Chicago Spanking Review

Sue Storm Spanked by Ben Grimm

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sue storm narrowly escapes being spanked over ben grimm's knee - or does she?

Script by Stan Lee; art by Jack Kirby. © Marvel Comics Inc. Posted by the Web-Ed on 04/02/2010

Note: this page was originally posted on 04/02/2010 and was extensively revised 03/23/2012.

For the third entry in our series "Marvel Spankings That Didn't Quite Come Off," we have this example taken from Fantastic Four #38 (May, 1965). When we first posted this in 2010 we could not understand why Jack Kirby composed the panel in such an ambiguous way, and decided because Ben Grimm (The Thing) wasn't holding Sue Storm (The Invisible Girl) over his knee with his left arm and because we were sure Kirby was no spanko that no spanking was intended. The passage of time and some new information has convinced us to revise our conclusion: this was not a case of a spanking that didn't come off, it was a case of a spanking suppressed by the Comics Code Authority.

We now believe that Kirby originally drew Ben's arm holding Sue into place for her spanking and the arm was later redrawn. Also, it appears the dialogue has been re-lettered, and that both of these changes were made to cover up the original spanking intent. For the details on what led us to these conclusions, see our article "The Effects of the Comics Code on Spanking, Part 3".

The panel at left has been inked and lettered but not colored, so it is presumably a scan of the original art (scanner unknown).

colored version of the panel above plus the next panel

Here is a colored version of the same panel along with the next one (found at marvelsmartass).

cover of fantastic four #38

Cover art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone (click to double-size). © Marvel Characters Inc.

In February 2012 we finally obtained a copy of this issue, so let's take a closer look at it to see if we can understand what Lee and Kirby's original intention was regarding the spanking panel. To start with, at left is the cover displaying The Frightful Four - and, alas, the seal of the Comics Code Authority, which we're now convinced insisted that the spanking be removed.

Below is where things really get interesting. These are the four panels directly preceding the spanking, and as we can see, Sue starts the entire fracas by turning invisible and rather impishly mussing Reed's hair. Reed responds by saying, "I'll teach you not to go around mussing my hair, young lady!" [Emphasis added]. Now this already sounds like he's ready to spank her, and that's before Sue responds, "Would you rather I muss some other man's hair?" - pure bratting if ever we heard it!

Now with Sue just asking for a spanking this way it seems clear that it would have been entirely appropriate to give her one, especially since the FF are basically a close-knit family. The two panels where her escape is blocked by first Johnny and then Ben also seem to be moving inexorably in that direction - their naughty girl has been caught, and what else could logically follow her capture except a spanking?

pre-spanking panels from fantastic four #38

Art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone (click to double-size). © Marvel Characters Inc.

spanking panel from fantastic four #38

The spanking panel, as we will now refer to it (Web-Ed's collection). © Marvel Characters Inc.

There are times in the Lee/Kirby collaborations when the two men seem to be pulling in different directions, but this wasn't one of them. Both Kirby's layout and Lee's dialogue were plainly leading up to a rather playful spanking of Sue Storm given by a close friend who really cares for her, much in the manner of a birthday spanking. The context makes this clear despite the Code Administrator's apparent insistence that the panel be changed, and therefore we are now adding it officially to the Comics Spanking Data Base.

Another remarkable thing about this scene is that it was the first time that a superhero spanked a superheroine rather than a super-villainess. Although there have been many examples of superhero/superheroine spankings in "fan art" and commissions, we can only think of three other examples from actual comics, Megaton Man/Megaton Girl, The Black Widow Butt-Slap (which barely qualifies), and the Thing/Moondragon episode in Marvel Two-In-One #62. Way to go, Benjy!

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