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Journey Into Mystery

Comic Books

Publisher: Marvel

Beginning with issue #83 in August, 1962, Journey into Mystery left its horror and sci-fi origins behind and joined the forefront of the Marvel Age. The cover blurb promised “the most exciting super-hero of all time,” and while Stan Lee and Co. were notorious for bombastic hyperbole, there is no denying the importance of the issue that introduced the mighty Thor to the world. Like many of Marvel’s covers in the era, especially “first appearance” issues, the cover art was by legend Jack Kirby and offered the first glimpse of the long-haired Thor swinging his hammer in an arc while hordes of green rock aliens attacked. It was clear Marvel had another world changer on their hands! The issue recounts Thor’s origin and first appearance, as lame doctor Donald Blake, on the run from the stone men from the cover, takes refuge in a cave. Finding a stick, he strikes it against the wall, transforming himself into Thor, the legendary Norse God of Thunder. Though the first issue only introduces the titular hero and his alter ego, in short order we add love interest nurse Jane Foster and the entire Norse pantheon, most notably half-brother Loki and Thor’s father Odin. The team of Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist) had a longer, continuous tenure on Thor than any other Marvel series except the Fantastic Four. From Journey Into Mystery #83 through #125, and continuing after the title became Thor with issue #126 through #177, Marvel’s “A Team” was on the job nearly eight years! It’s a big reason why the character became so popular and why Journey Into Mystery #83 is currently tied for fifth place on Overstreet’s Top 50 Silver Age Comics list with such important comic books as The Amazing Spider-Man #1 and The Brave and The Bold #28 (first appearance of the Justice League of America). Low-grade copies in GD 2.0 grade command nearly $2,000 these days, while a Near Mint Plus (NM 9.6) copy sold for over $200,000 in Heritage’s November 2015 auction. Like other top tier Marvel superheroes, associated titles have gotten a boost from recent movie adaptations of Marvel characters, which have introduced them to new generations while keeping the fires burning for the Boomers who originally bought the earliest issues that featured Thor.

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