Thor Croaks! Comments About Thor 363-366

Thunder Frog Theme Song
(sung to the tune of Underdog theme song: )

There’s no need to fear, thunder frog is here!

turned to a frog by Loki’s curse
how could things get any worse?
his belt of strength still keeps him strong
so he can still right any wrong
speed of lightning, roar of thunder 
fighting all who rob or plunder 
Thunder frog. Thunder frog!

when big mean rats in New York try
to poison  the water tank
their evil plan does no man know
to whom can the poor park frogs go?
to Thunder frog! Thunder frog! Thunder frog! Thunder frog!
Pow’r of lightning, god of thunder 
fighting all who rob or plunder 
thunder frog. thunder frog! 

Okay, it’s a silly song, and most of it was stolen from the original Underdog theme song anyway but I had fun with it and enjoyed singing the chorus while reading the thunder frog story that started on the last page of The Mighty Thor #363 and wraps up in issue 366.  I think Walt had a ton of fun writing and drawing the story in which Thor is turned into a frog by his step brother Loki, and I know I had fun reading it. My philosophy about superhero comics is that, for the most part, they should be appropriate for kids and they should be fun. Kids of all ages, sure, but definitely not excluding seven year olds. I’ve never liked it when characters that can be found on children’s underwear are in stories with adult themes and a plot that could have been taken from CSI.  I’d encourage my son to read this story without any reluctance about appropriateness. In fact, I have tried to get my son to read Thor. He wasn’t interested, but that’s a topic for another time.

I think some readers expect their heroes to grow and mature as they do; to face problems they wouldn’t have understood or related to when they first started reading comic books. They take their superhero comic books seriously and feel hurt when it seems others don’t. I think this might be at the heart of the extreme dislike a few fans have taken with this story.  Walt Simonson, however, I think takes comics so seriously that he knows not to take them too seriously, at least not in the wrong ways. I confess: I love, not only the Simonson Frog Prince of Asgard story, but his entire tenure writing Thor as well. I recommend it all to anyone who loves comics (unless they take them too seriously). Simonson’s character and setting designs are beautiful and his layouts are dynamic. The tongue in cheek humor doesn’t detract from the story and the plot structure lives up to the epic art.

A word about that art—when the series originally started in 1985, there were several letters of complaint about Walt’s drawing in the letters column. I remember thinking that the editor must have been a jerk to print so many of them instead of the outstanding reviews I was sure most readers were giving all aspects of the book. Roughly thirty years later (!), I asked Walt, through Facebook, about the negative letters. He told me he actually put the letters pages together and included the letters he thought were interesting, or would be interesting to respond to. There are those who don’t like Walt’s visual stylizations, preferring a more traditional Buscema-like style on their superheroes. If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry. I hope you can overcome your disability to recognize greatness enough to enjoy these wonderful stories anyway.  For the rest of you, I recommend getting a hold of these stories and setting some time aside to immerse yourself in them. The original issues are reasonably affordable if you don’t mind cheap paper and bad printing. They’ve been printed in a number of paperback editions several times,  aren’t hard to find and are printed on decent paper. For most of my reading this go round, I read from the Thor Omnibus. The book is a double-edged sword, as it has updated coloring and paper and some nice special features in the back, but the thing is amazingly unwieldy.  Clocking in at over 1100 pages, I really wish they’d split it into two volumes. It’s not very portable and it’s so heavy one’s arms get sore while reading it if it’s not propped up against something to support its weight. Digital editions are also available, and for the early issues of the run, there’s an Artist’s Edition that produces facsimiles of the original art pages as originally drawn. Frankly, it doesn’t matter which version(s) one chooses to read. It’s good regardless.

Popular posts from this blog

Len Wein: SNIKT! You'll be missed.

The Thin Black Line