Marvel Fanfare 20: The Clash.
Writer / Artist: Jim Starlin
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Christine Scheele
Editor: Al Milgrom
the Thing and Dr. Strange
the Hulk; Valkyrie, Namor the Sub-mariner; Hellcat; Gargoyle; Son of Satan (all in flashback)
The Set Up:
Ben is at loose ends, and after chasing off a mugger and lending some aid to a street-person, he's stalking the streets of New York. Out of nowhere, a portal appears, with the visage of Dr. Strange inside. Doc tells Ben he needs his help, and after some initial hesitation, Ben leaps through.
On the other side, Ben finds Doc lashed to a cross and guarded by ten nasty looking demons. The demons debate amongst themselves, and decide they have no problem with the Thing's presence- they're only under contract to prevent Dr. Strange from being rescued, and until Ben tries to do that, they won't bother killing him. So, Ben pulls up a seat, and Doc regales them all with the tale of how he was captured by Xandu, a rival magician. Xandu now holds the Eye of Agamotto (a magic amulet he stole from Strange by controlling one of Doc's fellow members of the Defenders) and the Ruby of Domination, and with the two together he'll be able to control every mind on earth. In point of fact, that's what he's gone to accomplish right now, leaving Doc guarded by these demons.
With the story come to an end, it's pretty obvious what Doc wants from Ben (freedom!), and the demons are actually rooting for it too, as they want a fight. The only problem is Ben is apparently not so eager- as he puts it "I'm fed up with everyone expectin' me to clobber their troubles away!"
No Clobberin' Time.
Things of Interest:
This is part one of a two-part story which concludes in Marvel Fanfare 21.
This issue takes place just after Ben returns from the Secret Wars, and at this point he's just found out that Alicia Masters (Ben's long-time girlfriend) has hooked up with Johnny (Johnny Storm, the Human Torch), and Ben has just left the Fantastic Four as a result. This would be between issues 22 and 23 of The Thing.
Jim Starlin also did the art for Marvel Feature 11-12 (the precursors to MTIO), as well as writing and drawing MTIO Annual 2.
There are a number of Charles Vess and Carl Potts pin-ups in the back of this issue, but none of them relate to The Thing or the story in this issue.