Doug: Ever have an idea percolating in your brain for... forever? This is that. For many months I've been wanting to do something on the blog with one of the greatest aspects of the end of the Bronze Age and beyond. In the early-mid 1980s Marvel Comics published a periodical encyclopedia called The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe; the Distinguished Competition's entry in the genre was the equally entertaining Who's Who in the DC Universe. There is a nearly bottomless mine of good stuff for us to discuss, so we'll see if today's inaugural foray gets any kind of commenter love. And I don't want to hog this idea -- if anyone reading wants to submit a post in this vein, by all means email us.
Doug: Below you'll find the entry for the Thing, as it appeared in the second volume (1986) of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe:
Doug: My focal point for today's discussion is the height of Benjamin J. Grimm. From the moment I first laid eyes on this issue of the Handbook I was a little skeptical as to the accuracy of whatever tape measure was used to check the Thing's height. However, doing a quick image search for the purpose of researching my accusation that something must have been amiss, I found that by and large through the Silver and Bronze Ages the Thing was drawn at about the same height as Reed Richards. In the Handbook, Ben Grimm is listed at an even 6'0", while Reed Richards is a bit taller at 6'1". See the images below from superstar FF creators Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and John Buscema. Nowhere do we find the Thing towering over his teammates --
Doug: Additionally, we can use the Hulk for comparison's sake. From the earliest days of the "splash tops" that ran on page one of Bronze Age Marvel Comics, we knew what we were dealing with in terms of the Hulk's massive scale:
Doug: And here are some visuals in support of the Thing's "diminutive" stature:
Doug: Going hand-in-hand with the Thing's relatively short height is his weight of "only" 500 pounds. So at 6'0", 500 pounds, the Thing is certainly not imposing in the presence of She-Hulk's 6'7" height, Thor at 6'6" and 640 pounds, or even Captain America (6'2", 220 lbs.). But then the "Image era" began and Benjy grew... and grew... and grew (please excuse the glorification of Sue's assets (ahem) -- after all, it was the 1990s):
Doug: Obviously there are many more points of interest in the Thing's biography. But today let's center on the man's scale, particularly as compared to his fellow denizens of the Marvel Universe. How's that stature? Too small for you? In the Fantastic Four films of a few years ago, featuring Michael Chiklis made up as the Thing, Ben was no taller than his male teammates. But then, what of some of the latter samples I posted -- too large? In the FF film from last year, the CGI Thing seemed more in line with the art above. That being said, I suppose Ben would still be in scale with the Hulk, as ol' Jade Jaws is now never depicted on film as shorter than 10 feet (or so it seems). Have at it, and thanks in advance for your thoughts.