Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Classics - Journey Into Mystery #85

   When Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber and Joe Sinnott created Thor in Journey Into Mystery #83 (published in 1962), they forgot one thing: a proper origin.

   In that first appearance, Thor was more superhero than mythological god. Dr. Don Blake discovers a stick hidden in a cave in Norway, and when he strikes a rock with it, he's transformed into a powerhouse with the power - and hammer - of Thor.

   But he still spoke and thought like Don Blake, so apparently he just had the powers of Thor - he wasn't actually the ancient god.

   Or was he?

   Two issues later, the creative team (with Dick Ayers replacing Sinnott as inker) took us to Asgard, where Thor's wicked brother Loki escapes his strange prison (he was inside a tree) and comes to Earth, where he confronts Thor - who recognizes him!

   They fight, as Loki uses his magic and wits to try to overcome his brother. At the end of the fight, Thor sends Loki back to Asgard to face justice - but how did he know where it was?

   In the months and years ahead, the "superhero" version of Thor would continue to fade, and when Lee and Kirby took the reins back from the writers and artists who worked on the character for about a year, the mythological version became the "real" Thor - and that's when the character really earned his spot at the top of Marvel's heroes (and he became one of my favorites).

   Thor's "true" origin wasn't revealed until 1968, in Thor #158 - but that's a review for another day.

Grade: B+


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