The Comic Speculator: Simonson’s Thor

Cover of Thor #382
Cover of Thor #374
Cover of Thor #337

Last Sunday was perfect. The weather was beautiful and so my niece, my two dogs and myself were on our way to the dog park when I received a phone call. It was my friend Mike and he sounded desperate; “What are you doing?” he asked, “I’m on my to the dog-” “Never mind,” he interrupted me,”there’s a guy on north 93rd st having a huge comic sale” My eyes widened as he continued, “he’s got a some old stuff some new stuff and almost all of it is .25 cents.” I was skeptical. “Is it garbage?” I asked. “Would I be calling you if it was garbage?” Mike shot back. I looked at my niece and then at the two whimpering Pugs in the backseat and made a decision. “I’ll be there in five minutes.” It didn’t take much to convince my niece, who at 6-years-old is already a voracious reader, that digging for comics in a strange house would be a good time. I told her she could have as many as she wanted and the deal was sealed.

Upon arriving it was exactly as Mike had reported, approximately 20,000 comics, some new, some old and all in very decent condition. The best part was they were for the most part, alphabetical and sorted by company. So I began digging as fast as possible knowing that I had about a 15 minute window before I became a bad uncle and pet owner. Without my want list I was firing blind, grabbing boxes and hoping something jumped out at me. And then something did. An almost complete run of Walt Simonson’s Thor in excellent condition for .25 cents a piece. Like I said, last Sunday was perfect.

Walt Simonson took over the writing and art duties on Thor in 1983 with issue #337 and remained on the book until #382. Simonson’s run is considered by many to be one of the best written and drawn story arcs on Thor since the legendary Jack Kiby’s run which ended in 1970. Simonson’s Thor stories brought the character back to his Norse mythology roots while hanging on to Kirby’s psychedelic-cosmic cosmic feel. In his first issue, Simonson introduced readers to Beta-Ray Bill, an alien that would replace Thor as the Thunder God of Asgard after besting him in combat. I still remember seeing the cover of Thor #337 as a child, which pictured a horse-headed alien holding Thor’s hammer, and thinking “I’ve gotta know what the hell this is about.”. After the first Issue I was hooked and have been a Thor fan ever since. It was Simon’s distinct, angular art style that drew me to the book and to this day I will argue that no one draws a better Thor.

Simonson’s Thor run is not yet collector’s gold but is getting harder and harder to find in great condition. Marvel Comics was printing well over 100,000 comics an issue at the time so 1980’s Thor Comics are by no means rare, but they were printed on very cheap newsprint at the time which degrades very quickly if not properly stored. Currently Simonson’s first issue, #337, guides the highest at $9.00 in Near Mint condition but watch for that price to increase as collectors begin snatching up Thor back issues with rumors of an upcoming Thor film.

Other key Simonson issues include:

Thor #374, a tie-in to the X-Men Mutant Massacre storyline guest starring
X-Factor. $4.00 Near Mint

Thor #382, Simonson’s last issue, 300th anniversary issue. $4.00 Near Mint

While Jack Kirby’s Thor-run guides for hundreds of dollars an issue Walt Simonson’s Thor run is much more accessible, equally enjoyable and affordable for collectors.

As for my niece, she was thrilled with the short run of Marvel’s Robocop and assorted issues of Casper and Spooky she found. My brother however was not and accused me of trying to indoctrinate his daughter into my cult of nerdy-ness. And the circle of comic collecting life continues. Until next time free to post to the forum topics in the comic books community and tell me what you’re reading/collecting. Also check out my other blog, This Week in Geek where I discuss the new comics of the week that could be tomorrow’s collectibles. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact me or post your question in the Comic Book community forum. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join Worthpoint for free and post your titles in the “Ask A Question” section.

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