Fantastic Four has arrived in theaters, and like with most superhero films, millions of fans will line up to see it. Why? Mainly because they want to see the Thing; the orange-skinned, blue-eyed rock monster who has long been one of Marvel Comics' most iconic heroes. But to those less familiar with comic book lore, the Thing may appear to be very similar to another giant, brutish, Marvel superhero who doesn't wear a shirt. I'm talking, of course, about the Hulk. So, what's the difference between the Thing and the Hulk, anyway?
There are quite a few distinctions between the two, actually. First of all, the Thing doesn't have the ability to change form like the Hulk. While the Hulk spends part of his time as mild-mannered scientist Dr. Bruce Banner and only transforms into the Hulk when he's angry (and you wouldn't like him when he's angry), the Thing is always the Thing. He can't change back to his human form, which is a pilot named Ben Grimm. They also possess different powers. The Thing has very tough, rocky skin and is super strong, but his strength and durability levels still don't come close to matching the Hulk's. The Hulk is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe and is nearly indestructible, and although he and the Thing have tangled several times, the outcome is never really in doubt.
The two also received their powers in different ways. Bruce Banner was bombarded by gamma rays during a nuclear bomb explosion, while Ben Grimm was bombarded by cosmic rays during a trip to outer space. See, different! (Although both still way too reliant on radiation, if you ask me).
They also have vastly different intellects. For most of the character's history, the Hulk has mostly been a rampaging monster with little intelligence, but the Thing managed to keep his smarts when he gained his powers. Because of this, their speech patterns are quite different. While the Hulk grunts and tends to speak like a caveman (when he speaks at all), the Thing talks like a regular person... albeit one who sounds remarkably like Jimmy Durante.
The Hulk is much more of an anti-hero than the Thing, too. Due to his decreased intellect, Hulk often gets out of control and finds himself doing more harm than good. The Thing, on the other hand, is a true hero through and through, and his motivations are never in doubt. Another distinction between the two characters is their respective signature catchphrases. Hulk goes with the simple and grammatically-incorrect "Hulk, smash!" while the Thing has truly crafted a catchphrase for the ages with his mantra, "It's clobberin' time!"
Religion isn't often discussed in comic books, but these two characters are an exception. Evidence suggests that the Hulk is Catholic, and the Thing is confirmed to be Jewish, making him one of the only known Jewish superheroes. You'd think there would be more considering that practically everyone writing comic books when all of these classic heroes were created was also Jewish, but that's an issue for another time.
So there you have it, the differences between the Thing and the Hulk. Now the next time someone can't tell these two heroes apart, just tell 'em it's clobberin' time and hit 'em with the facts.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (3)