Bizarre Adventures 32, 1982 “Sea of Destiny”

The magazine market was in full swing in the 1970s, but as the decade ended, a lot of them went down the toilet. A few lasted into the 1980s, some changing names, like Marvel Preview changing to Bizarre Adventures! These mags were all over the place as far as content, from superheroes to science fiction, to film adaptations. This particular issue focuses on deities, and the one being spotlighted here is none other than Thor Odinson!

The story is definitely in the bizarre category (for all I know it has roots in the character’s mythology), as Thor must take a viking long ship to the sea and fight a giant horse…not kidding here. It’s not just a regular horse but one that has the lower half of an aquatic animal. Guest appearances by The Warriors Three, Odin, and Heimdall!

Written by Alan Zelenetz, with art by John Bolton, this story should’ve just been expanded to encompass the entire book. No offense to the other stories in the book, but none even come close to being as awesome as that one. The magnificent cover is by High School of Art and Design alum, Joe Jusko!

 

 

 

Kull the Conqueror #4, 1983 “Death Stalks a Councilor”

My love for Robert E. Howard created material is something that if most don’t already know about, you soon will. Of course, Conan is the biggest REH character, but if you look deeper into his world, you’ll see others, like Red Sonja, Solomon Kane, and Kull! Kull is basically a Conan “type” character, but more refined as a ruler. He’s a savage warrior like Conan, but most of the stories are as Kull as a ruler, not a thief, or pirate. His trusted friend, Brule, is a warrior born but also a man of great intellect when it comes to war. Kull is a man born in Atlantis, but rules the kingdom of Valusia.

This story was scripted by perennial Bronze Age writer, Alan Zelenetz. He’s done some other great work in this category (Thor/Warriors Three), and should be applauded for his efforts. Penciling, we have the legend himself, ‘Big’ John Buscema, and we all know of his accolades in the industry. An incredible artist taken to soon from the world. Dan Green and Joe Chiodo add their abilities to the artwork (inks), and throw in letters by John Morelli, and colors by Christie Scheele, and cover by Bill Sienkiewicz (inks on the second story as well) make this issue a winner!

 

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The Mighty Thor Annual #13, 1985 “And Evil Shall Inherit”

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It would be extremely difficult for me to find a better comic in my collection than this one. Some might argue it isn’t the greatest story ever told, and I’d probably agree, but when you get a cover by Walt Simonson, and interior pencils by “Big” John Buscema you must agree it’s a top-tier issue! So, basically, that’s enough for me to call it one of the best issues I own. This tale involves the dark lord, Mephisto, as he attempts to use Ulik, the troll, to fight Thor. The first few pages show Mephisto plotting in his fiery realm. He tortures some of the tenants (stepping on them as he walks around), and the visuals are just dynamite!

Mephisto tricks Ulik into his service, and then he and Thor do battle. You see, Mephisto thinks he can get to Thor’s soul, now that he’s a bit sorrowful over his father’s death (recently, Odin died fighting the fire demon Surtur). Thor defeats Ulik after some back and forth, but this is only the beginning for Thor. Before he can even take another breath, he’s transported to Mephisto’s realm, and must match wits and brawn against this seemingly unbeatable foe.

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The two spar verbally, and then physically, but Thor is no match for Mephisto in the demon’s home. The evil demon soon realizes though, that Thor has more resolve than he thought. Even after being tempted with the ghost of his dead father, and even his beloved Lady Sif, Thor will not be broken. Mephisto does show him that during his battle with Ulik, that a few bystanders were killed. Of course, Thor doesn’t believe him, as Mephisto is the father of lies. Mephisto releases Thor, but when he returns to Asgard, he realizes that Mephisto was telling the truth about the villagers. Thor then vows to use everything in his power to fight him forever. Mephisto laughs, as he basks in the hatred that flows from Thor this day.

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Alan Zelenetz does tell a good story, and his contributions should not be understated. Honestly though, it’s tough to outshine masters like Simonson and Buscema, no matter who you are! See you in three days!