Classification: Magical creatures

Location/Base of Operations: Benson, Arizona

Known Members: None by name

Affiliations: Friends of Wendy; encountered Dame Ruth Efford, the Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Woman/Susan Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Jacob and Petunia Grimm, Human Torch (Frankie Raye), Franklin Richards, Valeria Richards, Wyatt Wingfoot

Enemies: Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom), Servo-Guards; countless victims (including Mike Campbell and Carol)

First Appearance: (BTS) Fantastic Four I#238/1 (January, 1982); (seen) Fantastic Four I#239 (February, 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Their limitations were undefined, but they could cause a person to confront their own inner darkness, which in some cases could be potent enough to scare that person to death. 

They seemingly have a psychic connection to Wendy, whom they could levitate.

Although they usually manifested themselves in solid goblin-like bodies, they could alter their forms to become insubstantial, shadowy clouds -- in these forms, they could fly and enter buildings by seeping underneath doorways (see comments).  

Traits: They apparently judge the natives of the area around what is now Benson, Arizona every 10,000 years to determine if they are worthy...of what, I'm not sure.

(Fantastic Four I#239 (fb) - BTS) - The origins of the Friends are unknown. They purged the area that would become Benson, Arizona of its human inhabitants ten thousand years ago, and possibly ten thousand years before that.

(Fantastic Four I#239 (fb) - BTS) - In the modern era, they were found in a cavern outside Benson by a young girl named Wendy, and she became friends with them.

(Fantastic Four I#238/1 (fb) - BTS) - They resurfaced, appearing at first to a few of the inhabitants of Benson and scaring them to death. The first two victims died near Dame Efford's archaeological dig site, but soon five more followed. Local doctors Jake and Petunia Grimm investigated the strange deaths, and Petunia decided to contact the Fantastic Four for help.

(Fantastic Four I#239) - The night after the Fantastic Four's arrival in the small desert town, two of Dame Efford's students crossed the dunes outside Benson and encountered the Friends, who scared them to death.

(Fantastic Four I#239 - BTS) - The corpses of the students Carol and Mike Campbell were found the following morning. Their mysterious demise brought the number victims up to nine in the recent spree of deaths. Mr. Fantastic was baffled what the reason for their deaths could be because his scanners found nothing unusual.

(Fantastic Four I#239) - That night, after receiving a severe beating from her drunk father, Wendy visited the Friends, who then set out to ultimately appear to the whole town of Benson, including the visiting Fantastic Four. While the heroes tried their best to fight the dark beings and put out fires all over Benson, some of the people died, and the majority of the remaining population fled the town the next morning, unable to accept the dark truth that they had seen. But twenty-eight of Benson's citizens had "passed the test," accepted what they had seen and learned, and decided to stay.
The creatures remained hidden in a cavern somewhere, where they were visited by Wendy.


(Fantastic Four VI#8) - Years later, the Friends watched Franklin Richards--who was in town after attending the wedding of Ben and Alicia--leave the house of his aunt and uncle in the middle of the night to go for a walk.

(Fantastic Four VI#9) - Wendy hung out with Franklin at her home when Wyatt Wingfoot barged in to forcibly pick up Franklin. Wendy got mad and used her psychic connection to the Friends to send them after Wyatt, who screamed at Jake and Petunia to start the van. The Friends attacked the van while Alicia called Valeria to tell her what was going on and to ask her if she had finished her teleporter. Franklin was not willing to use his remaining powers to deal with the Friends, despite Petunia and Jacob's pleas. Valeria tested the teleporter she had built on the Friends, which transported them to Latveria. The arcane entities attacked Doctor Doom and his Servo-Guards while the Fantastic Four were teleported back to Benson by Valeria's teleporter.

Comments: Created by John Byrne.

I've read this story at least ten times now, and its still vague and inconclusive to me.

Since Wendy's Friends appear to be shadowy beings who could alter their bodies, perhaps they had some connection to the Shadow Realm or the Darkforce Dimension. -- Ron Fredricks

Thanks to Ben Pridmore for additional information about Dame Ruth Efford.

Profile by Snood. Update by Markus Raymond (2019 return).


Wendy's Friends have no connection to:


(Fantastic Four I#239) - Wendy was a small girl in Benson who lived with an alcoholic and abusive father. She somehow encountered the entities which became her Friends, while hiding out after a beating from her Dad. Wendy had read a publication of Dame Efford's intended for younger readers, and sent her one of the ancient artifacts she had found in the cave of her Friends. After the "Testing" by the Friends, Wendy's father came to terms with his problems and vowed to mend his ways. Both of them decided to stay in Benson.

(Fantastic Four VI#8) - Years later Wendy encountered Franklin Richards walking around in Benson. She recognized him even though he was much older and told him that she was friends with the Fantastic Four. She then invited him to her home to watch the Fantastic Four on the news. Franklin saw a picture of Wendy and the Fantastic Four on her wall and was surprised that she actually knew them.

(Fantastic Four VI#9) - Wyatt Wingfoot used a locator to find Franklin. He barged into Wendy's home to pick up Franklin, which made Wendy mad, as Franklin didn't want to leave because he wanted to watch the news on the Fantastic Four. Wendy used her psychic connection to the Friends to send them after Wyatt, who ran off with Franklin on his shoulder. They fled in Uncle Jacob's van.

--Fantastic Four I#239 (Fantastic Four I#239, Fantastic Four VI#8-9

Dame Ruth Efford

(Alpha Flight I#7/2 (fb)) - Years earlier, Doctor Efford was at an archaeological dig in Canada, north of the arctic circle, and run by Professor David Camperton. She was present when Richard Easton found the headband that would result in him fathering Snowbird with the Inuit goddess Nelvanna.

(Fantastic Four I#239) - Doctor Efford became a cultural scholar of some repute -- Reed Richards had read her text on occult practices of the Australian Aborigines and was very impressed by it; but her real interest was in the American Indians. When Wendy sent her an artifact she had found in the cave of her "Friends", Dame Efford was so interested that she resigned her seat at Cambridge to come to Benson to investigate. Her excavations and examinations were accompanied by Reed Richards. She survived the "judgement" of the "Friends", and I would guess she chose to stay in Benson to continue her studies, but it was not made clear.
[Dame, in Great Britain, is the title of a woman who has received an order of knighthood, or is a baroness.]

--Alpha Flight I#7 (Alpha Flight I#7, Fantastic Four I#239

images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#239, p22, pan5 (Wendy with Friends)
Fantastic Four I#239, p16, pan4 (Wendy's Friends as shadowy clouds, flying to Benson)
Fantastic Four I#239, p17, pan4 (Wendy's Friends awaken sleeping Thing)
Fantastic Four VI#9, p19, pan2 (Friends attack Doctor Doom)
Fantastic Four I#239, p9, pan3 (Wendy)
Fantastic Four I#239, p21, pan2 (Wendy with father)
Fantastic Four VI#8, p16, pan1 (Wendy is back)
Fantastic Four VI#9, p6, pan2-3 (Wendy calls Friends)
Fantastic Four I#239, p21, pan3 (Dame Ruth Efford)
Fantastic Four I#239, p14, pan2 (Dame Ruth Efford head shot)

Fantastic Four I#238-239 (January-February, 1982) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Alpha Flight I#7 (Februay, 1984) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Denny O'Neil (editor) - Dame Ruth Efford only
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: 12/11/2001
Last updated: 05/01/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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