Marvel Two-in-One: 25 Unusual Team-Ups

Superhero team-ups are usually pretty straightforward in the Marvel Universe. Except when they were in Marvel Two-in-One...

Marvel Two-In-One. The very name conjures up images of freewheeling, bronze age goodness, when comics tried to fit as much story as possible within 20 or so pages.  In 1973, Marvel Feature #12 began spotlighting a series of team-ups between the ever loving, blue-eyed Thing and other Marvel stalwarts. Sales must have been great because within two issues, the Thing team-up concept was given its own book, Marvel Two-In-One, which lasted an even one hundred issues and was a staple of the newsstands and spinner racks of the ’70s and ’80s.

The Marvel Feature team-ups were pretty standard fare; with Ben Grimm teaming with the Hulk and Iron Man (the Iron Man issue also featured an appearance by Thanos!). Marvel Two-In-One (which will hereby be referred to as MTO, because it’s a pain in the ass to type) frequently featured the heroes fans would expect in such a project, like Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, and Ben’s teammates in the Fantastic Four, but it also was a way station for characters that were not appearing in their own books…or anywhere else, for that matter.

MTO became a place for opportunistic writers to wrap up storylines and plot threads from cancelled books, teaming Bashful Benjie with some very strange and unexpected characters. It featured classic stories that still resonate within the Marvel Universe to this day, stories like “Project: Pegasus” which featured the introduction of Quasar, and “The Serpent Crown Saga.”

The book also featured some unusual guest stars. And by unusual, I mean completely bugnuts out of left field insane. Fans approaching MTO on the spinner racks month after month truly never knew what they were going to get as this list is about to show you…

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25. Thing and the Man-Thing

Marvel Two-In-One #1 (1974)

Writer: Steve Gerber

Penciller: Gil Kane

You would think that Marvel would have launched a new title with a commercially viable A-lister to share the marquee with the Thing, but nope!  For their newly minted team-up book, Marvel turned to none other than the muck encrusted Man-Thing. So, instead of an iconic cover featuring Spider-Man or Thor fighting side by side with Benjie, Marvel instead went with the Thing punching a hole into a sentient pile of ambulatory mud, which is just more awesome than words can describe.

The book centers on Ben journeying via bus to the Florida swamps because he’s ticked off that Man-Thing has stolen his name (imagine how he felt about John Carpenter). Instead of finding a copyright lawyer, Ben decided to open a can of swamp-ass on Man-Thing, until the son of the Molecule Man enters the picture threatening all of reality. Thing and Man-Thing must put aside their moniker differences to save the universe from an angry young villain who is mourning his father.

The Thing defeats Molecule Junior by ripping off a chunk of Man-Thing and throwing it into the villain’s face. Yeah, try that with Thor. This issue set the stage for all the insanity that followed.

24. The Thing and Jack of Hearts

Marvel Two-In-One #48 (1979)

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Penciller: Chic Stone

Marvel sure wanted Jack of Hearts to catch on. Seriously, the dude was everywhere in the ’70s, from his early days appearing in The Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu, to frequent guest spots in Iron Man, to popping up in The Defenders, to his own solo shot in Marvel Premiere, Marvel was bound and determined to find a parking spot for Jack.

Looking back, it is clear that no artist wanted to be stuck drawing the most gaudily intricate costume ever on a regular basis. No character that appeared that randomly would miss an appearance in MTO. Jack rescued the Thing from the mind control of the Machinesmith and helped Ben take down the robotic madman.

I would give you more of a recap, but I can’t stop staring at that costume. So…many…colors.

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23. The Thing and the Black Widow

Marvel Two-In-One #10 (1975)

Writer: Chris Claremont

Artist: Bob Brown

On paper, this isn’t that odd a team-up, even back in 1975, Black Widow was a pretty major character, she was a member of the Avengers, and even had her own solo feature. Now, of course, she is probably the most recognizable female hero in comics, so why would this make the list? It is the insane pacing and nature of this story that makes it noteworthy.

This issue is a perfect example of the free spirit of MTO, kicking off with a joy riding Natasha encountering Ben as she is chasing down an unknown foe. The Thing joins with her and both are captured and before you can say George Lazenby, they are whisked off to a secret headquarters for a classic old school spy story. Natasha is every inch Emma Peel in this issue as Ben is shoehorned into the John Steed role. An orange, rocky, cosmic powered John Steed.

The action never stops for a single panel as the issue really drives home the incongruities of the Thing in a spy story. It was the first time the genre mash-up potential was event in MTO in one of the most fun and strange comics of the mid-70s.

22. The Thing and Black Goliath

Marvel Two-In-One #24 (1977)

Writers: Bill Mantlo& Jim Shooter

Penciller: Sal Buscema

Black Goliath, aka Bill Foster, had his own book for a brief five issues before going into comic limbo. He was a character that used Hank Pym’s gas to grow to great sizes and was a pretty cool character in his own right. This story is a perfect example of how MTO was a dumping ground for semi-forgotten characters, as the book’s creators found characters from all over the Marvel Universe to mash-up with Benjie, and they usually made it work. 

The story is known as “Does Anyone Remember…the Hijacker.” Now, first, let us take the time to appreciate the dramatic pause within the title. Second, let us answer the question: why no, we do not remember the Hijacker.

The Hijacker is one of those rare villains named after what he does. There are not many villains running around named The Bank Robber, The Sexual Predator, the Purse Snatcher, or The Public Urinator, so old Hijacker is in some rarified air.

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He first appeared as an adversary for Ant-Man over in Tales to Astonish, before popping up in MTO again and finally being offed by Scourge. He kinda sucked, but this team-up didn’t. Later, Bill Foster would become a semi-regular character in MTO, but this was his first incongruous team-up with the Thing against one of the lamest villains this side of Big Wheel.

21. The Thing and the Puppet Master

Marvel-Two-In-One #74 (1981)

Writer: Mark Gruenwald

Penciller: Frank Springer

Other than the oddity of having the Thing team up with one of the FF’s oldest foes, the strangest thing about this issue is just how freakin’ sweetly moving it is. Trying to reconcile with his step-daughter (Thing’s blind sweetheart Alicia) the Puppet Master arrives at the Fantastic Four’s Christmas party. When Franklin Richards sees that the once vile villain has no presents, he offers the Puppet Master one of his own, and if that don’t make you cry Galactus size tears, you ain’t human.

As a gift, the FF offer to take Puppet Master to his home country. There, Puppet Master and The Thing are shrunk, forced to fight toy soldiers, meet the Arthurian wizard Mordred, and become friends with an anthropomorphic cow woman named Bova. At the end of the issue, Puppet Master swears to reform.

In his next appearance he is totally evil again.

So much for Christmas miracles, but damn, is this story heartwarming.

21. The Thing and Ghost Rider

Marvel Two-In-One #8 (1975)

Writer: Steve Gerber

Artists: Sal Buscema, Mike Esposito

Ghost Rider was pretty popular in 1975 so, while a demonic biker is pretty incompatible with The Thing, it wouldn’t be that odd that he was chosen as an early co-star. What is odd is the batshit crazy story involved.

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This one is another Christmas story that even trumps the Puppet Master zaniness. Y’see, while tooling around the Arizona desert on Christmas Eve, Ghost Rider comes across three wise men, and follows them to a perfect duplicate of Biblical Bethlehem. So, yeah, a hellspawned skull faced biker is motoring around the birthplace of Jesus, because comics are awesome.

Meanwhile, Reed Richards sends Ben to investigate a new star that points to an Indian Reservation. Ghost Rider meets a version of Joseph and Mary and he and Ben discover the whole thing was set up by Miracle Man, who transformed the Indian tribe that lived on the reservation into players in the Bible, because when most people think revenge, they think of transforming people into religious icons. Ghost Rider and Ben defeat Miracle Man and the tribe is saved.

The lesson you should take away from this? MTO Christmas stories are the greatest things ever.

20. The Thing and Triton

Marvel Two-In-One #65 (1980)

Writer: Mark Gruenwald& Ralph Macchio

Penciller: George Perez

The Serpent Crown Affair was one of the most memorable and intense story arcs in MTO, and this issue was smack in the middle of it. What makes this issue so odd is the choice of the co-star. As a member of the Inhumans, Triton is a regal and important member of the Royal Family. On his own, away from the context of his Inhuman roots, he’s a fish guy in purplish shorts. Triton only appears in this issue because The Thing needed to travel underwater to complete a mission, and I guess if you are acquainted with a fish dude, you ask said fish dude to come with you when you go under water.

All kidding aside, this issue formally introduces The Serpent Squad to Marvel readers and has so much going on it takes a few reads to appreciate the complexity of the story.

And it has a fish guy.

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This article is really, really long. So it’s on more than one page. Sorry about that.

19. The Thing and The Thing

Marvel Two-In-One #50 (1979)

Writer/artist: John Byrne

One of the cooler but crazier issues of MTO sees Reed create a serum that would have cured The Thing if he had drank it when he was in his early, leathery, mutated state. Confronted with such a conundrum, Ben did what anyone would do, he hopped in a time machine to force himself to drink the serum so he can change the future and cure himself. He ends up fighting himself, the epic battle drawn masterfully by John Byrne at the peak of his artistic prowess, and knocks himself out.

Grimm gives his fallen past self the serum but future Ben does not mutate back to human form. When rocky Thing returns to the present, Reed explains that all Ben did was create an alternate really because the past can’t be changed. The sheer scope of this story was mind blowing as was seeing a Kirby-esque Thing go at it with the modern version.

The book was so layered in paradox it will make even the biggest Grant Morrison fan’s nose bleed. The story is picked up again in issue #100, where Ben discovers that a world without the Thing would have been conquered by Nazis before being captured by Galactus. Now that’s pressure.

18. The Thing and The Impossible Man

Marvel Two-In-One #60 (1980)

Writer: Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio

Penciller: George Perez

Yeah, so Ben teams up with a pointy-headed imp from another dimension and that isn’t even close to the strangest thing that happens in this issue. When Ben dresses to the nines to accompany his gal Alicia to her art show, The Impossible Man transforms into Ben’s top hat and promises he will remain out of trouble. Ben reluctantly agrees and the three plan to spend a peaceful night admiring art.

Of course, this being MTO, there needs to be a strange villain, but this issue probably features the most obscure baddies of the entire run, a group with the totally uninspired name of The Terrible Trio that first appeared in an issue of Strange Tales that predates the Dead Sea Scrolls. The team (consisting of three mystics, Bull Brogin, “Handsome” Harry Phillips, and Yogi Dakor) take possession of three of Alicia’s statues during an art show to take revenge on Ben.

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One of them inhabits a statue of Dr. Doom, another, a statue of Blastaar, and the third, a stature of Diablo. Now, Dr. Doom is a given, and Blastaar is one of the biggest badasses in the Marvel Universe, but who the heck would want to possess Diablo? The dude was an alchemist. How is that scary? Is a stone alchemist somehow scarier? I can just imagine stupid Yogi Dakor thinking, “Forget the Hulk or the Juggernaut, I’m going to possess the statue of the dude that futzes around with test tubes.”

Yogi Dakor is a schmuck.

Anyway, when Impossible Man sees how much Ben loves Alicia in the aftermath of the battle, Impy creates an Impossible Woman for himself to experience love for the first time. Awww.

17. The Thing and Tigra

Marvel Two-In-One #19 (1976)

Plot: Tony Isabella

Script: Bill Mantlo

The great thing about Marvel in the ’70s is that nothing was considered odd or out of place, so when a bikini clad werewoman sneaks Into the Baxter Building and wakes the Thing in the middle of the night, it does not turn into the world’s strangest porn, it turns into an adventure with Thing and Tigra going up against The Cougar.

Now, The Cougar was not a middle aged woman who chased after young men. He was some lycanthropic evil business man that was such a douche that instead of Ben and Tigra clobbering him, he is taken out by his disgusted wife. That’s right, he was so evil his life partner took him out in a fit of marital disgust instead of waiting for the heroes to pound him. That’s a first.

Anyway, this book has a killer cover by none other than Jack Kirby. Oh, yeah, Tigra needed to find Cougar because he was in possession of artifacts known as the Null Bands of Tomazooma. Oh, comics.

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16. The Thing and The Golem

Marvel Two-In-One #11 (1975)

Plotter: Roy Thomas Scripter: Bill Mantlo

Penciller: Bob Brown

This issue is historic because it is the first, but certainly not the last time, MTO was used to wrap up dangling plot threads from a failed series. The Golem was featured in Strange Tales and was a sentient statue possessed by the soul of a slain man named Professor Abraham Adamso. As The Golem, Adamso hung around with his niece and nephew and was constantly hounded by a demon named Kaballa whose minions wear little yellow bathing suits.

This issue wraps up The Golem-Kaballa war with the Thing’s help, marking the first time a confused Ben became the Deus Ex Machina that solves the problems for other characters that no longer had their own features. If Ben could solve low sales he would have really been useful to some of these jerks. In all fairness, The Golem was kind of cool looking but the Marvel Universe just didn’t have room for two rocky brutes with hearts of gold.  

16. The Thing and The Liberty Legion

Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1 (1976)

Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas

Artist: Sal Buscema

This one is a loving tribute to everything that makes Roy Thomas great. Stan Lee’s protégé and great Marvel contributor in his own right, Roy Thomas’ greatest strength was finding super obscure Golden Age characters, dusting them off, and giving them some time in the sun.

This issue continues from Fantastic Four Annual #11 and concludes in MTO #20 and features the modern day return of Jack Frost, Red Raven, Blue Diamond, Thin Man, Miss America, Patriot, and Whizzer. Some of these characters would go on to play major roles in future Marvel stories, and others would return to anonymity, but seeing The Thing team up with a flat super-hero (Thin Man) or the ultra-obscure Red Raven (a hero that was featured in one issue of a very early Marvel comic that is worth a zillion dollars) was something special and was just so MTO.

Ben fighting alongside the forgotten heroes of World War II in 1942 was a rare treat for Bronze Age fans, and the issue ends with The Thing and the Legion ready to face off against a giant flying weaponized swastika. That’s all you need to know really.

15. The Thing and TheYancy Street Gang

Marvel Two-In-One #47 (1979)

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Penciller: Chic Stone

This was the first part of the Machinesmith storyline mentioned in the Jack of Hearts entry up above. Why is this installment even weirder? Because it features Ben Grimm’s old rivals, The Yancy Street Gang.

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Now, the Yancy Streeters are mentioned throughout FF history, so why is their appearance odd, you ask? Well, because at this time in Marvel history, the Yancy Street Gang were portrayed as almost identical looking construction workers who had their faces hidden by shadows.

So were they construction workers that constantly left a job to mess with Ben, or were the hardhats and sleeveless flannels their gang colors, or was there something a bit more Village People going on? Was Ben Grimm plagued by a gang of Bears throughout the ‘70s? And why weren’t the readers allowed to see their faces? Did they have faces? The whole thing is just too much to consider.

Whatever the case may be, the Yancy Streeters did not like that the Machinesmith was messing with Ben so they helped out their old pal.

14. The Thing and Iceman

Marvel Two-In-One #76 (1981)

Plotter: Tom DeFalco Scripter: David Michelinie

Penciller: Jerry Bingham

Again, not so unusual to see the Thing team with a founding member of the X-Men, but it is unusual seeing heroes with the power levels of Ben Grimm, Bobby Drake, and as a special bonus the former Black Goliath (now known as Giant Man) go up against slightly super powered circus people.

Yeah, The Ringmaster had a hypnotic hat, but that doesn’t go very far against a hero that can lift half a mountain or a mutant that can freeze Casper, Wyoming. Add to that a hero that can grow to, like, 40 feet, an suddenly a team of criminals made up of a couple of acrobats, a fire eater, and a human cannonball, a lion tamer, and a clown don’t seem too threatening.

By the way, the name of the fire eater is Fire-Eater, the name of the human cannonball is The Human Cannonball, and the name of the clown is Clown, so they have that going for them.

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13. The Thing and Moondragon

Marvel Two-In-One #62 (1980)

Writer: Mark Gruenwald

Penciller: Jerry Bingham

Despite being a member of the Avengers, the Defenders, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Moondragon remains a pretty obscure Marvel heroine. She played major roles in a number of books, but can’t be considered a major player by any means.

What Moondragon is remembered for is being something of an arrogant bitch. She is a powerful mentalist, and can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Thor, but most people remember her for her haughty attitude and her follicly challenged cranium.

Well, in this issue, Ben Grimm mistakenly believes Moondragon and her companion, the female derivative of Adam Warlock, also known as Her, kidnapped Alicia Masters. Thing pursues in a Skrull ship and challenges Moondragon. Alicia soon sets Ben straight that she went with Her and Moonie willingly, but that does not stop Ben from SPANKING Moondragon during the battle. Yeah, take that diversity and equality!

He should have spanked Moondragon’s hair dresser.

12. The Thing and Matt Murdock

Marvel Two-In-One #38 (1978)

Writer: Marv Wolfman

Penciller: Ron Wilson

Thing meets Daredevil? Not strange. Thing teams with lawyer Matt Murdock in a courtroom drama? Strange.

It’s like teaming King Kong with Perry Mason.

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When The Thing is brought up on property damage charges, Murdock must defend him. During the course of the trial, Ben bugs out and busts up the courtroom and is found guilty. So, not only does Murdock, in a very non-Daredevil capacity, defend Ben, he loses, badly. What a shyster.

Daredevil makes an appearance next issue, but this could have started a tradition of Ben Grimm teaming with alter egos of heroes. A photo shoot with Peter Parker! A physical with Dr. Don Blake! A board meeting with Tony Stark! Think of the story potential!

11. The Thing and The Blue Diamond

Marvel Two-In-One #79 (1981)

Writer: Tom DeFalco

Penciller: Ron Wilson


Of all the heroes that could have appeared in MTO, and they pick The Blue Diamond. Isn’t that a Lucky Charms marshmallow? Y’know, Wolverine never appeared in MTO, the Punisher never appeared in MTO, but the Blue Diamond sure did.

The Blue Diamond was a member of the Liberty Legion who co-starred with Ben in two previous issues of MTO. This issue catches up with the Diamond, aka Elton Morrow and sees Morrow an embittered old man trying to find his place in the modern world. Dude, you once fought a giant, floating swastika, stop with the navel-gazing.

While The Blue Diamond is yelling at kids to get off his lawn, a being known as Shanga, the Star Dancer shows up. Shanga has come to Earth looking to meet a lover to explore the cosmos with and evidently she liked embittered old Golden Age heroes because she leaves with the Diamond. The Thing just kinda punched a force field that Shanga used to surround a town all issue perhaps inspiring a young Stephen King to pen Under the Dome.

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And keep going to the final page for the 10 absolutely weirdest Two-in-One team-ups of them all!

10. The Thing and the Sasquatch

Marvel Two-In-One #83 (1982)

Writer: Tom DeFalco

Penciler: Ron Wilson

It’s The Thing fighting Bigfoot, what’s not to love?

What makes this issue particularly cool is that it takes place super early in Alpha Flight’s rich history. The team only appeared in the X-Men and was a ways away from getting their own book, but here was Sasquatch throwing down with Ben Grimm. The two start out as rivals until the villain Ranark the Ravager shows up thanks to Alpha member Shaman screwing up. Ben and Bigfoot work together to take on the alliterative menace.

The battle is secondary to the sheer joy that fans will feel seeing the orange toned monstrosities sharing a book. It’s so much fun just to look at, the story is secondary, but Marvel historians will love the early Alpha Flight appearance.

9. The Thing and Absolutely Not Batman

Marvel Two-In-One #91 (1982)

Writer: Tom DeFalco

Penciller: Ron Wilson

Check out that cover. You have to wonder what a young comic fan was thinking when they spotted this sucker on the spinner racks.

“Holy crap…Batman chained The Thing to a wall!”

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One can only imagine what an adult thought when they saw this sucker on the spinner racks.

Marvel clearly wanted to fool readers into thinking the other hero in this issue of MTO was Batman what with the silhouette with the pointy ears and everything. While seasoned readers probably caught onto the gag, young readers’ little minds must have been blown. Turns out the pointy headed shadow belonged to long time Nova villain, The Sphinx. So this issue also has the strange little distinction of being a team up book with no team up. Marvel One-In-One, if you will.

All this aside, The Sphinx is a pretty cool villain making this issue an enjoyable, if oddly packaged, read.

8. The Thing and Morbius

Marvel Two-In-One #15 (1976)

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Artists: Arv Jones & Dick Giordano

What’s weirder than The Thing doing battle with a living vampire? How about that Living Vampire and The Thing teaming up to take on an Alien from Dimension Z that has the power to erase people from reality?

That’s right…it’s the return of the Living Eraser.

Instead of having Ben’s first meeting with a vampire bogged down with gothic trappings, Marvel decided to have man monster and vampire go up against the strangest space age villain, well…ever. The story starts out like every MTO story starts out, with Alicia Masters in danger. When Morbius attacks Alicia, The Thing races to his girl’s rescue, soon the battling creatures run afoul of the Living Eraser and get, erm, erased.

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Finding themselves in Dimension Z (did I just write that?), Morbius and The Thing make a deal with the natives of Z to bring the Eraser back. If you were hoping that they bring him back on the end of a pencil, you are awesome, but after the Eraser’s people transport our heroes back to our dimension, they just kind of kick the Eraser’s butt. Sadly, Morbius does not feed off of him as something about the Eraser rubbed the vampire’s digestion the wrong way.

Rubber? Eraser? Hello?

7. The Thing and American Eagle

Marvel Two-In-One Annual #6 (1981)

Writer: Doug Moench

Penciller: Ron Wilson

No, it’s (sadly) not Ben Grimm shopping for preppie causal wear in a suburban mall. It’s just The Thing teaming up with Marvel’s newest heroic sensation, American Eagle, a Native American hero that barely appears again after this issue. He has appeared in many hero group shots throughout the years, but his solo appearances have been few and far between. Don’t let that stop you from picking up this issue though as it features a guest spot by Ka-Zar and the villainy of Klaw which is always awesome.

The whole thing takes place in the Savage Land with American Eagle hunting the men who wronged his tribe in order to keep it from happening in Ka-Zar’s land. Yes, Native Americans, dinosaurs, and obscure heroes. What could be better?

6. The Thing and Doc Savage

Marvel Two-In-One #21 (1976)

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Penciller: Ron Wilson

Many consider Doc Savage to be the original superhero, a pulp precursor to Superman and all the rest of the Golden Age pantheon. In the ’70s, Marvel purchased the rights to publish Doc Savage comics, and promptly stuck him in MTO for more exposure.

The story was masterfully told, with Doc Savage and his men fighting the villainy of Blacksun in one era while Ben fought Blacksun in modern times. The two stories were told on split pages until they dovetailed together with the greatest hero of the pulp era meeting one of the greatest heroes of the modern age. It was truly unprecedented that genres, characters, and eras would mash up so seamlessly in one adventure.

If you want to read this gem, you better start trolling back issue bins as Marvel can’t reprint it thanks to them losing the Doc Savage license long ago, but there was a bright shining moment where Doc Savage fought the never ending fight in the pages of Marvel Comics, and only MTO could contain the mind blowing event.

5. The Thing and Rom

Marvel Two-In-One #99 (1983)

Writer: Bill Mantlo

Penciller: Bob Hall

Speaking of not reprintable issues of MTO, the second to last issue of the series featured Ben teaming up with an action figure. Rom was produced by the toy company, Ideal, and he was pretty cool as far as toys went back then, but was removed from the market after only a few years of existence. In the meantime, Marvel premiered a tie in comic that lasted way longer than the toy thanks to the masterful writing of Bill Mantlo.

In this issue, Mantlo brings Rom in to fight his mortal enemies the Dire Wraiths side by side with The Thing. The issue starts out with The Thing scaring himself by reading ghost stories before encountering the Dire Wraiths. Soon, Rom shows up, and the heroes team up for the first and only time. Rom was spectacularly cool in his own series and it’s a damn shame that Marvel can’t wrest the rights away from whoever has them, because as this issue shows, Rom just belongs in the Marvel Universe. 

4. The Thing and The Living Mummy

Marvel Two-In-One #95 (1983)

Writer: David Anthony Kraft

Penciller: Alan Kupperberg

In the course of MTO, Ben teamed with a vampire, a bunch of robots, a swamp monster (twice), a Golem, and a demonic scarecrow, so why not a Mummy? When (say it with me now) Alicia gets a mysterious package containing a strange hat, she is possessed by the ancient spirit of the Bride of Nephrus. Seriously, she can’t even put on a freakin’ hat without poop hitting the fan.

Alicia conjures a flying boat to take her to Egypt and The Thing follows, finally meeting a moping N’Kantu, the Living Mummy. The team-up goes like you would expect any Mummy/superhero encounter to go with ankhs, pyramids, and band aid jokes. The Living Mummy has always been a minor but extremely peculiar part of Marvel history and it’s cool to see old bandage face validated by teaming up with The Thing.

Let’s just hope Alicia doesn’t try on a strange pair of shoes anytime soon.

3. The Thing and Brother Voodoo

Marvel Two-In-One #41 (1978)

Plotter: Roger Slifer Scripter: David Kraft

Penciller: Ron Wilson

Ok, brace yourself for this one. When a group of prominent African leaders (including the Black Panther) are kidnapped by a vampiric Zuvembie, the Thing teams with Brother Voodoo to free the them. What they find is that Kinji Obatu, formally the villain known as Dr. Spectrum, is controlling the monster.

Brother Voodoo is an odd choice for a team up under normal circumstances, but in this issue, Ben and the good Brother go up against the Zuvembie, a witch doctor named W’Suli, and, wait for it…real life genocidal dictator Idi Amin! That’s right; Obatu kidnapped the African leaders in order to win favor with Amin, who wanted to execute the villain.

Sadly, Ben doesn’t clobber Amin, nor does Brother Voodoo stick pins in the ass of the dictator’s fetish doll, but having a real life dictator in a story featuring a character named Brother Voodoo is one of the most insane things that the consistently insane MTO ever pulled off.

2. The Thing and The Scarecrow

Marvel Two-In-One #18 (1976)

Plot: Bill Mantlo& Scott Edelman Story: Bill Mantlo

Artist: Ron Wilson

Another MTO where the plot threads of a dead book are tied up, this issue features The Thing meeting the almost forgotten demonic Scarecrow. With only two appearances under his, ah, straw, it is fair to call The Scarecrow obscure.

The Scarecrow is a demon that lives in a painting and when The Thing takes Alicia (of course!) to an art gallery, a fiery demon bursts out of a painting and cooks Ben’s tux. The Scarecrow quickly follows and helps Ben take out the demon who looks kind of like Johnny Storm on the cover. This seemed to be the end of The Scarecrow’s story as The Scarecrow pursues the demon into a painting and destroys it from within.

Despite him being an almost forgotten hero of Marvel’s past, The Scarecrow was a pretty cool looking character. That lived in a painting, can’t really forget that bit.

1. The Thing and The Sandman

Marvel Two-In-One #86 (1982)

Writer: Tom DeFalco

Penciler: Ron Wilson

And the strangest, most incongruous team up in MTO history goes to the time Ben Grimm reformed a villain. The Sandman has always been a dastardly villain in the Marvel Universe, from his early battles with Spider-Man, to his clashes with The Human Torch in Strange Tales, to his membership in The Frightful Four, he was always a dick.

There was a feeling that Sandman was a working class villain that would make a perfect adversary for Ben Grimm. So, when they meet for the first time in MTO, a book where the unexpected is the order of the day, they don’t fight, and they don’t even argue. In classic MTO fashion, they share a few beers and the Sandman, the constant villain, reforms. At the time, this was the last thing fans could imagine, and for years after, Sandman was a hero, even joining the Avengers for a very brief period of time.

But it all started in a place where the unthinkable, the unimaginable, and the downright insane happened every month, the late and greatly missed Marvel Two-In-One.