Tales of… Asgard! Home of the Mighty Norse Gods
Written By: Stan Lee/ Drawn By: Jack Kirby/ Inked By: George Roussos (credited as G. Bell)/ Lettered By: Art Simek
Starting with this issue, in addition to the Thor main feature, Journey Into Mystery features a Tales of Asgard backup short. Some would say that this is the real start of Lee and Kirby’s Thor.
This month’s installment is an exposition dump. The Norse gods are known as the Aesir. At the end of the world from where they come sits Surtur, a demon with a flaming sword waiting for the end of all things. The first thing to crawl from the Well of Life on their world were the totally evil Frost Giants, led by Ymir the first and greatest of their number. Ymir had a gigantic magic cow.
Later, the first Aesir crawled from the well. He was named Buri. Buri and his unnamed wife had a son named Borr and later Borr had some kids, one of them being Odin, and Odin grew up to kill all of the Frost Giants.
Some time later, Odin and his unnamed brothers decide they like the Earth and so the set a ring around the planet, from which grows Yggdrasil, a magic protective tree that awaits the coming of man.
The interesting thing about this telling is that while it is clearly backstory for a major Marvel Comics superhero, it is framed as a legend, a story told by ancient Norsemen. It’s tonally very different from usual Stan Lee material and it is great.
First Appearance: Surtur, Surtur’s flaming sword, The Frost Giants, Ymir, Ymir’s magic cow, Buri, Borr, Yggdrasil