Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Maybe It's "Fred"

Always have hammer in hand when answering a

Marvel Trivia Question

What method of summoning Thor's hammer, Mjolnir,
was introduced and dropped after only one issue?

It had to be an improvement over melodramatic whining:

We have dour writer Gerry Conway to thank for this little gem of a development from Thor #207. Conway's writing was interesting enough--but ye gods (excuse the pun) could he bring down the mood of a book. In a Gerry Conway comic, there was no joy, no laughter. Characters were grim, pessimistic, sullen, bitter in the extreme, and at times downright pissed. It's a good thing by this point that Marvel had done away with the exclamation point ending every sentence, because unless the character was angry it had no place in a Gerry Conway book. I mean, the man even turned Volstagg--Volstagg--into a guilt-ridden coward, a character whose joviality was near-legend.

Conway also had a tendency to pull things out of thin air, but in a way to make it seem as if they'd always been there. Take this issue of Thor, where the Thunder God is in a pitched battle with the Absorbing Man, and finds himself trapped underneath a boulder. In a Conway story, of course, he's "pinioned by a hundred-weight of stone." Sorry, Gerry, but the artwork makes clear that it's--well, a boulder.

And I never had the impression that Thor was anemic when it came to moving boulders by hand:

Anyway, apparently this Thor needs his hammer to escape, but it's well out of reach. What to do?

Or, put another way--what's the good word?

We don't get to hear what Thor cries out--but Mjolnir comes flying, and Thor blasts himself free from the boulder.

A little trick we never see again after this issue.

And are we talking using one word to summon Mjolnir, or several? Even Thor doesn't seem to be on the same page with his writer:

But let's get down to brass tacks, Mr. Conway--this development doesn't explain why, in all the times in the past that Thor needed to get his hammer back, the true name of Mjolnir somehow slipped his mind.  For instance, take the story just four issues before this one.  A story that, for Pete's sake, you scripted:

(I wonder why one of these Brainiacs didn't think to just drag the hammer over to Thor, instead of trying to lift it? No wonder no one ever mentions "Asgardians" and "resourceful" in the same breath.)

And by the way, Mr. Conway--when was Mjolnir ever a "thing of the earth"?

I'm not sure how this new ability of Thor's made its way past Roy Thomas, who's listed as the editor of this issue. Thomas, a long-time Marvel writer who's certainly familiar with the Thunder God, surely knew better.  In any event, Mjolnir, from then on, was only Mjolnir--a hammer that didn't come whether you gave it a nickname or when you whistled or whatever.  And if it was ever out of reach again, Thor would have to rely on ingenuity, and maybe good old-fashioned luck, to retrieve it.  Or maybe see Odin about upgrading his hammer's enchantment from v. 1.0.

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