Even Marvel heroes are afraid of Stephen King
The Thing and the Human Torch regularly run into evil supervillains, but even they are terrified of the works of horror legend Stephen King.
Warning: contains spoilers for Wonders # 2!
Stephen king is the undisputed master of horror whose works are so influential they frighten even Marvel heroes like the Thing and the Human torch. Both members of the Fantastic Four are used to regularly facing villains like Doctor Doom and Galactus, capable of destroying the entire planet. But still, nothing makes their hearts beat like Pennywise the clown.
In addition to writing over 60 novels and 200 short stories, King has a long history with comics. He has spoken in the past about how he was influenced by works such as EC Comics’ 1950s horror tales and how he liked superhero stories like Batman growing up. He also wrote comics like Horror show and Vertigo American vampire. Many works of sound have been adapted into comics, including The stall and The dark tower series, both by Marvel Comics, and the recent adaptation of Sleeping beauties, which he wrote with his son Owen King. Stephen King’s books have sold over 350 million copies and have been adapted into dozens of films, at least some of which exist in the Marvel Universe.
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King’s impact on Marvel heroes can be seen in Wonders # 2 by Kurt Busiek, Yildiray Cinar, Richard Isanove and Simon Bowland. Protagonist Kevin Schumer turns invisible and flies around New York City when he sees the Thing and the Human Torch passing by. They discuss film adaptations of King’s work like the recent It films. Johnny Storm accuses Ben Grimm of not liking movies because he’s a coward, but Ben insists he likes books better. “I like zombies and vampire demon clowns to stay on the page where Stevie King put them,Said the Thing. “Where they belong.“He says he likes that while reading they move as fast as he wants, and that movies’ over-reliance on the fear of skipping is.”way too much like work.“Johnny agrees with him on this point, saying he’ll just be sitting there enjoying the movie”– and then pow! Pennywise breaks through the wall and I react like it’s Annihilus. Fry an entire pot of popcorn once.“
While at first it may seem like a stretch that two people who routinely put their lives on the line would be scared off by mere books or movies, it is a testament to the power of King’s imagination. His best works take the ordinary appearance and turn them into something horrible. A loving husband and father are driven mad by isolation and drive his family away; virus wipes out 99 percent of the world’s population, leaving survivors at war with each other; a friendly dog becomes a voracious beast that turns against its owners. Stripped of their most fantastic elements, many of his books would still be unsettling to read, as often the scariest parts revolve around the horrors humans inflict on each other. Few monsters are as terrifying as the sadistic high school students of Carrie or bullies in He. This can be found even in his non-horrific works like The body or Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Since monsters, ghosts, werewolves, and Dracula are relatively common in the Marvel Universe, it’s not out of the question that the Fantastic Four could one day come face to face with creatures like Pennywise or the Outsider. Even the malicious live trucks of Maximum overdrive would probably give some heroes a break.
It’s heartwarming that even world-saving superheroes can still be caught off guard by a good fear of jumping. And the fact that The Thing would rather read books than watch movies is a nice change of pace for a character who is often valued more for his muscles than his brain. Considering that King is known for making cameos in movies based on his works (and even in his own novels), it would be cool to see how these characters react to meeting him in person. Or better yet, it would be amazing to see the Thing and the Human torch face some of Stephen kingclassic villains like Pennywise or Randall Flagg. It would be really terrifying.
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