Thursday, June 14, 2012


THE MIGHTY THOR OMNIBUS VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2011; Hardcover)

Collects Journey Into Mystery Nos. 83-120 and Journey Into Mystery Annual No. 1 (cover dates August, 1962- September, 1965)

Writers: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber (co-writer, 83-91), and Robert Bernstein (co-writer, 92-96)

Artists: Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Al Hartley, Vince Colletta, and others

Thor starts out with a bang, taking on the Stone Men of Saturn in a tale powered by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (Journey Into Mystery No. 83). It was the only issue in this book which I had read prior to purchasing this book. It was collected in the now obsolete Fantastic Firsts trade paperback (Marvel Firsts: The 1960s replaces and expands upon that book), and I enjoyed it. I was not able to afford another line of hardcover Masterworks at the time, so I passed on it. 

I thought that this would all be Lee/Kirby, but it was not. After that first appearance, they pass it off to the less capable hands of Larry Lieber and then Robert Bernstein, whose shoddy dialogue and clunky writing really crap up Stan Lee's plots. Stan finally takes the book back over with issue 97. 

I use my son's booster seat to safely transfer my Omniboo home. Don't knock it 'til you try it!
Kirby's pencils are suffocated by Vince Colletta's inferior inks, with Kirby's powerful brush strokes rendered impotent by Colletta and his eraser. Joe Sinnott is the only one of the inkers here that do The King justice. Kirby's Absorbing Man is just terrific.

These are the earliest Thor comic books, and all of the great elements of the title are introduced here. My favorites are the Absorbing Man and the team of Mister Hyde and the Cobra. These are classic villains who end up appearing throughout many titles in the Marvel Universe. Thor is one of the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe, so this is required reading for anyone interested in the history of this rich universe of characters. 

The OCD zone- Glorious, glorious coated stock paper and sewn binding that allows this monster 768 page book to lay perfectly flat from the first page to the last. Gloriously restored linework from superior file sources and a color palette that is 100% faithful to the original issues makes my OCD swoon. If I didn't share a bed with my wife, I would cuddle with this book. Heck, I still might.

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DC has made strides in fixing the problem of their books not laying flat. Join the cause page if you want make sure that DC keeps up the recent good work on their hardcovers. Don't do it for me, do it for the children. Won't somebody please think of the children??


  1. Actually, it was Larry Lieber who scripted #83, and came up with the names Don Blake and Uru. And Vince Colletta's inks bestow a graceful illustrative quality to Kirby's pencils that suits the mythological nature of the strips perfectly, in my opinion. Got Vol 2 yet?

    1. Yup. No idea when I'll get around to reading it. Thanks for the clarification.