Thor debuted in Journey Into Mystery 83, cover-dated August 1962. This was, of course, the very early days of modern Marvel. The Fantastic Four had only 5 issues under their belts, and the Incredible Hulk had just 2. JIM was a monthly title (FF and Hulk were bi-monthlies), so Thor was actually the first super-hero headliner to appear every month, beating out Ant-Man by a month. Spider-Man also debuted in Aug '62, but would have to wait 7 months to get his own magazine.
Of all the Silver Age Marvel books, JIM/Thor seems to get a lot less love and respect than other creations. That may be because Thor is not really a creation of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as it is their adaptation of the Thor of Norse myths. There is one aspect of Marvel's Thor that is possibly borrowed from the Fawcett Captain Marvel, and in some of the early stories, Thor comes across as a poor man's Superman.
In the first year or so, Stan sometimes was credited as the writer, sometimes only the plotter. It's debatable how much he did or didn't do - it always will be, I suppose - but one thing for sure, he very obviously didn't do the dialogue every issue. Jack did the pencils on JIM 83-89, 93, and 97, and then was the regular penciller every month starting with 101. Jack also did the backup feature, Tales of Asgard, starting in JIM 97, a very significant - and excellent - strip on its own.
Inspired by the Baron, I'm going to re-read the Thor stories starting with JIM 83 and give you my thoughts. I may stop at Kirby's last issue, or I may keep going, I haven't really decided yet. Like Bob, I'm going to try to be succinct, even though it's not my strong suit - I'm sure I'll be long winded from time to time. I'm looking forward to what you guys think of these stories as well.
The original Fly predated Kirby's proposal for Spider-Man/Silver Spider. They both had a young boy turn into an adult hero with a trick gun. Supposedly, Ditko was to ink the first few pages of Kirby's story and (when he was still simpatico with him) alerted Stan to the ripoff of the Archie Comics character. Then the decision was made to change the Spider-Man concept to what we now know. For some reason they still had Kirby do the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 even though the Ditko cover was better. (IMO, but then everything I say is IMO)
Richard Willis said:
I have the entire run of The Fly in TPB. The earlier stories are good, but the character owes a lot to the original Captain Marvel.
Simon based on the Fly on the unused Silver Spider, who he developed for C. C. Beck.
C. C. Beck once wrote that the real hero of Captain Marvel stories was Billy Batson. I can see his point: they often had a sequence where Billy couldn't say his magic word, and had to figure out his way out of trap. By analogy, the hero in "Thor" should have been Don Blake, and there are sequences in one or two early stories where Thor loses his hammer, and Don Blake has to figure out how to get it back. Initially, it was Blake who pined for Jane. But Thor acquired his Norse God personality - proud, sometimes arrogant, capable of rage, willing to fight to the end - and it became Thor who wanted Jane and couldn't have her.
I guess I didn't understand the references to the Silver Spider. Thank you.
The first two issues of the Hulk have Banner save the day while the Hulk doesn't really do much of anything except smash a few things.
In the 50s a series of stories about the boyhood of Namor appeared in Sub-Mariner Comics. Possibly those stories were the model for the phase of "Tales of Asgard" where the series was about the boyhood of Thor.
They reprinted the story where he got his wings in the 70s. They just appear one day when he's falling to keep him from landing on rocks. Not the first time he got a power out of nowhere simply because he needed to have it. In Marvel Mystery#2 he first encounters fire and is saved by water suddenly pouring from his pores like a sprinkler. Early Thor has been described as being sort of like Marvel's Superman since he kept getting new powers. Seems Namor used to have that position. Giving him wings to fly helped get around the "strong man that can fly must be a Superman rip off" that Captain Marvel ran into.
"Gun tooting villains." Having a gun that toots sounds very Golden Age.
Hah! Called it!
Ron M. said:
What if Jane Foster found Thor's hammer is probably where they got the idea for the new female Thor. Somebody at Marvel came across that comic or got into a conversation about it. She doesn't turn out to be Jane, does she?