Joe Sinnott’s Fairy Tale Thor

Your appeal has reached my ears Thor! What trouble besets my favorite son? – ODIN

Journey Into Marvel – Part 87

The fairy tale panel.

The fairy tale panel.

Extremites, if you’ve followed this series with fanatical vehemence, and some of you have, you’ll be familiar with ‘Marvel Rush Job;’ those issues that don’t cut the mustard. They rely on hackneyed villains, convenient plots, caricatures.  Every early Earth-616 — main Marvel Continuity — title was helmed by comic book artist extraordinaire: Jack Kirby. Imagine you are Jack Kirby and had to crank out seventy or so pages of high quality work every month — and also the occasional  new creation. The task is daunting. In the summer of ’63 Stan Lee auditioned other artists to take over some of the titles. Sometimes this was a huge success. Look at the work of Don Heck. Sometimes this was a great failure — Al Hartley I’m looking at you. Whatever the result, it’s neat to experience other names take Jack Kirby creations and making it theirs. Today’s issue is the audition piece of long time Marvel mainstay Joe Sinnott and his fairy tale interpretation of Thor.

Of the Marvel titles Thor is the most literate. It was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s intention to educate fans on Norse myth. In doing this, the Journey Into Mystery titles are  wordier  and rely heavier upon archetype then other titles.

Joe Sinnott presents us a vision of Thor that would be at home in a tale by the Grimm Brothers. In his first panel, Joe shows us a marching wood attacking Thor with the malevolent face of Loki driving the whole thing. Shadows, contours, back and foreground perspective are all over the place. This vision of Thor’s world is far more dark and magical then he has so far been.

This story doesn’t begin in the realms of men, where most of the issues thus far have started,  but in Asgard with an introduction to Heimdall and Neri, a messenger of Odin. Both of these characters are designed to look like something out of a movie musical. There is whitewashed plainness to them while also an inherent glow. Heimdall has never looked like this before and maybe this is a result of this being the first Thor story that really centres in Asgard.

thor-stanleejackkirby16This issue gives us an extended glimpse into the inner workings of Asgard, with a scene on the Bifrost and long  monologues by Loki, who is tied to the Uru cliff, the goings on Midgard are empty. Don Blake is forced into caring for another escaped criminal which he has already done a few times. The story segues abruptly to a movie set in Norway where Thor is providing the special effects for a blockbuster. This is a neat little nugget.

The story itself is hard to pin down. We spend most of our time on Earth watching Thor’s hammer take prisoners to jail. You read me right, the Hammer leads the escaped criminal to the authorities. Thor has very little to do with it. It seems that the magnetism of the Uru metal, which the hammer is made out of, can guide itself wherever it needs to go. This is how Loki steels the hammer. He compels it to travel to Asgard and break his Uru chains from the Uru cliff. So much Uru. There’s dragons and sentient woods. It’s all madcap.

I’m not going focus on the story in this one cause it just is not worth it. What I can say is that it is so excellently drawn. Loki is angular while Thor is round. Odin is rich and distinct. The panels are brimming with life and Sinnott creates a multi-faceted Asgard that is both surreal and deep. I love everything about this vision. Alas, it is sometimes true that a poor writer can cheapen great art. That is the case here.

Until Next Time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

Story I Read:The Day Loki Stole Thor’s Magic Hammer” (Journey Into Mystery #92 May 1963)

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

Pros: Joe Sinnott’s vision of a Brothers Grimm Asgard is wonderful, the sequence where Thor provides special effects is cute in that Silver Age way.

Cons: There’s no story. This issue is more a collection of four different Thor related sequences: Heimdall and Neri discuss the Bifrost, Thor vs. the escaped criminals, Thor and the Norway film, and Loki sets up some minor nuisances in Asgard for Thor to conquer.

Upcoming Review: “The Merciless Puppet Master” (Fantastic Four #14 May 1963)

Last Review:Iron Man vs. Gargantus” (Tales of Suspense #40 Apr. 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 October 5, 2015, in Comics, Heimdall, Loki, Marvel, Odin, Thor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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