Comics were the backdrop of my youth. Every week my father would give me my allowance (usually $5 or so) and I would immediately ask him to take me down to Wag-A-Bag, a small store that almost always had a full rack of comics. Back then comics were about 75¢ each so I could usually walk out with six-seven issues a week which is why I ended up with thousands of comics by the time I hit my teenage years.
One of the comics I remember having a deep connection with was Thor. Fortune or sheer dumb luck found me picking up the comic and becoming a fan right around the exact moment Walt Simonson had signed on to write and draw the series.
Simonson brought this gigantic spirit and drive to a comic that really, when you came down to it, was this guy who had a hammer and could whoop the occasional ass while calling down lightning and thunder. More often than not the villains were more interesting than Thor himself so he was nearly always overshadowed in his own book.
Not during Simonson’s run, though. Hell no. Thor was big and powerful which is exactly what I want out of a God down among us mortals. I wanted him to be larger than life and have even larger problems, which he would then presumably smack the hell out of with his hammer and emerge victorious on the other side.
I got that and more. In Walt Simonson’s run on Thor I got stories of joy, love, pain, hunger, pride, vengeance, farce and a sense that this was a continuous story that meant something and had been planned. No small little story arcs of two-three issues that would have no bearing on the next story arc of two-three issues … this run of Simonson’s held together a massive storyline that held me captive from month to month.
In a time when I should have been enjoying my childhood and caring nothing at all for the passing of time I was hungry for time to pass; I was hungry for next month and all the months that followed to GET HERE so I could read what happened next. I had to know what happened next.
This is why Marvel’s new release of an incredibly gorgeous hardcover omnibus of all of these Walt Simonson issues of The Mighty Thor has me flashing back to my youth and losing myself in the joy of the story once again.
As I turned the pages of this 1,192 page beast I could have sworn to you that I’d read it all in one sitting while cross legged on my floor surrounded by my childhood bedroom and knowing my parents were alive once more and just one short hallway away.
Each panel has been lovingly remastered and you simply cannot believe how this allows the artwork to pop even more than it did back on the original newsprint of their time. Had these been presented on magazine slick pages like today’s comics are (and like this omnibus is) I think I would have died from technicolor overdose.
Sure, the price point on this book is a bit high, but if you look for it there are deals to be found out there. I think I purchased mine at around 50% off with the help of a coupon and the already 40% discount offered by an online retailer. It would have been worth every penny of full retail, though.
This is an amazing collection of work and a brilliant (and brilliant looking) record of a time when one man could still make a true impact upon a comic character and upon a comic industry.
Walt Simonson is my god of artistic thunder and this book is his Mjolnir. Well, okay, that’s a bit hyperbolic of me … but the damn thing weighs about as much as I imagine Thor’s mystical uru hammer to weigh.