Benjamin Jacob Grimm
June 18, 1979
Daniel Grimm (father)
Adventurer; former construction worker, security guard, astronaut, test pilot, college football player, student, wrestler
College graduate (State University), U.S. Air Force pilot training, NASA astronaut training
- "It's clobberin' time!"
- ―The Thing
Benjamin Grimm was born on June 18, 1979 in New York, New York to Elsie and Daniel Grimm. Benjamin J. Grimm was born on Yancy Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where he grew up in poverty. His father, an alcoholic, was unable to hold a job. Much of the family's income came from Grimm's older brother, Daniel, who obtained funds illegally as leader of the Yancy Street Gang. Grimm, who idolized his brother, became embittered against the world when Daniel was killed in a battle between rival gangs. Grimm was only eight years old at the time. Within ten years, he had succeeded his brother as leader of the Yancy Street Gang. After his parents died, Grimm was taken in by his Uncle Jake, who had risen from poverty to become a successful physician. At first, Grimm resisted his new guardians' kindness toward him. But eventually, he came to return their love. He left his life with the Yancy Street Gang behind, entered high school, and became a football star there. While he was a senior at Stuyvesant High School, Ben received a football scholarship to State University in Hegeman, New York. On the football field, Ben received the nickname "Grimm Reaper."
Grimm's freshman year roommate was the brilliant science student Reed Richards, who became his closest friend. During their first meeting, Richards confided in Grimm his intention someday to build a starship for interstellar travel. Grimm jokingly promised that he would pilot the starship for Richards if he ever built it.
Upon graduating Grimm went into the U.S. Air Force and became a highly skilled fighter pilot, as well as test pilot and astronaut. In the meantime, Richards went ahead with his project to build a starship, using both his own fortune and funding from the Federal government. On the day that Grimm left the military, Richards came to him to remind him of his promise to pilot the starship.
Reed Richards' project was based in Central City, California. When the federal government threatened to withdraw its funding from Richards' project, Richards decided to take the star ship on a test flight himself as soon as possible. Grimm was opposed to the idea, warning that the star ship's shielding might prove to be inadequate protection from intense radiation storms. Nevertheless, Grimm was persuaded to serve as pilot, and Richards' future wife Sue Storm and her teenage brother Johnny insisted on accompanying Richards' as passengers. The four friends stole into the launch facility, entered the star ship, and launched it. They intended to travel through hyperspace to another solar system and back. However, unknown to Richards, a solar flare caused Earth's Van Allen radiation belts to be filled temporarily with unprecedented, ultra-high levels of cosmic radiation. Since the ship was designed to shield against ordinary levels of radiation, the cabin interior was subject to intense cosmic ray bombardment which irradiated the four passengers and wrought havoc on the ship's controls. Pilot Grimm was forced to abort the flight and return to Earth.
Once back on Earth, the four passengers discovered that the cosmic radiation had triggered mutagenic changes in their bodies. Grimm was transformed into an orange-colored, thick-skinned, heavily-muscled, and super humanly strong "thing." Richards convinced the three others that the four of them should use their new powers for the good of humanity as members of a team named the Fantastic Four. Richards called himself Mister Fantastic, Susan and Johnny Storm took the names of the Invisible Girl (later Invisible Woman) and the Human Torch, and Grimm, morose over his new grotesque appearance, named himself the Thing. Under Richards' leadership the Fantastic Four has become Earth's most honored team of superhuman adventurers, and has saved the world from conquest or destruction many times. Their incorporation heralded the modern age of superheroes. The Fantastic Four were not just Ben's friends, they became his surrogate family, and he was like a beloved uncle to Reed and Sue's children, Franklin (whose middle name was Benjamin, after the Thing) and Valeria. He also often assisted his teammate Johnny during the young man's solo adventures.
Personality and traitsEdit
- "Okay, I'm sure this's interesting and all, but if we don't actually fight the bad guys, we'll lose our hero license!"
- ―Benjamin Grimm