In 1974, I waited breathlessly for the fifth issue of FOOM, Friends Of Ol' Marvel, the official Marvel fan club magazine. The fifth issue was important, as it would be the first one not edited by Jim Steranko. Fortunately, when it arrived, I was not disappointed by the cover...
Rich Buckler and Joe Sinnott drew this dynamic cover featuring Ben Grimm. The pose is definitely inspired by Jack Kirby; I searched in vain for the Kirby source but I could not find it, if you do remember, please let me know. The printing on the FOOM magazines were terrible, but I have touched it up here a bit. Notice on the billboard behind the Thing reads: "Deathlok is here!" This issue also an article about Buckler's creation, Deathlok.
The Thing article inside featured some interesting comments from Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, and Steve Gerber. "When I first got the assignment to write MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE," says Steve Gerber, "I basically thought of him (the Thing) as all wisecracks. But when I started writing, I found myself just taken over by his character." Stan Lee said, "I totally fell in love with the Thing. He was the most appealing character of the FF to me, the character who held the group together." Gerry Conway sees the Thing-Torch relationship as a descendant of the Monk Mayfair-Ham Brooks "feud" in the Doc Savage pulp magazines.
The last page of the article features a drawing of the Thing sitting on his throne after mopping up a gallery of villains. This illustration looks like it was drawn by a very young John Byrne with Duffy Vohland.
Rich Buckler is now doing some amazing fine art, which you can see at this website. I've also seen some amazing cover recreations (notably the first appearance of Deathlok in Astonishing Tales) and commissions. You can see some of the FF-related recreations over at the Fantastic Four Headquarters.
Link: Rich Buckler's web site