Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let The Thunder Prevail

When it came to Jack Kirby's full-page portraits of characters in the Marvel books he pencilled, you certainly would have thought that Thor, God of Thunder, would be well-represented. Looking back through those issues, though, it seemed Kirby doted on other Asgardian characters much more than Thor for such portrait treatment. And that's understandable, given that this was Thor's book, after all, and just about every splash page would already feature him. To say nothing of the title's many dramatic covers depicting his latest adventures, such as this one:

So Thor wasn't exactly neglected by his creator in terms of rating the full-page treatment. Nevertheless, there were instances where you'd turn the page in the middle of an issue and there would be even more Thor for your money. You may remember one or two such portraits from the Brawl of the Gods series earlier, where Thor was either on the receiving end of a punch from Hercules or delivering one of his own. But other opponents fought for the right to share that prime space with the Thunder God. Fortunately for them, the dramatic tone of the story meant that a full page would feature them mixing it up with Thor pretty well.

Too bad the Enchanters, a trio of sorcerers who split their assault between Thor and Odin, didn't fare that well against either god, despite their bluster:

Nor did Him, who also talked a good fight but nearly paid with his life for his over-confidence:

So imagine my surprise when a mortal, the Wrecker, more than held his own with Thor. The Wrecker lucked into his power--the power of the Norns, originally intended for Loki but instead absorbed by this common thief who happened to be in the right place at the right time in a case of mistaken identity:

As long-time Marvel readers know, the Wrecker made quite a menace of himself over time, both going solo as well as being one-fourth of the Wrecking Crew. And you get a sense of his potential threat in not one but two full-page portraits of him battling the Thunder God:

Yet occasionally, Thor rated his own dramatic moments, such as these two scenes. In one, he's embracing his love, Sif, before being ordered on a fateful mission from which he may never return. In the other, near death from battling the Wrecker, he faces Hela, Goddess of Death, in a last-ditch effort to prevail:

Of course, Thor would live to fight another day. And a good thing, too, because we got to see battle-ready poses like these:

And who can forget that classic tale where Don Blake finally learned the truth behind both his own identity and his connection to a god of Asgard?

With these portraits of Thor, you've only seen one side of the coin of Kirby's work on the book. But with his many other full-page renderings of Thor's fellow Asgardians, Kirby shows us not only Thor's world but also his heritage. And we'll flip the coin to that side next time, where a certain all-Father will elbow his way into this series as only he can.


Kid said...

You just gotta love that Colletta-inked Kirby art. The others are pretty good too.

Comicsfan said...

Colletta was an acquired taste for me--his finishes tended to "sandpaper" character details and added very little of his own. But once I warmed to him, I was able to see what he brought to the table. He had a good run on Thor.

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