Brovember Day 18 – Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm
Salutations, steadfast sojourners! Today’s featured fraternity focuses on a far-out friendship from a familiar funnybook! A premium pair of pals created by Stan The Man, himself!
And also Jack Kirby, but mixing that in with the alliteration feels kind of dirty. Anyway, today’s Brovember Spotlight shines ever-so-brightly upon…
The Thing and The Human Torch!
For just as long as there has been a Marvel universe, these two characters have been simultaneously watching one another’s back and busting one another’s balls. In Ben Grimm’s defense, Johnny is normally the antagonist in their less friendly moments. But when you’re a rockstar teenager with a super sexy power and you’re cooped up with a big orange mook 24/7, you might end up taking some cheap shots. And since Johnny was 16 at the time of their fantastic transformation, he’s that much less mature. You have to remember, this kid once grabbed a disoriented homeless man and burned all of the hair off of his face just for laughs… luckily, that hobo happened to be Namor so the FF were able to give it a positive spin in the press.
Despite being a teenage superhero, a hot rod enthusiast and a ladies’ man, Johnny still found time to tease the hell out of Ben. Perhaps the most notable, certainly the most enjoyable, instance of this comes from Marvel Fanfare #15, in a story by Barry Windsor Smith. This story tells the tale of a particularly trying day for Ben Grimm, throughout which he’s constantly experiencing an uncanny degree of bad luck. As shown above, there are clearly signs of foul play and when it all comes to a head he realizes it was all an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank by the Human Torch. Unfortunately, he was too busy planning the prankfest to double-check his day planner.
But it’s not always so one-sided. While Johnny has a lot of fun toying with Ben, he’s the subject of a bit of abuse, himself. You see, despite Ben Grimm’s rough and tumble attitude, he’s actually a fairly clever guy. Johnny, on the other hand, is sort of a dummy. So Ben can normally get a verbal jab in here or there, and therefore can let off some steam without actually murdering Johnny (a feat he could easily accomplish).
Ben and Johnny may often be at one another’s throat, but it’s all in good fun. When push comes to shove, they’re practically family and each would risk hislife to save the other. But, as so often happens in situations of Bromance, even the strongest friendship can be shaken when they both have eyes for the same woman. In this case, blind sculptress Alicia Masters. In the aftermath of the Secret Wars, Ben Grimm learned that on the alien planet Battleworld, he could change from his rocky form back to his human form at will. Since this was kind of a big deal to him, he elected to stay behind. The rest of the FF understood, and they brought She-Hulk in as a replacement for Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew. Obviously, Ben’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Alicia was a bit upset. Thankfully, though, Johnny was there to comfort her. And he continued to comfort her for quite some time, even after the Thing returned to earth.
Yeah, the door ought to stop him.
As weird as it was, Ben was eventually okay with this “revolting development” and even acted as best man in Johnny’s wedding to Alicia. Thankfully, though, the Alicia that loved and married Johnny was actually a Skrull spy sent to get in close with the Fantastic Four. However, we can’t let that little detail spoil the fun of calling them Eskimo Brothers.
Since Ben is the forgiving sort, he remained close friends with Johnny all the while. Through the constant abuse, the rampant property damage, and even the brosharing incident these two have shared a Bromance for the ages.
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