Posts Tagged ‘The Thing


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 275: The Ultimate Top Ten Movie Monsters


With Halloween so close, Blake and Erin discuss the greatest movie monsters of all time. Our picks, your choices, and the number one monster in cinema history wait for you in this week’s episode! In the picks, Erin loves The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 2 and Blake goes with Locke and Key: Grindhouse and Marvel Zombies Halloween. Don’t forget to vote for this year’s Halloween movie marathon at the Fighting Fitness Fraternity Facebook Page! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 275: Ultimate Top Ten Movie Monsters


Mutants, Monsters and Madmen-NOW AVAILABLE!

Last year, you guys may remember that I spent the entire month of October watching and talking about assorted scary movies, chronologically tracing the evolution of horror films from the 1920s up until the present day. I really enjoyed that little project and I think a lot of you did too. And now, as Halloween approaches again, I’m ready to launch the next stage of that project, my new eBook Reel to Reel: Mutants, Monsters and Madmen.

This eBook collects the 35 essays I wrote last year, plus five brand-new ones written just for this collection. Over the course of this book, I look at how the things that scare us have grown and evolved over the last century, dishing on some of the greatest, most influential and most memorable scary movies ever made. This eBook, available now for a mere $2.99, is hopefully going to be the first in a series, in which I’ll tackle different cinematic topics the same way.

If you read the essays last year, check this one out and enjoy the new ones. If you haven’t read any of them, dive in now for the first time. And tell all of your horror movie-loving friends about it as well! After all, the reason I decided to write this book in the first place is because I wanted to read a book like this one, but I just couldn’t find one. The market is out there, friends. Help us find each other.

(And lest I forget, thanks to Heather Petit Keller for the cover design!)

You can get the book now in the following online stores: (for your Kindle or Kindle app) (for every other eBook reader)

And in case you’re wondering, the movies covered in this book include:

*The Golem (1920)
*Nosferatu (1922)
*The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
*Dracula (1931)
*Frankenstein (1931)
*The Mummy (1932)
*Freaks (1932)
*Cat People (1942)
*The Fly (1958)
*Peeping Tom (1960)
*Psycho (1960)
*Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Terror (1962-New in this edition!)
*Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
*The Haunting (1963)
*The Birds (1963-New in this edition!)
*Wait Until Dark (1967)
*Night of the Living Dead (1968)
*Last House on the Left (1972)
*The Exorcist (1973)
*The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
*Jaws (1975)
*Carrie (1976)
*Suspiria (1977)
*Halloween (1978)
*Alien (1979)
*The Shining (1980)
*Friday the 13th (1980)
*The Evil Dead (1981)
*Poltergeist (1982)
*The Thing (1982)
*A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
*Return of the Living Dead (1985)
*Hellraiser (1987-New to this edition!)
*Child’s Play (1988-New to this edition!)
*Misery (1990)
*Scream (1996)
*Ringu (1998)
*The Blair Witch Project (1999)
*Saw (2004)
*The Cabin in the Woods (2012-New to this edition!)


Classic EBI #70: Where Credit is Due

It’s the end of the year, friends, and in this week’s new Everything But Imaginary, I’m casting my eyes back to the best of 2010. The best comic books, movies, TV shows, and prose novels of the year are all in my head, and I’m giving you my picks!

Everything But Imaginary #380: The Best of 2010

But let’s travel back in time now, friends, to July 7, 2004, a couple of weeks after I ticked everybody off by talking about characters that I thought were overrated. To balance the scales, this week I discussed characters that don’t get the respect they deserve…

Everything But Imaginary #70: Where Credit is Due

Where credit is due

Blake’s Universal Rules of the Universe #42: If you want to get people screaming at each other on a comic book site, say something bad about Magneto.

For those of you who came in late, a couple of weeks ago I did a column about comic book characters that, in my own humble opinion, which of course is right, get way more credit than they deserve. The hackneyed, the overused, the unjustly worshiped. I expected people to get fired up about this. I did not expect a 19-page diatribe on morality spurred by a few people trying to justify genocide by saying a killer is really a sweet, cuddly teddy bear.

This week, friends, we’re going to take the opposite approach. I’m going to talk about characters who have been around for a long time, but who aren’t as respected or looked up to as they deserve to be. Now before anyone starts talking about who can beat these guys in a fight, my argument has nothing to do with that. Power levels are irrelevant. I’m talking about good, enjoyable characters that can be milked for great stories, but just aren’t held in the same regard as some of their lesser peers. I’m talking about giving some credit where credit is due.

And we’re starting with one of my personal favorites that everyone else turns up their noses at — Captain Marvel. And no, I don’t mean Genis — frankly, I found that Captain Marvel to be a fairly bland character, raised up only by some clever writing by Peter David. I’m talking about the real Cap, the big red cheese, wielder of the power of Shazam. Created in 1940 and defined by the likes of C.C. Beck and Otto Binder, this character was a young orphaned boy who was led down an abandoned subway tunnel to meet an ancient, dying wizard. The wizard gave the boy six gifts — Solomon’s wisdom, Hercules’ strength, Atlas’ stamina, Zeus’ power, Achilles’ courage and Mercury’s speed, and told him he could call upon these powers by saying the wizard’s name… Shazam! Doing so transformed young Billy Batson into the world’s Mightiest Mortal and, for a time, the world’s most popular comic book character, even outselling Superman.

In this day and age — yeah, it’s a goofy concept. It’s almost silly. But there’s something beautifully pure and innocent about the character. Even during the Underworld Unleashed miniseries, when the demon Neron wanted to possess the purest soul in existence, most heroes assumed he meant Superman, but in the end, it was Captain Marvel all along.

Besides just the purity of the character, the dichotomy of a child posing as an adult superhero is a fertile ground for great storytelling, and I love the fact that Geoff Johns is finally doing something with it in JSA, putting Billy in a teenage romance with Stargirl. It’s perfectly innocent, but it raises eyebrows among those who don’t know he’s really a teenager himself.

He’s just a great character, but a lot of readers seem to feel the need to down everyone created before 1962, and that’s just not right. Hopefully Jeff Smith’s upcoming miniseries will finally put him in the spotlight he deserves.

Since there was a member of the X-Men on the “overrated” list, it’s only fair that one makes the “underrated” list as well… I’ve always loved The Beast. Basically what you have in this character is a brilliant biologist with big ol’ arms and legs and incredible agility who accidentally turned himself blue and furry. Unlike some characters, though, he’s usually shown as being quite comfortable with his change, remaining just as smart and witty as ever.

In New X-Men (or was it X-Treme where it started? Oh, it doesn’t matter) he underwent an even further mutation, becoming more catlike, and in the current Astonishing X-Men storyline it’s starting to look like he’s not as comfortable with that change. Personally, I like it, I think it makes him more unique.

What made the Beast fun for for me is that he didn’t sulk and mope about his transformation, he enjoyed it. So he’s blue and furry, so what? You know there are women out there who like that sort of thing. Just have fun with it!

Just on sheer enjoyment, Beast is my favorite X-character, but he’s often overshadowed by the likes of Wolverine or Rogue or (ugh) Gambit. I say put him on the new Avengers team again and let him get done up right.

My next pick isn’t a single character at all, but rather an entire team that doesn’t get the notice from fandom it deserves. No… not a team, a Legion. the Legion of Super-Heroes, to be precise. In the 31st century, a band of superpowered teenagers from across the galaxy have been brought together to serve as protectors of the universe. It’s such a simple concept, but such a great one. The Legion has a vast array of characters with different powers, homeworlds, cultures and belief systems. With so many different factors to play with, the storytelling potential is virtually unlimited.

Plus, it was a groundbreaking concept when it was created in the 50s. Characters died, characters quit, emotions ran high and feelings conflicted. The Legion was doing the teen angst thing before the first X-Men got their yellow spandex back from the tailor. With so many different characters, in history, personality and power types, no matter how good a writing team is, there is always more room to mine for great stories.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning just wrapped up a fantastic five-year run with these characters, but unfortunately, they didn’t set fire to the sales charts. Fortunately, though, there’s still plenty of excitement to go around. Gail Simone is taking her crack next, followed by a crossover with the Teen Titans before the title is handed off to the highly capable hands of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson. The future looks bright for the Legion, but there are so many things I’d like to see done with them… people often ask me what comic book I’d most like to write if given the chance. It’s not Superman or Batman or even Fantastic Four. This is it, baby, right here.

Moving on… Superman is definitely my all-time favorite comic book character. There’s no question about that. Does anyone want to guess who number two is? Anyone? No, not Spider-Man… not Captain America… who was that who just said NFL Superpro? Somebody hit him for me, please.

No, my second-favorite comic book character, a character who never seems to make the greatest lists, the powerhouse lists, who actually had to die last year before people started to appreciate him, is Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing. If ever a character drew the short straw in the superpower lottery, it was Ben Grimm. His best buddy convinces him to steal a rocket and what happens? They get doused with cosmic rays. One can burst into flame, one can turn invisible, one can stretch… but Ben? He gets turned into a monster made out of orange rock. Unable to feel a warm touch, unable to hold the woman he loves for fear of crushing her, trapped in this monstrous state that even his best friend, the smartest man in the world, cannot cure him of.

This is the sort of thing that turns some people into villains.

Not Ben Grimm.

Oh, he blamed Reed Richards for a long time. Even hated him sometimes, for turning him into a freak. But through it all, he stayed on the side of the angels. He fought the good fight. He eventually learned to forgive and to become part of a family, and in doing so, became one of the greatest comic book characters there ever was. In the Fantastic Four Versus the X-Men miniseries, there was a scene where Rogue swiped Ben’s power and memory to take him out of the fight. The effect stunned her. According to Chris Claremont’s captions, she had expected to find herself kissing a toad, but instead touched the soul of a prince.

Ben keeps kicking. Keeps fighting. He’s the bravest character in comics.

But Wolverine gets the dozen spin-offs and the Punisher gets the miniseries and action figures. And neither one of them are fit to rub turtle wax on his big, orange hide.

Yeah, Ben anchored the old Marvel Two-in-One series for a long time, and even had his own series for a while, but these days it seems like people don’t get what makes him so great. He may be made of stone, but he is the truest diamond in the rough.

Anyway, those are the folks I think don’t get the credit they deserve. What about you guys? Who do you think gets unjustly ignored? Who should be getting more exposure? Who do you think should get the spotlight once in a while?

First person to say Magneto gets hit with a tube sock full of quarters.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: June 30-July 3, 2004

Good luck finding this week’s favorite, since it was one of the Free Comic Book Day selections and one in much shorter supply than most of the others I saw, but nothing I read last week made me smile more than Astonish Comics #1. I got the book because of the Herobear and the Kid story by Mike Kunkel. As it turned out, it was an excerpt from the comic that I’d already read, but it was still pleasant. I kept reading, though, and to my amazement, I loved everything in this issue. The Lab was wonderfully silly, Awesome Man seemed to be the sort of thing that taps into the imagination, Spooners was another hysterical strip comic transferred to comic book format, and The Dreamland Chronicles looks like the sort of thing that will appeal to the Shreck demographic. All of them were clever and the artwork was great. Astonish Comics charges each of us to “Remember your childhood… and pass it on.” It is clear that the people who made this comic book believe in that with all their hearts.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.



Classic EBI #86: The Monster Mash

It’s time for another Everything But Imaginary column, friends… but it seems this week’s column will be delayed a mite. It’s finished! It’s written! But when I uploaded it onto Dropbox on my computer at work… I dunno, maybe it didn’t take. Whatever, it’s not in my Dropbox now. So tomorrow I’ll e-mail it to myself or something and we’ll all enjoy it then, right?

Anyway, no reason to skip this week’s classic EBI. Let’s travel back to October 27, 2004, and an early EBI Halloween celebration…

The Monster Mash

Last year, I took a little time in Everything But Imaginary to talk about horror comics just before Halloween. (You can read that classic, brilliant, prestigious, exemplary column right here: Comics That Go Bump in the Night.) Since I love Halloween, I wanted to do something to touch on it again this year, but how do I follow-up something that magnificent?

But Halloween doesn’t necessarily have to be about something scary. It can be about something ugly too. It can be all about the crazy costumes and the gooey makeup and the rubber masks. One thing that I think makes Halloween a lot of fun are the monsters, and you can find more and better monsters in comic books than you can anywhere else.

Virtually every classic monster of screen and film has graced the comic book page at some point or another — Godzilla, Dracula, King Kong and Freddy Krueger have all starred in their own comics, both miniseries and long-running ongoing titles, over the years. But they didn’t get their start in comics — and a lot of the greats did.

Classically monsters were the villains. One of the early Captain Marvel serials, in fact, pitted him against the evil machinations of the Monster Society of Evil. This storyline, which lasted from Captain Marvel #22 through #48 (proving that Brian Michael Bendis was not the first person to stretch a story out beyond all reasonable expectations of sanity), brought together all of Cap’s most dastardly nemesis — Dr. Sivana, Captain Nazi, Ibac and the like, under the leadership of the mysterious Mr. Mind. Granted, few of these characters were monsters in the traditional sense, until the end of the series when Cap finally confronted and captured Mr. Mind, only to find his arch-enemy was a tiny worm from outer space. The story became a classic, and is even inspiring Jeff Smith’s upcoming Shazam! miniseries (and if DC has a brain in their marketing department, they’ll put out a paperback collection of the original “Monster Society” serial to coincide with that comic.)

Then in the 50s, a new monster came to comics, but not a traditional one. He was a hero, a monster and even a little green man. He was the Martian Manhunter. Transported to Earth by an experiment that left him stranded, J’onn J’onzz basically looked like a bald guy at a football game covered in green paint, but despite this obstacle, he went on to be a superhero. He had it easy, though, he was a shapeshifter, and found it very easy to disguise himself as “John Jones.” (Martians are renowned throughout the universe for their ability to conjure up clever pseudonyms.) As time went on, though, you saw him in human form less and less, and even his “default” form became a bit more inhuman, particularly in the face. We got a nice surprise, years later, when we found out the J’onn we’d been reading about wasn’t his “real” form at all — the true shape of a Martian was much more alien, much more monstrous, but he took on the “default” form as a sort of compromise between his true form and a human form so he wouldn’t leave kids he saved in falling school buses wetting the bed until they were in college.

When Stan Lee revolutionized Marvel Comics in the 60s, though, he brought in two monsters that didn’t have the luxury of morphing into a steel-jawed John Wayne type and taking their girl out for a night on the town. Most well known, of course, is the Hulk. Lee famously said he created this hero to be a mixture of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein, but the end result was an icon in its own right.

Dr. Bruce Banner — a nuclear physicist, a weapons expert, and a Pisces — was working on a top-secret, highly-experimental Gamma Bomb. (The next projects included the Theta Bomb, the Lambda Bomb, and the Delta Delta Delta Bomb which, according to instructional films of the 1980s, caused women to spontaneously have pillow fights in their underwear.) Banner got exposed to the bomb when he pulled some punk kid who was joyriding on the testing range out of the way of the blast. Instead of turning Banner into a wad of Banner-related gel that could have fit inside a Silly Putty egg, the bomb turned him big and gray and strong, but only at night. Then later big and green and strong, when he got angry. Then gray and green. Then possibly plaid at one point, but it was getting confusing.

Stan Lee was trying to tell a parable about a good man trapped inside a monster, and for the longest time, that’s essentially what The Incredible Hulk tried to be. It took Peter David to take all of the Hulk’s weird permutations and make sense of the whole thing. Banner, as it turned out, had multiple personality syndrome. The “real” Banner had trained himself to be cold and stoic, so his other emotions manifested as alternate personalities that were given physical form by the gamma rays. His frightened, angry side manifested itself as the green Hulk, while his lustful, hedonistic side became the gray Hulk (or “Mr. Fixit,” as he was sometimes called, and you can insert your own joke here because I’m not touching that one).

Suddenly, what was a cool story about one monster became a cool story about a lot of monsters, all in the same guy. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what the current status quo of the Hulk is (I think he’s rampaging again, but I’m not sure), but it’ll be hard for anyone to come up with something so simple, and so well thought-out, as the monster stories Peter David told with the character.

Then there’s one last great comic book monster to consider, my personal favorite. I gush about him, I know, but he’s a fantastic character, and fully deserves praise, accolades and a better makeup job than Michael Chiklis has if the promotional pictures are to be believed. You know him, you love him, let’s hear it for the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, Benjamin J. Grimm.

Stan Lee had already broken some of the rules when creating the Fantastic Four. Sure, he had the hero scientist, the girlfriend and the teen sidekick, but unlike most comics, the teenager and the girlfriend were equals to the hero, full-fledged members of the team. So how better to round it out than to bring in monster — a gruff, burly creature that hated the scientist for what he did to him? That’s how Ben Grimm started out. But like all truly iconic characters, he evolved. His hatred faded and, while still stuck with a really lousy hand, he adapted. A lot of FF stories over the years have dealt with people fleeing from the Thing’s orange hide, his inhuman visage, but his heart has truly become more human than anyone else’s. If you’re looking for a great monster hero, you need look no further. Come Friday night just put on your blue Speedos, paint orange rocks all over your body and trick-or-treat as the Thing.

So now we come to the reason I like doing these sorts of columns — I know I’ve left somebody’s favorite off the list. It’s inevitable. So who do you think are the greatest monsters in comics, heroes or villains? The Beast? Bizarro? The Monolith? Michael Jackson? It’s called a message board, folks. Tell me who you dig and what makes ‘em a great monster.

And Happy Halloween!

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: October 20, 2004

Identity Crisis #5. There, I said it. Do I even need to qualify this? Do I need to explain what makes this so all-fired fantastic, so incredible, the best crossover of the past two decades? Do I have to tell you this comic rocks my socks and anyone who isn’t reading it is a great big doodoohead? No? Good. Let’s talk about another great comic book, then.

Fantastic Four #519, the last issue of the unfortunately named “Fourtified” story arc (vaguely an Avengers Disassembled crossover, but you can read it independent of that) features the team captured by an alien race that wants to destroy Manhattan all to wipe out the Invisible Woman because they believe she’s going to prove useful to the planet-devourer Galactus. The solution to get the team out of the situation is simple but clever, and the twist at the end is incredible. Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo continue to deliver one of the best comic books in the business.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.


Toy Stories: Another Marvel Mob

What’s that, you say? You want to see pictures of more Marvel action figures? And my inimitable commentary? And, if at all possible, you’d like three figures from the Marvel Universe line and one from Wolverine and the X-Men?

Well… if that’s what you really want, okay.

Nightcrawler: Swashbuckler and Extremely Popular Dude at Sorority Rush Week

Nightcrawler: Swashbuckler and Extremely Popular Dude at Sorority Rush Week

First up, from Wolverine and the X-Men, let me introduce you to Nightcrawler. In truth, I’m not really a huge fan of the X-Men characters. Outside of the original five, the only ones I’ve ever really liked are Shadowcat, Colossus, and our boy Kurt Wagner here. The animated figure is nicely articulated, but his funky feet make him difficult to pose. For a moment, I entertained the thought that I could use the tail to help prop him up, but it doesn’t really rotate enough to be practical. They included the sword, though, which is awesome.

These next three are from the Marvel Universe line, and i’ll present them in increasing order of awesometude.

Dont mess with Ms. Marvel. She burns gloves.

Don't mess with Ms. Marvel. She burns gloves.

Ms. Marvel is the first female Marvel Universe figure I got, and honestly, I wasn’t wild about it. The paint at the top of the boots is bad — the lines are messed up and not clean at all. The head almost looks like a wig was glued on, and the face sculpt isn’t so hot. The actual body sculpt is pretty good, though. The torso joint is much better than in the male figures, and unlike the female DC Universe Infinite Heroes toys, Ms. Marvel is very easy to stand up and pose. There are two Ms. Marvel figures — this one features her current costume, but you can also get her in her original costume. I just prefer this one.

The ever-lovin, blue-eyed Thing

The ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing

I was really excited to get this figure. Benjamin J. Grimm, the Thing, is my favorite Marvel superhero and my second-favorite hero of all (right after Superman). The figure is pretty good too. Like the oversized Hulk figure from the same line, Ben’s sculpt is more stable than your standard Marvel Universe torso. I wish he wasn’t hunched over quite so much — Ben is a big dude, but he does have decent posture — but other than that this is a sharp-looking figure that does Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s greatest creation justice.

Much as I love Benjy, though, his figure just isn’t as cool as this next guy…



This is the third Iron Man figure in the Marvel Universe series, and like the first two, it’s one of the best toys in the line. This armor design isn’t Tony Stark’s current armor, nor is it his first, nor is it even my favorite, but it’s arguably the most classic version of Iron Man and inarguably the armor that he wore the longest. The entire figure looks like a unique sculpt, especially the great helmet, gloves, and boots. He comes with the same energy-burst accessory as the first two figures, but I can forgive that because it looks that cool. With the sequel to last year’s hit movie scheduled to come out next year, I hope they keep producing his armors, especially his original, the Silver Centurion outfit, and my personal favorite, the Neo-Classic armor.


Toy Stories Goes Urban!

Urban Vinyl isn’t exactly a new craze, but it’s one that’s spreading rapidly. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s the concept: the entire toy line uses the same blank, featureless body. any character or design can be applied to it, or it can be sold blank and customized, which makes for some pretty awesome designs among people — unlike myself — with great artistic talent. I don’t have a lot of Urban Vinyl, but I recently got my hands on two different figures from two different lines.

The little fella on the right is one of Disney‘s Vinylmation line. I got this one from my sister, who had a duplicate. She and my brother are seriously getting into the little Mickey Mouse-shaped figures, and there are a lot of really cool designs out there, including a Monorail Mickey, a Kermit the Frog, a Figment (old-school EPCOT fans know who that is) and several dedicated to the Haunted Mansion. This guy has a fireworks pattern meant to simulate a nighttime display in Walt Disney World, and if you look close, you can see that the bursts are comprised of tiny Mickey heads. On the back of the figure, near the bottom, is the top of Cinderella’s castle. This isn’t a line where I’ll have to get every figure, but there are several cool ones.

The big guy is Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, and my second-favorite character in all of comics (after Superman, naturally). Ben is part of Hasbro’s Mighty Muggs toy line, which is notable because it uses this same body mold for characters from nearly a half-dozen different franchises. Ben and the rest of the Marvel Universe are joined by characters from G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the TransFormers. I really like cross-franchise toy lines like this, the Mini-Mates, and so on, and with my love for Ben being what it is, I had to pick the guy up.

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