The Thing has always been my favorite comic book character. I don't know why, but from the moment I first encountered the big rocky galoot in FANTASTIC FOUR #16 on Christmas Day 1963, I liked him. THE THING: IDOL OF MILLIONS is a trade paperback collection of a mini-series that was published several years ago, while I wasn't reading comics. Since I started reading them again I haven't tried to go back and fill in all the gaps from that time, preferring just to move forward, but hey, for Ben Grimm, sure.
Because of that, I don't know exactly what's going on here – Ben's a billionaire, for one thing, and lives in a penthouse, and he's dating some sultry actress, not Alicia Masters, who's evidently with some architect guy – but I didn't let that bother me. The collection opens with a multi-issue storyline where Ben and some of his rich friends, including Tony Stark, are marooned on an island full of death traps set up by the murderous super-villain
Arcade (from the late, much-lamented MASTER OF KUNG FU, one of the best comics of the Seventies). After that there are several stand-alone stories concentrating on Ben's past when he was growing up on Yancy Street in a bad part of , culminating in a story centered around a particular rite of passage in Ben's life and a superhero poker tournament that features nearly everybody who was active in the Marvel Universe at that time. New York City
The scripts are by Dan Slott, who's currently doing a good job writing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. They're pretty lightweight for the most part but a lot of fun. I grew up reading comics at a time when they weren't all bleak, earth-shattering epics, and it's nice to read some throwback stories like this. The art is by Andrea Divito and Kieron Dwyer, and for once I don't have any complaints about it. If you're a Fantastic Four fan, this collection is well worth reading.