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Between a rock and a … hard place?

OK, I know I shouldn’t be thinking about such things, but I did come to this question in a logical way:

Is The Thing (of Fantastic Four fame) anatomically correct?

I got to thinking about this in the wake of the potential continuity “fuck you” Marvel Comics may or may not be about to perpetrate on Spider-Man (ranted to death about here and many other places). About 12 or 13 years ago (I think), the powers-that-be did another lame (not as lame) retcon that The Thing’s ex-girlfriend, Alicia Masters, never really married teammate Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) during John Byrne’s classic run on the FF in the ’80s–it was actually a shape-shifting Skrull called Lyja who replaced Alicia and placed her in suspended animation and … UH HUH. Right.

Anyway, I was thinking about how much of an affront this retcon was to the great pathos Byrne created with this subplot–his stories allowed for great future drama concerning the Thing, the Torch, their relationships, the team dynamics, etc. And to have that all thrown out … well, it was plainly offensive to all those creators and intelligent readers.

So that brings us back to the issue of The Thing and his anatomy. Of course, thinking of him having relationships with women (and at one point, a She-Thing. Not kidding.), you have to wonder: Does he have a rocky penis? For that matter, what ARE the, um, post-digestive functions of a guy made out of orange rocks? Think about it: He eats, he drinks, he (until Joe Quesada banned it) smokes, so therefore he has to (sorry, kids) take a crap or hit the head every so often, right? I mean, presumably under the rocky exterior, he’s just squishy human organs, right?

I’m not sure any creator has addressed this. Not that they should, I guess–most mainstream comic writers don’t bother dealing with how their heroes take care of basic food and personal needs when, say, they’re in the midst of fighting aliens in outer space or whatever. But one particular story comes to mind, from an early issue of Marvel Fanfare in the early ’80s, illustrated by the great Barry Windsor Smith. In it, the Thing obviously has a bathroom (without an obviously oversized toilet or anything) and has a morning prep procedure (including brushing his teeth, which are apparently not rocks!). And see, that’s a good point right there — his teeth are not rocks, his eyes are still blue, so is the rocky exterior just that: a gamma-mutated skin? Maybe under those blue shorts he always wears, he his like a turtle … with some, um, exposed “soft parts” down below. But that would make Benjamin J. Grimm awfully vulnerable below the belt, wouldn’t you say?

Man, the things that come into my head. Feel free to weigh in if you have any thoughts on the matter, kids.