Classification: Magical creatures

Location/Base of Operations: Benson, Arizona (?)

Known Members: none by name

Affiliations: Friends of Wendy, encountered the Fantastic Four, Jacob and Petunia Grimm, Human Torch (Frankie Raye), and Dame Ruth Efford.

First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#238 (January, 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 them to death.

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

History: 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.
In the modern era, they resurfaced appearing at first two a few of the inhabitants, and then ultimately to the whole town of Benson. Some of the people died, and the majority of the remainder feld the town, unable to accept the dark truth that they had seen. Twenty-eight people "passed the test," accepted what they had seen and learned, and decided to stay.
The creatures remain hidden in a cavern somewhere.

Comments: Created by John Byrne.

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

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

Clarifications: The Friends have no connection to:

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.








Dame Ruth Efford

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 cause him to father Snowbird.

She was a cultural scholar of some repute. Reed Richards had read and was very impressed with her text on occult practices of the Australian Aborigines. 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 investigations 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 investigations, 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 baronetess. 

--Alpha Flight I#7 (Fantastic Four I#238



images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#238, p22, pan5 (Wendy with friends)
  p9, pan3 (Wendy)
  p21, pan2 (Wendy with father)
  p21, pan3 (Dame Ruth Efford)

Fantastic Four I#238 (January, 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


Last updated: 11/10/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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