Thinking about the latest twists in the Thor saga, I thought about the Silver Age Thor so I was wondering--

  • when Odin deposited the newly created Don Blake in front of that medical college, did he think up a complete backstory for the guy, with paperwork and creditials? I know it was the 60s but you still had to have a college diploma to be a doctor!
  • Was it ever confirmed exactly what kind of doctor Blake was? He appeared to be a general practioner (gp) until he had to do complicated surgery.
  • Did Odin ever worry about Don Blake getting, well, killed somehow?
  • How long did it take for Thor's persona/memories to come back? In his first appearance, it was Blake transformed into Thor but soon, Thor's personality took over. It really was very similar to Bruce Banner and the Hulk.
  • Mjolnir was charmed that none but Thor could hold it but it wasn't super-heavy or else Thor would be crashing through the floor, among other things. But if he placed it inside a car, say, could you drive away with it, theoritically?
  • Did Thor truly love Jane Foster or was it Don Blake's emotions?
  • Did Thor have access to Don Blake's knowledge because sometimes the Thunder God seemed confused by technology/modern times?
  • And was Odin Thor's greatest foe or was there meaning to the All-Father's seeming madness?

 

 

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While Flipping through the GCD, I confirmed Vince Coletta starts inking the main series in #116 "Trial of the Gods" as i thought... but I've also come up with a few good questions for those in the know about Thor and Journey Into Mystery...

 

Why was the ubrella title of Journey into Mystery dropped as of issue #126?  What precipitated this?  Obviously the book was no longer an anthology book, and both the lead and back-up features were about Thor and Asgard?  Does anyone know why the change took place?

Second, The corner box change promoting "A Marvel Pop-Art Production" only lasted for four months (only three in the case of the FF)... why?  What was the deal, or was it the first instance of a stunt or promotional gimick (much like the first Marvel Mini-series 4 part books would be 20 years down the pike?

 

Third, issue #119 was nothing more than four interior panels grouped together to illustrate the story. Certainly, this is somewhat unique, but why was it done?  This is the same month that the first Thor annual debutes, IIRC, and I wonder if Kirby forgot to draw a cover, or if it got lost in the mail, or just what the story behind it is.

I can think of two other examples of a similar type cover...later in Thor #141"Who is Replicus"  and also in Fantastic Four #71 . (and to a lesser extend #77). Were these examples of an alternative design cover, or just scheduling snaf fu?

Mark Evanier wrote about the Replicus one here. Thor #158 is another case of a cover apparently put together at the last moment. In both cases the giveaway is the use of interior images.

 

The others you list might be just design concepts. The thing to check would be whether they use interior images too. Another cover in the same vein is Thor #149. One might also compare Gunsmoke Western ##67 and #75 and Tales to Astonish #43.

 

Thor #170 has John Romita cover. I think by then Romita was working at Marvel instead of at home. So perhaps Lee decided the cover needed redoing and got Romita to do one because it could be done quickly that way with oversight. The GCD credits the Thor face on Thor #158 to Marie Severin. One supposes she was used because she was on hand.

 

I don't know just how titles were ordered in those days, but it will have made sense to put Thor's name on the order list by making his name the title once he was established as a successful character.

Extremely Interesting set of alternative covers and ideas behind why they were done or discarded!

There are at least two Thor covers in there, and I agree with most of your examples...some are just action poses of the heroes...but others are lifted interior pannels.  I still think Thor #119 (august 1965) got lost in the shuffle of producing the first Journey into Mystery Annual (July 1965) and shows Herc on the cover almost a full year before he shows up in the main title, just in time for the main title to change to "Thor".  I wonder if they did it to firmly establish that this is a THOR comic and not a Hercules feature in JIM????!!!

If I might be forgiven for going off on a tangent, despite Mark Evanier's doubts I think the reason the X-Men #33 cover was rejected is likely because the Code thought it was too horrific. Likewise the Red Skull head on the cover of Captain America #101 was changed, but not in the interior of the issue. (The original Red Skull head was used when the cover was reprinted on Marvel Super Action #2.) Marvel may have replaced Xorak instead of revising the image because it was easier to be sure of satisfying the Code people that way, or because it got an instruction along the lines of "get rid of demon from cover". This page has interior images of Xorak - I think he's less scary inside.

 

Incidentally, the reason the figures of Cyclops and Marvel Girl on the unused cover for X-Men #33 were replaced by Iceman and Angel on the final version is that in the issue only Cyclops and Marvel Girl go to Xorak's continuum while the others stay behind and fight Juggernaut.

My personal theory on why Journey Into Mystery becameThor was that Stan and Jack (probably mostly Jack) got serious about the Thunder God. They had more artists working for Marvel so Jack could concentrate on three-four books a month! A light load for him!

I'm guessing that he stayed on Fantastic Four, Captain America and began Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD while revitalizing both Thor and Tales of Asgard.

Luke,

That's fascinating about Cap #101...and I went to the GCD to flip between the two covers. It's amazing to see the difference between the two!  Even the inking on the Cap figure appears different.  I notice the Marvel Super Action #2 has a larger figure of the Red Skull, and the gloved hand is white.  The whole scene appears to be set in an old, victorian house with detailed walls.  Even the block of stone that the Sleeper emerges from is different...more rocky, less a concrete block!  I had no idea!

Do you think the MSA #2 cover is entirely original, and the published Cap.#101 is the altered version?

I have to admit, that as a kid, I did NOT like the inking on this story arc, and felt the Skull looked all wrong...though I could not articulate what it was  that was so different. I'm convinced that it's the inker who punched up the detail on Kirby's art.

Now, going back as an adult, I enjoy the story arc even more, but it still doesn't hold a candle to the orginal 3  part Sleeper Saga from Tales of Suspense #72-74 or so.

 

PS: I notice there are two slightly different versions of MSA #2...based upon the price...30 vs 35 cents.

Any idea why Marvel was putting out to different prices on the same book?  How common was this?  Why? Did they go to different countries?

I wonder what all was coming out that month from Marvel.  Could we go look at Mike's Kang Time Platform to see what was going on in the various Marvel titles when this happened?  You may be right!

Philip Portelli said:

My personal theory on why Journey Into Mystery becameThor was that Stan and Jack (probably mostly Jack) got serious about the Thunder God. They had more artists working for Marvel so Jack could concentrate on three-four books a month! A light load for him!

I'm guessing that he stayed on Fantastic Four, Captain America and began Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD while revitalizing both Thor and Tales of Asgard.

Kirk, I'm sure it's a Kirby/Shores head. I can't be sure it wasn't taken from an interior page somewhere - I suppose it need not have been from that issue - but it's quite likely Marvel had access to the original version. Possibly the revised head was just pasted over the original, and all those preparing the reprint had to do was remove it.

 

It need not follow that the reprint cover is in every respect more original than the first printed version. The title copy has been altered to accomodate the price code box, so there may have been some redrawing of the Skull's arm and tunic. On the other hand, the original copy may have been pasted over the original art, and easily removed too.

 

Some of the rock debris flying away from the crypt has been removed, probably to accommodate the lower title logo. The top of the crypt has apparently been altered for the same reason: in the original there was a missing section, possibly to accommodate the last "A" of "America"; on the reprint this has been filled in and what I think is meant to be smoke or dust has been added over it.

 

The whole image has been moved down a bit, again possibly to accomodate the lower logo, but the handling of the Skrull figure below the title copy on the original doesn't look as sharply done as the higher part, and it may be Lee had the whole image raised when it first appeared. It could be the additional wall elements are original and were removed to simplify the image or because it had been raised. Alternatively the combination of the smaller hero box and lowered image on the reprint may have created more space around Captain America, necessitating their addition. They greatly add to the cover.

 

(altered)

OMG!  A Skrull figure?   We were being invaded way back THEN???!!!

Any idea why Marvel was putting out to different prices on the same book?  How common was this?  Why? Did they go to different countries?

They were test-marketing the viability of higher prices by selling them in certain markets. They did the same thing when they were considering boosting prices from 25 cents to 30 cents. So there are American versions of comics with both prices. In most cases, the test-market copies (ie, those with higher prices) seem to be about twice the price as back issues.

The first test ran for about five months, while the second seems to have run for about four months. So there's quite a few comics out there with different prices. 

There's been an effort to catalog all the comics that were tested since fans became aware of them after Comic Book Marketplace ran an article alerting collectors to their existence back in the mid-1990s. 

Here's a page devoted to the 30-cent variants: http://www.stlcomics.com/gallery/30cent/

Here's the 35-cent variants: http://stlcomics.com/gallery/35cent/

-- MSA

This has continued to bug me, so I kept looking for it, and I found the more clear transition to the "thee/thou" speach pattern occurs during the two  parter with Cobra and Hyde in JIM #110-111.  There are some "So Be It" and similar things that appear then, even if the more lofty, grandeous speech starts earlier.  So, let me amend my earlier guess about #109.

I found the answer in the Marvel Masterworks Thor Volume that reprints JIM #111-120 and the 2nd Thor Annual.

Kirk G said:

If I recall correctly, this has been asked before...by me, and I looked it up through Essentials or Masterworks, and it happens suddenly about issue #105... but don't quote me on that. I'm not sure if it's noted in the GCBD or not, but it was an afterthought by Lee and his idea to graff Ol'd Elizabethan English onto the Norse God's speech.  IMHO, it works.

Dandy Forsdyke said:

What issue of JIM did Thor start using "thou" and "thee"? Was it a gradual process or did it happen between issues?

Two words:

Chromosomatic gland.

I love this stuff. Back to reading.

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