Category Archives: Thor

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. Read the rest of this entry

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Monkeying Around On The Moon: The Fantastic Four and the Space Race

Only a genius such as I, Ivan Kragoff, could have trained a gorilla to operate a space-ship! – Red Ghost

Journey Into Marvel – Part 84

The Transparent Space Race

The Transparent Space Race

Extremites, I am obsessed with space; the idea of travelling beyond the clouds, into nothingness, enthrals me. I keep Apollo 13 on repeat. Glow in the dark stars bedeck my bedroom ceiling. The ingenuity of  the Space Race inspires me. I wonder what it felt like to witness the nightly news in 1963.  In today’s issue we get a glimpse into what that feeling was. Read the rest of this entry

Loki ‘The Vice:’ Marvel’s Thor Goes Judeo-Christian

Journey Into Marvel – Part 80

A building rising in the air and then vanishing! People losing their memory for no physical reason! It smacks of supernatural mischief…and that smacks of the god of evil, my old enemy…Loki!

The Movies don't even try and pretend... Milton could see the similarities. (Joke only works if you get that JM was blind)

The Movies don’t even try and pretend… Milton could see the similarities. (Joke only works if you get that JM was blind)

Extremites, like most western fiction the comic’s roots lie in campfire stories. Religious stories, mythologies, and legends all descend from these roots. One of the recurring archetypes that comes out of these traditions is the vice character. I have brought him up before in this series; think Satan or any crux character that coaxes the hero to act against his or her nature. Thor, based out of Norse myth, is the closest Marvel line to these roots.  It’s right that his line has the strongest and most obvious vice character in Loki. Read the rest of this entry

Carbon Copy Crap: Al Hartley’s Thor

Journey Into Marvel – Part 76

Other men reveal their feelings! Why don’t I? Why don’t i just up and tell Jane that I love her?? What am I afraid of?? Blast it!! Am I a man or a mouse?!! I, who possess the greatest strength on Earth…who would battle entire armies…who would defy the heavens themselves! I fear nothing!…Nothing! Nothing…except the mocking laughter of a beautiful woman, upon learning that afrail, timid doctor is hopelessly in love with her! – Dr. Blake/Thor

It's all discombobulated.

It’s all discombobulated.

Extremites, Journey Into Marvel is bi-polar. One moment I’m reading a historically significant issue, that has far reaching repercussions for fandom, and the next I’m neck deep in  crap. After the last issue where Hulk crossed over with the Fantastic Four and changed comic book history, I return to a Marvel rush job with Journey Into Mystery. Read the rest of this entry

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. Read the rest of this entry

How Loki’s Second Appearance Signalled the Coming of a Titanic Change at Marvel

Journey Into Marvel – Part 64

Loki has a Don Blake too!

Loki has a Don Blake too!

Extremites, what is it about Thor and Loki? Loki tries to take Thor’s hammer, either fails or briefly holds power until Thor rights everything and we as fans come back in droves to see versions of this story over and over.

I wrote an article that took Forbes to task for calling Loki “Marvel’s only decent villain.” Forbes is wrong. There’s plenty of decent villains in Earth-616. However, they are correct in noticing the mass appetite for Loki. But why? Read the rest of this entry

Marvel’s Thor Swallows His Obligatory Red Pill and Great White Sharks

Journey Into Marvel – Part 59

Look at those monsters!

Look at those monsters!

Extremites, they’re back. Stan Lee’s favourite punching bags. The sign that the writers were strapped for time. Those monsters that appose everything that the US stands for and therefore Marvel. Those disgusting malevolent Reds!

This time they cross Asgard’s favourite son: Thor. Read the rest of this entry

How a Blind Girl Saved the Fantastic Four: Why Alicia Masters Completes the Fantastic Four Equation

Journey Into MarvelPart 55

Alicia_Masters_(Earth-616)_young_adultExtremites, Sean Howe’s “Fantastic Four Equation,” featured in his book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story states that the Four are incomplete on their own. Human Torch is a powerful out of the box thinker but lacks any form of control, Sue Storm has a strong conscience and empathy but she is not a strategic thinker, Reed Richards is a brilliant strategist but his ability to think beyond the norm is nominal, and Thing lacks empathy but his strength of character and over abundance of feelings make him into one of the most loyal and trustworthy characters in Earth-616. Together, the Four make one perfect hero. But Sean has missed the completing digit in the equation: Alicia Masters. Alicia Masters, in her non superhero way, anchors the team. The team is often wrapped up in their personal “greatness.” Alicia reminds them that they are human.

Masters seems like another helpless damsel in a line of damsels, but Alicia’s damseldom — new word Extremites — is novel for archetype obsessed early Silver Age Marvel. AM is in many ways a modern redux of the Comedia Del Arte role: the Inamorati or Colombina. An Inamorati is an innocent, with great ability for insight, who is victimized by the Il Dotore character. Often these dastardly characters trapped the poor damsel within their houses. Il Dotore is embodied in the Puppet Master.

Read the rest of this entry

Marvel’s Thor and Thermo-Nuclear War

Journey Into Marvel – Part 54

Thor and the Missiles.

Thor and the Missiles.

Extremites, we forget that at one time the threat of nuclear war was as present as the threat of a thunder storm on a humid day. In 1962, when the world came the closest it ever came to total nuclear annihilation — during the Cuban Missile Crisiscomic books all took a dark turn. Never has this turn been more clear then in today’s Thor adventure. Journey Into Mystery #86 is full of anxiety and shows that even wild stories, about time travel and feats of strength, can be full of zeitgeist ideology. Read the rest of this entry

Is Loki Marvel’s Joker?

Journey Into Marvel – Part 48

loki_joker_facebook_cover_tests_by_lucafon-d5oabrlExtremites, around the premiere of Thor: The Dark World, I read a Forbes article that declared Loki as the only interesting Marvel villain. This article claims because of Marvel’s campy comedic vibe they have yet to produce a villain who has the gravitas of the Joker.

Ignoring that this article disregards the none Disney Marvel adaptations like Fox’s X-Men, which features both Sir Ian McKellen’s inspired interpretation of Magneto and Fassbender’s younger version who is just as rich — and Sony’s plethora of well adapted Spider-Man villains: Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock or the malevolent and off the wall Green Goblin of Willem DaFoe— the article has a point.

I submit that of the villains so far presented in the Marvel Disney World, Loki is the only one adapted faithfully to the screen.

Obadiah Staine is a footnote in Iron Man.

Mickey Rourke’s Vanko is a mishmash of characters.

Shane West’s Mandarin is a spit in the eye.

Tim Roth’s Abomination was well cast in a terrible script.

Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull has too little screen time.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is the first villain that poses a threat and that is because his is the only faithful adaptation.

The Joker, in Batman, is the perfect villain.

We often as literary critics get bogged down  looking for important motivations when we dissect villains, but really, as so well reduced in the recent HBO True Detective series, they are the opposite side to a coin. They are the dark in opposition to the light. Joker is the yang to Batman’s yin. He doesn’t hate the Batman, per se, or love him like the Riddler does, he needs the Batman to exist. This is because he is part of the same personality. Batman and Joker are both deficient in one side of their personality and the other character fills in that deficiency. Batman lacks any sort of humour, Joker has an excess of it. Joker lacks any sort of ethics, Batman has an excess of them. So it is with Loki and Thor.

I am not about to suggest that Thor and Batman are one and the same. I have already made the case that he is a parody of Superman. Loki is the same as Joker. Both characters have the same goal … to create chaos for the sake of chaos.

Sure, as time has gone on both the Joker and Loki have gained deeper pathos. In Loki’s case, he wishes to gain control of Asgard for some received slight in his adoption by Odin, but in his initial appearance this was not present.

Journey Into Mystery #85 is the third appearance of the Mighty Thor. He has now fought aliens, restored capitalism to a banana republic, and met his future love Jane Foster/Nelson. In this issue he meets his archnemesis.

Up in a very special place called Asgard, its first appearance, there grows a great oak tree. Within this tree is exists Loki trapped until someone cries a tear for the him and he can be released. Loki, being the most clever of the Asgardians, makes one of the leaves float into the eye of passing Heimdall and he is free.

After this initial plan Loki spends the story creating chaos in his search for Thor.

If it’s a statue, Loki has brought it to life, if it was somehow inanimate, it somehow becomes animate.

Why does he create all this chaos?

Loki never wants to defeat Thor. He just wants Thor to ‘pit wits.’ This is the relationship Batman has with Joker, although without the magic. It’s almost as if Loki wants to play with Thor. It is not a bloodthirsty relationship like Prince Namor or Doctor Doom’s with the Fantastic Four. It’s a battle of wits.

jim85-02

Loki’s first entrance! Ever!

In my mind, there are four types of antagonists: the Scorned, the Megalomaniac, the Ideologue, and the Shit Disturber. Examples of these in Batman would be: the Riddler, the Penguin, Ra’s Al Ghul, and the Joker. On Marvel’s side it goes like this: Prince Namor, Dr. Doom or Kingpin, Magneto and Loki.

Loki’s presence has always been expected when it comes to Thor. Many of Thor’s issues have Loki involved in someway.

And so it is with Batman.

This is evident from Loki’s debut.

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

Story I Read:Trapped By Loki, The God Of Mischief!” (Journey Into Mystery #85, Oct. 1962)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros: This is a really fun issue. More Asgardians. Bonkers Loki plots.

Cons: Character wise, this is a pretty empty episode, but Silver Age comics are often gimmicky and just entertaining.

Previous Review:It Came From The Skies” (Fantastic Four #7, Oct 1962)

Upcoming Review:The Challenge of Comrade X” (Tales to Astonish #36, Oct 1962)

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