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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Batman Fought…Thor?!?

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature.

Today we take a look at a classic meeting between Batman and…Thor?!?! It’s from Batman #127 and it was written by Bill Finger and drawn by Sheldon Moldoff (who just passed away recently)…

Batman and Robin come across the Thunder god as he is robbing a bank…

After a Bat-smackdown at the hand (and hammer) of Thor, Batman and Robin do some investigating….

You have to love Gotham City headlines! They’re basically paragraphs! Plus, I love the idea behind a museum that is just replicas of famous objects. That’s a sure-fire money maker! And sure enough, the hammer of Thor is missing from the exhibit.

Thor next shows up capturing some crooks (so he isn’t clearly a bad guy). Batman and Robin step in, but copper tubing is not all it is cracked up to be…

Finally, they discover the truth behind Thor and it is striking how similar it is to Don Blake becoming Thor (well, the whole “mild mannered guy transforms into Thor when he holds the hammer” part, at least)…

Man, this must be where Stan Lee got the idea that magnets could do ANYthing.

And I love that closing line from Batman. I imagine it going one of two ways.

1. He says it like Horatio Caine on CSI Miami. “It still has power….the power to interest people.”

or…

2. likely more appropirately, as a laugh line at the end of an episode, as he and Robin start laughing and the shot freezes.

How has this version of DC Thor not been brought back since?!?! It predates the Marvel superhero version of Thor, after all!

43 Comments

If DC did bring him back today, they’d rename him Hammer in deference (nay, fealty) to Marvel’s Thor. And it STILL wouldn’t be as silly as renaming Captain Marvel “Shazam.”

That is pretty awesome. This guy definitely needs to make a comeback!

There was another time Batman fought Thor. That is, the “real-life factual basis of the myth” of Thor. There was a time-traveling from the future, and he found that if he had the “meteor” that Mjolnir had been carved out of, and a bunch of Kryptonite–which had become rare in the future–he could make a powerful disintegration beam and conquer Earth.

Ah, Silver Age.

Thor can be used by anyone. Its a public domain character. They woudnt be able to design/dress him like marvels Thor, but DC can make its own version and call him Thor. Image has there Thor as well.

Batman dosent believe its Thor but hangs out with Green Lanterns,Amazons,Martians and Kryptonians!! Maybe he was a whole lot skeptical in the Silver Age.

Also, there’s a DC villain named Doctor Doom that predates Marvel’s Doom by a couple decades or so. He was the first criminal to break into the Batcave, back in the early 1940s.

That’s right, Batman beat Doctor Doom before the (Fantastic Four) villain even existed!!

This DC Thor was sort of eclipsed by another one, a mobster named “Fairytales” Fenton from a Simon/Kirby Sandman story in the 1940s. Fenton and his gang used mechanical devices, including a hi-tech hammer, to fake being Thor and a mob of marauding Vikings. Decades later, Roy Thomas decided that the “Hammer of Thor” Hawkman used in All-Star Comics #3 was the real deal, and had Fenton find it and use it to fight the All-Star Squadron guys. Fenton was defeated, but the hammer was retrieved by the Ultra-Humanite, who used it alongside some other Golden Age power objects in a bid for world domination that led into the introduction of Infinity, Inc.

So a DC Thor beat a Kirby Thor — who wielded the actual mythical hammer Mjolnir! — long before there was a Kirby Thor at Marvel!

You have to love copyright laws. You can base characters on gods, as long as they’re unique. That’s how we got “T-Money” from Judd Winick’s The Life And Times Of Juniper Lee. Sadly, I think that would be evidence for Marvel to keep Winick from ever writing Thor (should he break from DC), because it was that damn goofy.

“Batman and Robin come across the Thunder god as he is robbing a bank…”

I love comics.

I love comics.

Right?

What year was it published?

1959.

I just re-read this one a couple of weeks ago, during my most recent golden age binge. Couldn’t help wondering why Grant Morrison didn’t resurrect this fella as part of the Club of Villains.
I think my favorite goofy Batman story from that era is still probably “Batman Becomes Bat-Baby!” (“The story of the year,” as the cover announces!) That one definitely needs to be featured in this column eventually.

Daniel O' Dreams

March 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

In addition to the longest headlines ever The Gotham Gazette must have SOME photographer check out that picture of Thor they got. Gotta love Batman’s reaction to meeting Thor, “W-What…?”

Didn’t Roy Thomas also have Hitler summon the actual god Thor in an All Star Squadron story? Or was that an Invaders? Just as Marvel has multiple Merlins DC seems to have multiple Thors.

A meteorite flew almost horizontally through a window and hit the hammer head? And I thought a lightning bolt striking Barry Allen’s chemicals was against the odds!

I’m glad to see this Thor wasn’t really a god with a supernatural original. Just an average Joe with a hammer struck by a radioactive meteorite that caused size, shape, and personality changes specific to an ancient Norse legend.

Alien Norse radiation…it’s science, kids!

“Didn’t Roy Thomas also have Hitler summon the actual god Thor in an All Star Squadron story? Or was that an Invaders? Just as Marvel has multiple Merlins DC seems to have multiple Thors.”

Roy DID have the Invaders fighting a time-displaced Thor at one point. It’s also entirely possible he did a similar story in All-Star Squadron. Didn’t Roy write the Thor book for a while in the 70s? (I’m thinking he liked the character, and just liked finding excuses to write him in other titles).

It’s weird how close the mask/helmet on this Thor is so close to Simonson’s Thor.

The DC Universe has a real Thor that has appeared in some comics, most notably in a New Gods story that hinted the Norse Gods as being reincarnations of the Old Gods. I *think* he also was in the War of the Gods crossover (in the Justice League tie-in, which I missed.) Also I’m pretty sure Jimmy Olsen met a Thor in his Silver Age series but I can’t remember the exact story.

Btw did the Silver Age Superman ever meet/fight (a) Thor? How about Hercules or Samson?

As I mentioned above, the All-Stars never fought the real Thor, but rather an old villain with the real hammer of Thor.

There was also a quite different (drunken & rowdy) version of Thor in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic. “Thor? I’m tho thore I can hardly thtand!!”

I remember that DC’s Thor showed up in the first issue of John Byrne’s JACK KIRBY’S FOURTH WORLD (I think). The presentation was a little weird…it came off as, “Hey, it’s Thor! Not really Marvel’s Thor, but that’s who we want you to think of!” Well, that’s how it came off to me.

Somebody really needs to do a side-by-side comparison of “characters who exist at both Marvel and DC, but aren’t the same person due to trademark.” That would cover pretty much the entire Norse and Greek/Roman pantheons, plus Dracula and Frankenstein. I’m not sure who else.

Common characters would be a short list. DC and Marvel both have a villain named Scarecrow. Marvel’s Dracula has had a more consistent history than DC’s I think, since DC didn’t get deeply into the use of classic literary monsters when the Comics Code relaxed a bit in the 70s. Both have had their Hercules as the stars of their own books, Ares was a Wonder Woman villain and an Avenger. DC had a Sherlock Holmes one-shot in the 70s that I think was just burning inventory, and Holmes has appeared intermittently: as one of Batman’s tutors, and once in Superboy when Lana Lang had gained a ring that could call any figure from history, and she called up Holmes to ask him to decipher whether Clark Kent was Superboy: he refused because the future Superman was such a vital part of history that all the great figures of the past knew how important he was, George Washington wouldn’t tell her, either. Has Marvel ever used Holmes in a significant way?

I think either Lorendiac or John McDonagh may have a list like that.

Lorendiac made a “characters with the same name” list, which was not exactly the same thing: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/12/02/lorendiacs-lists-character-aliases-that-marvel-and-dc-have-both-used-5th-draft/. It’s a starting point, but isn’t explicitly a “same guy, different trademark” list. Oddly, it doesn’t have Dracula on it.

And of course, Marvel and DC’s Scarecrows, while having identical names and similar costumes, are two very different characters. One’s a psychologist, and one…oh, the heck if I know. Marvel’s guy never really took off, to my recollection. (I do remember them teaming up for one panel in DC vs. Marvel, and them being tongue-in-cheek combined in one of the Amalgam Comics.)

Unrelated–I always thought it was funny that the Marvel Legends and DC Universe Classics toy lines released an Ares figure at roughly the same time.

Both companies have used each others’ characters in gag appearances of course (most notably Marvel’s non-powered Clark plus Lois). Both companies have used the same real life figures, e.g. United States Presidents. Closer to what was previously discussed, both have characters from Arthurian legend.

Common characters would be a short list. DC and Marvel both have a villain named Scarecrow. Marvel’s Dracula has had a more consistent history than DC’s I think, since DC didn’t get deeply into the use of classic literary monsters when the Comics Code relaxed a bit in the 70s. Both have had their Hercules as the stars of their own books, Ares was a Wonder Woman villain and an Avenger. DC had a Sherlock Holmes one-shot in the 70s that I think was just burning inventory, and Holmes has appeared intermittently: as one of Batman’s tutors, and once in Superboy when Lana Lang had gained a ring that could call any figure from history, and she called up Holmes to ask him to decipher whether Clark Kent was Superboy: he refused because the future Superman was such a vital part of history that all the great figures of the past knew how important he was, George Washington wouldn’t tell her, either. Has Marvel ever used Holmes in a significant way?

http://www.reocities.com/schablotski.geo/amalgamtime6.htm

Several characters and materials have been published by both Marvel and DC Comics. Other than Access and the Amalgam Comics, none of these have ever been jointly owned. There are, however, a number of licensed properties that have been handled by both companies. It is reasonable to assume that any licensed characters that have shown up in comics by DC as well as Marvel would also have shown up in comics published by Amalgam, were Amalgam Comics a real company. However, unless a character or event has appeared in-continuity by both companies (such as Frankenstein’s Monster), it would be reckless to postulate a presence in the Amalgam Universe.

I will try not list properties from folklore, but literary properties that he missed.

Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser
Elric of Melniboné
Thundercats (by way of Wildstorm)
Ayesha

One should note that Doc Savage has met properties owned by both companies.

I will

Mike.T

March 23, 2012 at 8:49 am

Batman dosent believe its Thor but hangs out with Green Lanterns,Amazons,Martians and Kryptonians!! Maybe he was a whole lot skeptical in the Silver Age.

Remember what Count Karstein wrote:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/12/15/the-abandoned-an-forsaked-catwoman-was-a-prostitute/

That’s nothing. In the late 70s, Batman fought Odin. In an issue pencilled by Walt Simonson, no less!

Actually it was Calendar Man. CM was committing a string of high-profile crimes modeled after the days of the week, and for Wednesday he wore a modernized costume based loosely on Odin(or Woten, after whom Wednesday is named), complete with an eight-wheeled motorcycle(in homage to Odin’s eight-legged steed Sleipnir).

randypan the goatboy

March 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thor was also a part of george perez’s war of the gods miniseries wasnt he? as a matter of fact he was a part of the breakdowns mini series/crossover…all the way back in 1991

“Didn’t Roy Thomas also have Hitler summon the actual god Thor in an All Star Squadron story? Or was that an Invaders?”

As Nathan responded, the Invaders fought a diplaced Thor, but in one of their first missions they also fought Donar, God of Storms, who was very Thor-like, but I’m not all that versed in mythology.

A Thor also made an appearance in the late, great series Elementals by Bill Willingham at Comico. I miss that book so much!

David Brin wrote about a Thor meets Capt. America in WWII in a DC/Wildstorm hardcover. Maybe that is the “All-star Squadron” story you are thinking of?

Did “fairytale” from the sandman comic used a winged helmet?.

Thor using a what basically is a “female” helmet has always been attribuited to Kirby, but here we see a Thor wearing the valkiryes helmet that pre dates the Marvel version.

“Plus, I love the idea behind a museum that is just replicas of famous objects.”

To be fair, it would be very hard to a museum of genuine mythological curiousities. The whole ‘mythological’ aspect, ya know.

Did “fairytale” from the sandman comic used a winged helmet?

He did indeed, as you can see in this panel reproduced from 1942’s Adventure Comics #75. Kirby designed him, of course.

Including the links would help, wouldn’t it?

http://www.comicvine.com/thor/29-2304/fairy-tales-fenton/108-552154/fairy_tales_fenton__earth_two__001/105-2011642/

http://www.comicvine.com/thor/29-2304/fairy-tales-fenton/108-552154/thor9/105-2011849/

Interestingly, the splash page of the story has Fenton in a horned helmet…which NO Vikings wore, according to what I’ve read.

DC also has their version of Hercules. And Sandman had Thor, Odin and Loki.

when was the thor story that was featured in the recent Kirby omnibus published?

tim, could you say anything about other than “It’s a Thor story?” Are there any other characters in it, for example? Might it be the Sandman story we’re all discussing, or is it a standalone, or what?

Looks like the Thor story I’m referring to is in Tales of the Unexpected 16, titled “The Magic Hammer”…

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Tales_of_the_Unexpected_Vol_1_16

Donar was actually an alien brainwashed by the nazi scientist Brain Drain.
Since we’re discussing Dracula in passing,Brian, how about the Prez story where Dracula shows up as the Transylvanian ambassador (protesting over a US-funded development project that will have some disastrous effect on his people). With no legs and wheeling himself around on a cart, if I remember.
Of course, the Prez issue with the Bobby Fisher parody Chess King was pretty out there too.

Rereading this, I’m really glad to see the whole thing, but I’m not sure it belongs here just because Marvel came up with a Thor character later. Even the origin isn’t that outlandish by general comic-book standards.

I love that the first page consistently depicts Thor with huge nebbishy buck teeth. Leading me to suspect that he is in fact Sor the Sunder-God, with a sunderbolt hammer. Or perhaps Bugs Bunny.

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