Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

I don't want to create the
impression that I was an overly-
sickly child when I was a lad, but
I'm struck by how many comics
I associate with days off school
while ill in bed.  To be honest,
usually my ailment consisted of
nothing more than being sick of
school and fancying a bit of a
break, but, occasionally, I was
actually suffering from some
life-threatening illness - like a
mild cold or a dose of diarrhoea.
Sometimes I could even milk
a slightly higher temperature
and a headache for all they
were worth.

 It was the morning of my 11th birthday, and my fate had just been
decided.  Because I was feeling 'off-colour', I didn't have to go to school
that day (hooray), so I sat up in bed and allowed myself to be nourished
by frequent administrations of American Cream Soda and a lunchtime
bowl of tomato soup.  I was surrounded by a plethora of comics, three of
which I particularly remember, being the following:  The MIGHTY
and that week's issue of WHIZZER & CHIPS (#5 I think).

Although I now primarily
recall these comics from that
particular day, I had acquired
the Marvel ones perhaps a
week or two before and can
still remember buying them.
However, I tend to associate
them more with my birthday
because, in trying to relieve my
bedridden tedium, I completely
immersed myself in their pages.
This no doubt accounts for why
they and the day left such an
impression.  Anyway, someday
we'll  look at MCIC #6 in more
detail, but for now let's just
focus on Thor #158.

"The Way It Was!" proclaims the splash page, and that's precisely
what it delivers - a look back at how Thor The Mighty (as he was original-
ly referred to) came to be.  Ol' Goldilocks' origin tale from JOURNEY Into
MYSTERY #83 is re-presented, with some small alterations to its splash to
accommodate a flashback scenario.  If you compare DON BLAKE's arm in
the far-right bottom picture with its original printing, you'll see that it has
been extended outwards to accentuate the appearance of his limp.

Interestingly, when Marvel
first released their MASTER-
WORKS books, they recreated
the splash page of Thor's debut
from proofs of this reprint (as
well as the rest of the pages) be-
cause they had apparently mislaid
the proofs of the original printing.
Although a better-quality source
has since turned up (which can
be seen in the OMNIBUS and
one or two other volumes), the
inferior version still surfaces
from time to time.  (Best to
get a copy of the recent soft-
cover Masterworks if you
prefer archive quality.)

I remember my father reading this comic after me, and expressing his
frustration that it was a continued story.  He never found out what happened
to the 'real' Thor - mainly 'cause I never bothered to tell him when I read the
concluding part of the tale reprinted in SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY
#s 125 &126 in June/July of 1975.  I doubt he'd have remembered ever
seeing the cliff-hanger ending to the first instalment by then anyway.

So there you have it!  I'll reveal the answer as unfolded in Thor
#159 another time.  I had to wait about sixteen or seventeen years
before I acquired the original American issue, so a few weeks or
months of suspense isn't going to kill you.

Click here for Part Two.  Click here for Part Four.


Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Hi Kid,

I have long wanted to do a post about the subject of memorable literature associated with illness. I had my share of bed rest, as a kid, tied into specific material that was a bittersweet experience.

It's actually somewhat at the roots of my psyche and I want to give it a proper go. I bet you and I aren't the only ones with that experience, but your post has inspired me to start assembly of my thoughts that I will indeed turn into an autobiographical post.

Thanks for your continued insights.

Kid said...

I look forward to reading it, Thom, and know it will be well worth it. And thank you for your continued and valued comments.

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