And so we get to the introduction of the Mighty Thor, but not in his own title. Instead, he first appears in the pages of an anthology title, Journey into Mystery, which had already run for 82 issues.
The story begins in Norway, where a frail Dr Don Blake is on holiday. Unbeknownst to Don, an alien spaceship (there seem to be plenty of aliens landing on Earth in 1962!) lands behind him carrying seemingly rock-like creatures from Saturn. The atmosphere on Earth appears to give these creatures greater strength than they have on Saturn, making it all the easier for them to conquer.
A lone fisherman spots the creatures as they try out their new found powers. The fisherman runs off to a nearby village to warn the locals, but nobody believes him. Nobody except Dr Don Blake, who overhears the men talking. The next day, he goes to investigate.
He soon finds the creatures. He turns to leave, but steps on a twig and the sound alerts the rock-men. Unfortunately,. Don’s frail form does not allow him to run fast enough to get away, and he soon trips, stumbles and falls into a cave. He ventures deeper into the cave, hoping for another exit, but his way appears blocked. Just when he is about to give up, a wall he is leaning on gives way.
A secret chamber is revealed, and lying inside is a gnarled looking cane. Don picks up the cane to see if he can use it to lever himself out. When he is unable to move the rock blocking his path, he slams the cane down, which causes a magnificent transformation. Don suddenly feels powerful, and the can has turned into a mighty hammer. That is not all, written on the hammer are the following words:
THIS HAMMER, IF HE BE
POSSESS THE POWER OF…
Don know who Thor is, the legendary God of Thunder! He is easily able to move the boulder blocking his path now, and on leaving the cave he transforms back into the frail Don Blake. When he picks up the hammer again, he is again transformed into Thor. He tests his powers, and finds that his hammer returns to him when he throws. He also appears to be able to control the weather.
Meanwhile, at a nearby NATO base, a fleet of flying objects is detected. The invaders notice the imminent interception and and fire a “monster image”. Soon a huge three-dimensional dragon appears in the sky and disperses the air force. Rockets are then fired at the ships, but they are not able to get through the force fields protecting the ships.
Don notices the attack, and fearing that NATO will not be able to stop the invaders,. strikes his cane on the ground and turns into Thor. The rock-men instantly note that the sky is no longer clear. Thor then flies into the air using his hammer and takes the attack to the rock-men. Thor is able to repel everything the rock-men throw at him, causing them to unleash the “Mechano-Monster”. The monster is ordered to destroy Thor.
Thor takes one swing of his hammer and obliterates the monster, causing the rock-men to abandon their attack and flee. Thor then notices soldiers approaching, and not wanting to be noticed, taps his cane again and turns back into Don Blake. Don is seen, but ignored by the soldiers, allowing him to slope away.
There are three other stories in this issue (The Perfect Crime, When the Jungle Sleeps and Discovery) but they are not covered in this blog.
The most interesting aspect of the introduction of Thor is his alter-ego, Don Blake. This will be particularly of surprise to fans of Thor who only know him through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But in keeping with the other Marvel super hero Hulk, the human alter-ego seems the exact opposite of the hero.
This is the shortest story we have covered to date, as it appears in an anthology title. In fact, it is not for another year before Thor makes an appearance in a full story.
Writer – Stan Lee
Artist – Jack Kirby
Cover date – August 1962
Financials and further reading
Cover price – 12c
At the time of publishing, the most expensive listing for Journey into Mystery 83 on eBay is £10,709.
Amazing Fantasy 15
Star Wars (1977) 2
Fantastic Four 6
The Incredible Hulk 3