The most important debate of our day.

§ November 15th, 2023 § Filed under the thing § 25 Comments

So which portrayal of the Thing do you prefer? Big Separate Eyebrow Thing?

…or No Separate Eyebrow Piece Thing?

Now I didn’t dive deep researching this or anything, but a cursory glace through the history of the Fantastic Four seems to reveal that Eyebrow Thing started during the Lee/Kirby days, and No Eyebrow Thing was reestablished during Byrne’s run in the ’80s. At the very least, he definitely pointed it out in his “How to draw the Thing” page from the early issues of the Thing series:

Now I have a preference for which version I like, but I do want to make it clear the version I don’t care for does nothing to lessen my admiration for our ever-lovin’ blue-eyed hero. Pretty much no matter how he looks, he remains not just Marvel’s greatest character, but one of the greatest characters in fiction period. Yeah, you heard me, eat it, Pierre Bezukhov.

And look, I’m not going to razz, like, George Pérez’s drawing of Eyebrow Thing above, as that’s absolutely lovely. Also, no way can anyone dismiss Barry Windsor-Smith’s Eyebrowless Thing on that Marvel Fanfare cover.

For those of you wishing to cast spoiler votes for the dreaded “Pineapple Thing,” as per this cover:

…let’s not confuse the issue. Let’s stick to just picking Eyebrow or No. But all things (heh) considered, that cover is still pretty good. All Things are beautiful in their own way, but the eyebrow is the dividing line and I just want to know where y’all land.

For more Thing Reading, may I direct you to “365 Days of Ben Grimm,” as assembled by Stuffed Bully, Space Ranger?

25 Responses to “The most important debate of our day.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I will cast the first vote for Eyebrow Thing–as that’s what I grew up on as a Bronze Age kid…although most likely Rich Buckler drew the first FF comic I ever saw …but he was, of course, doing his take on the Kirby-style Thing.

    Although I enjoyed Byrne’s run on the FF on the whole, I was never a fan of his redesign on the costumes, nor his redesign on Johnny Storm’s haircut. However, I did like Frankie Raye, and She-Hulk joining the team was fun.

    I agree that The Thing is a great character…and during the ’70s he must have been right up there in popularity with Spidey, as we got Marvel Two-in-One and Marvel Team-Up. Then Wolverine happened…

    It would be cool to see a classic Kirby panel from the first issue of FF where he made the eyebrow its own Thing… wasn’t The Thing kind of a lumpy looking orange blobby dude during the first few issues…before his craggy rock look became standardized?

    Pineapple Thing looks way weird…but I was out of reading comics by the time that mutation happened. Which begs the question, why were the FF treated different than the X-Men? For all intents and purposes their power sets and appearance looked menacing to the average person, except for Sue looking “normal”…

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    No-eyebrow Thing, just as it was when I first encountered/was confused by/had my mind blown by the FF during Byrne’s Negative Zone storyline in 1983, when I was 8 years old.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    It’s really, really close for me, but I think the profile picture puts no-eyebrow over the top. Still, I’ll take any good picture of Blue eyed Benji. You’re absolutely correct, he’s Marvel’s best character.

  • Nicholas says:

    No eyebrow Thing!

  • Chuck V. says:

    Just as long as he talks like Jimmy Durante…

  • Oliver says:

    “Wasn’t The Thing kind of a lumpy looking orange blobby dude during the first few issues…”

    Yes, and I cast my vote for the original look of The Thing!

  • CP Bananas says:

    Here’s a great rundown of how the lumpy, “dinosaur hide” look evolved into the rocky standard:

    Looking at those panels you can definitely see the seeds of both the eyebrow and no-eyebrow looks.

  • Donald G says:

    Eyebrow Thing as drawn by Kirby/Sinnott, Buckler/Sinnott, Perez/Sinnott, and Byrne/Sinnott before Byrne revamped the look into the no-eyebrow version.

  • LouReedRichards says:

    Wow, this is a harder decision than I would have thought.

    I guess if you put an Ultimate Nullifier to my head I’d go with No-brow Thing, though it seems wrong to go against any Kirby design, esp. on the FF. Byrne’s run was my “real” introduction to the team, and his versions are mixed in with Kirby’s as my default visions of the characters.

    When I picture Reed (Richards, not Lou,) it’s always the scrawnier Byrne version that comes to mind first.

    @Thelonius Nick – I envy you, what a great age and time to get introduced to the team. The Negative Zone storyline leading into Annihilus and then Dr. Doom/Terrax right after – what a run!

  • Bully says:

    Aw shucks, you come up with the nicest nicknames for me, Mike! (blushes, thus turning black and white and red all over)

  • Adam P Knave says:

    I like both, I grew up more with no-eyebrow but I do think I would side with eyebrow quickly if he pierced it.

  • Damien says:

    Hi Mike, because I came to the Fantastic Four with the post-Byrne issues and stuck around to the end of the Simonson run I tend to prefer the spiky Thing. Because of my era I tend to associate the separate eyebrow look with Sharon Ventura (particularly as drawn by Walter Simonson) and therefore find it a little feminine. Therefore of the classic looks I prefer Ben to have the integrated brow.

  • David says:

    Big separate eyebrow thing

  • Thom H. says:

    Separate Eyebrow Thing all the way. I love Byrne’s run on the FF but not the “forehead sliding down in front of Ben’s eyes” look.

    For another time: Isn’t it weird that he doesn’t have ears but he does have a tiny nose? What’s that about?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Thom H.

    What about The Thing only having four fingers on each hand and four toes on each foot…?

    Also, as to Spider-Man and The Thing being Marvel’s breakout stars during the Silver Age through early Bronze Age, I think it is important to think about Spider-Man being, really, a sort of a fantasy projection of Steve Ditko (Peter Parker definitely seems like a stand in for Ditko), while The Thing is a fantasy projection of Jack Kirby (again, Ben Grimm definitely seems like a stand in for Kirby). J. Jonah Jameson was Stan Lee lampooning himself, and Reed Richards was probably Stan as he would have liked to see himself…and I guess Sue was based on Joan to an extent…maybe Johnny was based on Stan’s kid brother Larry Leiber…

    Then again, if you look at American popular culture of the early ’60s, you could take a TV show like My Three Sons and see a quasi-template for early FF characterization and family dynamics what with Fred MacMurray’s character of the father Steve Douglas being preoccupied and a bit distant yet caring like Reed Richards, Uncle Charlie as being a kind hearted grouch like The Thing, and Robbie as being a typical Boomer teenage male of the early ’60s obsessed with cool cars and cute chicks, just like Johnny…mix in elements from the Donna Reed show for Sue or take a bit of Ricky Nelson to add to Johnny, and there you have it.

  • Brian Hughes says:

    I personally lean towards the craggier “no eyebrow” version endorsed by Byrne, but agree with your assessment of bashful Benjy as the GOAT of superheroes!

  • Matthew says:

    I decided to be extra contrarian and track down an artist who drew The Thing with two distinct eyebrows. I’m sure multiple artists have done this, but the one I found was Casey Jones. FF #502 has some good closeups showing two distinct eyebrows (that are truly massive and extend past the edge of his head).

  • Steven Gauthier says:

    I must side with the no-brow crowd. I may be influenced by Barry Smith’s ability.

  • Jason-L says:

    Eyebrow Thing, because that’s how he looked in Marvel Two-In-One, and that’s the definitive Thing for me.

  • John Lancaster says:

    All in for the the separate eyebrow. But for God’s sake, don’t give him teeth – that was horrible.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    We need a time travel story where the FF go back in time and meet Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo…Ben and Frida can complement each other on their impressive eyebrow game…

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Also all in on the PROMINENT Separate Eyebrow Thing, especially as drawn by Ron Wilson in any issue of MTIO!

  • Eric Houston says:

    Eyebrow Thing!

  • Rob S. says:

    I’m a nobrow Thing guy… but I’ve gotta echo what John L. said above: No teeth! Those choppers are nightmare fuel.

  • Snark Shark says:


    At 24 comments, I guess so!

    Honestly, both versions of Thing look good to me!

    BUT, Spider-Man is CLEARLY Marvel’s greatest character.

    “as per this cover”

    Just bought this issue! Haven’t read it yet.

    “nor his redesign on Johnny Storm’s haircut.”

    Yeah, mushroom-head sucked!