Real Name: Alynn Cambers
Identity/Class: Human civilian (pre-modern and modern era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Nan Freeman, Benjamin Grimm, Reed Richards, Zankor (as Jay Stevenson)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Doll-face" (nickname given by Ben Grimm), "Miss Cambers" (nickname given by Reed Richards)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly: Hollywood, California;
formerly State University, New York (see comments)
First Appearance: Thing I#2 (August 1983)
Powers/Abilities: Alynn Cambers possesses no known superhuman abilities. A trained, talented and driven actress Cambers made her dream of becoming a Hollywood star come true. As a result of a crippling stroke, she lost the use of the right side of her body almost entirely. After rigorous physical therapy, she is able to fend for herself again, though her speech remains slurred and she needs a crutch to walk.
Height: 5'4" (by approximation)
Weight: 105 lbs. (by approximation)
Hair: Strawberry blonde
(Thing I#2 (fb) - BTS) - Alynn Cambers always dreamed of becoming a famous actress. She enrolled at Empire University, but longed for Hollywood stardom. Shortly after moving to the university campus, she befriended Nan Freeman and fell for fellow student and star quarterback Ben Grimm. The two became an item shortly after their initial encounter. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the lovestruck Ben even carved their initials into a tree in Central Park.
(Marvel: The Lost Generation I#11) - Ben (and apparently Alynn) joined some of their friends at a diner in upstate New York. There, Ben noticed Jay Stevenson (actually the Skrull spy Zankor, unbeknownst to even himself) who was getting increasingly worked up about the fact he had uncovered a device (his encephalo-link) that contained evidence an alien invasion was imminent. Alynn? looked on as Ben gave the distraught Stevenson directions to the university lab where Reed Richards was working, convincing him that Reed would be able to help him. Overjoyed, Zankor ran off while Ben and the others watched him go. Even though she couldn't help smiling, Alynn? berated Ben for what he had done. Grimm laughed it off by explaining he knew this was just the kind of distraction Reed needed (see comments).
(Thing I#2 (fb)) - While the relationship between Ben and Alynn continued to grow and develop, Ben futilely tried to set Reed up with her best friend, Nan Freeman.
(Thing I#2 (fb)) - Two weeks later, Alynn had made the decision to quit school and pursue her dream of becoming a movie star. She decided to break up with Ben, tearfully kissing him goodbye right before he was about to play an important football game. Leaving an astonished and emotionally shattered Ben behind, Alynn ran into Reed who was on his way to attend the game. Alynn wasn't able to find words for the grief she was feeling and ran past him.
(Thing I#2 (fb) - BTS) - The sudden breakup had a devastating emotional effect on Ben Grimm, who completely messed up the major football match he was supposed to spearhead. Not willing or able to tell his coach or Reed just what was wrong after the game, Ben smashed his head gear and stormed off. Reed gave chase and after four hours caught up with him. The two friends had a heart to heart in which Ben became convinced he had to fight for the woman he loved.
(Thing I#2 (fb) - BTS) - It took Ben nearly three weeks to locate Alynn, but when he finally found her, Ben managed to convince her of his feelings once again. Unwilling to let her slip away again, Ben planned to propose to her.
(Thing I#2 (fb)) - Taking Alynn for a stroll in Central Park, Ben made sure they passed the tree he had once carved their initials into. Revealing that while he pretended it to be a goof at the time, he secretly also pictured the two of them coming back to the tree to celebrate their 50th anniversary. He then surprised her with his mother's wedding ring and was about to propose when a startled, tearful Alynn stopped him. She refused to marry him, simply stating that as a star she would probably end up neglecting and hurting him. With tears in her eyes, she walked out of Ben's life, asking him not to come after her this time. As he watched her go, the grief stricken Grimm threw his mother's ring into a nearby pond.
(Thing I#2 (fb) - BTS) - As the years went by, Alynn made good on her promise and became a popular, famous Hollywood moviestar. Ben, even after becoming the Thing, kept himself apprised about her activities. Cambers was so well known for her good looks, even the blind sculptress Alicia Masters knew her as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
(Thing I#2 (fb) - BTS) - Alynn suffered a sudden, massive stroke, which left her right side practically paralyzed. Her press agent managed to keep the incident out of the papers as Alynn entered the long, painful process of physical rehabilitation. After many months, the determined Alynn slowly relearned how to feed and dress herself, but had great difficulty accepting the fact her speech remained slurred and the right side of her face was now permanently droopy. Desperate and unsure how to deal with this unwanted transformation, she decided to send her old boyfriend Ben Grimm a letter, requesting a meeting.
(Thing I#2 - BTS) - After receiving and reading Alynn's letter, Ben visited his girlfriend Alicia Masters in the hospital (where she was recovering from injuries sustained during Annihilus' prolonged torture). He recounted the history he shared with Cambers, her letter announcing she was going to visit him today, and was startled when Alicia offered to step aside so Ben and Cambers could pick up where they left off. Assuring her Alicia was the one for him, an increasingly nervous Thing kissed Alicia goodbye and returned home to the Baxter Building where he anxiously waited around for Alynn to arrive.
(Thing I#2) - When Alynn, supporting herself with a cane, exited the Baxter Building elevator leading to the Fantastic Four's living quarters, she was greeted by Ben who was initially startled by her appearance. Explaining what had happened to her 18 months earlier, Cambers broke down in tears, hugging her old boyfriend as she asked him to help her deal with her situation and make her feel whole again. The ex lovers had an intimate conversation that lasted for several hours into the night. When they parted, Ben had managed to convince Cambers she could carry on living, even if she was no longer what society would call "beautiful".
(Adventures of the Thing I#3/2) - Alynn Cambers was listed among the Thing's lovers, along with Alicia Masters, Tarianna, Thundra and Sharon Ventura.
Comments: Created by John Byrne (writer, inks), Ron Wilson (pencils).
Kudos to John Byrne for possibly being the first Marvel creator to show the devastating and all too real effects of a stroke in comics. A year or two after J.M. DeMatteis tackled cancer with the infant girl Sarina in Defenders I#101, seeing Alynn's droopy face really hit home. Still, if you're ever stuck with a good mood you can't get rid off, check out the first few issues of The Thing. The premiere issue featured Ben's poverty stricken, violent childhood with a dead older brother and an alcoholic father, while the second told Alynn's anything but upbeat story. An issue later Byrne revealed Lockjaw wasn't actually a teleporting dog, but rather an Inhuman horribly mutated by the Terrigen mists... And in issue four, we had Lucas Jackson a kind hearted, horribly mutated boy who was shunned for his appearance and lost his mother in the process (see if you can spot a theme here, go on). Yeah folks, they may be called comics, but no one promised they'd be funny.
So did Reed, Ben and Alynn attend Empire or rather State
university? Even Stan Lee had trouble getting that particular tidbit
straight. But considering both universities are located in New York,
which is nicknamed "the empire state," let's say the point is moot (State
University for Reed and Ben; Empire State University for Peter Parker--Snood). Alynn's alleged appearance in Marvel:
The Lost Generation I#11 has not been confirmed, but
considering both John Byrne and Al Milgrom worked on the two issues she
appeared in (not to mention the physical resemblance or fact she had her
arms around Ben in M:TLG) yours
truly feels it really was Alynn making an uncredited appearance way back
Further, this story is either a retcon or an homage to a similar story (or number of similar stories) in which an amnesiac alien in human form discovers some of his own technology and reports the evidence of aliens to the authorities, only for them to realize that he had to be the alien himself to have understood the alien technology...or something like that. --Snood
The earliest version (by Lee and Ditko) appeared in Amazing Adult Fantasy#7 (December 1961). A, well, re-envisioned version, I guess we'd call it, still with Lee as writer but with Gene Colan as artist, appeared as a Tale of the Watcher in Silver Surfer#3 (December 1968). Version#1 was subsequently reprinted in not-yet-uncanny X-Men#90 (October 1974) and Version#2 in Astonishing Tales#31 (August 1975).--Ronald Byrd
Profile by Norvo.
Alynn Cambers should not be confused with
Nan was a good friend of Alynn's during her time at State University. Shortly after Ben and Alynn became an item, he talked up his friend Reed Richards to Nan (presumably to play matchmaker). However, when Nan finally met Reed and she invitingly assured him she'd heard "oodles" about him, it soon became apparent there was no chemistry between them, despite Ben's best efforts to make his buddy Reed forget about his landlady's niece, Susan. Nan nevertheless accompanied Ben, Alynn and Reed for a few drinks at the student pub.
images: (without ads)
Thing I#2, p11, pane 1 (distant full body)
pan2 (upper body and also image for Nan Freeman)
pg. 13, panel 2 (tearful face close-up)
pg. 21, pan3 (main image)
pan4 (post stroke face close-up)
Marvel The Lost Generation I#11, p17, pan5 (thinks Ben is SO bad)
Thing I#2 (August 1983) - John Byrne (writer, inks), Ron Wilson (pencils), Al Milgrom & Ann Nocenti (editors)
Adventures Of The Thing I#3 (June 1992) -
Marvel: The Lost Generation I#11 (April 2000) - Roger Stern (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Last updated: 03/26/14
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