Monday, January 18, 2010

THOR & ME: Completing a Collection

This is the omega of my Thor obsession, and it happens to be the "alpha" for the character and his world. Yep, an actual scan of the copy that is in my collection, that is the completion of my love of Thor. My copy, not some image grab from some other odd website. MINE!

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created their own version of the Norse god for their comic book series JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY way back in 1962. They wanted an unconventional hero and one with long hair and a big hammer fit the bill. Think about it, this is over a year before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This is practically late 1950's America with it's crew-cut hair, suits with fedoras and pill-box hats. And they create a hero with hippie hair before there are even hippies? Ah, but you say he was from another age, a character out of time. True, but there were plenty of other adaptations of historical figures with modern make-overs.

Although my own collection of the series began with a good handful of the series from the early days of the title THOR which were packed with Lee/Kirby goodness, I only had a few issues of the series as it began in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. And it pretty much remained that way for me as I was happy to keep up with the new issues as they came out. And my early reading days of THOR are from the issues around #265 or so, so that was the cool stuff for me back then--John Buscema and Keith Pollard art and stories by Roy Thomas among others.

I only later developed a love for the genius of the Lee/Kirby THOR--the power of it, the creativity involved and the sheer ease with which they were able to make these colorfully strange characters seem alive. I wish younger me had developed that appreciation so that the hunt for all of those early back issues would have been less costly, but what can you do about that?

As it is, about seven years ago, I finally decided to get serious about hunting down the rest of the series when I noticed that I had pretty much accumulated everything after the title became THOR instead of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. So the hunt began, and I decided to just seek out bargains where I could and take advantage of eBay auctions with low bidding. And it wasn't long before I was coming up on having just that last/first issue to acquire.

And so, I went to Heroes Con Charlotte with a pocket full of cash and the intent to hunt down #83. The first day of the con, I spotted only three copies of said issue in the entire building. One was in dreadful shape and one was out of my price range due to it's great condition and a very guide-strict seller. Ah, but then there was a perfectly priced/conditioned copy. But then the cat and mouse game began.

I had vowed to wait until the final day of the con to make a lowball offer on the book, hoping to catch the dealer in a moment of need. But I was weak. I managed to wait all the way to the end of the second day of the show (it's a three day con) before making an offer that was a hundred dollars less than the asking price. I was met half-way and gave in to the inner child who had waited twenty five or so years to complete my collection.

That was it, I had every issue of the JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY/THOR series--AND IT WAS GOOD.

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