Peter David considers the subtext of the Fantastic Four:
The leader of the Fantastic Four is “Mr. Fantastic.” Why, we wonder, does he hang this fairly immodest name upon himself? Well, when one says that a man is “fantastic,” the nature of what we are referring to is fairly obvious. It’s sexual performance. And just how fantastic is Mr. Fantastic? Again, it’s fairly obvious. He can stretch at will, enlarge bodily portions however he wishes. Truly his is a case where size doesn’t matter, because his size can accommodate whatever lustful tastes women might have.
And who is his best friend?
The Thing, as in, “Baby, gimme that thing. Baby, you got the thing I want. Lemme have some of that love thing. What is that thing? You call that a thing? I got your thing right here.” And other lustful, smutty phrases that one would hear coming from the lips of today’s hideous youth.
Yes, it should be no surprise that Mr. Fantastic’s best friend is a big hard Thing. Isn’t that always the case with any man who fancies himself a “Mr. Fantastic.
No, he’s not serious. But now I can’t help but think about this accidental subtext when it comes to these characters (David goes on to point out that, of course, Sue Storm is invisible in this team, and in the comments following the post, someone points out that Johnny Storm’s “flame on” clearly refers to his closeted homosexual side). Oh, Stan and Jack, did you know what you were creating…?!?