How Dr. Don Blake and Thor Work With 1960s Marvel Logic

Journey Into Marvel – Part 69

One of those new ever changing powers of Thor.

One of those new ever changing powers of Thor.

Extremites, I was thinking about Batman. The concept of a mortal superhero is ingenious. Batman is full of the flaws of humanity yet he can challenge any mortal or extra skilled foe. He can face a human antagonist like the Riddler and an extra-human like Ra’s Al Ghul.

When it comes to Superman, his antagonists must be more powerful to pose a threat to the Kryptonian. Lex Luthor, begins as a  billionaire with an endless supply of resources and over time morphs into a superhuman cyborg just to keep up with Kal’El. At Marvel, Thor, a god, has this same problem.

Returning back from a recent adventure, Thor, after changing into Dr. Don Blake, is captured by local gangsters. It seems they need a ‘sawbones,’ a colloquialism that is used far too much in this story, to patch up their escaped boss: Thug Thatcher.

Easy fix for Thor, right? Just a few smashes of Mjolnir and Thug Thatcher stew.

Sometime in the 80s, I don’t know when, Dr. Don Blake was retconned to have always been Thor. His mind had been wiped by Odin for some transgression. In February 1963, however, Thor is the alter-ego of crippled Dr. Don Blake. The creatives — who in this case are Stan Lee and Larry Lieber — have a perfect conceit where they can remove Mjolnir and leave Don Blake helpless.

When Don Blake cannot reach his cane — which of course — is the disguised Mjolnir, he uses a mental connection with Odin to help him out. Calling up the AllFather on the rainbow connection, as you do when you are an Asgardian, Thor coaxes dad to send a lightning bolt down to shock the gangster who is holds the cane. The cane flies into Don Blake’s hand and he becomes Thor.

The narration states that even though Don Blake does not have the strength of an Asgardian he still has the mind of Thor and can contact Asgard whenever he wants. Extremites, even when Don Blake is Don Blake he still is Thor, but when Thor is Thor he is not Don Blake.

Make sense?

Yeah, I’m confused too.

If Don Blake always has the mind powers of Thor doesn’t that make him Thor?

The origin story, recounted here for those readers who have yet to encounter a Journey Into Mystery issue, is all a ruse because Don was always Thor.

I am sure, there are Extremites out there who are looking at your screens thinking ‘Julian you are over thinking this;sit back and enjoy the whole charming Silver Age story of vaguely ethnic gangsters capturing nurses and stuff.’

can’t.

The relationship between Thor and Don Blake defines the story. Especially, when the limitations of humanity are involved. How the conceit of Mjolnir works changes issue to issue and this hampers any understanding of the real conflict between alter egos. Perhaps, this why in the Early issues of Marvel ‘Alter-Egos’ were so fluid. Stan could not keep them straight.

As stories go, by the way, this one has its moments but it is forgettable.

Until next time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

Story I Read:The Thunder God and the Thug!” (Journey Into Mystery #89 Feb. 1963)

Rating: 1 1/2 of 5

Pros: The dialogue is pretty good. Thug Thatcher is a parody of the characters RFK was parading in front of judicial committees— so appreciate that.

Cons: Extremites, I’m so confused. The whole mental telepathy thing is a major flaw and throws this story off the rails.

Next Review:The Impossible Man” (Fantastic Four #11 Feb. 1963)

Last Review:The Return of the Wizard!” (Strange Tales #104 Feb. 1963)

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About Julian Munds

I possess a degree in Theatre and Drama from the University of Toronto. I own my own theatre company called Snobbish Theatre. We focus our work on new versions of classics.

Posted on April 1, 2015, in Marvel, Odin, Thor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. hi again, you said you did not understand my last comment then I will reline it more organized ok? I read your post the anti marvel hero inside doctor strange, there you said that the HERO and antihero, and I disagree with that, just put in your post the human torch because it was newer and know you would read my reasons to say that you are wrong are, you said he looked like villains by using magic and is unknown, but other HEROS like spider man the x mens, also are hated as any villain, or in the case team of villains, another thing you said and that he is not doing well, so facing a bite because he’s on his way, but he and the Sorcerer Supreme , his duty and protect the land of any magic attack, in his first adventure he already had to save a nightmare group of civilians, in addition to face Too I bandits, and help the police as magic consultant, already saved the world 4 times, avengers 2, and already saved thousands of people, once using black magic to save the Avengers, sacrificing his own sanity, sacrificing also appropriates life to stop the dormamu, since he had to exorcise a girl, and auncia way to take the devil it would be killing, but the strange doctor went to him, to not have to kill anyone, he already became part of several groups of superheroes, helping various and saving many, I hope not take it as an insult, because I am a fan,and the very strange tales 110 dis a different superhero

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