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Drawing Crazy Patterns – The Thing’s Floating Superhero Poker Game

by  in Comic News Comment

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Here is an archive of all the patterns we’ve spotlighted so far.

Today we take a look at the Thing’s floating superhero poker game (which seems to almost always get interrupted by bad guys)…
Enjoy!

NOTE: This is a special FIFTIETH edition of Drawing Crazy Patterns. I was all set to make this a normal “five examples” edition when I came across the Appendix to the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and I saw that they had what looked to be every single instance of Thing’s floating poker game, so I said to myself, “Self,” I said, “There’s not TOO many examples – why not just post them all?” So here are what appears to be every instance of the Thing’s floating superhero poker game! This will need a few pages as there are a lot of images to come!

The idea came about surprisingly late into the history of the Marvel Universe, in 1979’s Marvel-Two-in-One #51, by Peter Gillis, Frank Miller and Bob McLeod. Isn’t it awesome to note that Frank Miller, on top of everything else, also co-created the Thing’s floating superhero poker game?







Miller was a great artist even back then.

The game next showed up in 1981’s Marvel Two-in-One #75 by Tom DeFalco, Alan Kupperberg and Chic Stone…




In Marvel Two-in-One #96 (by DeFalco, Ron Wilson and Mike Esposito), the Thing is recuperating after his legendary battle with the Champion. Cap tells the Thing that they’ll postpone the game…


In Marvel Fanfare #24 (released in 1986 but set a few years earlier in continuity), Chris Claremont, Dave Ross and Bob Wiacek introduce a certain Canadian mutant to the game (something he would adapt to quickly)…







In Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #24 in 1991, Doug Murray, Norm Dwyer and Jack Torrance give us a quick game…



In 1992’s Wolverine #53 by Larry Hama, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green, the story ends with Wolverine having a memory lapse and ending up at a poker game…


Go the next page for more poker fun! Including a really weird one featuring the X-Men…

In 1994’s Strange Tales #1 by Kurt Busiek and Ricardo Vilagran, the Thing, Nick Fury, Human Torch and Doctor Strange (i.e. all the stars of Strange Tales after it began having regular features) share stories over a game of poker…





In 1995, the Avengers played poker in Avengers: The Crossing (right after Iron Man flat out murders the female Yellowjacket), but no Thing, so it doesn’t count, but I’m featuring it here because it clearly IS meant to evoke the old poker games, ya know?…


In 1995’s X-Men #48 by Scott Lobdell, Luke Ross and Andy Lanning, the poker game is also interjected with stories featuring various members of the X-Men…










If I recall my Friends continuity correctly, this means that Gambit wants to date Cannonball, right?

Read on for the shocking reveal of the next poker game – shocking because it reuses a big part of the hook of the LAST poker game you just saw (and not the Gambit/Cannonball sexual tension)!

Amazingly enough, in 1998’s Uncanny X-Men/Fantastic Four Annual by Joe Casey and Paul Pelletier (plus a bunch of inkers), Casey did pretty much the same gag that Lobdell did in X-Men #48….






I am 99.9999% sure that it was coincidental, but wow, that’s a weird coincidence.

A year later, in Wolverine 1999 Annual, Marc Andreyko and Massimiliano Frezzato show us Wolverine at a game before he leaves for an adventure…


In 2004’s Spectacular Spider-Man #21, Paul Jenkins, Talent Caldwell and Robert Campanella show us an oddlly off-model Angel show up to play in the game (has Angel ever had a costume like that?)…


and then Jenkins has a weird idea that Doctor Strange is a terrible poker player (and also a bit of a moron throughout the story – it’s really odd)…


the twist, though, is who else shows up to play…




the Kingpin is willing to stake everyone at the game to $50,000 at the start to a winner takes all, no limit game of Texas Hold ‘Em. He says that if one of them wins, they can give the money to charity. If he wins, he’ll buy a boat and call it Heroes Folly. Essentially he just wants to see their faces as he kicks their ass at poker. In the end, it comes down to him and Spider-Man. I won’t spoil who wins (although I will spoil that Doctor Strange runs out of money quickly and then buys back in TWICE! If you’re saying to yourself, “Brian must have written that wrong, that stupid moron. Doctor Strange didn’t just drop $100,000 on a game that he didn’t even know how to play. That makes no sense.” And yet, I am not wrong – that did happen).

Read on for the last batch of poker games!

In the finale to 2005’s excellent Spider-Man/Human Torch mini-series by Dan Slott, Ty Templeton and Drew Geraci (or Greg Adams, I dunno who inked the scene), we’re shown a number of photos commemorating the events that Spidey and the FF did after Spider-Man revealed his secret identity to them…


In 2006, Slott was at it again in the Thing’s short-lived (but awesome) ongoing series, which spun out of a plot in J. Michael Straczynski’s Fantastic Four run that the Thing was rich. In the first issue (by Slott and Andrea DiVito), the Thing ruins the poker game by betting too much money now that he’s rich (note Slott’s amusing commentary involving Spider-Man)…


Later in 2006, the final issue of Thing’s series (by Slott and Kieron Dwyer, who does yeoman’s work on this issue with so many characters in it) is one giant poker game, celebrating Ben’s thirteenth year as the Thing…



In 2007’s Fantastic Four #542, Dwayne McDuffie, Mike McKone and Andy Lanning (or Cam Smith, I dunno who inked the scene) have the Human Torch visit the Thing during Civil War to talk to him about the death of Goliath during the war. The Thing thinks back to their old poker games…


Later that year, in Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #2, Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines tells the story of both Avengers teams (the “official” Mighty Avengers and the renegade New Avengers) dealing with Captain America’s death. The New Avengers do so by playing poker…







The rest of the issue is about Spider-Man trying to deal with it and the others sort of helping him through it (but not really, as they are having trouble processing it, as well).

In Jason Aaron’s acclaimed two-parter about how Wolverine fits in all the things he does every week (with art by Adam Kubert and Mark Farmer), We see Wolverine at a poker game during one of the days…


In 2010’s Fantastic Four #584 by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting, the Thing takes part in one of the poker games during a day he gets to spend as just Ben Grimm…


Finally, as suggested by commenters Anstod and Tyrell, in 2011’s Amazing Spider-Man #666, Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli, we see Spidey and the Thing go to Avengers Mansion together for the game (this was during the time that Spider-Man was a member of the Fantastic Four serving in place of the then-dead Johnny Storm)…


I believe that’s it. If I missed one, I’m sure you’ll let me know. Remember, to count it has to feature the Thing and it has to be superheroes playing poker. The closest miss for me is Marvel Two-in-One #55, which DOES have the Thing and two other superheroes, Quasar and Goliath (Giant-Man). However, this took place before the Thing learned Bill Foster was Giant-Man…


So I don’t think it counts. It’s just one superhero, and he’s there only because he also worked at Project Pegasus. It comes REALLY close, though.