Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thor Thursday: The Thunder God's 1970s Magazine

When Conan became such a blazing success in Marvel’s magazine line, the editors asked themselves, how else can we capitalize on this trend?  The answer was: give Thor his own black and white magazine and sell it to the barbarian loving hordes. 

Marvel Preview 10 1977 Thor cover painting by Ken Barr

I believe that Marvel was at one point primed to publish a bi-monthly THOR magazine, as I can trace about 3 full length stories commissioned in this format.  This decision must have been reversed and the material appeared in places such as Marvel Preview #10.

Ken Barr’s 1977 cover tries to evoke Conan and Frazetta rather than Jack Kirby, doesn’t it?  I think there was a miscalculation here, that Conan fans would also be interested in Thor.  If you bought this issue expecting to see Thor skewering enemies on a battlefield, there would have been massive disappointment.

Jim Starlin Tony Dezuniga art for Thor in Marvel Preview 10 1977

The interior story by Len Wein opens with an Asgardian bar fight with the Thunder God backed up by the Warriors Three.  Jim Starlin provided the layouts, with finishes by Tony DeZuniga.  The usual hijinks with Loki ensues after a while—the most tired plot of all comicdom.

Marvel had to differentiate this series.  The Thor stories in this format took place before Thor had been merged with Dr. Don Blake—and before he learned any kind of humility.  Perhaps a more interesting series would be called Teen Thor?  Nuff Said!

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