The rare almost-appropriate usage of the phrase “here’s the thing.”

§ January 2nd, 2023 § Filed under collecting, the thing, watchmen § 13 Comments

So I’m not good at “end-of-year” lists where I run down the best comics, simply because 1) I haven’t read everything, so I’ll feel like a dummy for leaving some stuff out, and 2) I haven’t even read everything from the past year that I’ve taken home to read. As I’ve noted time and again, I have stuff from four years ago, about the time I started having my eyeball shenanigans, that I haven’t read yet. I still have that big ol’ collection of pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre to read, for example.

Thus the plan was to at least point out a handful of oversized collections I picked up this year, as I obviously did’t have enough already to read. I had my reasons for acquiring each, which I can detail (though in at least one case you can probably guess).

But here’s the thing…one of these I’ve already discussed, another I need to take some decent pictures of for use here since I can’t find any decent ones at distributors or on eBay that I can steal borrow, and the third is still at the shop stilling on a shelf behind my counter.

The first one, the one I already talked about, is the Absolute Edition of Doomsday Clock. Yes, it’s garbage, but it’s well-presented garbage, with beautiful artwork reproduced at good size, and plenty of behind-the-scenes material to be had. There’s also that extra thingie in the back of the book that literally shocked me. It remains a “was this trip really necessary” kind of thing, with its ultimate purpose (attempting to once again give in-universe explanations for DC’s rejiggering/rebooting of its fictional milieu) already pretty much ignored or supplanted or piled-upon by other DC event books, as everyone assumed would happen.

But, as a collector of weird Watchmen-related ephemera, this felt like an interesting item to have. Plus, it matches up nicely with my Absolute Watchmen slipcased edition, a thought that probably is giving someone somewhere a bit of a twinge right behind their eyes.

The second oversized collection I’ll talk about later in the week, once I get some pictures taken.

The third collection, still sitting shrinkwrapped at the store, is the Thing Omnibus:


This collects the 36 issues of the Thing series from the 1980s, along with a couple of issues of Fantastic Four that tie into storylines in that book. There are also other miscellaneous Thing stories from the period mixed in (like the Barry Windsor-Smith story from Marvel Fanfare, a Marvel Tales back-up, and that Jim Starlin/Bernie Wrightson Thing/Hulk graphic novel). Issue #3 of the computer-game tie-in Questprobe is even included. I kinda wish they’d made room for the Hulk/Thing team-up in Marvel Fanfare #20 and #21, also by Starlin, which has never been reprinted in the U.S. as far as I know. Ah, well, there’s always the next omnibus.

Now why did I need this volume? Well…I didn’t, really. I own nearly all of its contents still…that Thing series, the graphic novel, the FFs, the BWS story. But it is nice to have it all in once place, and that cover…! There were two covers for this book, because of course there were. One cover, by John Byrne (who wrote the early part of the series), was taken from this issue, and it’s…fine, though not a patch on the Ron Wilson cover they did use. That’s one of the great and iconic images of Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew.

Ron Wilson drew a whole lotta this book, and he is one of the unsung heroes of superhero funnybooks…clearly inspired by Jack Kirby, but not, like, outright copying the guy. One of the surprises this omnibus has for me is its inclusion of a story from the 1990s version of Marvel Super-Heroes which I hadn’t read, featuring 22 new-to-me pages of Wilson art. Can’t wait to see that.

One thing (heh) I am curious about is that in this issue there was a scripting/editing error which resulted in two conflicting names for the same character. It would be nice if that was straightened out. Also, the “How to Draw The Thing” page from this ish better be in there. I need nice, quality printing of the Thing telling me to not give him no lips. (Which of course literally works out to “give him lips,” but I’m not gonna tell ol’ Benji that.) Also, stop giving the Thing a neck, you guys, so long as we’re on the topic.

I know that’s Too Many Words for a book I haven’t even cracked the covers on yet, but it’s an exciting book to have. That Thing series was quite good, with some nice emotional/background work on the character, particuarly in the early issues. And the whole post-Secret Wars “Rocky Grimm, Space Ranger” was a weird ride, with Ben Grimm, adventuring on an alien world, finally with the ability to switch back and forth between human and Thing forms. All fun, all well-drawn, and all solid support for why the Thing is one of the greatest Marvel characters ever created. If not in fact the greatest. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. He’s even better than Hellcow, don’t make me fight you.

13 Responses to “The rare almost-appropriate usage of the phrase “here’s the thing.””

  • Thom H. says:

    Wow — no lips, no neck, no teeth. He really is a monster.

    How do we collectively feel about him having visibly separate eyebrows v. just one big ridge above his eyes?

  • Mikester says:

    I don’t mind the “floating eyebrow,” but I prefer the single ridge as shown on that cover. Closer to Kirby’s intent, I think.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    Well, that’s a helluva thing.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    The Ron Wilson splash page from MTIO #40 is one of my absolute favorites. Ben in a baker’s hat pulling an extra extra extra large pizza pie of the oven saying, “If not fer my lumpy legs — I’d make one heck of a housewife!”

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Plus, it matches up nicely with my Absolute Watchmen slipcased edition, a thought that probably is giving someone somewhere a bit of a twinge right behind their eyes.”

    Yup, Alan Moore!

    “Thing Omnibus”

    They could have called it “One Big Thing”!

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    I reread all of M2iO (in the b&w “Essentials” book, plus the two issues they didn’t collect) in 2022, so this would have been a perfect Christmas gift to myself. Ah well….

  • Chris B says:

    I was a big fan of MTinO but never really cared for the Thing solo title so much. I feel The Thing as a character needs someone else to ‘bounce’ off of, like classic comedian duos he needs a ‘straight man’. I think I favoured MTInO over Team up because it would often have eclectic guest stars like Stingray, Blue Diamond, etc, and I’m all about the Marvel d-listers getting the spotlight!

  • Snark Shark says:

    Cassandra Miller: “M2iO (in the b&w “Essentials” book, plus the two issues they didn’t collect)”

    I know one of those is ROM, because I have it! Now I’m trying to guess which other character they used that was not a Marvel property… Shogun Warriors? Godzilla? Micronauts?

  • […] the other oversized omnibus-type book I picked up this year is one containing stories that I already have in […]

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    Don’t know if it was included in the “Essentials” book or not, but speaking of licensed characters, the Thing teamed up with Doc Savage in M2iO no. 21.

    It is interesting that The Thing was arguably one of Marvel’s most popular characters (after Spider-Man) during the Seventies, but then Wolverine came along.

    Those M2iO comics are generally fun reads–I particularly liked the “Project Pegasus” saga.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    It was, indeed, Doc Savage!

  • David Conner says:

    Sean,

    You can really see the Thing’s ’70s popularity by looking at licensed products. Slurpee cups, those stickers with the wacky speech balloons, etc.

    IIRC, the Slurpee cup checklist shows a few popular characters with two cups (out of 60 or somesuch), while only two characters had *four* – The Amazing Spider-Man and Benjamin J. Grimm, Everlovin’ Blue-Eyed Idol o’ Millions!

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Doc Savage”

    Ah! that makes sense! i tend to forget he was a Marvel series, as he’s a “legacy” character, rather than a then-current toy-line or popular movie or TV show tie-in!

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