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Ten Goofiest Moments in the First Ten Thor Comics

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we’re looking at the ten goofiest moments from Journey Into Mystery #83-92, the first ten comics featuring The Mighty Thor! The stories were plotted by Stan Lee, scripted by Larry Lieber, with pencils by Jack Kirby on #83-89, Al Hartley on #90 and Joe Sinnott on #91-92. Sinnott inked Kirby’s first issue, then Dick Ayers inked #84-89. Hartley and Sinnott inked themselves.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

There’s cliche, and then there’s CLICHE…

The romantic tension between Don Blake and Jane Foster was introduced in Journey Into Mystery #84, and while it is hard to imagine someone laying it on thicker than Stan Lee, his brother managed to outdo him here…

Some variation of those exact lines are used in pretty much the next 8 issues.

The beginning of Odin’s capriciousness

After not saying anything on the subject for 8 issues, when Don Blake goes to reveal his identity to Jane Foster, Odin suddenly reminds him…

Odin was much like a Silver Age comic book writer – he just made up the rules as he went along.

The sparks are flyin’…

I like this panel from #87 mostly because of the surprisingly good joke in the first panel…

but then also, what a weird use of Thor’s powers.

10. Hey look, it’s Captain Obvious!

In Journey Into Mystery #88, Thor is separated from his hammer, allowing Loki to run free and cause trouble, including changing the objects in New York City. I just love the great observation…

It’s almost as if he doubts himself, “cars aren’t made out of ice cream! Or are they?”

9. Such fierce loyalty!

In Journey Into Mystery #85, we meet Loki for the first time, and Jane Foster (who was mooning over Thor in #84) is nearly as capricious as Odin…

By the way, “Loki,” “dashing” and “romantic” don’t seem to go together.

8. A SUPER familiar power

Early on, they really seemed to be doing an awful lot of Superman parallels in Thor’s comics. Like the whole love triangle with Thor/Jane/Don, but also, in this issue – super-ventriloquism?

Mort Weisigner, is that you?

7. Here’s the story of a hurricane breath…

In #86, Thor travels to the future to fight Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man. I guess I don’t mind Thor having “hurricane breath” (although, once again, very Superman-esque), but hurricane breath that can pierce dimensions?

That’s just goofy.

6. Speaking of goofy…

Check out Thor’s vibrational powers in Journey Into Mystery #84…

You’d think he’d try to use that power more frequently, no?

5. Somewhere That’s Green…

Jane’s obsession with Thor took a turn for the bizarre with this daydream sequence in #89…

Between our frozen dinner
And our bed-time: nine-fifteen
We snuggle watching Lucy
On our big, enormous
Twelve-inch screen

4. What? You don’t know the legend of Loki? It’s totally part of it. If you don’t know, you’re just ignorant…

I love the introduction in Loki’s first appearance of his vulnerability to water, of all things…

Yeah, you know, from the legend of Loki! Yeah, that’s the ticket!

3. God of Mischief, not of Observation

In the aforementioned #88, Loki separates Thor from his hammer. How he tricks him into getting it back is surely not something Loki will be wanting to put into his scrap book any time soon…

2. Thor’s version of Bat Shark Repellent…

In #85, Loki gets Thor’s attention by magically turning people into…negatives!!!

You have to love how Thor rescues them…

What do you think Kirby was thinking while drawing it? “I’ll have Thor twirl his hammer and they’ll be free – Stan can think of some reason why that worked later on…”

1. So, I was figuring we’ll just kill them….

In #90, a shape-shifting alien race tries to invade Earth. Thor stops them, but there are a few aliens left behind. As we saw in Fantastic Four #2, Reed Richards’ idea was to make them turn into cows. Thor, though, is even more messed up than that…

“It’s funny, because we effectively just killed them.”

41 Comments

Heh, Thor really was a Superman rip-off.

Which also makes the rivalry — mostly from the Thor side of the fence — between the two fan groups much more understandable.

The Xartans are something that Alan Moore would have a good time coming back to…if he ever wrote for Marvel.

Rollo Tomassi

May 7, 2011 at 9:12 am

AHAHAHA…Jane daydreams of polishing Thor’s Hammer…

A few observations / comments (trying not to come across as a jerk, but);

# 7: Thor’s “hurricane breath” didn’t pierce dimensions. It was just FAST enough to reach the Tomorrow Man BEFORE the dimensional window had closed.

# 6: He didn’t seem to be using “vibrational powers”. It was just the he hit the tank so hard that ITS own vibrations shook it apart. (Like the old cartoons when someone is hit by something and they vibrate all over the place.)

# 5: Jane is “polishing his hammer”. heh heh. Sorry.

# 3: That ruse seems to have been used by just about every Marvel hero in the early 1960’s. Set up a fake version of yourself (or trick your foe to reveal where they stashed your secret thingee) to pull off a win, when you obviously would have lost it all. The “Hail Mary” of the Superhero set.

# 1: By turning them into TREES, they were not killed. Instead, they were effectively made nearly “immortal” (or at least potentially longer-lived). Many trees can live for several hundreds of years. SOME have been around even longer. Of course, the clear-cutting of that bunch of trees to make a strip-mall was probably what killed them.

Good trip down goofy-comic memory lane.
Thanks.

Thank Odin Grant Morrison doesn’t write Thor.

Thankfully, the Thor as Superman rip-off phase didn’t last for long. As soon as Kirby becomes more involved, Thor comics gain its own voice.

These first few issues of Thor were mostly terrible, but I still like the appearances by Loki. There is something about two ancient gods fighting it out in modern New York City for the first time that is a powerful image, even though the rest of it is pretty silly.

Jane’s daydream is hillarious. And man, she was the girliest girly girl of all the girly girls Stan Lee introduced in the early MU. No surprise that she was later uncerimoniously dispatched from the comic so that Sif could take her place. Though there is something a little reactionary to the morals of it (god should marry god, mortals aren’t meant to be with gods), and the way Jane fails the test of bravery Odin sets up for her so that she could become a goddess is something that will would NEVER be able to do today.

By the way, is it a good or a bad thing that certain things can’t be depicted in fiction now? Only because one specific woman lacks bravery, it doesn’t follow that it’s an indiction against all women. Or at least, it shouldn’t.

These are pretty funny.

I’ve only read these in black and white– those ice cream car and delta-electron gun bits look amazing in color.

The goofiest Thor moment I can recall– maybe it was from a few issues past the first ten– was when Donald Blake, a lowly physician, builds a fully-functioning android in his spare time.

Oh, and something funny I realized.

Whenever Larry Lieber writes a Marvel comic, it becomes a lot less MIGHTY MARVEL MANNER and a lot more like some poor man’s Silver Age DC.

Larry has said in interviews that, unlike his brother, he didn’t like superheroes all that much, and he’d rather work on the western comics or something.

It shows.

It’s great that the Jane falling in love quickly thing from the movie seems like a less crazy version of what her early comic counterpart actually did.

And number 10 is the most Silver Age panel ever.

That “anti-matter trick” is awesome, just imagine that, Thor can produce anti-matter with his hammer! Pretty sure Reed Richards would want to ‘reverse enginner’ Mjolnir :D

Peace

I think my picnic table is made out of Xartan.

Joe S. Walker

May 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

“…the way Jane fails the test of bravery Odin sets up for her so that she could become a goddess is something that will would NEVER be able to do today.”

True, yet that story was the best writing of Jane as a character. Her reaction to Asgard was completely convincing – what normal human being would want to live there?

“Well, it was Silver Age” has officially become an explanation for anything.

True, Joe.

Whenever the hero shows a normal human supporting character his true self and the life he really lives, the supporting character will usually come to terms with it, either immediately or eventually, no matter how strange the secret.

Very rarely will the supporting character react in a way most people would: “Man, you live a crazy, dangerous, fucked-up life. Get me out of here. Oh, and I’ll be busy next week, and the next, and the next too. Bye.”

Mark J. Hayman

May 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Fierce loyalty, indeed! Despite Loki’s continuing efforts to estrange goldilocks from the adoring throngs, Thor seemed to enjoy a unique position within the early Marvel U.: unconditional love and acceptance. This seems all the more astounding given the times, when anything “other” in appearance or behaviour was treated with fear and suspicion at best, hostility and aggression at worst. A huge, “fabulous” (you know what I mean), apparently socialist (certainly not capitalist in any sense) person whose presence constantly endangered Manhattan in increasingly bizarre ways got all the love while even poor Iron Man was frequently an object of fear and derision (I suppose that Giant Man enjoyed some support in the early days but was hardly as well known). Spidey must’ve secretly despised him.

I guess it’s a god thing, wherever they are mortals can’t help but love them (occasionally switching loyalties if Loki shows up all dashing and romantic).
Grant Morrison should give a shot at writing Thor.

Nothing can beat the old, “swimming faster than the fastest fish,” line!
I believe that line was followed up in a subsequent issue with, “moving slower than the slowest sloth, Thor thought thoughtfully about what he would do on Thursday.”

And it’s the fact that Jane’s eyes are closed as she’s polishing that hammer handle that makes it comedy gold!!

Although I, for one, am certainly concerned that Thor has been running around with a WRINKLED cape all these years!!!!!

Now that the Thor movie is complete, the only thing left is a musical a la “Somewhere That’s Green”:

When I was younger, just a frost giant’s kid,
All-Father noticed funny things I did

Like kill some peasants with bubonic plague
I’d change a fair maiden into a foul hag
Then I’d find an Irishman and bash his head,

That’s when All-father said (what did he say?)

He said, “Mine boy I thinketh some day,
Thou shalt find a way
To make thy natural deviance pay:

Be God of Mischief, God of Mischief
Mine words, they do not dissemble
Be God of Mischief, God of Mischief
By thy deeds shall Avengers assemble

Your character’s wrong for the X-Men
And the FF would suit you still less
But God of Mischief:
You’d be a success!

Mark is an outstanding human being, and it proves how much of a musical geek I am that I INSTANLTY knew to sing that in my head to the tune of Dentist.

I wonder… Have the Thor comics ever dealt with the rather unique parentage of Odin’s horse, Sleipner?

Basara549, they only mention in the Marvel Handbooks that Loki is Slepnir’s “parent.” It’s never stated in the comics, at least not to my knowledge, that Loki turned into a female horse and was impregnated by a male one. =P

That disintegrated steel looks pretty good to me. Hilarious column, I need to buy more omnibuses/omnibi of old comic runs.

hahah No wonder it’s hard for outsiders to take us seriously.

“I guess I don’t mind Thor having “hurricane breath” (although, once again, very Superman-esque), but hurricane breath that can pierce dimensions?

That line is hilarious on so many levels. Great article.

And how do we know Thor is a god? Because Jane needs *two* hands to polish his hammer.
I’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip your waitress!

Wow, I’m just suprised some writer never brought the Xartans back, I mean they really pulled the whole problems with skrull cows out into severl story arcs, I mean, what happens when those trees are cut down and turned into desks, and paper, and Odin help us, Pencils!

Also, could the whole “Hammer Polishing” idea been played any more suggestivly?

Of course, Don Blake’s “she would never love me because I’m a cripple” was interchangeable with Matt Murdock’s “she would never love me because i’m blind” and Scott Summers’ “she would never love me because of my eye problem”

The bit with Loki and water, #4, was actually pretty inspired. Loki was the god of fire, and strongly associated with the dangerous aspects thereof, burning buildings and the like. Slippery, flickering, treacherous, impossible to grasp.

Interesting point Kevin.

***Of course, Don Blake’s “she would never love me because I’m a cripple” was interchangeable with Matt Murdock’s “she would never love me because i’m blind” and Scott Summers’ “she would never love me because of my eye problem”***

Or Peter Parker’s “she would never love me.”
It’s all really just Stan Lee-Brand Soap Opera as the article pointed out but, of course, perfectly acceptable melodrama for the time.
In fact, it’s the times that make this so interesting for me. Bear in mind, these stories are from a time when there was much less sensitivity for people with handicaps so a guy like Don Blake might have had a legitimate reason to be concerned.
On the other hand, he seems not at *all* concerned with the bigger issue. She *works for him*! There’s a pretty good reason for him not to “take her in his arms and tell her he cares.” Again, perfectly acceptable at the time but if he wasn’t really Thor? Wouldn’t it seem creepy that he keeps her employed and doesn’t tell her how he feels just so he can keep seeing her?
One more time, I’m going to say it: Those were the times and you can’t judge them (entirely) by our current culture but it’s interesting what a little perspective, say, a couple of decades, will do.
Plus this article didn’t even mention my favorite bit of Thor goofiness, the idea that he could fly by throwing his hammer so hard that it could lift him off the ground and grabbing the strap after he threw it so it would carry him. How did he change direction? How did he carry anyone?

I wonder if any of the whole, “she would never love me because I’m a cripple / blind / mutant / pathetic, so I should never say anything about it” was a subtle message to young boys to speak up and ask out the girl they like?

Theno

I love those “according to legend” bits with Loki. You’d think since Loki and he have been brothers for thousands of years that he’d know what Loki can and cannot do.

I love those “according to legend” bits with Loki. You’d think since Loki and he have been brothers for thousands of years that he’d know what Loki can and cannot do.

Ha! Yeah, I was going to mention that, too, but to be fair, back then, the take on Thor was more “Don Blake in the body of Thor” rather than actually being Thor, so statements like that made a lot more sense.

Thanks for the public service, Brian — not to mention the unintentional public relations. If your readers are tired of the sophisticated storytelling and tasteful production values of current Thor comics, moves and DVDs there’s always “Norrga the Thunderer,” half of my play “Funnybook/Tragicbook” at the Brick’s Comic Book Theater Festival in Brooklyn this June 4, 14 and 19 (http://bricktheater.com/index.php?type=show&id=13) — a shameless plug perhaps, but by the mighty Stan Lee standard!

****I wonder if any of the whole, “she would never love me because I’m a cripple / blind / mutant / pathetic, so I should never say anything about it” was a subtle message to young boys to speak up and ask out the girl they like?

Theno****

I think it was more likely fantasy/wish-fulfillment. Readers were supposed to say, “Wow, that guy is the Norse god of Thunder and he’s just as awkward around girls as *me*!”
For current examples, see any Katherine Heigl movie.

Chris Schillig

May 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

I love the nod to Bob Dylan in the title of #7.

I love the nod to Bob Dylan in the title of #7.

Gracias. Dylan references are a rarity here, so it’s always nice to see them.

Ah yes. They’re so very rare on this blog.

I know something is happening here, but I don’t know what it is.

Hah! I recognise those alien shape shifters. They popped up in a late 1980’s issue of X-Factor. They finally figured out how to change back from being trees. They took the form of the then Avengers (which included Thor) and took on X-Factor, which then was the original X-Men grouping, then minus Angel (man, that is a lot of continuity to cover). I think L Simonson wrote it. I always wondered where they came from. Now I know.

You are all way to harsh on Jane. I found nothing wrong with her in these early issues. Nothing wrong with being a girly girl and in the end she’s still the most interesting love interest Thor has ever had. Thor has never been as passionate about anyone like Jane and that is sorely missed these days. The tension that their relationship created with Odin was story dynamite. Thor would do anything for Jane, I don’t see him doing that for Sif.

‘To become an Immortal’ is one of the most depressing comics ever written. The fact that Jane wasn’t able to evolve and grow as much as other silver age women over the years because of that story just makes it worse. I think the love for Thor:The Mighty Avenger shows how much this romanticism in Thor is sorely missed. Jane is the heart and soul of Thor comics but it seems that is unwanted these days.

Dr. Blake is really digging on that fedora, and is clearly trying to ape Sinatra in that second panel. Then again, you almost never see Thor without his hat on either, so that compulsiveness actually qualifies as consistency.

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