Real Name: Petunia "Penny" Grimm

Identity/Class: Human, civilian

Occupation: Nurse

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Argo, Delia, Dame Ruth Efford, Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Alicia Grimm, Human Torch (Frankie Raye), Rabbi Lowenthal, Franklin Richards, Valeria Richards, Rikki, Sam (Benson's sheriff), Wendy, Wyatt Wingfoot

Enemies: Marquis of Death (Clyde Wyncham Jr.) of Earth-1219, Wendy's Friends (they're not really enemies, but they're not allies either)

Known Relatives: Jacob "Jake" Grimm (husband), Ben Grimm (Thing, nephew by marriage)...and you can check the Jacob Grimm profile for any other relatives by marriage

Aliases: Aunt Petunia

Base of Operations: Benson, Arizona;
   formerly New York City

First Appearance: (Mentioned) Fantastic Four I#25 (April, 1964); (seen) Fantastic Four I#238 (January, 1982); (identified) Fantastic Four I#239 (February, 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Having no paranormal powers, Penny is a skilled nurse, and she has a great amount of medical experience.

Height: 5'6"
Weight: 130 lbs.; formerly 110 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: White; formerly black

(Fantastic Four I#238/1 (fb) - BTS) - Penny was a student-nurse when she met the much older Dr. Jacob Grimm, who was convalescing from a bad auto accident, which had killed his wife and left him partially crippled. After he recovered, she became Jacob's student, and eventually his wife...An' she's been the Thing's favorite aunt ever since!

(Fantastic Four I#238/1 (fb) - BTS) - Shortly before the start of the modern era (Marvel's modern era, the FF's rocket trip), Jake and Penny left New York and set up a practice in Benson, a small town in Arizona.

(Fantastic Four I#238/1) - More recently, several people in Benson were found frightened to death. At a loss to explain these occurrences, Jake sent Penny to New York City, to request the help of the Scooby Doo gang...I mean the FANTASTIC FOUR... in uncovering this mystery.

(Fantastic Four I#239) - After arriving in New York, Penny entered the Baxter Building; she was directed by the building's doorman to the FF's public reception area on the thirtieth floor. After reaching the office, she told the receptionist that she urgently needed to see Ben Grimm, the Thing; but Penny was having trouble getting her point across to the "woman" -- this was due to Johnny Storm, who was sitting under the reception desk and doing some touch-up welds on the robotic Roberta's circuitry at the time. Johnny then escorted Penny to the gymnasium, where the Thing was testing his strength -- he was stunned when he heard Ben address the attractive young lady as "Aunt Petunia".

   Penny was invited into the Fantastic Four's residential area; after getting acquainted with her nephew's teammates, she desperately pleaded for their help to investigate her town's problems. The FF and Penny climbed aboard the Fantasticar for a flight to Benson.

   Ten hours later, the group's Fantasticar landed in the small Arizona town, where the FF eventually found a group of goblin-like mystic creatures who forced the entire town to confront the force of the dark-side that dwells within them all. Some of the people perished, and most of the rest of the citizens fled the town. Penny and Jake and 26 others apparently passed the creatures' test and decided to stay in Benson.

(Thing II#8) - Penny and her husband Jacob participated in their nephew's bar mitzvah, celebrating the 13th anniversary of him becoming the Thing. They sent out personal invitations to most of Ben's friends and associates, ranging from Dum Dum Dugan to Willie Lumpkin and Alicia Masters; she and Jacob attended the ceremony as well -- Penny had apparently changed the style and color of her hair by that point.

(Fantastic Four I#568) - The Marquis of Death was intrigued by the Thing mentioning his Aunt Petunia as a person that could defeat the Marquis. He teleported himself and the Thing to Aunt Petunia's kitchen where the Marquis proceeded to murder Petunia with his powers in front of her shocked nephew Ben. Nothing but her bones were left behind after the Marquis was done with her.

SECRET WARS III HAPPENED (...and Petunia got better)

(Fantastic Four VI#5 (fb) - BTS) - Jacob and Petunia set up an area in the desert for the wedding of Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters.

(Fantastic Four VI#5) - Jacob and Petunia welcomed the guests, Rabbi Lowenthal and bridal couple at the airport in Benson, Arizona for the wedding ceremony. Petunia admitted to Susan Richards that she let herself go (putting on some weight and now sporting white hair). Thing lifted Petunia up while he was still kept invisible by Susan. They were glad to see each other again. Petunia told everyone to hurry so they could gt to the desert by sunset. Petunia was surprised that Reed was not with his family, but he soon arrived in the Fantasticar. Though the wedding was interrupted by a worldwide broadcast sent out by Doctor Doom that revealed the return of Galactus, Reed Richards used a chronal displacement device to keep the couple, himself, Johnny Storm, the two bridesmaids and Rabbi Lowenthal in a four-minute time bubble so they could finish the ceremony. The Fantastic Four left right after the wedding to stop Galactus and left their children, Alicia and Wyatt with Petunia and Jacob.

(Fantastic Four VI#6 - BTS) - Petunia, Jacob, the kids, Wyatt and Alicia were having dinner.

(Fantastic Four VI#6) - Petunia was picking up the dishes to clean them while the others watched Doom on TV. Alicia ordered the kids to help Petunia with the dishes.

(Fantastic Four VI#7) - Petunia shut off the TV because she had enough of listening to Doom. She told Jacob to cut the wedding cake.

(Fantastic Four VI#8) - When Franklin ran away Petunia picked up the keys for Jacob to go looking for him alongside Wyatt and Alicia in the van.

(Fantastic Four VI#9) - Wyatt used a locator to find Franklin and picked him up at Wendy's home while Jacob, Petunia and Alicia stayed in the van. He ran from Wendy's home with Franklin over his shoulder while they were hunted by Wendy's Friends and screamed for Jacob and Petunia to start the van. Petunia and Jacob begged Franklin to use his powers against the creatures attacking the van, but he wanted to save his remaining powers for something more important. As soon as they arrived back home Valeria tested her new portal on the Friends to teleport them to Latveria and then use it again to bring the Fantastic Four back to Benson. Ben gave Petunia, Jacob and Alicia a big hug before Petunia asked their visitors to return home again.

Comments: Mentioned by Stan Lee, re-invented by John Byrne.

Aunt Petunia was first mentioned by Ben back in the early FF days, during his first really big battle against the Hulk -- afterwards, it became sort of a running gag, and Ben would continue to evoke her name in far too many issues to mention in this profile.

Ben's comments made it appear that Aunt Petunia was much, much older, probably in her seventies or eighties. When she was finally seen, everyone was surprised by how young she was, and Ben gave no explanation for why he had stretched the truth.

In the letter column for Marvel Two-in-One I#23 (1973), the editor claimed that, every now and then, the Thing's Aunt Petunia "chews her cigar butts, puts a saucepan on her head, dons her combat boots, hefts her baseball bat, and takes off after the Yancy Street Gang."
   Yes, obviously in 1973 editors and readers alike were still under the impression that Aunt Petunia was an elderly woman what? I guess new art would have to forego the part about cigar butts, though.
--Ronald Byrd

Thing: Freakshow#1 (August, 2002) mentioned Jacob's new girlfriend Petunia in a flashback to Ben's teenage days, which doesn't work because Jacob was still married to Alyce at the time according to Thing I#1 (July, 1983) and didn't meet Petunia until after his wife's death shortly before Ben took part in the mission that turned him into the Thing.
--Markus Raymond

Image updates by Ron Fredricks.

Profile by Snood. Update by Markus Raymond (2009-2019).

Petunia Grimm has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#239, p5, pan5 (Main Image - Petunia Grimm with Thing)
Fantastic Four I#239, p5, pan7 (Headshot - Petunia Grimm)
Fantastic Four I#239, p4, pan4 (Petunia Grimm with flabbergasted Human Torch)
Thing II#8, p15, pan2 (Jacob and Petunia Grimm at Ben's bar mitzvah)
Fantastic Four VI#5, p45, pan2 (Petunia, post-Secret Wars III)
Fantastic Four I#25, p22, pan7 (Aunt Petunia's first "appearance" in Thing's word-balloon [underlined in red], as he prepares to battle Hulk)

Fantastic Four I#238 (January, 1982) - John Byrne (writer/pencils/inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Jim Novak (letters), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four I#239 (February, 1982) - John Byrne (writer/pencils/inks), Glynis Wein (colors), Jim Novak (letters), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Thing II#8 (August 2006) - Dan Slott (writer), Kieron Dwyer (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four I#568 (August, 2009) - Mark Millar (story), Joe Ahearne (writer), Bryan Hitch & Neil Edwards (pencils), Andrew Currie & Cam Smith (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#5/3 (February, 2019) - Dan Slott (writer), Aaron Kuder (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#6 (March, 2019) - Dan Slott (writer), Aaron Kuder (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#7 (April, 2019) - Dan Slott (writer), Aaron Kuder & John Lucas (artists), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#8 (May, 2019) - Dan Slott (writer), Aaron Kuder, Stefano Caselli, David Marquez & Reilly Brown (artists), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four VI#9 (June, 2019) - Dan Slott (writer), Aaron Kuder, Stefano Caselli & Paco Medina (artists), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 12/10/2001
Last Updated: 05/01/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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