It’s Hammer Time
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its fifty-fifth choice, Thor Visionaries Walter Simonson by Walter Simonson, reviewed by Tripwire editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Thor Visionaries Walter Simonson
Writer: Walter Simonson
Artist: Walter Simonson with Terry Austin and Bob Wiacek
Colours: George Roussos and Christie Scheele
Letters: John Workman
The second Simonson book in our 100 graphic novels list is the collection that reprints his first year on Marvel’s iconic Thor series. Kicking off with 337, which was Simonson’s debut on the book, it hits the ground running by introducing Beta Ray Bill, the noble alien who seeks only to protect his people. Simonson doesn’t stand still here either as Thor faces off against the evil serpent Fafnir, the lord of the dark elves Malekith, the machinations of his conniving brother Loki and enchantress Lorelei, who is determined to make him her compliant slave.
Simonson’s Thor rescued the book from the doldrums, injecting life back into a book which had fallen into moribund dullness and turned it back into the kind of book that Lee and Kirby made it: a dynamic, mythic ball of energy. Simonson’s obsession with Norse mythology also means that you couldn’t imagine a more perfect fit at this time to tell tales of Thor and Asgard. As well as scripting and plotting which propels the stories along with a pace very few can match, in terms of its visuals, Simonson excels at storytelling and page composition, showing why he continues to hold a reputation as one of the best classic comic artists of the past fifty years. He is equally at home drawing people sitting in a flat as he is depicting Thor fighting dark elves in faerie and the few occasions here when he is inked by others don’t detract from his impact as an artist.
Many of the concepts here have been borrowed for Marvel’s Thor movies and that is a reflection of just how timeless and well-delineated they are.
The 1980s was a wonderful era for quality comics and Walter Simonson’s Thor in a way kicked off a period that pushed the creative envelope while celebrating the medium’s significant legacy. Walter Simonson’s Thor is a heart-felt love letter to the best in mainstream comics, produced by one of its finest practitioners.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far