Issue #9 of the second Man-Thing series (March 1981) was a one-off story by Dickie McKenzie and beautifully illustrated by Larry Hama and Danny Buladani, which certainly deserves a little more attention than what I’m giving it today, but I’m bringing it up because of what you see here in this panel:
Nice pic, right? I trimmed out the overlapping panels in that scan because, well, that’s what I usually do since the excess art tends to distract a bit. But, here’s a small image of the full page, showing how that particular panel pops out at the reader:
Nicely done, I think. Anyway, what I wanted to point out is that, not only is Man-Thing drawn with only four fingers (or three fingers and a thumb, for you “members of the band, plus the drummer” people out there) on each hand instead of his usual five, it’s also made into a contest of sorts on the letters page for this issue:
Sadly, this Man-Thing series ends two issues later, so if there were any reader responses, they were, as far as I know, unreported.
My own explanation is simply that we’ve seen Man-Thing regrow his body after being nearly destroyed by some attack or another, and that maybe sometimes not everything grows back the same way…like occasionally missing a digit or two. Hey, why not.
By the way, the very first issue of this Man-Thing series also had Manny with the wrong number of fingers on the cover, prompting a reader to point that out in a letter printed in issue #3. The editorial response:
“…Yes, Bashful Bob Wiacek did forget the extra digits on his premiere cover (and former Marvel editor Roger Stern kids Bob about it every chance he gets!)”
I’d like to think Mr. Stern is still kidding Mr. Wiacek about it. “Hey, remember that Man-Thing cover you did 30 years ago?” “Oh, come on….”