And then there was that time Nick Fury and Ben ("The Thing") Grimm were arm-wrestling in a bar…

§ May 20th, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on And then there was that time Nick Fury and Ben ("The Thing") Grimm were arm-wrestling in a bar…

…when they were both serving in the military during World War II:

…which of course would make the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing in his 80s or 90s, currently. Even at the time this particular comic came out (in 1981), it would have put his age around 60 or so.

However, at no time during the story are the wartime flashbacks ever explicitly described as taking place during World War II. (It is called as such in a cover blurb: “All this and World War II!”) While Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos are known to most Marvel fans as an artifact of WWII, the setting for the flashbacks are only described as “The War.” No countries are named, no enemy insignia are displayed, the enemy soldiers generic (though some seem to have German-esque helmets). There are enough clues (such as the helmet) to still place these flashbacks during WWII, for the longtime fans who still tie Fury to that war, but still non-specific enough to not age Mr. Grimm by tying him to a specific historical setting.

Another clue, perhaps: it looks to me as if “the war” in Fury’s word balloon in this panel is a relettered addition, since those two words seem little outsized compared to the lettering around them. I wonder if that was a replacement for a usage of the term “WWII.”

Okay, maybe so, maybe no…but still, I find this issue to be an interesting example of the sliding timelines for Marvel continuity, particularly in its seemingly deliberate attempts to free its characters from specific points in history. While Sgt. Fury may always be fighting in WWII (and ol’ Nick can still appear in current Marvel continuity thanks to the life-extending Infinity Formula), Ben Grimm’s military service is going to have to be more recent than that. I think they even put it during the first Gulf War at one point.

Anyway, that’s just a bunch of itch-scratching re: Marvel’s continuity. Don’t mind me. …Though I do wonder when DC’s going to follow suit and bump the Justice Society’s WWII origins to a more recent conflict. That‘ll be a trick, I think.

THING LINK, DO YOUR THING: For more Thing action, may I recommend Bully the Little Stuffed Bull’s website, who has been celebrating “365 Days with Ben Grimm” since the beginning of the year? It’s a lovely tribute to Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew, and well worth checking out.

images from Marvel Two-in-One #77 (July 1981) by Tom DeFalco, Ron Wilson & Chic Stone — man, I do love me some Ron Wilson Thing comics

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