Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Awesome Attack of Dr. Blake!


There's no question that Journey Into Mystery raised its profile in the early 1960s when its pages unleashed Thor, the God of Thunder, on the comics world. After twenty issues, Thor's masthead would take prominence over the mag's title--eventually leading to Thor receiving his own book, as he began to journey into legend.

Thor performed some incredible feats in those Journey stories--though in those days when Marvel was trying to get Thor to catch on, "incredible" often stretched the limits of believability, even for 1960s comics. There were certainly some chuckle-inducing moments to be had, when Marvel seemed to be pulling Thor's powers out of a hat to further entice and excite readers. Thank Odin many of those abilities have been left in the dust of the '60s and forgotten--though there are some embarrassing scenes even a Thunder God can't live down.

For instance, the times when Thor didn't even need his hammer to command the elements:





Heck, sometimes we didn't even need Thor. Behold, the mighty Blake!



We also discovered the potpourri of energy bolts that Thor could coax out of that hammer:




(Wouldn't you know it, there are actually such things as alpha particles.)


Thor can also place others under his control, as long as it's not a cloudy day:



And for what it's worth, Thor can handily track other immortals, because it seems they all have built-in homing beacons:



A power which often seems to slip Thor's mind, given the number of times he's been on frantic quests to find Sif, Odin, et al.

But even when Thor segued to his own title, and the outrageous uses of his power began to taper off, there was still the occasional exception. Which leads us to my absolute favorite moment of a never-before-seen Thor power, one which I've made mention of before but which certainly stands in good company with the rest of these examples. Because while I might be able to swallow solar hypnosis and alpha particles, ladies and gentlemen, I draw the line at incantations.


I don't know if it was that thermo-blast that won Thor's release, or if it was Ego, the Living Planet, expelling him in one big, cataclysmic groan of "YECCHH!"

4 comments:

George Chambers said...

Don't forget my personal favourite Only-Ever-Used-Once power: Thor defeated the Absorbing Man by whirling his hammer at "cyclotronic speed" and transmuting Crusher Creel's molecules into helium. Let's face it, Thor was how Stan expressed his Superman-envy.

Comicsfan said...

Yes, that definitely ranked right up there, George! (Heh heh--get it? "Right up there"?)

Kid said...

I love these early Thor stories, I have to admit. I guess they just appeal to the 8 year-old in me. (Which was the age I was at the time I first read them.)

Jason Atomic said...

I'm just really excited that in 1963 (or whatever) 'The King' & 'The Man' knew that thunder can create anti matter particles. It took NASA until 2011 to sus that one out. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/fermi-thunderstorms.html

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