A few weeks ago, I wrote about Marvel's plan to create a black and white magazine for the Thunder God (see Thor Thursday: The Thunder God's Magazine). I believe Marvel commissioned a few stories for this format--and one of them was the story that appeared in Thor Annual #5, 1976.
Surely the greatest thing about this annual was the cover by Jack Kirby. It was worth the 50 cents just to celebrate the King's return to Marvel, after his stint at DC Comics. While not one of Kirby's most classic covers, it just felt good to see him drawing Thor again--and he was fighting Hercules!
That logo and masthead really cut down on the space available for the cover image, didn't it?
The interiors were done by John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga. Something about the art makes me think that it was designed for a larger, magazine-sized format. There is also the fact that DeZuniga did a lot of inking for Marvel's magazine line (he also inked Buscema's Conan and Jim Starlin's Thor story in Marvel Preview #10). Buscema laid out the story with plenty of grand splash pages.
This pic of Hela making a grand entrance is one example. The story by Steve Englehart is designed to introduce a new audience to the world of Thor--Asgard, Odin, etc., are all explained before the action starts. I do remember reading somewhere that this story was intended to be the first issue of a Thor black and white magazine, while the Marvel Preview #10 story by Wein and Starlin was going to be in the second issue.
You see, fellow True Believers, all of this Marvel Minutia occupies my mind on a daily basis. I should be thinking about how to become a millionaire or how to create a great software product. Instead, I wonder what made the 1970s Marvel editorial staff abort magazine projects before they started! As Hercules might say, Are Ye Mad or Merely Daft? Nuff Said!