JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #98-100 (1963-1964): 1st Cobra and Hyde; 1st Surtur

We all know the iconic splash page starring Kitty Pryde that says “Professor Xavier is a JERK!” but did you know Thor went one farther than that?  This issue starts with him throwing a tantrum and beating the crap out of one of Don Blake’s filing cabinets.  It’s all because Odin won’t let him date Jane Foster.  “Odin is a JERK!”

These issues introduce Cobra and Mister Hyde, two classic Thor villains.

To get his mind off Jane, he goes to India where he learns about Cobra.

Yes, he was bitten by a radioactive cobra snake.  He also was an ex-con assistant to a scientist.  But, like Spider-Man, he relies on a combination of his super powers and gadgets.

Cobra is no longer in India, though–he’s in New York. So Thor follows him there.  (Why did India factor into this comic?  No idea.)

Of course, Cobra ends up attacking Jane Foster in a plot twist/coincidence that’s too outlandish to discuss,   And Thor saves her.

Issue #98 is not tied to issues #99 and 100, but I’m grouping them together because Cobra and Hyde will soon (in JiM #110) become partners, and that partnership will last a very long time.

These issues are the first two-part Thor story, and the second two-part story in the history of Marvel.  Stan was just learning how to push sales into two-issue commitments.

After more bickering between Odin and Thor about Jane Foster, we see, on Earth, the origin of Mister Hyde (same as the literary figure–he drank his own potion and became a monster)

Then, he crashes into Don Blake’s office.  Poor Jane. It makes no sense that Dr. Blake’s office is the focal point for so much super-violence.  Last issue, Cobra.  This issue, Hyde.

Turning into Blake (why didn’t he just throw Hyde out as Thor?), he explains that he’s not used to having his door bashed in like that.  Yet, he was bashing his own file cabinet just last issue.

Anyhow, they fight a bunch.  It’s not a great story, but it is important because of Hyde.

The series is featuring “Tales of Asgard” backups that are generally unimportant, but fun.  Some are about ancient Asgard, others have Thor as a kid…I’m not going to include summaries of them unless something happens that “matters.”  It’s worth noting a few things about the ones in these issues. First, they’re drawn by Jack Kirby, which accentuates the inferiority of Don Heck’s artwork.

Second, the one in #99 has the first appearance of Surtur and features the origin of Earth’s moon.

Stan Lee and Don Heck are on the main story, with Jack Kirby on the Asgard back-ups.