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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 164

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at a one-off issue of Thor that made the Greatest Thor Stories Ever Told list, a tale called “The Icy Hearts,” by Walt Simonson and guest-penciler Sal Buscema…


In this tale (which continued from the previous issue), Thor is wallowing in his grief over the recent death of his father, Odin, during the great battle with Surtur.

Thor is caught in an avalanche and awakes in the home of an old giant, a giant who saved Thor’s life.

Throughout the issue, the giant (and his creatures made out of ice) nurses Thor back to help, and at the same time, discusses Thor’s feelings regarding the death of his father.

During his time there, the giant routinely challenges Thor to wrestle him for his supper. He beats Thor each time, but feeds him anyway.

Finally, Thor is healthy enough to win…

As the issue closes, we find out who the giant REALLY is, but I will save that for you to find out yourself when you go pick this issue up (or read it in Marvel’s collection of Walt Simonson’s Thor run).

This really was a marvelous standalone issue, with strong fill-in artwork by Sal Buscema, who made it clear that he was the right choice for a replacement artist when Simonson gave up the penciling duties on Thor later in his epic run on Thor.


This really is a fondly remembered issue, I was I think nine or ten years old when I first read this story in the second half of one our german Spider-Man editions. And I loved this story.
Sal Buscema was great as Walt Simonson’s replacement for Thor.
A lot of people are calling Sal a mediocre penciller, but I always refer to his Thor work to prove them wrong.

The problem Sal had on Thor is that he wasn’t Walt Simonson.

When you read it on its own, without having just read the Simonson stuff, it holds up very well.

One of my favorite issues of that Thor run; possibly one of my favorite issues of anything.

A great pick, Brian. A few random comments:

Sal Buscema: His work on Thor was very strong, possibly the best stuff that he ever did. Sadly, as you say, Rusty Priske, many people fail to give his run on THOR its full due because they can’t stop comparing it to Simonson’s. Indeed, one could say that this kind of unfair comparison has followed Sal Buscema throughout his career, with all the cracks about “Sal (the lesser) Buscema.” As with the Simonson comparison,not being quite as good as John Buscema (one of the true titans of the industry) is hardly a grievous artistic sin.

Retcon: Nice to see Simonson casually dumping on the whole “Odin is the merger of four previous gods thing.” I mean really, who would take the word of a giant floating eyeball?

Clifford F. Michaels

June 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Verily, John Workman doth kick massive amounts of lettering ass.

Clifford, I say thee *yea*!

The only problem I had with Buscema’s work was when he was on Spider-Man, it was just brutally ugly at times.

To be fair, his period working with Simonson marked a real turnover on Sal’s career (IMHO). Before that, he could draw a great issue and follow it with a terrible one. After Thor, his working was always consistently good.

And I really liked his Thor. OK, he wasn’t Simonson, but who else is?

That was a great issue, by the way!

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

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