Days of Thunder – March 1966: The Mighty Thor #126 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “Summons!”
Script: Stan Lee/ Art: Jack Kirby/ Inking: V. Colletta/ Lettering: Artie Simek/ So be it!!

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Queen Ula holds Loki captive in her hive kingdom of Thryheim. Thor seeks her out, demanding the return of his brother. She wishes to make a trade: Loki’s freedom for Thor’s hand in marriage.

Before Thor can make a decision, there is an unexpected burst of anti-energy, filling the room and knocking out all the flying trolls, while the two Asgardians remain fine. This was the hand of all-powerful Odin at work, and once the brothers return the ship, a giant image of Odin fills the sky, commanding that the crew to return home at once. The danger is in Asgard!

First appearance: Anti-energy

Days of Thunder – March 1966: The Mighty Thor #126

The Mighty Thor! “Whom the Gods Would Destroy!”
They said it couldn’t be done! And there are the guys who almost couldn’t do it– Stan Lee, the literary lion! Jack Kirby, the pencilling pussycat! V. Colletta, the delineating dragon! Artie Simek, the lettering looks it!

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After 42 issues, of Thor starring in the lead feature of Journey Into Mystery, and eight issues of being the clear star of the backup feature, this book finally sheds the old title and is now simply called “The Mighty Thor”, although it keeps the established numbering.

This issue starts with the following note of recap: “Hercules has come to Earth! He’s got the big eye for Thor’s chick! Goldilocks is bugged, but good! So, they’re fighting it out!” And indeed, they fight.
It is an epic slobberknocker, starting in the diner, moving to the street, smashing into the subway, and ending in a construction site.

As the two brutes beat the tar out of each other for no real reason whatsoever, they do epic property damage, and send civilians running in fear as they smash small businesses, vehicles, and the streets themselves in the name of their petty vendetta.

There have been many Thor stories that are little more than Thor and some other foe beating the crap out of each other, and this is another one of those, but damn, it is a gorgeous one of those.  This is my favorite era of Kirby and he draws the hell out of this fight.

Remember how in issue #101 Thor’s strength was halved and that there was never an indicator that it had returned? Well, apparently, at some point it was returned because at the height of this battle, Odin, who is still super-mad at Thor,  decides that Thor’s punishment is to now have his power halved. He cannot bear to enact the punishment himself, knowing that Hercules might kill Thor, and so he gives the Odin-power to his most trusted adviser, Seidring the Merciless so that Seidring can perform the deed.  It is made clear that this reverts his power to the level it was when he conquered the 23rd century, not halving it a second time to one-quarter strength.

At this power level, Thor is no match for Hercules and the Greek hero beats the shit out of him all while begging Thor to yield. Thor will not stay his hand, but eventually is battered into submission.

A crowd forms around the victorious Hercules, celebrating his win. A Hollywood agent is part of the crowd, and he offers Herc the chance to be a movie star, which appeals mightily to the god’s ego. He departs for Hollywood, Jane Foster seemingly forgotten.

As Thor staggers to his feet, Jane rushes toward him, trying to assure him that Hercules meant nothing; that she only wanted to make Thor jealous. Thor cares not. Thor tells Jane that having been bested in combat, he is no longer worthy of her love. He departs, telling his love that they cannot meet again until he has regained his honor.

But as he leaves, Jane hears a voice inside her head from her most powerful enemy, Odin. He tells her that Thor’s defeat is his fault and that now more than ever his son needs Jane Foster. Odin commands the mortal to go be with his son and she proclaims that she will.

First appearance: Seidring the Merciless

Days of Thunder – February 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #125 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “The Queen Commands”

None but Marvel’s Stan Lee could tell such a tale! None but Marvel’s Jack Kirby could draw such a tale! None but Marvel’s Vince Coletta could ink such a tale! None but Marvel’s Artie Simek could be such a pussycat!

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The Argonauts of the Odinship find themselves surrounded by flying trolls. It is a standoff, one which Thor tries to defuse. He is making headway in this tense situation when Loki bombards the trolls with a blast of poison vapor.

Thor yells at Loki while the knave claims victory. As the poison fog disperses, the trolls come back for a second pass, seizing Loki with grappling rings. The trolls take the villain back to their hive while Thor and the crew of the Odinship pursue.

Days of Thunder – February 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #125

The Mighty Thor! “When Meet the Immortals!”
Bombastically written by Stan Lee/ Brilliantly drawn by Jack Kirby/ Beautifully Inked by Vince Colletta/ Bashfully lettered by Artie Simek

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Thor easily dispatches the Demon and his army in the first few pages of this issue.  Let that be a warning to any other military that Thor decides he does not like. Everyone should be afraid of Thor.

Thor takes the errant Norn Stone back to a very angry Odin on Asgard. Thor has crossed a line by telling Jane his secret in defiance of Odin. Now Thor is to face the Ritual of Steel, and if he survives, he is never to set foot on Earth again.

The Ritual of Steel apparently is fancy talk for a shit-ton of Asgardians whuppin on another one. Thor fights an Asgardian horde, shouting his defiance all the way, “Even a thunder god has the right to love!”

While Thor fights for his love on Asgard, Hercules is playing a guitar and hitting on ladies in a supper club in New York. Everyone is having a good time when Pulp Fiction-style, the wrong robbers rob the wrong diner at the wrong time. Things quickly escalate and soon Herc is throwing lampposts at cars.

Jane Foster sees the hubbub from her hospital room and assumes that Thor is at the center of it. She leaves the hospital to check it out. Upon her arrival at the scene, Hercules wastes no time in trying to seduce the young nurse.

Thor, meanwhile, has fought his way to the Rainbow Bridge where he meets Heimdall in battle. None shall prevent him from being with the woman he loves. Thor creates a sonic boom with his hammer which hits Heimdall’s sensitive ears very very hard and the guard crumples in pain.

Thor returns to Earth, slightly late for his appointment, only to discover that Jane is drinking sodas at the soda parlor with another god! Jane uses Herc to make Thor jealous, which after what he just went through leaves him pretty p.o.ed.

Hercules is pleased to see his old sparring partner but when Thor brushes him off to have a quarrel with Jane, he is mightily offended. He suckerpunches Thor who decides that maybe beating on Hercules is exactly what he needs.

First appearance: The Ritual of Steel

Days of Thunder – January 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #124 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Closer Comes the Swarm”
How gallant, this script by: Stan Lee/ How glorious, this artwork by: Jack Kirby/ How gracious, this inking by: Vince Colletta/ How come? This lettering by: Artie Simek

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After the Utgard incident, Balder drinks Hogun’s Elixir of Healing, while Loki schemes with his confederates. The voyage continues, the mutiny seemingly forgotten, but this is a ship divided. It is during this period of regrouping that the Odinship finds itself under attack by a swarm of flying trolls from the legendary Stone Nest of Thryheim! Led by the bizarrely beautiful Queen Ula, the flying trolls wish to claim the Odinship as their prize!

First Appearance: Queen Ula, The flying trolls of Thryheim

Days of Thunder – January 1966: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #124

The Mighty Thor! “The Grandeur and the Glory!”
Story by: Stan (the Man) Lee/ Pencilling by: Jack (King) Kirby/ Delineation by: Vince (The Prince) Colletta/ Lettering by: Artie (Sugar Lips) Simek

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In New York, after consoling a random child who’s father has been wounded in Viet Nam, and being told off by a beat cop for giving a public demonstration without a license, Thor goes to see Jane in the hospital.

Doctor Donald Blake greets his love but she is barely holding it together. She has been thinking about things and she is sick of Blake’s bullshit. “You’ve told me you love me… but I know you’re keeping some terrible secret you’ve never allowed me to share! You desert me for days – weeks at a time! I never know where you are – what you’re doing! I only know that you’re gone! Get out – Out – Do you hear me – ??”

This dam-burst of emotion is more than Blake can bear. Despite his father’s command, Blake reveals his secret to Jane, transforming into Thor. As he says, “the deed is done! There is no turning back!” Jane is shocked, but it all makes sense.

Shortly thereafter, Blake is chased out Jane’s room by a nurse but he promises to return the next day. Jane makes it very clear that it is very important to her that he be responsible and show up.

Meanwhile, Odin is ready to burst with parental rage, the worst kind of rage. He saw what Thor did in direct defiance of his edict.  There must be a reckoning!

While this secret identity drama has been unspooling in New York, The Demon’s army has been running rampant across Asia. News of his exploits keeps being reported in America, which dismays Blake greatly. Visions of death cloud his mind, and even though he has just promised Jane to not let being Thor get in the way of their relationship, he decides that he must single-handedly end this foreign war that as far as he knows he has zero involvement in. He imagines that he can do this and be back within the day. He best hope so.

Also, Zeus is sick of Hercules starting dumb fights in Olympus, so he sends his son to Earth.

First Appearance: Atlas

Days of Thunder – December 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #123 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Jaws of the Dragon!”
An experience in matchless spectacle, as only Stan Lee, Writer, Jack Kirby, Penciller, Vince Colletta, Inker, Artie Simek, Letterer, could create it!

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As Thor and Loki’s ship approaches the Pillars of Utgard, the truth is revealed: the pillars are, in fact, the arms of a giant stone dragon now awakened. With the ship heading straight toward the open mouth of the mighty dragon Utgar all seems lost. However, Balder blows his horn, playing strange notes over the shrieking of the storm, culminating in one final blast that causes Utgard to explode.

Meanwhile, Odin stands on the tallest peak in the universe and gazes at the portentous oncoming storm that shouts that Ragnarok is coming.

Days of Thunder – December 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #123

The Mighty Thor!  “While a Universe Trembles!”

Fantasy to Dazzle Thy Senses, Written by Stan Lee!  Drama to Quicken Thy Pulse, Illustrated by Jack Kirby!  Beauty to Nourish Thine Eyes, Embellished by Vince Colletta!  Balloons to Compound Thy Confusion, Lettered by Artie Simek!

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Thor takes Harris Hobbs to Asgard, unaware of the chaos currently running rampant within the city. As they walk down the rainbow bridge, Hobbs is overtaken by the insane beauty of the city. For the first time, Lee and Kirby take a beat to really show off Asgard as magnificent metropolis floating in the sky, a home fit for a race of gods.  It is a lovely moment.

Soon Thor and Hobbs discover the fight underway. Creel and Odin are going at it. Odin is absorbing Creels blows with his Scepter of Supremacy and the result is a stalemate. Hobbs keeps his distance, naturally, but Thor wants to jump in.  Odin insists that Thor stay out of it.

Creel gets really wild in his villainous boasts. He seems to be fumbling toward an idea of absorbing the entire universe until the entire universe is him. He isn’t very articulate, but I think that this is his villainous goal, which is a pretty great one, I have to say.

Odin seems unable to stop the Absorbing Man, and finally treasonous Loki reveals himself as the mastermind of this insurrection. A dismayed Odin hands Loki his scepter, but Creel has decided he has become too powerful to play the supporting villain.

The two miscreants fight over the scepter, but now that Loki has incriminated himself, Odin holds back no longer. He laughs at the notion that his power resided in some mere stick, and he hurls Loki and Creel into the emptiness of space.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, there is the matter of the Norn Stone that Thor dropped in issue #120.   It was dropped near the Temple of Darkness, which was ambiguously in either Asia or Africa.  The narration now reveals that the temple was in Asia, so naturally the dropped stone is discovered by a stereotypical African witch doctor, complete with mask.

The Norn Stone turns the witch doctor into a hulking beast, who begins attacking communist oppressors, which one supposes is a good thing, but the power quickly goes to his head. He proclaims himself to be now known as the Demon, as he begins to amass an army with the intent of overrunning the world.

Unaware of the threat of the Demon, Thor takes Hobbs home and erases his memory of Asgard.

First Appearance: The Demon

Days of Thunder – November 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #122 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “The Grim Specter of Mutiny!”

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular!  A Jack Kirby Penciling Panorama!  A Vince Colletta Delineation Drama!  An Artie Simek Lettering Landmark!

tales 122Loki leads a group of the crew in a mutiny but several Asgardians come to Thor’s defense, including Hogun, Fandril, and Volstagg. The loyalists kill enough mutineers to maintain control, but while this fighting goes on, the ship is pulled between the Pillars of Utgar.

Days of Thunder – November 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #122

The Mighty Thor! “Where Mortals Fear to Tread!”

Written with compassion by: Stan Lee/ Drawn with comprehension by: Jack Kirby/ Inked with competence: by Vince Colletta/ Lettered for compensation by: Artie Simek

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Thor quickly recovers from the Absorbing Man’s attack last issue and resumes their fight. This time Thor decides to try something new: fighting skillfully. This does the trick and soon he has Creel on the ropes. However, before the fight can be decisively won, Loki uses an Attractor Beam belonging to Ularic to beam Creel straight to him in Asgard.

Despite the fact that Loki gave Creel his absorbing powers (issue #114) this is their first meeting.   Loki establishes that he is more powerful than Creel and promises to share his dominion of the universe in return for his service. Creel agrees to Loki’s terms and begins to terrorize Asgard, absorbing the spikiness of maces, and the pointiness of spears.

No warrior in Creel’s path can stop his progress as he fights his way into Odin’s throne room. Shocked at the intrusion, Odin shoots a cosmic bolt at the villain, not realizing Creel’s nature. Creel absorbs the cosmic power and prepares to redirect it at the Asgardian king.

Meanwhile on Earth, Jane Foster spots Thor outside the apartment building in which she is being held.  She starts a gas explosion to shatter her bulletproof glass window, which breaks the glass and gets Thor’s attention, but knocks her unconscious in the process.

Thor finds her on the floor, and transforms to Blake, reasoning that she may need medical attention (which suggests that in his Thor form, our hero does not have access to Blake’s medical knowledge. Curious.). At the moment of transformation, there is a camera flash! Camera in hand, the hooded man reveals himself at last. It is Harris Hobbs, that reporter guy!

Hobbs deduced there was a connection between Blake and Thor and kidnapped Jane Foster in order to prove it. Before discussing this further with Hobbs, Blake takes Jane to a hospital, arranging to meet Hobbs later that afternoon. Don and Jane share a tender moment of reunion before Thor must take off to confront the reporter.

Thor and Hobbs meet at a lonely, prearranged spot. Hobbs seems to want to use the photo as leverage for blackmail. He taunts Thor, telling the god that he knows that Thor has sworn never to harm a human.

That pisses Thor off something fierce, and he creates a wind vortex sucking the two of them into the time of the dinosaurs. Thor threatens to drop Hobbs off in front of a Tyrannosaurus and go home, as that would technically not break his pledge as it would only indirectly be murder. Before Hobbs can respond, Thor takes him millions of years into the future, as a long-abandoned Earth is about to collide with another dying planet, which sucks for the new intelligent life that has evolved on the planet.

Hobbs begs Thor to return him to present day. Thor does return him and proceeds to make a deal with Hobbs. Hobbs will destroy the picture, and in exchange Thor will take Hobbs to see Asgard. This is pretty magnanimous. Thor seems to have forgotten that this guy kidnapped Jane Foster and also that it is forbidden for Aesir to bring mortals to Asgard.

First Appearance: The New Earth Race

Days of Thunder – October 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #121 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Malestrom!”
A saga steeped in grandeur by: Stan Lee, Writer & Jack Kirby, Illustrator/ Delineated by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Artie Simek

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The young god’s ship approaches the deadly Pillars of Utgard, of which it has been said to pass between means instant destruction. There is a fierce storm and some of the men wish to turn back, fearing the pillars. Thor refuses, insisting they push forward.

Meanwhile brave Balder drags a giant horn to the top of the ship’s figurehead for unknown reasons.

First Appearance: The Pillars of Utgard

Days of Thunder – October 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #121

The Mighty Thor! “The Passion! The Power! The Pride”
Another towering triumph for Stan Lee, Writer! Another fabulous feat for Jack Kirby, Illustrator! Another amazing achievement for Vice Colletta, Delineator! Another day, another dollar for Artie Simek, Letterer!

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Thor and the Absorbing Man fight a bunch. At one point the Absorbing Man becomes, like 50 feet tall, I think by absorbing the tallness of New York’s buildings?   Eventually, Thor saves a baby which distracts him sufficiently to be knocked out by Creel.

Meanwhile, Jane Foster is being held captive by a hooded man who seems to bear her no ill will. His voice sounds vaguely familiar to Foster, but she has no idea who he could be, and neither do I.

Days of Thunder – September 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor Special Kin Size Annual #1

“When Titans Clash!” Thor vs. Hercules!
Mighty story by: Stan Lee/ Majestic art by: Jack Kirby/ Masterful inking by: Vince Colletta/ Mostly lettered by: Sam Rosen

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This is a book published in what is known as the “Annual” format,  an oversized magazine largely consisting of reprints of now out of print Thor stories. However, it does include one new story, featuring Young Thor.

Young Thor is in Jottunheim looking to start a fight with some Storm Giants when he falls into a hole. That hole is the secret entrance to Olympus, home of the Greek pantheon of gods. While trying to find his way out, he reaches a bridge just as Hercules approaches on the other side.

Thor, of course, has met a time-displaced Hercules in the modern era. (Avengers #10) Hercules appears nothing like he did in that encounter, but he is immortal and presumably changes his look from time to time. Since Enchantress messed with the time stream, preventing the previous Thor/Hercules encounter from actually transpiring, this meeting can still be considered the first time the two meet regardless of whether the time-displaced Hercules was from a point in time before or after this story.

At any rate, the two young gods are both cocky jocks who refuse to wield right of way on the bridge and end up beating on each other for several pages. They both come off as jerks. Thor has his hammer, so we know he is a grown up in this story and he should really know better.

The fight only stops when Zeus shows up and tells the kids to knock it off. He tells them that they both acquitted themselves honorably which says a lot about how gods live their lives. Satisfied with a draw-by-decision, Thor and Hercules shake hands in the name of friendship, before Zeus sends Thor back to Jottunheim.

But wait! The annual also contains a bonus two page spread showing the sights of Asgard. They include: The Temple of Titans, Warlock’s Haven, Warrior’s Walk, a monument to Yggasdral, a giant bust of Odin, the Museum of Weaponry, a giant monument to the Unknown Warrior, the Dome of Combat, and the Shopping Center. It is pretty spectacular.

First Appearance: Zeus, Jottunheim

Days of Thunder – September 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #120 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods “Set Sail!”
Truly a Marvel Masterwork! Told by: Stan Lee/ Drawn by: Jack Kirby/ Inked by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Artie Simek

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At long last, Thor and Loki actually set sail on their quest. Thor and Loki are immediately at each other’s throats. Meanwhile Magrat is predictably scheming, trying to convince Kroda, who appears to have a sweet cyborg eye, to assassinate Thor. Before he can strike, Hogun steps in and warns Kroda off. This all happens without being witnessed by Thor or Loki.

As the ship flies away, Odin soaks his feet and asks the Master of Prophesy if he made the right decision. The Master assures him that he has.

First Appearance:  The Master of Prophesy

Days of Thunder – September 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #120

The Mighty Thor! “With My Hammer in Hand…!”
Written in the Fire of Inspiration by… Stan Lee/ Drawn in the Flame of Dedication by… Jack Kirby/ Inked in the Heat of Devotion by… Vince Colletta/ Lettered in the Other Room by… Artie Simek

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Thor has come to the great blast furnaces of Pittsburgh so that he might mend his mighty Uru hammer.  Which he does.
After successfully repairing it, he stops in a a forest, where he counts the Norn Stones one last time before returning to Asgard. Little does he realize he has dropped one of the stones.

In Asgard, Thor clears his name and then proceeds to plead his brother’s case, claiming that Loki cannot help but to be evil. This appears to be selfless and noble on the part of Thor but later he fumes that he cannot exact revenge on Loki while he is already being punished by Odin.

Little does Thor realize that Loki has already freed himself, trapping the warlock Ularic in a Suspended Animation Mist and sticking him in a time vault. Loki then seizes control of Ularic’s enchantments, adding their power to his own.

Thor gets permission from Odin to return to Earth, and at long last he does just that, only to discover that in the months that he has been away, Jane has gone missing, the doctor across the hall has stolen all Doctor Blake’s patients, and the landlord is threatening to evict the doctor if he isn’t promptly paid the back rent.

Naturally, it is Foster’s disappearance that alarms Thor and he heads to the headquarters of the Avengers to seek their aid in finding the missing nurse. However, what he discovers is that the team that he knew has disbanded, replaced by a pack of obnoxious young upstarts. Thor is too irritated by this to ask the new team for help.

Back on Asgard, Loki uses macro-meson particles to re-solidify the Absorbing Man and his ball-and-chain, sending the criminal straight toward Thor. Meanwhile, Jane Foster appears to be in the clutches of an unseen villain, who tells her to forget all about Doctor Blake.

First Appearance:  The great blast furnaces of Pittsburgh

Days of Thunder – August 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #119 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “Gather, Warriors!”
Written with Gallantry by Stan Lee/ Drawn with Greatness by Jack Kirby/ Inked with Grandeur by Vince Colletta/ Lettered with a Straight Face by Artie Simek.

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In this issue we meet Young Thor and Young Loki’s crew as they prepare to depart on their quest. There is, of course, Balder the Brave, but there are several volunteers brought on by Loki. They are: Hogun,the Grim; Fandral the Dashing; Kroda, the Duelist; Magrat, the Schemer; and Volstagg, the Enormous.

Apart from Balder, Thor seems to trust boastful Volstagg the most out of this lot. He seems eager for adventure and just as eager to spend some time away from his wife and fifteen children.

While the young men sail away on their ship, Odin reveals to his advisers three fearsome words that have been etched deep onto the walls of the imperial palace in giant letters. The simple message is this: “RAGNAROK IS COMING”.

Ragnarok is the end of the world itself. That which is to transpire upon the drawing of the Oversword. The time for which Surtur is always waiting. The day of the last battle.

First appearance: Hogun the Grim, Fandral the Dashing, Volstagg the Enormous, Kroda the Duellist, Magrat the Schemer

Days of Thunder – August 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #119

“The Day of the Destroyer!”
Who but Stan Lee could have written this tale? Who but Jack Kirby could have drawn it? Who but Vince Colletta could have Inked it? Who but Artie Simek could be called Artie Simek?

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Oddly, this issue has no real cover art, merely four images from within the story, recycled.

Before the Destroyer can, er, destroy Thor, Loki uses a Force of Thought from his prison cell to turn Thor into an unsolid state. This allows Thor to momentarily escape from his foe, even as Loki passes out from the exertion.

When Loki’s jailers wake him, he sends a Mental Wave Image to the kingdom of the Norns begging the Norn Queen to go to Odin and wake him. The Norn Queen agrees to help her evil ally and contacts Odin. The Asgardian king wakes with a start and immediately takes action to helpThor.

While all this has been happening, Thor has been fighting a losing battle with the Destroyer on Earth. However when Odin finally makes contact with his son, Thor tells him to stay out of it. Despite all the times when Odin has saved the day for Thor in the past, he now realizes that “The god of thunder must wage his own battle no matter what the cost!”

With Odin staying his hand, Thor grabs the body of the hunter who’s mind inhabits the Destroyer. Thor uses the body as a human shield against the strength of the Destroyer. The Destroyer threatens to call the god’s bluff, proclaiming that Thor has pledged never to take a mortal life and that he must release the body, lest it be destroyed. However when Thor doesn’t back down, the Destroyer blinks first, transferring the still-unnamed hunter back into his body.

Thor takes the hunter away from the temple as he destroys it utterly, burying the Destroyer in the rubble. He then thanks his father for allowing him to do things his way.

Odin reasons that Loki must be to blame for this fight and he is ready to kill his son. However his guards tell him that Loki was desperate to help Thor in this battle. At this news, Odin calms slightly and gives Loki a reduced sentence, binding him to the service of Ularic, Odin’s Royal Warlock.

Thor still needs to bring the Norn Stones back to Asgard, but there is the matter of his broken hammer to be dealt with. He delays returning to Asgard, instead heading to America, where he seeks the mightiest forge in all the land.

First Appearance: Ularic Odin’s Royal Warlock

Days of Thunder – July 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #118 part 2

Tale of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “The Crimson Hand!”
Story by: Stan Lee The Legend Teller! Art by: Jack Kirby The Legend Maker! Inking by: Vince Colletta The Legend Portrayer! Lettering by: Sam Rosen The Letterer!

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Young Thor and Young Loki prepare for their quest to determine who cracked the Oversword of Asgard. Morduk, an Asgardian sage, has prepared a map for the brothers to follow on their journey. Morduk also gives Thor an enchanted crimson glove. When the wearer of the glove clasps the hand of another, neither party may speak anything but the full truth.

Thor meets up with Loki.  His brother is in the company of Braggi, chosen by Loki to be the overseer of the crew on their trip. Thor uses his new mystic Hand of Truth to shake the hand of Braggi who tells the godling that “I wish thee naught but harm, unsuspecting one! Once we have set sail, I shall smite thee from behind and slay thee!”

Thor beats on Braggi enough for the would-be assassin to flee in terror. Thor tries to use the glove on his brother, but Loki sees right through that blunt ruse and leaves his brother hanging. As Agnar blows the Dragon Horn of Asgard, the brothers prepare to depart on their voyage.

First Appearance: Morduk, Braggi, the Hand of Truth

Days of Thunder – July 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #118

He who bears the name: Destroyer, possesses the power “To Kill a Thunder God!”
A Story Steeped in Splendor by… Stan Lee/ Artwork Bathed in Beauty by… Jack Kirby/ Inking Dipped in Drama by… Vince Colletta/ Lettering Couched in Cliches by… Artie Simek

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Thor has left the conflict in Viet Nam.  He needs only to return the Norn Stones to his father in order to prove that his brother cheated in their trial and therefore lied about Thor bringing Jane Foster to Asgard. He has stopped to examine the stones in what should still be Asia, but appears to actually be Africa.  It is unclear.  While looking at the rocks, he is ambushed by an unnamed hunter who shoots him with an anesthetic shell.

This hunter is Loki’s catspaw. Watching Thor from Asgard, the evil god is desperate that Thor not return with the stones. He manipulates the hunter to take Thor to The Temple of Darkness, a nearby Asgardian temple that has been hidden for thousands of years.

Once in the temple, the hunter, guided by Loki, triggers some ancient mechanism, and his brain undergoes a mystic transfer into the body of the Destroyer, a large armored humanoid form designed by Odin long ago to be the ultimate weapon. After countless ages of slumber, the hunter’s life force brings the monster to life.

The Destroyer is compelled to kill the first thing that it sees, which in this case is Thor. It is unclear if the The Destroyer is a robot, an armored biological creature, or an empty shell animated by magic. What is clear is that it is more powerful than even Thor. Designed by Odin to be unbeatable, it is bigger and stronger than Thor. It can even lift his hammer, the only other living soul that can do so.

While Thor fights the Destroyer, Loki squirms. He realizes that the Destroyer may well kill Thor and were there to be such an outcome, that he himself would feel the brunt of Odin’s rage. Fearing that he has gotten carried away, he goes to his father’s chambers so that he might warn Odin of the peril that Thor finds himself in.

However, in order to maintain his immortality, Odin must spend one full day out of every year sleeping the Sleep of Life, and that day is today. Odin’s guards refuse to allow Loki to wake his father and they throw him in the Dungeon of No-Escape when Loki tries to push past them.

Meanwhile, the Destroyer has Thor on the ropes. Even as Thor thinks to use the Norn Stones to his advantage, the Destroyer slices Thor’s hammer in two with a force beam issuing from its fingers. The Destroyer uses additional force beams to first melt the floor beneath the thunder god, and then solidify it diamond-hard, trapping Thor. The son of Odin is seemingly defenseless as the Destroyer readies itself to kill him. To be continued!

First Appearance: The Destroyer, unnamed hunter, The Sleep of Life, The Temple of Darkness, The Dungeon of No-Escape

Days of Thunder – June 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #117 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Gods! “The Sword in the Scabbard!”
Beginning: One of the greatest sagas of all time!! By: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby/ Inking: Vince Colletta/ Lettering: Artie Simek

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Young Thor and Young Loki are fighting due to Loki’s misdeeds when Odin summons them both to the room containing the Oversword of Asgard. The Oversword (also known as the Odinsword) is an absurdly large sheathed sword. Legend has it that if it ever leaves its sheath, the universe will come to an end.

Odin has brought his sons to the sword to show them a grim portent: There is a crack in the sheathed sword. Odin fears the worst, that some great malevolent force has created the crack, and will continue to do more damage to the sword, eventually bringing about the end of the universe. Odin commands his sons to seek out the cause of this crack and crush it utterly, whatever it may be.

First Appearance: The Oversword of Asgard

Days of Thunder – June 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #117

The Mighty Thor “Into the Blaze of Battle”

Regally Written by: Stan Lee/ Dazzlingly Drawn by: Jack Kirby/ Invincibly Inked by: Vince Colletta/ Lonesomely Lettered by: Artie Simek

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Loki has won the trial but he did it by secretly using the Norn Stones.   He hides the stones on Earth, and  taunts Thor with his victory. Thor punches him in the head.

In the great hall of Valhalla, (the ceremonial chamber of Odin), Thor makes the case that Loki is a big fat cheater.  He asks that Odin allow him to travel to Earth to find the stones.  Odin agrees to give Thor twenty four hours to find the stones and prove his innocence.  Odin loves time limits.

Meanwhile, Balder has been fighting the Enchantress and the Executioner to protect Jane Foster.  Thor arrives to help Balder before beginning his search for the Norn Stones.  The villains flee as soon as Thor arrives. Balder casts a spell of forgetfulness on Jane just to make things easier. Thor makes it clear that he considers Balder a dear friend.

Thor then uses the Uru metal in his hammer to find the enchanted stones, discovering that Loki has hidden them somewhere in Viet Nam. This gives Thor an opportunity to fight some communists while he searches for the stones.

While Thor searches for the Norn Stones on Earth,  the Norn Queen visits Loki on Asgard, demanding the return of her stones. Loki promises to return them soon.

Thor gets caught in the middle of some Vietnamese family melodrama but the cool part is when the communists use Doctor Blake’s cane to bind his arms and he has to throw himself at the ground at an angle so that the cane strikes the ground before he does. Then he fights more Commies and finds the Norn Stones.

Days of Thunder – May 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #116 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “The Challenge”
Story: Stan Lee/ Pencilling: Jack Kirby/ Inking; Vince Colletta/ Lettering: Artie Simek

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Young Loki wants to make more secret allies after his success with Ghan. His second choice is King Hymir, an amazing looking dude with a fantastic hat. Young Loki and Young Thor are visiting the king on a diplomatic mission. Loki suggests to Hymir that Thor would be honor bound to accept any challenge posed to him by Hymir, who is famous for his evil challenges.

Hymir gives Thor two challenges, the penalty for failure being enslavement. First, Thor is tasked with catching a fish from the Sea of Eternal Darkness. Thor kills a giant sea monster with his giant hammer and calls the challenge completed.

The fish is just prelude for the main event. Thor is given two minutes to break a particular drinking goblet. It turns out that this goblet is enchanted so to protect it from harm. Thor’s solution is hurl the cup at Hymir so hard that it kills the king. Instead it strikes Hymir’s beautiful, beautiful hat and shatters against it, because the hat was the catalyst for the enchantment.

Thor has won the challenge and Loki has lost the favor of Hymir.  Hymir, nay, the world, has lost the greatest hat of all time.

First Appearance:  King Hymir, King Hymir’s hat

Days of Thunder – May 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #116

The Mighty Thor! “The Trial of the Gods!”
Written by Imperial Stan Lee/ Illustrated by Impregnable Jack Kirby/ Inked by Implacable Vince Colletta/ Lettered by Impossible Artie Simek

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To determine which brother is being truthful in the case of Thor v Loki, the two gods are to be sent to Skornheim, the deadly land beyond the pale of Asgard. Whomever should return to Asgard first will be declared the victor. Asgardian jurisprudence is apparently not evidence based.

Thor is ordered to leave behind his hammer, while Loki sneaks magical Norn Stones with him. Also, Loki has another new costume, a huge improvement over the one he had been wearing.  It is pretty darn snazzy.

As a distraction, Loki lets Thor know that he has sent the Enchantress and the Executioner to menace Jane Foster.  With that rattling around in Thor’s head, the two brothers traverse the many obstacles of Skornheim: Lava, spiny plants, carnivorous plants, and an armored brute named Yagg.

Meanwhile, Odin takes a bath. This bath is interrupted by Balder, who has discovered that Foster is under attack by the exiled Asgardian villains. Odin commands Balder to take a horse to Earth in order to protect Jane.

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Back in Skornheim, Loki is the first to reach the dimensional barrier leading to Asgard. Loki has won.

First appearance: Skornheim, Loki’s Norn Stones, Yagg the Slayer

Days of Thunder – April 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #115 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “A Viper in Our Midst!”
Once Again, The Art of Illo-Drama Reaches The Pinnacle of Classic Perfection Under the Talented Hands of – Stan Lee, Writer/ Jack Kirby, Illustrator/ Vince Colletta, Delineator/ Artie Simek, Letter

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Young Thor leads a force of Asgardians to battle Ghan, most deadly of the Storm Giants. The Asgardians are winning the fight but before they can capture the Giant, he disappears. The warriors head home in defeat.

After the other Asgardians depart, Loki stays behind as  Ghan is revealed once more. A timely spell at the hands of the trickster was the reason for the Giant’s disappearance. Ghan thanks Loki for his aid and departs. Loki has made his brother look bad while winning himself a secret ally.

First Appearance: Ghan

Days of Thunder – April 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #115

The Mighty Thor! “The Vengeance of the Thunder God”
Story by: Stan Lee The Sage of the Marvel Age! Penciling by: Jack Kirby The Rage of the Marvel Age! Inking by: Frankie Ray For His Wage in the Marvel Age! Lettering by: Artie Simek From his Cage in the Marvel Age!

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Thor and Loki have one hell of a fight. Thor’s might and Loki’s magic prove to be an even match as they batter each other about. Perennial hostage Jane Foster cannot help but wonder “It’s like some mad nightmare!! How did I become a pawn in this battle of Titans?”

Before the fight can conclude, Odin appears before them, demanding an explanation as Jane faints into Thor’s arms. Loki tells his father that Thor has brought Jane Foster to Asgard in order to grant her immortality. Thor protests his innocence and so Odin decrees that there shall be a trial to settle the matter. Thor agrees but asks for and is given 48 hours leave so that he may finish his battle with Creel.

When Thor looks for Creel, he finds local police moving in on the super-powered criminal, now known as the Absorbing Man. They don’t want Thor getting in their way but Thor invokes his Avengers status, which grants him A-1 priority in this situation. I don’t know exactly what A-1 priority is, but the police are forced to sit this one out.

Thor and Creel fight a bunch more until eventually Thor spins his hammer at cyclotronic speed, creating a cloud of helium. When Creel absorbs the gas, he cannot help but float upward into space. Thor assures the police as well as reporter Harris Hobbs that this will not kill him.  That eventually he will lose his absorbing powers, return to Earth unharmed, and finish his prison sentence. Thor’s scenario seems unlikely.

Thor returns to Jane Foster’s home to gaze at his still-unconscious love one last time before returning to Asgard to face his trial.

Days of Thunder – March 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #114 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “The Golden Apples!
A Fabulous Featurette by the Greatest Names in Comicdom… Stan Lee & Jack Kirby/ Inking: Vince Coletta * Lettering: Artie Simek

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One day the Goddess Iduna, cloaked in a red hood,  travels through a forest to give The Golden Apples of Immortality to Odin. Along the way she meets Fenris the Wolf God (not to be confused with Skoll or Hati) in his human guise. He attempts to trick her into giving him the apples but she senses his animal nature: It is revealed in his hands, in his voice, and in his eyes.  Stan and Jack are doing a thing.

Discovered, Fenris reverts to wolf form, determined to take the Golden Apples. Before he can, Haakun the Hunter arrives on the scene and he attacks Fenris with his Enhanted Battle-Ax. Fenris runs to avoid the ax, but the weapon slices through the very fabric of infinity, hitting the target so hard that he is hurled into Varinheim, the seething shadowy land of the lost.

First Appearance: Haakun, Iduna, Fenris, Varinheim

Days of Thunder – March 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #114

The Mighty Thor “The Stronger I am, The Sooner I Die!”
Written at White Heat by: Stan Lee/ Drawn with Purple Passion by: Jack Kirby/ Inked with Golden Serenity by: Chic Stone/ Lettered on a Blue Monday by: Sam Rosen

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Loki is wearing new clothes this issue! Up until this point Loki and Thor have worn the same garb with each appearance, while Odin has been dressed wildly differently each time we see him. But now Loki has traded his stupid helmet for a spectacularly stupid helmet! After using his four-dimensional molecule screen to watch Thor defeat another minor criminal, Loki gives a jailed convict named Crusher Creel the ability to absorb the strength of any substance that comes into contact with either him or his prison ball-and-chain.

Soon after escaping from prison, Creel finds Thor and the two of them fight. Creel becomes as strong as Thor, his ball-and-chain as strong as Thor’s hammer. They battle for hours. Meanwhile an affable reporter named Hobbs follows the action and tries in vain to help Thor. Thor and Creel battle some more.

The battle ends when Thor finds himself teleported away from the fight. Balder has brought Thor to the rainbow bridge in order to tell him that Loki has kidnapped Jane Foster again. Thor charges off on a horse to battle Loki in his Asgardian stronghold.

To Be Continued.

First Appearance: Hobbs, Crusher Creel, The Absorbing Man

Days of Thunder– February 1965: The Avengers #13

The Mighty Avengers Trapped In… “The Castle of Count Nefaria”

Rather Exceptional Story by: Stan Lee/ Somewhat Distinctive Art by: Don Heck/ Fairly Compelling Inking by: Dick Ayers/ Moderately Clear Lettering by: Artie Simek

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In the past few months the Avengers have faced threats such as the Mole Man, leader of a race of subterranean monsters and Robo Spidey, an evil robot Spider-Man. This month they are focusing their attention on people stealing fur coats from the back of trucks.

The Avengers have been putting a big dent into the operations of the Maggia, which is a worldwide crime cartel not unlike the Mafia. The leader of the local Maggia operations is a wealthy European noble named Count Nefaria. I know I am profiling but if you meet a man named “Count Nefaria” you can safely assume that he is a supervillain.

Nefaria has a quirky policy of never directly harming his enemies, apparently out of a belief that this insulates him from prosecution. In order to indirectly deal with the Avengers, he pays to have his castle moved brick-by-brick to New Jersey. Once the castle has been relocated, he invites the Avengers to visit his castle for a charity event. Once they arrive, he captures them in time transcender beams and scans their bodies, allowing him to create three dimensional images of the team.

With the Avengers still transcending time, he sends his holographic duplicates to the Pentagon, where they claim that they are taking control of the country. As Fake Giant Man puts it, “Within one hour we shall cancel all existing laws and issue our own!”

The President refuses to be cowed. He mobilizes all available armed forces to combat the Avengers. He also declares martial law for the duration of this State of Emergency. The newspapers tell readers to shoot the Avengers on sight, while posters are posted with the following message: “Wanted! Dead or alive: The Avengers! Warning: They are armed with the most awesome powers known to man!”

Nefaria then releases the Avengers from their transcendance. Upon leaving the castle they are immediately attacked by both the Army and the Air Force. The Avengers are forced to retreat so that they do not harm their military assailants.

They finally figure out that Count Nefaria was up to no good, and they turn the fight to him, eventually tricking him into confessing his duplicity in front of an Army General. It appears that the Count will be deported.  The Avengers reputation is seemingly restored.

First Appearance: Count Nefaria, The Maggia

Days of Thunder – February 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #113 part 2

Tales of Asgard, Home of the Mighty Norse Gods! “The Boyhood of Loki!”
A Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Fabulous Featurette! Inked by: Vince Colletta/ Lettered by: Artie Simek

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10 Year Old Thor and his half-brother Loki are watching a quarterstaff tournament. Thor is impressed by the skill of Uller. Loki cannot bear to agree with he brother so he wagers that clumsy Volsak will win. After making his hasty wager, Loki realizes that Thor is right about Uller as he oh-so-often is.

Not wanting to lose face, Loki uses a spell that he recently learned from the Norn Witch Women to dismantle Uller’s weapon. This wins Volsak the tournament but the witchcraft was obvious.  Upset adults approach Thor and Loki, accusing Loki of cheating.

Thor speaks in his brother’s defense, angry that they assumed the worst of Loki and insisting that any punishment be shared between the brothers.  The crowd is so moved by Thor’s gallantry that the brothers are dismissed with no punishment.

Loki seethes with anger at how the two brothers are respectively treated while Thor is content, believing the matter settled. Thor suggests they race to the rainbow bridge on horse. Loki complains that Thor has the faster steed while Thor smugly counters that it is not merely the horse that matters but also the skill of the rider as he outraces Loki on his better horse. This is a perfect Thor and Loki story.

First Appearance: Uller, Volsak

Days of Thunder – February 1965: Journey Into Mystery with The Mighty Thor #113

“A World Gone Mad!” Starring: The Mighty Thor
A Tale Told With Gusto By: Stan Lee/ A Drama Drawn With Grandeur By: Jack Kirby/ An Idyll Inked With Gallantry By: Chic Stone/ A Legend Lettered With Glee By: Artie Simek

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This issue starts with Thor and Odin leading a flying longship full of Asgardian warriors against the Demon Men of Jotunheim. Unfortunately this battle takes place in a mere two giant panels, a mere prologue for another, less interesting story.

After the battle, Odin again asks Thor to return to life on Asgard and again Thor turns him down. As Thor walks down the Rainbow Bridge back to Earth, he reflects upon his choice. He feels that his loyalty to Jane is interfering with his responsibilities as a prince, and so he decides to renounce his godly life for Jane.

Back in the office, Blake tells Jane that he is Thor. This is in direct violation of the command issued by Odin, who, as he so often does, is watching the proceedings from his throne on Asgard. He deems it unthinkable! Unforgivable! Disgusted, he takes away all of Thor’s power, declaring that he washes his hands of Thor.

Jane, meanwhile, does not believe Doctor Blake and when he stamps his cane to show her that he speaks true, nothing happens. Odin has left him a mortal, just as he was before he found a magic hammerstick in a cave all those months ago.

It is at that moment that the Grey Gargoyle attacks the office, not out of revenge but because he still wants Thor’s hammer. Powerless, Blake feebly runs from the villain with Nurse Foster at his side. Eventually Blake’s leg gives out and he crumples to the ground.

The Grey Gargoyle threatens to give him “the special touch” which he suggests will permanently turn the doctor to stone. He has never mentioned or demonstrated such an ability before; he could be bluffing. We may never know, because an Asgardian named Honir the Hunter shows up, returning to Blake his Thor powers for a mere thirty seconds.

Thirty seconds is plenty of time for Thor to dispatch a loser like the Grey Gargoyle. He runs an electrical current through his hammer, zapping the villain with enough force to melt him into a grey stone blob.

Honir returns to Asgard reporting to Odin that his mission was a success: Thor is safe. Odin realizes that he cares too much to leave his son defenseless and returns the power that he has taken.

As the power surges back into Blake’s cane, the doctor decides that not even for Jane can he give up the intoxicating power that comes with being Thor. And so he tells Jane that he is done claiming to be Thor. She hugs Blake, assuring him that she prefers the company of “a foolish but wonderful man named Don Blake” over the company of Thor.

First Appearance: The Demon Men of Jotunheim, Honir the Hunter

Mostly James Bond and Thor Stuff