Ben Grimm, We hardly knew Ye

Originally published on September 28, 2002

By Avi Green

There’s a special guest today in the Lion’s Den, a gold-hearted (and skin colored) giant by the name of Benjamin Jacob Grimm, also known to many as The Thing from the Fantastic Four!

And among the things that we’ll be discussing here and now are Ben Grimm’s recently revealed Jewish background. So, let’s begin the conversation.

Lexicon Lion: Hi there, Ben! Glad you could make it all the way over here from New York and the Baxter Building for this interview.

Ben Grimm: Hey man, glad t’be o’ service to ya, Lantzman.

LL: So tell me, what was your early life like?

BG: Well, I’ll have to admit, it’s a bit embarrassin’, a few of the things I did when I was a kid. My older brother died in a gang fight when I was 13, and I fell in with some o’ the wrong crowd afterwards, joining up with the Yancy Street Gang, and eventually becoming their leader for awhile. And they told me I’d have t’go ‘n steal from the local pawnbroker Hiram Sheckerberg’s shop in order t’join.

LL: They kicked you out later though, didn’t they, when you moved in with you aunt?

BG: Yeah, they were mad that I was actually goin’ an’ movin’ to somewhere that’d be farther away from Yancy Street, an’ so they voted me out. Not that I mind it so much t’day, because that really wasn’t what I should’ve been doin’ in my youth. I later started goin’ t’ Temple, a Jewish school in Queens, an’ I guess y’could say that that really helped give me back faith in th’ Lord.

LL: Has Sheckerberg ever forgiven you for getting on his nerves back then?

BG: Oh yeah, he’s forgiven me, an’ now, you could say that we’re good friends now. Ah helped him to stop this punk called Powderkeg who was blackmailin’ him for extra cash between mercenary jobs, with, b’live it or not, a little help from the current members of th’ Yancy Street Gang! They don’ like it when other thugs move in on their turf.

LL: Great to know. How about if we were to talk about your becoming the Thing now? So, how did happen exactly?

BG: Well, it’s quite a story, allright. Ah’ve been good friends with Reed Richards, our leader, since he was in college an’ ah was the star quarterback. Reed’s a good man, but he can sometahms be a bit o’ a bonehead, ah hope he doesn’ mind my saying.

After servin’ in th’ air force for a few years, ah learned t’be a space pilot. Reed then asked me t’help ‘im try out this new rocket he was testin’, an’ he needed t’do it as soon as possible, because the guv’ment was goin’ t’cut off th’ fundin’ they were givin’ ‘im. So me, Reed, Suzie Q and her brother Johnny took off in that thingamabob of his an’ took to the stars of the galaxy fer testin’ it.

LL: Wow, sounds like even they were trained astronauts!

BG: Yeah, you c’n say something like that. Certainly now after all the adventures we’ve been havin’ in outer space! We’ve really got th’ experience now, that’s fer sure, man!

Well anyway, we were hit by a cosmic ray storm while’s bein’ out there in space, an’ Reed got the power to stretch ‘imself fer miles (hence, my callin’ im’ “stretcho”), Suzie got the power t’turn invisible, then t’create force shields with that pretty little mind o’ hers, Johnny got the power t’look like a Human Torch, which he is now, an’ as for me, ah got turned inta this big guy made outta orange, exoskeletal stone sittin’ b’fore ya.

LL: It wasn’t anything great having to live as a man made out of stone, right?

BG: ‘Course not, but, I learned t’get used to it. An’ it sure didn’t keep my gal pal at the time, Alicia Masters, from lovin’ me once she knew about it.

We subsequently formed ourselves th' Fantastic Four an'  are now sworn t'defend th' world from all evil. One such evil is a certain Victor Von Doom, once a college student at th' NY university where Reed learned at. He came 'ere from a country in Europe called Latveria, an' he got 'is face busted up mighty bad from an accident in th' laboratory in chemistry. He always blamed it on Reed an' swore he'd get even with him fer causin' that. He also thought that the whole wide world was preventin' 'im from achieving 'is goals in life, so 'e started t'travel 'roun the world

LL: You do have the ability now, of course, to change back to your human form, right? Now that’s something that you’re happy about, I’m sure. I’m glad. Rogue of the X-Men, on the other hand…

BG: I did, but alas, I lost it a short while ago. Seems it was makin' my skin crawl in a way that wasn't healthy, in this case, fer the world. Someday though, I'll get that power back, and without the bad catch to it.

LL: Really? Sigh. That's sad. Just as you get the very something you really want, you lose it just as quickly. But it was great to have it while it still lasted, right?

BG: Oh yeah, it was great t’be able t’turn back inta my good lookin’ human self again when I still had that power, but alas, it's gone fer now. Ah do agrees with ya though, Avi, it’s really sad that Rogue can’t touch noone, not even me. I’d give ‘er a big warm hug if ah could, but fer now, ah can’t. Ah sure hope she can find that Nes Mehashamayim that she so badly needs soon.

LL: Well, it’s been quite a pleasure interviewing you, Ben. Anything else you might want to say before we conclude?

BG: Yeah, it’s that everybody can be very special if they try hard, an’ that they can be an inspiration t’this ‘ere world of ours if they keep tryin’.

Now, it’s time t’get back t’work with the rest o’ my partners in business at th’ Baxter Buildin’. Ah b’lieve that our ol’ enemy Doctor Doom is tryin’ t’take control o’ th’ world again. Guess that means that… IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME! See ya after the fight, pal! Oh, an' Mazel Tov an' a Shana Tova t'everyone!

Avi Green, whose skin is most definitely not green in spite of the name, can be reached at

Copyright 2002 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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