Monday, September 17, 2012

The Thing, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Marvel Two-in-One #75

It's been well documented that the Thing is a fan of the New York Jets.  This makes a lot of sense (for a fictional character, anyway), because of what part of New York Ben Grimm is from and his early publication history; the Jets were an exciting team in the 1960s with "Broadway" Joe Namath and their memorable win in Super Bowl III.  I'm also fairly certain that the Thing is a fan of the New York Mets, a team that shares some fan geography as well as 1960s improbable success.

The Jets rolled into Pittsburgh yesterday as owners of week one's best offensive output and got stomped by your Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-10.

Here's a picture of Heath Miller, a vastly underrated tight end (and farmer's tan recipient) catching a touchdown pass.  OH YEAH!!  Season predictions: the Steelers will win Super Bowl XVLII.  You read it here, folks.

I am slowly working my way through the entire Marvel Two-in-One series, which despite having some memorable runs and hall-of-fame type talent on many of its issues, also has stretches of awful, awful stories.  Sometimes these issues are difficult to make it through, but for the Thing, I persevere.  It's only fair.

A few days ago I made it to Two-in-One #75, an extra-sized issue featuring a team up with the Avengers.  In it, the Thing makes two NFL references, both regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The first is directly above.  It also mentions the Dallas Cowboys, but whatever.

At little bit further on, there's also a player specific, Terry Bradshaw reference!  What's funny about this is that this issue was published in 1981, as the four-time Super Bowl championship Steelers team was at the end of its run, having won its fourth championship during the 1979 season.  Many of the great Steelers players were retiring or entering into the last years of their careers.  I believe (without doing 30 seconds of research and looking it up) that Bradshaw's last year was 1983, so these references were a little late in coming.  But hey, better late than never!  It's a nice combination of two of my favorite things.

The time period was a heyday for the Steelers for sure, but it was also a time where the Thing's popularity was entirely evident.  Not only did the character headline his own book as well as appear in the proper Fantastic Four title, but he also showed up in three separate in-house ads.  The one directly above is advertising the very book it was published in.

This one was the standard mailing subscription ad.  Look at this!  The Thing takes up 25 percent of the page.

And there was also a full page ad for the then-new Dazzler series (which was the beginning of the direct market approach to sales, interestingly enough), in which the Thing shows up as part of an ensemble cast.  The Thing was as much a corporate mascot in the '60s, '70s and early 1980s as Spider-Man, or as Wolverine is today.  Good times.

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