Journey Into Mystery #83
Issue(s): Journey Into Mystery #83
They look sort of like the Easter Island statues and they are orange and made of stone. They're really, really cool looking.
Blake runs from the aliens and hides in a cave where he finds a secret passage that leads to an old cane. When he bangs the cane on a stone, he turns into Thor.
There is a terrible pannel where Thor picks up a huge boulder in the cave. The picture is so bad. Thor looks like a baby leprechan and the whole panel is just bad.
Anyway, Blake learns if he drops the hammer for 60 seconds he turns back into his frail normal self. And the hammer always returns to him, and by stamping the handle twice, he can create rain or snow, and tornadoes, and stamping it three times stops the storm.
While Thor is figuring out his powers, the Stone Men are terrifying NATO by turning their spaceship into an illusionary dragon. Then Thor shows up and as tough as these guys are he beats them, and their giant mechano-monster. Then they run away.
The last panel promises that "Thorr" will be appearing regularly in Journey Into Mystery.
Other than the Stone Men From Saturn, this is a pretty crappy comic book. I like Thor but i don't like the whole Don Blake alter-ego thing. And whereas the FF and the Hulk and Spider-Man made some attempts at messing with the super-hero genre, this is a straight-ahead power fantasy - wimpy guy gets to turn into an awesome He-Man and kick ass. Still, it's the first appearance of Thor in the Silver Age.
Quality Rating: C+ - higher than it deserves because of the awesomeness of the Stone Men.
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales annual #1
he doesn't "learn" how to use the hammer. he remembers exactly how to use the hammer from what he read about norse mythology in school. i must have missed the part of the mythology with the user's manual for thor's hammer.
i hate that thor talks like blake instead of thor. wimpy guy in he-man's body with wimpy guy's voice. ugh.
Posted by: min | September 29, 2007 4:14 PM
There were similar Stone Men in previous pre-hero Marvel stories, but they apparently weren't from the same group as these.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2011 12:44 AM
For what it's worth, one of these original stone men appears as the Hulk's ally in the Planet Hulk story arc from a few years ago.
He talks about meeting and being terrified of Thor.
Posted by: Ice | July 3, 2012 11:06 AM
Thanks Ice. I've added Korg as a character appearing here. I wonder if he should also be listed for Thor #255, which shows the same group of Stone Men stranded on an asteroid on their way home from Earth.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 3, 2012 12:25 PM
It's interesting how of the first few heroes of the Marvel Age, so many fought the kind of monsters that Marvel had been specializing in. First the FF, then Hulk, then Thor. It's like, well, we're good at that, so we'll keep the monsters. It's what makes the creation of Dr. Doom all the more impressive considering the other villains at the time.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 4, 2014 11:55 AM
Its tough to say Doom was that impressive; switch "monster" with "overlord" and you've got Doctor Doom on day 1. The only notable thing is that for once they finally are getting away from their Monster Age sensibilities when they create Doom.
I'm not sure if Lee/Kirby fully knew what they were getting themselves into when they decide to make Thor a Marvel superhero. As was mentioned, all that was on their mind was "we want someone stronger than the Hulk...who isn't a monster like him and Thing". Thor is just a matter of lucking out, though, since by bringing Thor in, they end up getting the entire Norse pantheon to play with...and while it took time for Kirby to get that epic, I guess it was a blessing in disguise to get "Thorr" on their side.
Posted by: Ataru320 | December 4, 2014 12:48 PM
My theory is that the monster story origins in these early superhero books FF, Ant-Man, Hulk, Thor were intended as a back door of sorts for the company if the superhero trend failed to pick up. FF are just individuals with unbelievable powers and the Hulk is modern day Jeykll and Mr Hyde. If they failed, they werent really superheroes but newer variations of the schlock that Atlas was producing. Since they succeeded the FF and Hank Pym put on costumes, and Thor, Hulk were integrated as superheroes instead of pulp or fantasy characters.
Posted by: Darren | October 31, 2015 3:32 PM
I'm more than a little saddened we haven't gotten a movie version of the Stone Men. One scene I particularly want to see on the big screen is their arrival on Earth, where they rip up trees and jump off cliffs to test out their strength and invulnerability in our atmosphere. A silly story but fun.
Posted by: Robert | January 24, 2016 3:12 PM
At the beginning of Thor: Dark World, Thor kills a Stone Man.
Posted by: Steven | January 24, 2016 6:41 PM
Thx must have blocked that out. Didn't like TDW that much.
Posted by: Robert | January 24, 2016 7:51 PM
If I might add to Mark's post, Kirby had drawn at least three stories with living Easter Island statues, for HOUSE OF MYSTERY #85 (DC), TALES TO ASTONISH #16, and TALES OF SUSPENSE #28. That last issue came out about five months before Thor's debut. He did another such story near the end of his career for DC's SUPER POWERS (second series) #3.
The critters were cover-featured each time. The one in TALES TO ASTONISH #16, from 1960, was called Thorr!
The cover of THOR #318 was likely a homage to either HOUSE OF MYSTERY #85's or TALES TO ASTONISH #16's, or both.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 26, 2016 3:45 AM
Read this comic a dozen times. Really just a showcase of Thor's powers. Seems like a ripoff of the Marvel Family powers.
I hated when Don Blake was pushed out of the Marvel Universe in the 1990s, but do not like him thinking for Thor in this one. I despise the dated "lame" comments.
Posted by: Bo Dallas | April 27, 2016 9:57 AM
I know a lot of people who aren't a fan of the whole "Donald Blake" concept, but think about it: this was the point Marvel was just trying to throw out as many superheroes as possible in hopes some of them stick; as well as trying to make as many of them quirky as possible to at least show how different they were from DC. (considering around this point we have two "Monster Heroes" in Thing and Hulk, a teen hero with Spider-Man and someone as mentally unstable as Hank Pym as Ant-Man...though OK, the last was more later stuff but still...and this is before we get to Iron Man and the X-Men) Obviously the idea of Marvel using Thor was to just build on "power" that they already had with Thing and Hulk by having a god hero, and while giving Thor a human identity is silly to people today, it sort of just felt like something that they did in the early 60s when you're trying to create as many new heroes as possible but before you can realize you don't need human identities. Further, the "lameness" of Donald Blake is his "humanizing" element: he may become Thor, but he's weak and needs a cane to walk, which is probably an early equivalent prior to things like "shrapnel in the heart of Tony Stark" or "Matt Murdock is blind". Obviously to us it feels manufactured, but the fact that Marvel was at least trying to make different sorts of heroes in '62 that weren't perfect WASPy types (well they were still probably WASPy but with more feet of clay) shows they were probably trying to be different from DC and the other publishers out there.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 27, 2016 10:29 AM
In Greek mythology, Hercules was born a mortal (albeit an incredibly strong one) and only got empowered by Zeus later. Odin temporarily depowering Thor simply flips that concept around, as well as adding this crucial "humanizing element".
Posted by: Oliver_C | April 27, 2016 10:53 AM
You know I seem to see a lot of bashing of these early stories and denigration of Lee and Kirby. I an obviously older than a lot of you and read these stories when they were first published. I know that looking back a lot of it may seem hokey or dorky to you but let me tell you that were an absolute blast to read back in the day. Give it a couple of decades and you may see some of your favorite comics being looked down on too.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 22, 2016 6:10 PM
In my reading order I placed all the Tales of Asgard stuff before this and Journey into Mystery#83-96 just before the Avengers #1 because he didn't meet anybody else before then.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 22, 2016 6:12 PM
Jonathan Hickman references the Thorr typo in his Avengers/New Avengers run.
Posted by: FF3 | March 11, 2017 7:48 PM
Brian Cronin recently pointed out that while Marvel explained why Odin made Thor a mortal with restricted access to his powers, they never explained why it came with the silly time limit, so that Thor reverts to Don Blake if he lets go of the hammer for more than one minute. From a writing perspective it's clearly an attempt to inject some drama into an otherwise almost undefeatable hero, like kryptonite for Superman. But as far as in-story logic goes, what does continuously holding the hammer have to do with learning humility?
This has lead to some pretty silly contrivances. The worst example, in my opinion, is in Avengers 129, where Thor is knocked unconscious by one of Kang's Macrobots. Shortly thereafter, Thor is placed inside one of the Macrobots, to augment its power, and Mjolnir is clearly shown tucked into Thor's belt. You can see why Marvel had to do that--otherwise Thor would have reverted to Don Blake and the plot wouldn't work--but it's absurd. First, why would Kang tuck the hammer into Thor's belt? Is he a really courteous conqueror? Second, how could he do it? Is Kang "worthy"? Did one of his robots lift it? (In the comics I don't think it's ever been settled if robots can lift Thor's hammer. In the Marvel Movieverse, we've seen that the Vision can lift it effortlessly, which I don't approve of.) And of course, it looks incredibly awkward, like as soon as Thor stands up, his hammer is going to pull his pants down...
Posted by: Andrew | May 19, 2017 9:39 AM
I'd suggest that the dependency on the hammer, complete with time limit, actually does serve to keep Thor learning humility as it reinforces the false idea that he is fundamentally a "lame" mortal physician and that he is clearly dependent on something outside himself for anything beyond that. Aside from the plot contrivance, an argument could be made anything that limits Thor and forces him to cope with adversity would likely be seen by Odin as serving his purposes.
Posted by: Ubersicht | May 22, 2017 4:53 PM
The complete Thorr Stone Man story ("Thorr the Unbelievable," 1961) was included in a post by Four-Color Shadows in 2014. Pencils by Kirby, inks by Ayers. It's worth checking out for the late-Monster Age fun.
Posted by: squirrel_defeater | February 4, 2018 12:56 AM
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