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Essential Thor Volume 1 TPB Paperback – Jul 27 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics (July 27 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785118667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785118664
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 3.8 x 26 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #693,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
These "Essential" collections are a welcome change from those fancy archival-type reprints that often contained poor reproductions and errors. These black & white paperbacks have at least as many problems, but not enough to keep them from being enjoyable light reading, which is exactly what they're supposed to be.
Take Thor. I wouldn't buy an expensive hardback collection of Early Thor stuff; the character isn't a favorite of mine, and he had a pretty weak start to boot. But for this price, why not?
And I had a lot of fun immersing myself in early/mid-'60s Marvel, one of my favorite eras. Thor's look and powers were pretty much set from the start, but the book's theme, supporting players, and villains had a way to go.
The Carbon Copy man? Communist Agents? Petty thugs? The only stellar villain who shows up in the early issues is Loki, The Norse God of mischief, and even he initially pulls silly stunts like turning all the cars in New York into candy.
But Loki was the start of the series' emphasis on Thor's Norse heritage, which would become a mix of myth and Jack Kirby's psychedelic imagination. After awhile, "Tales of Asgard" becomes the book's back-up series and Thor's strained relations with his father Odin (who resents his son's earth-bound love interest) becomes the primary emphasis of the main feature.
Even Thor's earthly villains seem to improve. Mr. Hyde and Cobra, two unremarkable villains, show up several times, but each story is noticably better than the last.
Anybody who likes the Marvel Thor or just likes old Marvels should enjoy this.
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Format: Paperback
Volume 1 of "The Essential Thor" provides the stories of the Thunder God that appeared in "Journey Into Mystery" #83-112, including the five-page "Tales of Asgard" that started appearing in issue #97. In the Sixties I did not start reading Thor until the comic had taken on his name, so this was the first time I had read most of these stories, although I did pick up the "Tales of Asgard" collection that Marvel put out way back when. In retrospect it is hard to ignore that the original conception of this particular superhero was rather lame. However, once Stan Lee, Larry Leiber and Jack Kirby began to take the Norse mythology aspects of the character more seriously, the dynamic of these stories changed considerably.
The initial story is that Dr. Don Blake, an American physician vactioning in Europe, is fleeing from Stone Men from Saturn who have landed in their spaceship when he stumbles into a cave and discovers an ancient cane. When he strikes the cane against an immoveable boulder it transforms into a hammer and Blake becomes the legendary god of Thunder. The hammer has an inscription, in English no less, proclaiming "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of...THOR (yes, the inscription even includes the elipses).
Don Blake, with his bum leg, and his secret affection for his pretty young nurse, Jane Nelson, is set up in the mold of mild mannered Clark Kent and bookworm Peter Parker, where he is two-thirds of a love triangle all by himself (and his alter-ego). On the one hand the first couple of issues clearly give Thor the powers of the Norse thunder god--he not only calls forth rain and thunderstorms, but makes a volcano erupts--but the stories do not deal explicitly with whether he is indeed a deity.
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Format: Paperback
...and his mother thought he was god!"
In Spiderman, Marvel played with the idea of the hero as everyman. To bring the Superhero down to earth. In "the Mighty Thor" they elevated the superhero as mythological figure. In so doing they exploited the vulnerabilities, the "fatal flaws" of pagan heroes. In a sense "Thor" is an extrapolation on the question posed by George Carlin: "Does Superman have 'super-anxieties' as well as super-powers?" With Thor the answer is a resounding "YES"!
We see the gradual evolution of the comic, moving from one-shot adventures--rather formulaically ending with Nurse Jane Foster, asking why Don Blake can't be more like Thor, and Blake replying some variation of "we can't all be heroes"--and moving away from somewhat contrived situations (How many times can Thor/Blake thoughtlessly drop his hammer/cane?) towards more 2 and three part adventures with the love triangle (quartet?) between Jane, Don/Thor, and Odin the driving theme. We see Thor gradually adopt the *faux* Elizabethan idiom we've come to know and love: from just in discourse with Odin, to when he in Asgard,
until it's all the time.
While Thor will develope a gallery of stock villians (most of them stereo-typic "mad scientists"), Thor's great advesaries will be other gods, and his own internal torment. But that will come later. Interestingly enough the idea of a double is used quite frequently in the early issues. Does this reflect the tentativeness of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby over who/what Thor was supposed to be?
The romance with Jane Foster is interesting is itself interesting. In issue 84 she's calle Jane *Nelson*, much later when she's mentioned she's become Foster. He relationship with Don Blake is distinctly maternal, doting over him as though he were a helpless child.
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