JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #86-87 (1962): 1st Odin and The Uru Hammer

Stan Lee only takes credit for plotting these stories, and lets his bro write the scripts, and Kirby gets pencil credits but the art is not very Kirbyish in many instances, which makes me think he was either overworked or letting someone else do the finishes.  These are largely forgettable issues.

Still, these issues can be interesting as perspective: Thor was clearly supposed to be Marvel’s Superman.  He comes from another world, is more powerful than anyone, is Godlike, etc.  But in these early issues we do get to watch the creators try to figure out what makes their character unique—what is Thor’s real purpose as a character?  There was a need to start creating a “Thor mood,” and in issue #86, in an editorial box, it starts with telling readers that Thor’s hammer is “Uru.”

There still isn’t a name for it–but we know what it’s made of.  Kinda.  “Uru” is a made up name, so it could be anything.  It could be marshmellos.

But naming the substance is part of how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby approached “world building.”  Part of what makes early Marvel so great and different is the attention to detail–the creation of little things like Uru (and admantium, unstable molecules, etc.) that made the world of Marvel Comics feel unique and “real.”  It also helped create a cult of nerds (like me) who ate this kind of information up.

Also, in issues #86 and 87, Thor displays a bunch of new powers.  Super breath…

…Time Travel…

(Note the first appearance of Odin as well.). And in #87, the use of “friction” against his hammer that makes people go blind (subtle masturbation reference?).

As for the villains, issue #86 introduces a minor character, Zarrko the Tomorrow Man.

In this issue, his greatest weapon is a trap door.  The villain in #87 is commies again.  Lots of these stories in the early Stan Lee days.

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