29 March 2020

The Might Thor by Walter Simonson is one of the best comics series ever

Walter Simonson's run on The Might Thor from 1983 to 1986 is one of the greatest series of comics ever. It is alongside, but not surpassed, by the likes of Frank Miller on Daredevil.

The comics that he both wrote and drew are collected in Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson Volumes 1, 2 and 3, covering 33 issues from #337 to #369, a total of some 760 pages. It was a joy to read every one.

In my mind Simonson is more an artist than a writer and I have got many comics that he drew for other writers. I love his distinctive style and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to see so many pages of it again. It was very hard to pick just these two examples to try and explain why.

The writing surprised me. I remembered the some of the main these and some of the small scenes, such as the Executioner defending the bridge from Hel's realm that made it into one of the recent Marvel films, but I had forgotten just how much was going on at the same time in the stories and how much had been made of Norse mythology. It is a saga full of trolls, frost giants and a large cast of gods from Asgard.

There is also an incarnation of Thor from another planet (Beta Ray Bill below) and Thor as a frog thanks to Loki's mischief.

I was also impressed with the way that Simonson frequently used dialogue balloons to straddle panels. As a reader this helped the directional flow of the story and as a creator it gave Simonson more space to play with, i.e. the white gutters between the panels, which meant that he could use more words or, by moving them, more space for the art. It was a simple idea implemented effectively and I really appreciated it.

The Might Thor by Walter Simonson is a rich, unexpected and exciting story told with immense skill. Did I mention that I loved it?

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