Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thing Tuesday: Fantastic Four 133 where The Thing meets Thundra!

Fantastic Four 133 was a wonderfully silly time capsule of the the burgeoning women's lib movement in the early 1970s! It featured the first appearance of Thundra, the Femizon who came to our world in order to challenge Ben Grimm The Thing!

Fantastic Four 133 cover color Buscema Sinnott

Here is the original cover by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott. The Battle of the Century--any century!

FF 133 original art

Here is the original art to the cover.

Fantastic Four 133 digital color Buscema Sinnott

Here is the new computer colored cover available on digital platforms - I've started noticing how vibrant and different these are from the originals.

Thundra stronger

This story is notable because it has one of the few Marvel art jobs done by Ramona Fradon, who was mainly a DC Comics artist. Supposedly she hated working in the Marvel method and only did a few stories. This tale is inked by Joe Sinnott who keeps all the characters looking consistent, only Thundra herself looks like a Fradon type of character.

Thundra male inferiority

The climax of the story is a fight between Thundra and the Thing while Alicia is held hostage by the Frightful Four. It takes place in a huge arena. The Thing doesn't want to fight a woman! He takes a pretty good licking and actually does get defeated because he just won't fight back too hard.

Thundra weaker male

Thundra is great because she mocks the strength / superiority of men. In her world, men are the weaker sex and she constantly taunts Ben Grimm. Jeff Parker did a great story a while ago about the real reason for Thundra's visits to our world - she was seeking a mate (or frozen sperm / dna) because of the infertility on her world.

There is some historical context around this issue of the Fantastic Four. Bobby Riggs was a retired tennis player who challenged Billie Jean King to a "Battle of the Sexes". At first she declined, Riggs challenged another tennis player, Margaret Court, and won against her in May 1973. Billie Jean King then took up the challenge, played against Riggs and beat him in September 1973. These were big televised sports events and almost everybody who had a TV watched it. However, this issue of the Fantastic Four predated that by several months: with an April 1973 cover date, most likely this comic was sold three months earlier in Feb 1973. Even though it's not directly related, funny how this issue of the FF captures the "battle of the sexes" thing going on at the time. There will be an HBO movie made about the Riggs/King match starring Steve Carrell and Emma Stone.

There you go, true believers! A look back at classic FF and a moment from real pop culture history! Nuff Said.


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