said...

Yep, Karen, this certainly has been a devastating week thanks to cancer: Bowie, Alan Rickamn, Dan Haggerty, and I just read somewhere now that long-time stage actor Brian Bedford (who also did the voice for Robin Hood in the Disney cartoon) also died today - from cancer, of course.

So, yeah, I'd rather talk about Ben Grimm's teeth as well. I don't mind it if he is depicted with them, as I'm pretty sure he was drawn with teeth in those issues of FF and Marvel 2-in-1 with the art by Byne and inks by Sinnot, and it didn't look jarring. But if an artist prefers not to draw them, that's o.k. too. As for his "plumbing," I honestly never gave it much thought, but I figure since he is often show eating and drinking, he has to have something down there...

Martinex1 said...

What a weird and wonderful topic. I think the Thing should have teeth, they are just most often hidden behind his flexible rocky lips. Now I am hoping he gets bitten by a vampire and grows some fangs.

Like some above, I always figured the Thing still had his normal physiology, but it was just mutated. I remember he bled when Deathlok shot him in MTIO.

Now as far as other characters that sometimes seem off... in my opinion only a select few draw Wolverine's hair well. Sometimes those pointed locks are like a foot tall. What exactly is that supposed to be?

And I never liked how the original human torch doesn't have a face. I like the Johnny Storm torch better. But I like when Johnny's fire was just lines on his body (in the classic books); I don't like the more modern approach when they try to make it look more like real fire and flames.

Comicsfan said...

Gosh, I think the most I've been startled by the Thing's teeth in all their glory is when he walloped Dragon Man when trying to protect Alicia. I think in the Thing's case, less is probably more. Let his dentist take care of things behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

I've always believed Ben had teeth but they were hidden behind those rocky lips (wait, does he have lips? OK, rocky jaws, then!). It really doesn't bother me one way or the other how artists depict him, with teeth or without, although I must say I prefer him drawn without them.

Hmm the issue of Ben's, er, equipment reminds me of that scene from the 2007 FF movie Rise of the Silver Surfer where Johnny asks Ben how Ben and Alicia do the horizontal mambo. I'm recalling this from my hazy memory so the exact details might be different, but as I recall Ben asked him why he wants to know, and Johnny replies jokingly,'well, I don't want to read the newspapers tomorrow and find out Alicia died from a rockslide!'.


- Mike 'gotta go see the dentist' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

Hmmmmm-- and now I'm remembering why I wasn't 100% in love w/ that short-lived FF franchise. . .

HB

B Smith said...

First time I recall seeing Ben's teeth was in that story around #41 where the Wizard's Id machine turns Ben against the other FF members - it was a quite distinctive look that has possibly been used sparingly since to show a really extreme emotional state.

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