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I don't read superhero comics as a rule (I've been looking at a few Batman titles provided by a studio-mate, because he's a visually and psychologically appealing character when done right — but even in my studio-mate's selection he's rarely ever done right. Coincidentally, Alexander Danner asked about Batman on the Modern Tales mailing list just as I had finally broken down and asked my studio mate for some of the best Batbooks), but I'm sure one or two readers of/contributors to this blog will be interested in reading this review of The Mighty Thor #80-85 at The Hurting (scroll down to read the review). Thor is another potentially appealing character who's rarely done right. Hell, any Norse God would be a good superhero character, as would many Greek, Celtic, Egyptian or Elder gods. And it looks like the series's current writer knows it:

Thor is probably the hardest character out of the classic Marvel pantheon to do well. Just look at how many mediocre-to-bad Thor comics have been published in the many decades since Kirby left Marvel. Walt Simonson’s run is almost twenty years old. I am happy to report that Michael Avon Oeming and Andrea DiVito have produced the best Thor story since Simonson left the book all those years ago.

The key to their success has been a whole-hearted embrace of the icky mythological elements that compose the character’s backbone. Instead of playing up the superhero aspect, they chose to accentuate the character’s cosmic fantasy elements. That, as much as anything, grants the character a semblance of dignity that many of his peers could never hope to evoke. Sure, most of the fantasy elements in Thor are silly on the face of them, just as with the superhero elements – but when done well, they carry the imprimatur of Kirby’s indefinable cosmic grandeur as well as the source myths’ historical pedigree. Tellingly, this story stays closer to the actual myths than most Marvel interpretations of myth, including some of the gruesome depictions of Odin’s trials and death.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 22, 2004 11:56 AM.

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