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Top Five Thor Covers by Walt Simonson

Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) continues with a look at the five best covers by Walter Simonson, who did a NUMBER of tremendous covers during his run on Thor. There are a bunch of covers that I did NOT put on the list that would be among the best covers Thor has ever seen had it not been for these five (Simonson’s last issue as well as #350 stand out in particular).

Here are the top five…


5. Thor #353

The only thing keeping this stunning piece from being higher was that it is pretty much an exact duplicate of a page within the comic. While that is not BAD, of course, I think it takes something away from the uniqueness of the image. I mean, not THAT much, I still think it is the fifth-best cover of Simonson’s run, of course, but just enough to keep it out of the top four.

4. Thor #338

With his second cover, Simonson once again beautifully plays with audience expectations – highlight the special property of the hammer and then contrast that idea with the image of the beast of a character grasping the enchanted hammer. What a brilliant idea.

3. Thor #366

All of the “Frog Thor” covers are memorable, but I think this one is the most memorable, as Simonson combines a unique, striking cover idea with a great sense of humor.

2. Thor #351

Wow, how amazingly powerful is this cover? You can almost FEEL the rage emanating from the figure! Simonson really outdid himself with this cover.

1. Thor #337

The gold standard upon which all other covers for the first issue of a new run will be judged against. A masterpiece of style and form.

Well, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!


While the basic idea of Thor #338 is good, I think the composition is a bit messy. First of all, I’d say the image would be more powerful if Bill’s mouth wasn’t hidden by his body, so we could see that his expression (and hence his determination) matches Thor’s. Secondly, Thor’s left fist is as close to the “camera” as his right hand, which makes his posture kinda awkward. What exactly is he doing there? Did he try to hit Bill and missed? Bill is right in front of him, so it makes no sense that Thor’s left arm would curve so much to the right. Thirdly, there’s no way they both could grasp the hammer like they do in the pic. Look at Bill’s left hand: he’s grasping almost the same part of the hammer’s shaft as Thor, so his hand should be on top of Thor’s hand, but it isn’t. Simonson should’ve drawn them holding different parts of the shaft.

All awesome.

(He prefers Walter, by the way. Not Walt.)

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 4, 2010 at 6:33 am

I always figured Thor #338 was also a bit of an homage to the cover of Thor #126, the issue where the title switched over formally from Journey into Mystery.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 4, 2010 at 6:35 am

See it here.

Note that Thor’s hand left is in a similar position on both covers; the “two hands near the camera” pose is a fairly common Kirby bit of blocking really.

It’s absolutely an homage. In fact I had taken for granted reading 338 all these years that it was an homage that I didn’t realize 126 didn’t look exactly the same with Hercules taking Bill’s place.


At least in the Kirby cover Herc has his hand on top of Thor’s, as it should be in the Simonson cover too, if their hands are positioned like that. Also, Kirby doesn’t draw Thor’s fist bigger than his head like Simonson does, so it’s a bit further from the camera and the position looks a bit less awkward.

This list is rather biased as it’s all Thor issues.

I’m sure that there’s other books that should also be on the list as well. (ie. the cover of Marvel and Dc Comics presents the Uncanny X-Men & the New Teen Titans, Star Slammers, etc.)

Tom: You do realize the post is the Top Five Walt Simonson THOR Covers, right? :)

Walt’s run in Thor was a pretty fun one. While I didn’t care much for his over-reliance in actual Norse mythology -to the point he dismissed the Eye of Odin’s explanation that the current Asgard had been recreated from the original as a lie- it was still full of both epic moments like the Surtur war and funny ones like the Thor the Frog thing (was he helped by his wife Lousie in the writing?)

However, about his art… well, it’s still great, but I’ve seen him do better. In fact the first thing I noticed about his artwork in Thor was that it had a kind of crude look to it. Probably he needed a different inker. Still, it was very enjoyable visually, especially when he did effects like the DOOM! sound produced by Surtur forging his giant sword.

Whoops, that should have been “Louise” too bad we can’t edit our posts here! :P

Replace issue #366 with #369 and your list would have been perfect. I also like issue #350. Never was a fan of the Frog Thor.

I agree with them all……plus I’d add the cover for #365 as well for honorable mention.

What are the things on Thor’s knees in the cover for #351?

I’ve got soft spots for Thor 380 ( http://marvel.wikia.com/Thor_Vol_1_380 ) & Thor 381 ( http://marvel.wikia.com/Thor_Vol_1_381 )

Glad you posted these. Walter Simonson did amazing work on Thor. I am not at all surprised that #337 made the top spot, and it was also likely one of the “Frog of Thunder” cover would make it. But, wow, #351 is just amazing. Sometimes we readers tend to forget that Thor is a God, and an incredibly powerful one. So when he gets really pissed off, watch out, because something is going to hit the fan. Simonson’s cover for #351 captures that perfectly, and leaves you thinking “Uh oh, someone is really in for it!”

Did Simonson design the new logo? It’s a great one, especially since he smashed the old one right off the bat. Because of the logo, I’ve always thought of Simonson’s run as “Thor the Mighty.”

If I have to pick a nit about the covers, it’s that the colors are kinda boring and clash against each other.

Also, I never once thought Beta Ray Bill looked like a horse, but that seems to be the standard interpretation these days. Anybody got a good link to Walter talking about BRB’s birth?

I think I would’ve included #347, but these are all good.

If you get a copy of Twomorrow’s Modern Masters Walt S. issue,you will see that Walt was into Thor long before he drew him for Marvel.He did his art thesis on a story about Thor.His Norweigen heritage also made him THEE right Thor creator for the new direction of #337.His art was clean and simple.Less line,more emotion.Also being a Norske,Thor has always been my favorite super-hero.Walter also did a run in the #250-270 or thereabouts with awesome and defining inks by Tony DeZuniga.Some great battles scenes in those issues.One of my all-time favorite comics creators.I would buy anything he produced.

I personally would say #350 was Simonson’s 3rd best cover after 337 and 366, but at the very least, I think it should have been number five on the list. But good idea for a list Brian!

Can I suggest a list?

The top 5 Amalgam characters. Worthwhile?

All fantastic covers. Simonson is truly a genius.
By the way, I’m glad we agree that in that amazing selection of awesome Simonson Thor covers, the best is from issue 337 – in fact, just when I saw the title of your post, that cover immediately popped into my head. Not only is it great on its artistic/design merits, but more than anything else it signaled that the Thor book just took a sharp 90 degree turn and was headed in an awesome new direction.

I do agree with Tuomas on #338, nice idea and nice homage, but how the hands are placed makes the cover quite awkward…

Sweet covers. They all belong exept for maybe #5, IMHO, but without doing research, I can’t say what I’d replace it with. Maybe the cover where Thor’s in battle with the Midgard Serpent?

Glad to see some recognition for simonson. 337 is one of my fav covers.

Great list. #351 is overlooked sometimes, but really a terrific capture of the anger of a Thunder God.

What’s so wrong with the image of #353 being within the comic itself? I appreciate it when the cover image actually details a scene found within the book. Makes my choice of purchasing the book all the more satisfying.

To the list, I would add #380, the Midgard Serpent issue and #362, the Executioner wielding M-16s in defense of Thor’s escape from Hel. What could be more awesome?

I never really liked the cover to #351. The energy is great but his face is just a bit too far out of whack.

I’d throw out issue 353 and replace it with 369, all the way.

Man, imagine if someone tried introducing Beta Ray Bill today.

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