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Introduction by Alan David Doane

Any Marvel Comics reader who has read Marvel Fanfare #15 -- either when it was published, in 1984, or at any time since then -- has forever had embedded in their mind the image of Ben Grimm covered with a face-full of orange stubble.

It was the funniest, most memorable image in a story literally packed with funny and memorable images. In 19 pages, writer/artist Barry Windsor-Smith summarized and celebrated everything that made Ben Grimm a great comic book character. The greatest Ben Grimm story will always be "This Man, This Monster" from Fantastic Four #51, but Barry's Fanfare story is indisputably the second-greatest, and one of the best and most perceptive depictions of any Marvel character ever to appear in print.

Those two stories are about to be joined by a third.

Barry Windsor-Smith is working on finishing up a graphic novel for Marvel Comics that will feature Ben Grimm in a story like you've never quite seen before. A story informed by a profound love of Lee and Kirby's work, but filtered through a more sophisticated and nuanced storytelling technique that will capture the attention and stir the imagination of 21st Century readers.

The origin of this graphic novel goes back decades. Following the popularity of BWS's Ben Grimm story in Marvel Fanfare #15, he started work in 1985 on what was then intended to be a four- or five-part miniseries. Barry says he "completed two 22-page chapters in pencil, part inks, part script, and partial lettering. The story foundered for a while and in the meantime I created Weapon X, after that the Thing series was largely forgotten until 2005."

Bringing the graphic novel to market in 2006 is a very different prospect for the artist and for the company than it would have been twenty years ago. Barry says "My concept for publication is to present the work in a single volume -- hardcover and trade paperback -- with editorial material explaining the history of the story and including the many visual out-takes culled from over the years. This will not only be rewarding in an historical way but will allow a smoother transition from the look and sound of my 1980s work to my somewhat different style of 2005. Mind you, Marvel has yet to green light this project, we're still in talks."

On the pages that follow, you'll see tantalizing images from what I think is the most promising and intriguing superhero graphic novel of the year. It's by one of the finest artists ever to work for Marvel, revisiting a classic character and fully investing his talents to create a work unlike anything else on the stands. In the Same way that Weapon X changed the perception of the stories that could be told about Wolverine, Barry Windsor-Smith's Thing graphic novel will set aside old assumptions about both the character and the author, and bring readers new and old an appreciation for exciting, innovative comic book storytelling that will redefine what is possible at Marvel Comics in the year 2006. It is my pleasure and my privilege to present this preview to you. Make sure you tell your retailer you want Barry Windsor-Smith's The Thing graphic novel.

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All art Copyright (C) 2006 Barry Windsor-Smith. THE THING is (C) Copyright and (TM) Trademark of Marvel Entertainment, Inc.



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The ADD Blog by Alan David Doane. Trouble with Comics Reviews of comics and graphic novels. Commentary about the artform and industry of comics. Get back to the main page.

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