Marvel comics was once known for its anthology titles – and the company should consider bringing back one forgotten classic anthology, in order to use it as a testing ground for fresh, innovating ideas by new creative talents. A pair of issues of Marvel Two-In-One, with one serving as a sequel to the other, perfectly illustrate the potential of reviving the long-running series.

Marvel Two-In-One ran for 100 issues, from October 1974 to February 1983. The series was, essentially, a solo series for Fantastic Four’s Ben Grimm, the Thing – with the added appeal of pairing the character with a different Marvel character each issue, ranging from the iconic to the obscure.

However, the two most memorable issues of the series featured Ben Grimm teaming with an alternate version of himself. A modern Marvel Two-In-One could provide an ongoing team-up anthology, and it could take a note from Issues #50 and #100 of the original run, by depicting a series of team-ups between different versions of characters, from across time and space.

The Thing anchored the original Two-In-One run, providing the star power and recognition factor that helped sustain the series, while pairing him with a cavalcade of Marvel characters, including ROM the Spaceknight, Sasquatch, Starhawk, Sting Ray – and so on, in an attempt to elevate many of these characters, while also providing team-ups with the Avengers, X-Men, and other top-tier Marvel heroes. A series bearing the same name, though little resemblance to the original book other than Thing being its central character, was released by Marvel in 2017. Now, Marvel should consider a rebooted version of the anthology, but with a new Multiversal focus.

The two most memorable issues of the original series were Marvel Two-In-One #50 and #100. Issue #50 featured what was then considered a time-travel story, sending the Thing back to the early days of the Fantastic Four, teaming him up with his past self. The final issue of the series, #100, served as a sequel to this story, retconning the previous time travel adventure as a visit to a divergent timeline. In both cases, the series’ highlights came in the form of Thing’s team-up with himself. More than a product of Ben Grimm’s charisma, this is a type of superhero story that has subsequently proven successful time and again, one Marvel should emphasize further.

Stories such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its sequel, have proven, both with comic book fans and wider audiences, that there is an appetite for different versions of the same character to team up and play off one another. While there have been a number of examples of this since Marvel introduced its Multiverse in the 1970s, a dedicated place to tell stories where variants of characters work together on missions, or capers, or alternatively come into conflict for one reason or another, would give fans a regular bite of this particular comic book craving. Like the series Exiles, it would also provide a unqiue way of highlighting Marvel’s Multiverse in its full potential.

Beyond that, Marvel could also use an anthology series like Two-In-One – especially if it were designed to highlight not just one, but two distinct versions of a familiar Marvel character – as a venue for cultivating its next generation of writers and artists. Under a What If…?-style banner, existing outside of the main Marvel continuity, the stories in a rebooted Two-In-One, inspired by the classic Ben Grimm tales in Issues #50 and #100 in the original series, would be the perfect testing ground for new creative voices within the company, ensuring Marvel stays at its strongest, its most cutting-edge, for years to come.

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