Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Thing #6 - Marvel Comics

THE THING No.6, June 2006
Artists come and go on comic books all the time, whether it be because of editorial interference, creative or collaborative team differences, or simply because a different, possibly better job has come along. Whatever the reason, it is somewhat unusual for such an event to occur midway through a story arc and even rarer for such a change to be an improvement. The artwork of “…There Goes The Neighbourhood!” despairingly drawn by Kieron Dwyer, being a very good case in point as the superbly detailed pencil work of Andrea DiVito is replaced by the infinitely inferior scratchings of the former “Classic X-Men” illustrator.

Indeed in some ways it could even be argued that “Marvel Publishing” knew such a replacement was going to impair the quality of the title and thus its sales, as your average newsstand reader would be absolutely innocent to the Italian artist’s departure, bearing in mind DiVito’s considerable talents were still retained in order for him to pencil the issue’s front cover. It is only once the first page of “The Thing” is turned, and the reader is greeted with the miserably mediocre depiction of the Sandman and the Thing slugging it out in a Yancy Street backyard, that it becomes blindingly obvious Dwyer is sat in front of the drawing board now.

Unfortunately this change in illustrators would also appear to have had something of an impact upon writer Dan Slott as well. Desperately trying to tap into that rich popular Bronze Age vein known “Marvel-Two-In-One”, the American comic book author teams Ben Grimm up with the publisher’s number one character, Spider-Man, and together the super-heroic duo merrily smack both the Trapster and the Sandman around for half a dozen pages or so. 

There’s even some nice nostalgic references thrown into the dialogue, such as the webcrawler, donned in his “Civil War” gold and red ‘Iron Spider costume’, referring to himself as being a member of the Fantastic Four; having been so when he was teamed-up with the Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost-Rider. But the entertaining interplay between the fast-mouthed Parker and slow dry-humoured Grimm simply doesn’t last long enough and Spidey is swiftly replaced by an appallingly drawn cameo of Hercules.

Ultimately Slott returns to the repetitively boring Ben-Alicia love 'rekindled' sub-plot he has been desperately trying to weave into the ongoing storyline since the series began. But now readers haven’t even got DiVito’s strong, entertaining artwork to admire whilst reading the American’s stilted disinteresting dialogue. Instead they have several pages of painfully pencilled, and quite grotesquely drawn figures to steer through before “the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed end!” As Ben Grimm snores at the conclusion of the comic “Zzzzzzzzzzzz.”
Story: Dan Slott, Artist: Kieron Dwyer, and Colors: Laura Villari


  1. Funny you should mention "Two in One" as I got the essential two in one "the Thing" volumne 1 for christmas and volumne 2 for my birthday a couple of weeks back (I'm working my way through vol 2 now), Much as I enjoy your descriptions of these new "Grim Adventures" (pardon the pun) I think I'll stick to the true golden age stuff myself, albeit sadly in black and white and not the original colour. Still keep up the good work.

    Cheers Roger.

    1. Thanks Roger. I think Dan Slott's first attempt at capturing that "Marvel Two-In-One" feel, with "The Thing" Issues 1-3, was infinitely more successful than this attempt... though as I say, a lot of this has to do with the poor artwork. Only a few more issues of this run to cover now, as it was cancelled with #8. Then I may well start covering the genuine article or "The Thing" 1983-86 series... Which would you prefer?

    2. Either or' to be honest they are both right up my street. It would be interesting to hear your take on the original "2 in 1" compared to mine. but I'll read whatever you put in front of me!

      Cheers Roger.

    3. Okay. I'll keep you guessing then. But I have just managed to bag a few classic issues from the very start of the Bronze Age ;-)