What the hell is a "Frog Thor", and other life's mysteries resolved. (Ok not the life's mysteries part, but at the least Frog Thor stuff.)

When reading through this micro-epic Thor story featuring a

tumefied frog,

the first question I had was: "Did our Thor ever change to a frog in the actual Norse Mythology?" Turns out... he didn't, BUT...

Simonson's Thor might as well be our updated version of the Norse God's mythology.

That's a belief I accept.

Cyriaque Lamar from Gizmodo has the exclusive with Simonson when it came from the mouth of the horse...

"One of the lessons I got from Stan and Jack when I was a reader in the 1960s was that if you keep a straight face, you could do anything. I didn't want to do camp, but with Frog Thor, there were several things going on. I'm an enormous Carl Barks fan...I wanted to do something as a tribute to Carl Barks. Those were funny animals, but they were straight, smart stories that were accessible to adults and kids." 
(see the full interview here.)



THOR #363 • FIRST APPEARANCE OF FROG THOR - (CAMEO LAST PAGE)

ART STYLE
The first thing I acknowledged immediately from Walt's Frog story was his design-rich artwork.  His artwork is akin to two group favorites. It's as if Jack Kirby and John Romita Jr. had a baby and then it took college classes on major design principles.  Simonson's artwork in the notorious Frog Thor series is lavish and every page is laiden to attention and detail.  It really is a shame the color process was so limited in those days. (See blue crowd below.)

In one panel, a Frog Thor (keeping it proper) is about to zoom at a stage with Loki feeling like he has bested Asgard.  It's a bird's eye view and the top 3 - 4 rows of people are realized, almost in full garb!



There is even a great panel with all the Asgardian warriors that inspired me to think through a Kickstarter campaign to create action figures in Simonson's art style. I would buy the first box with Volstagg and Hildy without blinking!



This is a reason why I can go back and read this story o'er and o'er.  There is just that much thought and knowledge etched into every layout.

"...I was living in New York City, right off of Central Park (where that story took place), and [park officials] were always leaving out poison for rats. Somewhere in there, all the stuff came together."

SUBPLOTS GALORE
If you think the Frog Thor (proper) is solely the focus, then you would be as right as thinking Lucille Ball had red hair. (She was originally a brunette.)  Walt's take on a slum war between rats and frogs plays to the seedy crime NY was notorious for during the 80s.  Like his predecessor Kirby, he was pulling from written works and his real world. These sources wove a tale that incorporates the murderous Kurse (crazy villain), Thor's twin, (yes, but not biologically), and never quite revealing how bad the real Thor's face was scarred from a previous battle with Hela (an Asgardian form of Death).  There is even a sewer straddling Pied Piper of sorts.

All this stands testament to Walt knowing how to weave multiple stories so a book wasn't just a standalone issue.  You HAVE TO KNOW what happens next, and it's worth the read...

FROG THOR SUMMARY
The main event...  It's not often that a comic wields a cover you SHOULD judge by the cover and in that rare instance Thor #363 - #366 would be those instances.  I love this story arc not only because of the social commentaries about Simonson's living conditions, but because he took those conditions and made something positive and magical.  That and he turns a Norse God into a 6 foot Mjolnir wielding amphibian that makes Frogger look like a walk in the park.

You can earnestly feel that his hubris is in check when talking about the subject, 
(I understand Beta Ray Bill is a whole different matter ;) ), so when talking about this story, it's fun, alleviates daily maladies, and entertains.  It's a twist on several myths (Frog Prince, Pied Piper) making Walt well read, and overall is a great introduction to his work.  You really only get the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Walt's love of Norse Mythology and there are well over 700 pages of Simonson's Thor to explore.  This is a fun place to start diving into the series much like "Blink" for Doctor Who starters.

To have creative liberty in the juggernaut of Marvel was more rare back in those days, and that's where I think a lot of today's mythologys really started.

"...It's kind of a parody of my own epic storytelling. I did a lot of research into northern European (Norse, Celtic) mythology, so it seemed really appropriate even as goofy as it was."


Frog Thor Cosplay • NYCC 2014

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