“Thing” is kind of a harsh name. It’s what you call something when you don’t know what else to call it. Geek culture has given us six famous characters named “Thing.” Can you remember them all?
1. The Thing, aka Ben Grimm
The Fantastic Four’s big rock guy that loves to clobber bad guys. Acquired his unique “condition” after a cosmic ray storm alters his genetic makeup during a trip into space. He, along with his friends and family in the Fantastic Four, is one of the few superheroes in the Marvel universe who has no secret identity. His real name is public knowledge. As such, his superhero name is rarely used by other characters in the comic.
2. Thing T. Thing
When Charles Addams started drawing his macabre comic strip for The New Yorker, he occasionally inserted into the background a shy creature that was never named. When Addams helped develop The Addams Family TV show, this character became a disembodied hand named Thing that popped out of various boxes around the family home. His full name was later revealed to be Thing T. Thing. When the TV series was developed into a blockbuster movie, the rather inspired idea was introduced that Thing was a fully mobile hand, severed just above the wrist.
3. The Thing
John Carpenter’s 1982 movie was one of Hollywood’s many horror movies where the villain was a supernatural entity that has taken the form of a human character. The Thing was actually a pseudo-remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World, and got a prequel film of the same name in 2011. The Thing was a plant-like alien parasite that killed humans and mimicked their likenesses and personalities.
4. Swamp Thing
Dreamed up by Wolverine creator Len Wein, the original Swamp Thing was an antihero. He became a more heroic character under the guidance of Alan Moore in the ’80s, who introduced a grand mythology, making Swamp Thing into an immortal, elemental plant creature that absorbs the memories and personality of a dead man, in order to defend Earth from man’s destructive ways. Was Swamp Thing the first environmental superhero? I don’t know. But I could totally see him and Poison Ivy hooking up.
5. & 6. Thing 1 and Thing 2
Dr. Seuss’ mischievous Cat in the Hat has a couple of equally mischievous pals: Thing 1 and Thing 2. These two odd little sprites or elves or Whos or something with blue hair serve no real purpose other than to help the Cat cause household chaos. These days, they hang out on the PBS show, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, functioning as assistants to the Cat. They never speak, but make a little chirpy noise or laugh whenever they do something silly (which is often). In recent years, Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes have become popular mainstays at Halloween and comic book conventions.