Fantastic Figures

Fantastic Figures: The Thing

Fantastic Four artist Mark Bagley delivers exclusive art and insight into drawing Ben Grimm!

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Fantastic Four #1 preview pencils by Mark Bagley

By Jim Beard

“Bah! Everywhere it is the same! I live in a world too small for me!”

In just a few short words, his first in 1961’s FANTASTIC FOUR #1, Ben Grimm, the Thing, perfectly illustrated his lot in life and set his course as one of the most distinct Marvel characters ever. Now, in the new FANTASTIC FOUR #1, coming November 14, artist Mark Bagley illustrates the rocky gentlemen for a whole new generation of fans.

“The happy, kind, tough guy of the Marvel Universe,” says Bagley of the Thing. “A good friend, a grounded man and somebody you'd love to have a beer with.”

Since his original appearance, Ben’s evolved towards his modern look as a visually striking hero, with a rocky exterior that belies the golden heart and almost childlike demeanor that lies beneath.

“Absolutely Jack Kirby,” notes Bagley when asked of his top inspirations when drawing the Fantastic Four’s strongman. “Especially around the middle of Jack’s run of FANTASTIC FOUR. [Also] Carlos Pacheco and Angel Medina did a great version of the Thing during their short runs.

Fantastic Four #2 preview pencils by Mark Bagley

“I'm still trying to get a consistent look to Ben’s face. He's really hard to draw well, and there have been so many talented guys who've drawn him that it's a bit intimidating.”

Ben Grimm turns to a friend, a fellow bruiser, when the team decides to take a trip and replacements become necessary in FANTASTIC FOUR #1. He and his adoptive family, Reed and Sue Richards, their children, and Johnny Storm, will begin a journey that may test the Thing like no challenge ever before.

As Bagley states, Ben’s hulking body also represents a challenge, this time a visual one.

“It's important to always remember the forms that his body makes up, and to utilize light sources to define his form,” he notes. “I like his rocky plates to be really well defined, with strong definitive edges.”

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