ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mighty Thor Debuts: Highlights of His First Marvel Masterworks Collection

Updated on September 15, 2018

Thor's Earliest Adventures in Journey Into Mystery, Including Loki's Debut!

Thor, one of Marvel Comics' mightiest heroes, debuted 50 years ago in a comic book called Journey into Mystery. One of the Marvel Universe's earliest characters, he has become one of the most durable and popular Marvel heroes.

Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor Vol. 1 starts with Journey into Mystery No. 83, which introduced the character. The collection also includes the next 17 Thor stories and the first ''Tales of Asgard'' tales.

The ISBN of this book is: 0-7851-1267-7

Marvel Masterworks Thor Volume 1 Available on Amazon Today!

Marvel Comics has printed this collection several times, with different covers but the same content. So don't worry about which version you pick -- you'll get the same stories with any of them!

Thor Journey into Mystery 83
Thor Journey into Mystery 83

Thor Fights the Stone Men From Saturn!

Stan Lee Says, 'Why Not a God?'

Writer Stan Lee credits a radio talk show for the inspiration of Thor as a Marvel character. As Lee tells it in the introduction of this collection, he was on a radio show and the interviewer referred to Marvel's new superheroes as the 1960s generation's new mythology. That sparked Lee to remember he loved Norse mythology, and led him to the creation of Thor.

But as this debut story would show, Lee didn't completely tap into the Norse mythology right away. Instead, he based the character on Earth, giving him a secret identity so he would be similar to other superheroes. In this telling, lame Dr. Blake stumbled across villainous aliens from Saturn and hides in a cave. Finding a stick, he taps it on a boulder and turns into the mighty Thor! Later, it would be revealed that Thor's father, angered at his son's arrogance, cast him to Earth in the guise of Blake to teach him humility.

Thor Loki Journey into Mystery 85
Thor Loki Journey into Mystery 85

Loki, the God of Mischief, Debuts in Journey into Mystery 85!

Also, the First Glimpse of Asgard!

Lee began to introduce more Norse mythology in the third Thor tale, even beginning the story in Asgard with Loki escaping imprisonment. He travels to Earth to confront Thor, and the two tangle in a pretty silly series of confrontations. Thor eventually beats Loki and sends him back to Asgard.

In this issue, Journey into Mystery No. 85, Loki comes across as more of a prankster than truly evil. There's never really much danger, and there's no mention of him being Thor's half-brother. A few of the other Asgardians have cameos in this story, including Heimdall, Balder and Odin.

Writer Stan Lee must have realized he had a winner in Loki, because he would bring the character back in issues No. 88, 92 and 94. In the issue No. 94 tale, titled ''Thor and Loki Attack the Human Race,'' Loki begins to really show his villainous manner, and in an over-the-top sequence he takes control of Thor and has the Thunder God destroy the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Panama Canal and the leaning tower of Pisa!

Thor Journey into Mystery No. 90
Thor Journey into Mystery No. 90

The Carbon-Copy Man, Merlin, and the Demon Duplicator!

Thor's Earliest and Strangest Foes!

Except for Loki, the early Thor stories are filled with the type of foe that was typical of superhero comics in the early 1960s: aliens from outer space, gangsters and costumed bad guys from Earth.

And what a sad lot the early Thor stories contain. The Stone Men from Saturn were his first foe, but then came a mad South American dictator; a bad guy from three centuries in the future who didn't have any superpowers; communist soldiers and a wounded gangster. Later would come the original Merlin and a scientist who creates an exact-but-evil duplicate of Thor.

Probably the silliest was the Carbon-Copy Man in Journey into Mystery No. 90. In this tale, some evil aliens once again try to conquer the world. They have the power of impersonating anybody, i.e. becoming ''carbon copies'' of humans. Thor captures the lead alien and flings him into space, causing the rest of the alien force to chase after their defeated leader. Some of the bad guys are left on Earth, so Thor forces them to turn into trees! And as trees, they can't think about turning into something else so they will be harmless trees forever!

Other than Loki, the only other early villains that would continue to appear regularly over the decades were the Radio-Active Man, Human Cobra and Mr. Hyde. The stone men and another bad guy, the Lava Man, would appear occasionally.

Thorr Panel Journey into Mystery No. 83
Thorr Panel Journey into Mystery No. 83

Thor? Thorr? What's in a Name Anyway!

The Last Panel of Journey into Mystery No. 83!

One of the funniest things about the early comics was the lack of quality control. Remember, back then the writers and artists didn't realize that they were creating stories that would resonate for decades and would spark television series and mega-Hollywood movies!

In the Incredible Hulk series, Writer Stan Lee introduced Bruce Banner, who would be turned into the Hulk because of Gamma rays. Then in a subsequent issue all the characters called Banner ''Bob,'' and nobody at Marvel Comics caught the mistake before the comic hit the stands! So what did Lee do? He renamed the character Robert Bruce Banner!

Another one of those early mix-ups occurred in the last panel of the first Thor story. After referring to the character as Thor throughout the story, here is Marvel's attempt at enticing readers back for the next issue. That's right, they accidentally spelled his name Thorr!

Al Hartley Thor Journey into Mystery 90
Al Hartley Thor Journey into Mystery 90

Al Hartley, Joe Sinnott and Don Heck

The Second-Tier Artists of Thor's Early Tales!

When you compare this collection with the other Marvel Comics of that era you definitely get the sense that Thor wasn't seen as a top-tier comic like the Fantastic Four or the Amazing Spider-Man.

Writer Stan Lee helped create the character, but he acted only as the plotter for most of these stories, leaving his younger brother, Larry Lieber, and later Robert Bernstein to fill out the tales. Lieber himself would later admit that superheroes weren't his strength, preferring to write the western comic Rawhide Kid. Bernstein was better known for his work at DC Comics, especially on the early Aquaman stories. His work never really seemed suited for Marvel.

But its the early art of the series that gives Thor the look of a secondary title. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were the two artists at the top of the early Marvel Universe, with Ditko handling the Amazing Spider-Man and Kirby the Fantastic Four. Kirby drew the first stories in this collection, then the art duties were passed to Al Hartley, Joe Sinnott and Don Heck.

Here is a sample of Hartley's work from Journey into Mystery No. 90, and wow is he a poor match for Thor. Hartley was a veteran comic book artist, but all of his work had been on humor comics, especially Patsy Walker (which chronicled the antics of a teen-aged girl and her friends). His work was no match for Thor, and in fact this was his only attempt at drawing a Marvel superhero comic during the 1960s.

Don Heck also penciled a number of stories in this collection. Heck, another long-time veteran, was passable but nothing special. Joe Sinnott also drew some issues, but he really was more talented as an inker of other artists' work.

Tales of Asgard Thor Journey into Mystery 100
Tales of Asgard Thor Journey into Mystery 100

Tales of Asgard Begin as Lee and Kirby Tap Norse Mythology!

...When a Back-Up Feature is Really Worthwhile!

In Journey into Mystery No. 97, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby began a back-up feature to Thor called ''Tales of Asgard.'' Kirby went wild in these four-page stories, capturing the grandeur of the Norse gods and their worlds in ways that would eventually be incorporated into the main series.

It was in these stories that Lee began to adopt an almost Shakespearean speech for Thor and the Asgardians. The manner of speech would make its way into the main feature eventually. Lee later said that he had been told that readers wouldn't like it if the writing was archaic, stylized or lyrical, but as time went by it really made the comic book stand out!

This scene is from the Tales of Asgard story in Journey into Mystery No. 100.

Journey Into Mystery Comics on eBay - Get the Original Thor Tales As They First Appeared!

I think the Marvel Marvel Masterworks series is a great way to read all the old comics, but if you'd prefer to read the originals there's always eBay. Good luck with your bidding!

The Mighty Thor Theme Song From the 1960s! - ''Across the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard...''

In 1966 Thor was one of the Marvel characters featured in the cartoon series The Marvel Super Heroes, which also featured Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner.

The series only lasted a few months, in part because of poor production quality. The stories were adapted from comics that had already been published, and the cartoons consisted of a comic's panels with some minor movement (such as a person's lips or arm moving). It seemed really cheap. For more details see here.

Even so, the theme songs for each superhero were kind of cool. Here is Thor's:

Thor, the Movie Star!

Thor became a movie star in 2011, with the movie ''Thor'' becoming the 15th-highest grossing film of the year (according to Box Office Mojo.

It was a really fun movie, though it took only the very basics from the origin by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Thor is cast to Earth because of his arrogance, but he doesn't assume the guise of lame Dr. Donald Blake. And he returns to Asgard fairly quickly.

The movie places much more emphasis on Asgard and its realms than Earth. It is well worth seeing, and you can buy a copy at Amazon today.

Do You Prefer the Comic Book Version or the Movie Version?

Thor Journey into Mystery No. 83
Thor Journey into Mystery No. 83

Which Thor Do You Like Best?

See results

Marvel Masterworks vs. Marvel Essentials - Full Color vs. More Stories!

Marvel Comics has two reprint series. The Marvel Masterworks reprint volumes have fewer stories in each book, but they are in wonderful full color that presents the tales in all their original glory. The Marvel Essentials series publish the stories in black and white, on lesser quality paper, so each collection contains more than twice the stories for about the same price.

Which Series Do You Prefer?

Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America and the Avengers! - Please Check Out My Other Marvel Masterworks Reviews!

Marvel Masterworks X-Men Comic Book Review: Enter the Phoenix! Plus Wolverine, Storm and Nightcrawler!
This volume reprints Uncanny X-Men No. 101-110 in full color, a collection of 10 comics during a run that really established the new X-Men as a major franchi...

X-Men Reborn in the 1970s: Storm and Nightcrawler Debut, plus Wolverine!
Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 highlights the rebirth of the team in 1975-1976, reprinting Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 and X-Men No. 94-100. Promote...

The Avengers Debut! A Comic Book Review of the Marvel Masterworks Collection!
The Avengers Volume 1 was one of the first four collections when Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987. Since then the company...

The Amazing Spider-Man Debuts! A Marvel Masterworks Comic Book Review
Marvel Comics began publishing its Marvel Masterworks series in 1987 with The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, among others. Since then the company has come out wi...

Captain America's 1960s Adventures in Color: A Marvel Comics Review
Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume 1 reprints the superhero's adventures in Tales of Suspense No. 59-81 in full color. This was Captain America's fir...

Marvel Masterworks on Amazon

There are now more than 180 Marvel Masterworks volumes, ranging from the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man to less high-profile superheroes including Sub-Mariner, Dr. Strange and the Inhumans. Other volumes include the war comic Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos and such pre-Marvel stories as All-Winners Comics and Young Allies (from when the comic-book company was known as Atlas).

You can find them all on Amazon. Order one today!

Here's a Great Collection of Comic Books!

Geppi's Entertainment Museum

If you are ever in Baltimore you should visit Geppi's Entertainment Museum for one of the greatest comic-book collections on display anywhere. The museum is right near the Inner Harbor and the sports stadiums, so it's very convenient. See my review here for more details on what you can expect during a visit!

Geppi's Entertainment Museum in Baltimore: A Tourist's Guide to Comic Book Heaven!
Geppi's Entertainment Museum is located in Baltimore and is dedicated to all sorts of American pop culture: comic books, television, radio, movies, magazines...

Lee's Attempt to Find a Thor Writer - Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

The recent book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is a fascinating history of the Marvel Age of comics, and author Sean Howe explains in it how overworked Stan Lee tried to give up the writing of the Thor series (among several series) in 1962 but just couldn't find anybody who could do the narration and dialogue the way he wanted. He could depend on the artists for plotting, but he trusted only himself.

For more details, please read the book, which is available on Amazon. It's a great history book for anybody who grew up reading comic books!

Daredevil, Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Hulk and Many More! - Please Check Out Our Other Reviews!

Spider-Man in the 1970s! A Marvel Comics Book Review
The Essential Spider-Man Vol. 8 contains issues No. 161-185 of the Amazing Spider-Man series, plus Nova issue No. 12 and the Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 11...

Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Comic Book Review: Dr. Doom and Daredevil Guest Star as the Legend Grows!
The Fantastic Four rocked the comic-book world when it debuted in 1961, with writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby introducing more characterization and real...

Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier Comic Book Review
DC: The New Frontier was a series of six comic book issues in 2004 that focused on the 1950s, when many of the major superheroes that populate the modern DC ...

The Ghost Rider Debuts! A Marvel Comic Book Review
The Marvel Essential series contains four volumes devoted to the Ghost Rider superhero, who first appeared in 1972 in a comic book called Marvel Spotlight. H...

The X-Men in the Early 1970s: Neal Adams' Dynamic Art
Marvel Essential Classic X-Men volume 3 is a real hodge-podge of stories that shows just how far below the radar screen the original X-Men had fallen in the ...

X-Men's Dark Phoenix Saga: A Marvel Comic Book Review
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga collects issues No. 129-137 of the original X-Men comic-book series, a series of tales that ends with the final battle over Jean...

Essential Iron Fist: A Marvel Comic Book Review!
Essential Iron Fist Volume 1 collects the first four years' worth of Marvel comics starring the character, who debuted in 1974 during a martial arts craze. T...

Captain America in the 1960s: A Marvel Comic Book Review
Marvel Essential Captain America Volume 1 reprints Captain America's stories from Tales of Suspense No. 59-99 as well as the first three issues of the newly-...

Marvel Essential X-Men Comic Book Review: Wolverine, Storm and a Return to Greatness!
Marvel Essential X-Men collects Giant-Size X-Men 1 and X-Men 94-119. Giant-Size X-Men No. 1 introduced the new team of superheroes, reviving the X-Men comic....

The Rampaging Hulk Marvel Essential Comic Book Review
Marvel Essential: The Rampaging Hulk 1 is a collection of Hulk stories from his short-lived late 1970s magazine. This volume includes the tales from issues 1...

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller A Marvel Comic Book Review of The Complete Elektra Saga!
Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller Vol. 2 collects issues 168-182 of the original Daredevil series. Issue 168 was the first comic of the series that Miller ...

The Avengers in the Late 1960s: A Marvel Comics Review!
Marvel Essential: Avengers Vol. 3 contains issues 47 to 68 of the comic's original series, as well as Avengers Annual No. 2. For the most part this collectio...

New York Comic Convention 2011

Thousands of Comic Book Fans in One Place!

My daughter and I were able to attend the New York Comic Convention in New York City in October, 2011. It was a blast, and we highly recommend a visit to the convention next year for any true comic book fan! Check out our review of the convention here:

New York Comic Con + Anime Festival: A Comic Book Fan's Review!
The New York Comic Book Convention occurred Oct. 13-16, 2011, and coupled with the New York Anime Festival, drew more than 100,000 comic-book fans, video gam...

Of Comic Books and Family Vacations

About Goldenrulecomics

For more about who we are and what we write about please see here:

Of Comic Books and Family Vacations: Who is GoldenRuleComics?
Who is GoldenRuleComics? Actually, the better question is who ARE GoldenRuleComics! I am the father of a teenage daughter, and we live in New Jersey. I hand...

Thanks for stopping by and reading this review of Marvel Masterworks Thor Vol. 1. Now it's your turn to share what you think about the collection, Thor, this lens or anything else on your mind!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)