As I’m wrapping up this series on Stan Lee and Fantastic Four #1, I have a question someone out there might be able to address. Lee spent a significant amount of time in his FF # 1 synopsis talking about the Thing. Stan wrote that he wanted the reader to always be afraid the Thing “will sabotage the Fantastic Four’s efforts at whatever they are doing — he isn’t interested in helping mankind the way the other three are.”
This idea of the traitorous, two-faced, ticking time bomb as a member of a group, whose main goal is to disrupt things, reminds me of the Dr. Smith character in the old Lost in Space show (and of course, Dr. Smith is there for comedy relief, but Lee seems to want Jack to portray his Thing in a serious fashion).
Since that show ran from 1965 to 1968, it was not an influence on Lee’s Thing — so I was wondering if there are any experts on literature, comics, the pulps, or TV and movie history out there who can tell us: can any of you think of any fictional characters that appeared before 1961 that may have influenced Lee’s version of the Thing. Lee was so passionate about that dark aspect of the story, I’ll call it “The Dark Thing,” I wonder what the inspiration was. And was this concept for the Dark Thing (which Kirby immediately rejected in the illustration phase) Lee’s attempt to do an “adult” story?