Friday, 6 October 2017

"- - AND SOON SHALL COME: THE ENCHANTERS!" (IF YOU CAN CALL NEARLY 50 YEARS 'SOON')...


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Sometime back in 1968, I bought a copy of the above THOR comic (#143), and had fun comparing it with its British reprint in a couple of issues of SMASH!  I think I got the US comic first, but after 49 years I couldn't swear to the order I acquired them.  I read the story again in the '70s when it was reprinted in SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY, but in 1979 a pal gave me a copy of the subsequent issue, #144.  I'd previously read the UK reprints of this story in Smash! and SMCW, but this was the first time I saw it in colour.  It wasn't in great condition, so I cut a couple of panels out to put up on my wall (one of them's still there, the other lies in wait somewhere), but I don't recall being struck by the magnitude of obtaining this follow-up issue a whopping 11 years after its predecessor.  That was over half my life away at that time and such facts usually left an impression on me.

Anyway, I obtained a replacement for #143 many years ago (and it featured in one of my FAVOURITE COMICS OF THE PAST posts a few years back), and on Thursday I received #144, finally owning both issues at the same time, something I hadn't managed to do back in the '60s (or the '70s).  The first of these issues introduce The ENCHANTERS, two of whom Thor defeats in the next ish, with ODIN dealing with the third one in #145.  I already have all 3 comics reprinted in MASTERWORKS, OMNIBUS, and EPIC editions, but you know me - I like to be thorough so I may purchase #145 one day just to complete the 'trilogy'.  (Update:  Bought one on eBay, so it's now scanned and added to the post.) 

So, Criv-ite chums, enjoy the covers of all three comics, the first two of which were, as I said, originally separated in my life by 11 years, and the second and third by 40 years.  To reiterate:  Got my original copy of the first in 1968, the second in 1979, and the third in 2017 - meaning I now own all three comics for the first time at the same time 50 years after they were first published.  Why do I feel I've accomplished something significant?  And why do I also feel that you all think I'm totally bonkers?  H'mm, don't bother answering that second question - just enjoy these three covers by JACK KIRBY.
   

14 comments:

Phil S said...

Brona, Forsung and Magnir. After all this time I still remember their names. I have no idea if those are Norse names but they sound right. For me, the Lee/Kirby Thor was the best ever. Not just Thor but best Marvel comic.

Kid said...

It sure was a belter, PS. If only they made comics as good as that today. (As a matter of course, I mean, not just occasionally.)

Colin Jones said...

Nowadays I find those old Thor stories unreadable mainly because of the absurd pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue - all those thee's and thou's and have at thee base knave whatever. Good grief, why are Norse gods speaking like they come from Ye Olde Englande ? And Fandral and Volstagg look like characters from a Shakespeare play while Hogun seems to be AWOL from Genghis Khan's army. The modern Thor characters speak normally I'm glad to say.

Kid said...

I know that for a while (a few years back), Asgardians' speech balloons were rendered in a different font to indicate their 'godly' speech patterns, but I can't remember if they still do that. Personally, I think Stan had it right with the pseudo Shakespeare, as it made Thor and his cronies seem more noble.

Colin Jones said...

Yes, the 'godly' font is still used unfortunately.

In my opinion Stan's "noble" characters (not just in Thor) were insufferably pompous - but this is only my modern view, not one I held back in the day.

Kid said...

I'd say your 'back in the day' view was the correct one, CJ. I hope that doesn't make me seem pompous.

Dave S said...

I love that cover for #145, that would really have grabbed my attention if I'd saw it on a newsagent's shelf. It does seem to imply though that Thor wears that t-shirt and long-johns combo under his costume. Never imagined him as a thermal underwear sort of guy, but then again you'd probably need some layers if you're braving the biting winds of Niflheim, the cold breath of the Frost Giants or the torpid chill of Hel on a semi-regular basis.

Kid said...

Or perhaps it implies that Odin simply worked his magic and effected the change, DS - or that it's merely a symbolic scene hinting at the story inside? There's more than just one possibility - which one should I choose? Decisions, decisions.

Nick Caputo said...

Kid,

Always loved that # 145 cover, with Thor looking like a rock star, particularly in that era, whether subconscious or not. BTW, since you know i'm a stickler for minutiae, Thor's costume looks like it was added by Marie Severin or Johnny Romita. Perhaps Kirby only drew the hammer and helmet initially and Stan thought the costume was important so as not to confuse the general audience.

Kid said...

I never really paid much attention to the costume at his feet before, Nick, but looking at it now in light of your comment, none of it looks as if it were drawn by Jack, not even the hammer and helmet. Of course, it's possible that Jack did draw versions of them to begin with (hammer & helmet), but they then had to be redrawn by another hand to accommodate the added costume. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Nick Caputo said...

Kid,

Yes, that's what I meant re: the hammer and helmet. Alas, we will never know unless an unaltered version shows up one day.

Kid said...

Let's hope it does, eh? It would be interesting to see what it was originally like.

Nick Caputo said...

Kid,

Detective Caputo has been at it again. Apparently the original cover was published in France. Not much in the way of changes from Kirby's original; the cape was enlarged and the costume and boots were re positioned: https://www.comics.org/issue/880828/cover/4/

Kid said...

The boots have been redrawn slightly, but I'm surprised to see that the helmet seems to be what Jack originally drew - as it doesn't look quite the same as he usually drew it. Well done tracking that one down, Nick.

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