When Heroes Accessorize!

 From the ashes of Fat Week, it’s Hat Week here at Living Between Wednesdays! I’m a bit fuzzy on how this whole theme came about—I feel fairly certain that alcohol may have been involved. I do know that the logical progression of Fat Week leading to Hat Week means that next week will be Cat Week. I still have no idea what I’ll be writing about for that. For now, though, this week will all be about stylish headgear. I came to my topic for this theme pretty quickly, when I remembered an awesome issue of the old Marvel Two-In-One series—issue #60, to be exact, cover dated February 1979. I have this story in the old The Thing: Project Pegasus trade paperback, although I don’t think it appears in the newly-issued hardcover of the same storyline. Which is a shame, because it’s great fun in the old-school Mighty Marvel Manner. This was an especially great run on this book, with the Project Pegasus storyline on one side of this issue and the Counter-Earth saga and The Serpent Crown Affair on the other side of it.

This story, titled “Happiness Is A Warm Alien!” (by writers Ralph Macchio and Mark Gruenwald, and artists George Perez and Gene Day) sees Benjamin J. Grimm, AKA the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, getting ready for a fancy gallery show of his gal Alicia’s latest sculptures. Ben gets ready for the show with a shower, only to be interrupted (in a fun Psycho homage) by Fantastic Four associate the Impossible Man. This shape-shifting weirdo from the planet Poppup is looking to be entertained for the evening, so he gets the night off to a slightly invasive start by disguising himself as Ben’s towel. Can you imagine if Ben had decided to use that towel to dry off his nether regions before he realized what was going on? I’ll bet ol’ Impy wouldn’t try that gag again.


Impossible Man really wants to hang out with his rocky orange pal that night, but Ben insists that the presence of a pointy-headed green alien will freak out the guests of the SoHo gallery show. Y’know, more so than a seven-foot tall muscleman made out of bright orange rocks in a tuxedo. However, I.M. comes up with a novel solution:


Hilarity ensues when the duo take to the streets, and the excitable extraterrestrial can’t settle on a shape. One imagines that a sight like this would attract attention regardless, but the tabloid press probably had a field day with this.


I can’t decide which one is funniest—the Davy Crockett or the moose antlers. As an aside, I’d like to add that George Perez probably draws my all-time favourite version of the Thing. He’s just very expressive and lovable. Dig that expression in the panel where’s he’s wearing the Mickey Mouse hat (does this mean that the Marvel/Disney deal was written in the stars or something?).

 The whole night might be in jeopardy when the trio takes a shortcut down Yancy Street, smack in the middle of a strip of turf belonging to a certain gang that has it in for Aunt Petunia’s favourite nephew Benjy. Thankfully, this might be the one time where it pays to be wearing a sentient, shapeshifting hat:


The remainder of the story involves a trio of thugs that Ben put away in an old issue of Strange Tales who transfer their minds into Alicia’s statues of supervillains in order to get revenge. Ben and Impy shut them down pretty easily, but not before a few familiar faces from the Marvel Bullpen make an appearance. It’s meta before meta was a thing!


Not shown: the Yancy Street Gang pouring one on the curb for their dead homey who took a brick in the face.