Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Auntie Dame


We've seen many a funny panel where Ben Grimm, the Thing, speaks fondly (as well as colorfully) about his Aunt Petunia:




And so, over time, we readers got a delightful mental picture of Petunia, as well as an idea of her personality and bluntness that made such an impression on her now-famous nephew.

But, what does Aunt Petunia have to do with this mysterious visitor to the Baxter Building?



In a story published in early 1982, John Byrne, who was in the process of imparting his own vision to the pages of Fantastic Four, once again broke new ground by treading upon the familiar, and gave long-time FF readers one of the most famous meetings ever.




Naturally, the other members of the FF were as surprised at this revelation as we were. But "Penny" Grimm and Ben's adopted family become fast friends.



Unfortunately, Penny was fated to become a casualty of a deadly battle, thanks to a 2009 story by Mark Millar which featured the FF going up against the Marquis of Death.



It starts with the Marquis' surprise attack, and an offhand comment from Ben which opens the door to tragedy:



The Marquis is a sadist's sadist who can indulge his every whim, and so he takes the opportunity to immediately make clear to the Thing that this encounter will be unlike any other, and that this is only the beginning of the hell that awaits the FF.



I didn't continue with reading Fantastic Four, but I imagine that the days when readers would be treated to a humorous panel where Ben would quote the words or thoughts of his Aunt Petunia were now over. Someone will have to enlighten me about how the FF book was made the better for it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you there. First they had to make Aunt Petunia sexy, and then they had to kill her. I suspect she has already risen from the grave. Probably with demonic super-powers.
(Sigh).

Anonymous said...

The very reason I've given up on comics, both Marvel and DC.

Adam said...

That's Mark Millar for you. He never met a character he didn't like to beat/rape/kill off.

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