Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Classics - Thor Annual #1

1965 was a good year, too.

Since I had it handy (and work kept me away from the comics shop today), I figured, why not tackle the first Thor Annual?

Of all the Annuals Marvel published that year - as big a fan of Thor as I am - this is probably the weakest effort. In fact, I suspect this story was originally intended as a regular issue of Journey Into Mystery.

(Interestingly, in the indicia the issue is actually titled Journey Into Mystery Annual #1).

The lead feature, which gives us the first-ever meeting between and (naturally) battle between Thor and Hercules, is only 15 pages long! The issue itself is 72 pages long, but aside from the two-page map of Asgard, the other 57 pages are reprints - making this a slim Annual by 1965 standards.

Of course, even with just 15 pages, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby create magic. The story couldn't be easier to recap: Thor falls through a secret portal into Olympus, where he meets Hercules. They fight a lot. All is resolved, and Thor returns to Asgard.

Of course, that doesn't begin to capture the ingenuity of their battle, the delight in the wordplay or the power of the confrontation. Once again, action is king and this issue is just pure fun (you can tell by looking at the cover - my copy has been read to pieces over the past - ulp! - 46 years).

Even the reprints are choice - they include the first appearance of Loki, the Radioactive Man, the Lava Man and the never-to-be-seen-again Duplicator.

It's slim in original material, but it's all choice. And it cost a quarter!

Grade: A


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