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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 178

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at a great moment from the beginning of Walt Simonson’s Thor run!


In The Mighty Thor #337, a new character, Beta Ray Bill shows up and shocks Thor by actually wielding Mjolnir!!

So in Thor #338, Odin decides the pair must fight for the right of wielding the mighty hammer.

It is a great fight courtesy of writer/artist Walt Simonson…

“The” moment for me is probably the ending.

Great work by Simonson, though (I’d have featured the moment where Beta Ray Bill first wields the hammer but, well, to be honest, Simonson handled that moment in sort of a laid back manner).


the ending proved to me that it is not set in stone that thor if somone proves worthy enough is the only one to bear MJonlir and that Beta RAy knows an oppurtunity when he see’s it by saying he beat thor.

I hope there’s more Simonson to come! This run might be my favorite superhero comic of all time. It’s like the Led Zeppelin of comics–all testosterone, plenty of melodrama, and a healthy dose of Vikings!

John Workman does very good work, but I really don’t like his trick of having a word balloon span two panels (e. g. page 4, panels 1 & 2, and page 7, panels 1 & 2). I very often read them in the wrong order.

The only thing that bothered me about Walt’s classic run on Thor was having Donald Blake written off the series. None of Thor’s other alter egos even got close to Blake’s potential as a character. Without him, things weren’t the same again until JMS took over the book.

Are you kidding? Don Blake and Jane Foster are the most boring of a pretty boring bunch of Marvel alter egos.

It worked pretty well for Blake under Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, seeing how he was the book’s co-lead for all those years.

And Jane Foster is a supporting character like Odin or Sif, not a alter ego. Maybe it was their being a couple that bored you. That’s why she was written off the series until JMS spun a new take on her.

There are no bad characters, only lousy ways of handling them.

Did you have this planned out beforehand, or did you just happen to put this one up the same week Marvel Digital put the comic online?

I just read it yesterday when I saw it on the “newly added”. Awesome story.

It was a coincidence, Kris. That’s pretty funny that they put it up this week! :)

I’ve been reading Essential Thor 4, and I notice that Donald Blake is virtually written out for quite long stretches even back then. The Lee/Kirby issues generally give the character some time, but in the Lee/Buscema issues, only the Doctor Doom arc really uses him, and he becomes little more than an Achilles’ heel after that.

The Blake/Thor relationship was the basis for Doug Moench and Keith Pollard’s run in the early 80’s. That’s when I first started reading the series and how I best remember it to this day. Moench would alternate between Thor’s interactions with his fellow Asgardians and Blake’s troubles as a physician in New York City. At one point, Blake loses a patient during surgery by having to suddenly switch identities and is later charged with negligence, so he moves over to Chicago and continues practicing medicine there.

In the meantime, Dr. Donald Blake served as the Avengers’ personal doctor with nobody except Tony Stark being aware that Blake was actually one of their own members. Many an Avengers story featured this plot device. Classic examples include Avengers #181, #200, and Avengers Annual #8 & #10. Check them out.

I always found all this intriguing and no less an Achilles’ heel than having Clark Kent changing inside a phone booth or wearing glasses and a blue suit to disguise his own alter ego.

Until JMS revitalized him, Donald Blake had been ignored after being absent from the MU for three decades. But Tony Stark has continued to prosper as a character, whether one likes him or not. Had Blake enjoyed such continued exposure, readers might think differently in regards to his worth as a character.

To each his own.

The difference is that Stark is Iron Man. Blake and Thor are pretty much two different people. As the above negligence issue shows, his double life can actually get people killed. Most heroes, just have to worry about getting fired. While this can be an interesting angle, it would largely be ignored for long stretches.

Also, since Thor essentially has duties to Asgard, it means long stretches where the Blake persona has no place.

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