The Fantastic what?


Early one recent morning, in the bathroom…

MILLIE: Who is that on your t-shirt?

The Thing from the Fantastic Four
The Thing

ME: It’s the Thing.  He’s a superhero.

MILLIE: What is he…? Why does…?  Why…?  Why does he look like that?

ME: Because he’s made of rock.

MILLIE (mystified): He’s made of rock?

ME: Well, I don’t think he’s made of rock, but he’s certainly got rock for skin.

MILLIE (still mystified): Why? How did he get rock for skin?  Can he still move?

ME: Yes, he can still move – otherwise he’d be a statue! His skin makes him super strong and super tough.  He’s one of the Fantastic Four, a team of superheroes.

MILLIE: How come he’s a superhero?

ME: There are four of them and they went into space and got hit by cosmic rays and it turned them into superheroes.

MILLIE: What are the other ones?

ME: There’s the Thing, obviously; there’s Mr Fantastic, who’s all stretchy and rubbery; there’s the Human Torch who is on fire, and there’s the Invisible Girl, who can turn invisible and make invisible force-fields.  Do you know what force-fields are…?

MILLIE: Do they all look like the Thing?

ME: No, Mr Fantastic looks perfectly normal except when he’s stretching; the Human Torch does, too, unless he’s on fire, and…

MILLIE (doubtfully): Why does he catch fire? That sounds rubbish. Who wants to be on fire?

ME: No, he doesn’t get burnt by it, and he can fly. He’s only on fire when he wants to be.

MILLIE (intrigued): Can the Thing stop being rocky if he wants to?

ME: No. The Invisible Girl can stop being invisible, though; and Mr Fantastic can stop stretching.

MILLIE (skeptically): Why can’t the Thing stop being made of rock? Does he like being made of rock?

ME: No. In fact, that’s a big part of many of the stories.

MILLIE: Why doesn’t he like it?

ME: Because he can’t feel things, because he’s made of rock.  And his fingers are big and clumsy, and he’s very heavy – he can’t sleep on a normal bed.

MILLIE: Why can’t he sleep on a normal bed?

ME: Because he’s really heavy – because he’s made of rock – and it would break.  Oh, and Mr Fantastic is really really clever, too – he built the rocket that took them into space where they became the Fantastic Four.

MILLIE: When the Human Torch catches fire does it hurt him?

ME: No. Which one of the Fantastic Four would you like to be, do you think?

MILLIE: Hmm. What can the Invisible Girl do, again?

ME (staring at Millie): Turn…invisible. And make force-fields.  And she’s very clever, too.  Would you like to be her?

MILLIE: Not really. Why did they go in space?

ME: Just to see what was out there, I think.

MILLIE: And they came back like that?

ME: Yes – although, it’s only a story, it’s not real.

MILLIE: How does the Thing sleep?

ME: What? Oh. Well, he can sleep OK, but he would break a normal bed if he laid on it.

MILLIE: Because he’s so heavy?

ME: Because he’s so heavy.

Nova and the disappearing legs
Nova

I love having these conversations with the girls.  I might recount them here leavened with sarcasm, but the thought that I’m passing on the torch of nerd wisdom to the next generation always makes me smile.

Next week – when Nova flies do his legs disappear before or after he takes off?

When very young I remember discussing with Trev which came first, because Nova was always drawn with his legs blurred out when flying I always assumed they disappeared; but if they disappeared before he took off wouldn’t he fall over??

Seriously!  I remember having a long chat with Trev about this particular problem!

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