Kate (and Dan) read THE MIGHTY THOR #366.

In the 1980’s Walt Simonson took over writing and illustrating one Marvel Comics’ flagship books, “The Mighty Thor.” This run is not only considered by many to be one of the premier runs on the book, but one of the greatest writer/artist runs in all of comics. During this run, Thor’s wicked stepbrother Loki turns the Norse God into a frog for three issues. What could have been completely ridiculous in every way, is instead an action packed adventure filled with amazing visuals and crazy ideas. This week Kate (and Dan) Read Comics checks out “The Mighty Thor” #366, where we find the answer to the question, “What Do You Call a 6’6” Fighting Mad Frog?”

::Kate and Dan wandering through the local used book store::

Kate: I’M BOOORED. Stop digging through those musty comics. “The Walking Dead” is on soon!

Dan: I’m almost done. ::mumbles:: Got it. Got it. Got it. Need it. Got it… GREAT ODIN’S BEARD!

K: What the heck is that?!

D: It’s Thor as a frog, duh! I totally had this issue when I was a kid. In fact, I had most of the original run. I’m totally buying this for a buck. I’d happily pay a ton more if I had to! Stop monkeying around, Red. Say, isn’t “The Walking Dead” on soon?

….

K: ::reads from cover:: “What Do You Call a 6’6” Fighting Mad Frog?” Well, I’m guessing… JIM.

D: Um…no…we call him Thor.

K: ::blink::

D: You know, like from the movie? We saw it in 3D?

K: ::blink blink::

D: You polished off a Turbo Bucket of popcorn and 3 boxes of Junior Mints?

K: ::raises eyebrows:: Oh? Sexy, sexy Thor? The Norse God of All Things That Are Tempting?

D: Calm down, lady. How about reading the book to find out why he’s a Fighting Mad Frog?

K: Dan, your pants are on fire. You lied; there is no sexy Chris Hemsworth in this rag! It was just a frog parading around as Thor. That frog is tempting to no one, except maybe Doc Hopper.

D: Where do you think the Hollywood Folk got the idea for the movie? This is Norse mythology. It’s been around for quite awhile. Comic writers have been using the tales of the Gods as jumping off points for their books since the Golden Age.

K: I get that it is mythology, but does everyone and everything need to have a title? “Frigga, Wife of Odin”, “The Sword of Surtur”, “The Mighty Frog of the Swamp?” The names of the good guys were similar to the names of the bad guys. Or the bad guy’s horse. Not having any background in this mythology stuff, I was lost.

D: Fair enough, we did jump into the story line in the middle. Didn’t the editorial comments by editor Ralph Macchio help?

K: No! The Karate Kid’s footnotes didn’t help because I didn’t read the other books! I needed a glossary for the people and places, not an outdated ad for Kenner toys. On the other hand, those Mask Team toys looked pretty sweet…

D: Oh, yeah! Those were sweet toys…

D: This really is the one the biggest differences between Comics Then and Comics Now. When I started reading comics back in the 80’s, I absolutely judged a book by its cover. Like this Thor story – a gigantic frog in a winged helmet, spinning a hammer, and bursting out of an explosion of energy? You’re DAMNED RIGHT I’m buying this comic! In fact, I just bought the same comic again, 27 years later! Those stories were told with a ton more exposition than today. And those editorial boxes at the bottom of the panels with blurbs by Ralph Macchio? Stan Lee started them back in the day so new readers could enjoy the books. That’s why he’s “The Man.”

Today, most comics are paced out in 6 issue stories. These are perfect for collecting into trade paperback formats. These 80’s books were never meant to be collected again, thus the heavy exposition and editorial pieces.

And lets be honest: how cool are all the Marvel house ads? And the Kenner ads.

K: Those are pretty cool. But why does the paper smell so musty? And the print is a bit blurry, too.

D: The old-school books are actually printed on straight-up newsprint. The color doesn’t hold up as well. Too bad, too. It’s clear you’re a modern (comics) girl. But really, have you seen ANYTHING so far that has the energy, vitality, and pure FUN of Simonson’s Frog Of Thunder?

K: You’re right, in that regard. The craziness of a 6’6” frog driving a chariot pulled by goats across of vast cosmic gulf blew my mind clean out of my skull. And the scenes where Frog Thor confronts Loki and beats on him for a few panels ruled!

D: But all the sub-plots lost you.

K: But all the sub-plots lost me. And there was no Chris Hemsworth.

D: Oh! The answer from the start of this blog?

K (and D): SIR!

Dan and Kate Malmon are a happily married couple (except when Dan fails to record The Walking Dead) in Roseville, MN. When not working, reading comics and mysteries or watching sports, they hang out with Franklin the dog. You can find both Kate and Dan on Twitter.