So what happens when your love of Norse mythology and your love of comic books starring a certain Norse mythological character comes together with your love of writing and drawing your own comic books and also with an era of comic book publishing that let pretty much anybody with the cash and a finished product to enter the comic book market? A train wreck, that's what happens. I mean, this feature isn't called "Terrific Comics Of Lasting Artistic Value," now is it? No. But anyway I'm getting ahead of myself. What happens is this happens.
From the "he's a mythological character, you don't own him, man" file comes Thorr-Sverd The Sword Of Thor! Thorr-sverd is doing what he does best, which is being held in the grip of whom we can only assume is the Mighty Thor, in the midst of berserker fury as his gang of Norse gods pillage and loot! There's some exciting pillaging and looting action awaiting us in this comic book, right?
Sure! We'll get to that action in a minute! But first here are some vacation photos and some captions. A lot of captions. Well, when you're delivering the preamble to an epic, getting a little wordy is almost expected, right? I'm sure those hard-drinking Viking demigods will be rampaging through a hapless village any minute now.
This sequence brought to you by the Swedish Tourism Ministry. Visit Sweden today! Stockholm is the most beautiful capital city in the world - so famously beautiful, they named a syndrome after it!
It's not every day you get to stand in an archeological dig with a world-reknowned scholar of Norse mythology and listen to him mansplain ancient Swedish myth to a Swedish guy.
Hey, this comic book about Norse mythology is really delivering on the "obsessed with Norse mythology" characters! Is the self-insert character the boring grad student, or the boring professor? Let's see!
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a title. Please assume your positions and begin preparations for our main comic reading experience. Thank you.
We've found the Sword Of Thor! Should we mark the site, take photos and soil samples for later radiocarbon dating, do any of that science stuff? Should we just yank it out of the ground and start swinging it around like crazy? Or... is it speech time? It's speech time.
Two shocks in this sequence: the appearance of a kooky old guy claiming to be an Asgardian, and the artist's sudden and obvious lack of photo reference.
Loki has really let himself go! Remember when he used to be all young and long haired and dreamy? Now he's Andy Capp!
From doddering old fool to Ripped Serious Man in three panels! The magic of comic books, baby!
Our esteemed professor is going to have to balance the words of the actual Norse god standing in front of him with a lifetime of research (reading Thor comics) all of which tells him Loki is an evil trickster god. Listen well, professor! Because if there's one thing this comic book needs, it's more talking!
Thor arrives on Earth, which lacks only one thing - a strong central government uniting all the Germanic peoples! Say, that's a swell idea that never leads to trouble.
Hey kids! Next week in English class remind the teacher that all Germanic languages come from the Norse gods who were actually beings from another planet with abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Then watch your teacher imitate Johan in the third panel here!
So basically this big muscley guy came from far away, told everybody how awesome he was, and was immediately worshipped as a god. And that's how Arnold Schwarzenegger became a movie star!
Turns out when you emulate a roided-out amoral terrorist, well, the entire culture turns into a rampaging, looting, killing, wench-groping, priest-knifing mob of violence-crazed lunatics. And that's how we got the Hell's Angels. The end.
Sometimes Thor just likes to watch.
So Loki came down to check and saw all the pillaging and looting, and Loki tried to set everybody straight, but Thor told everybody Loki was a big fat liar, pants on fire, and henceforth Loki was known as the evil god of lies. That's all it took.
And then, more talking!
Captions, word balloons, flashbacks, characters completely hidden by word balloons and captions, a world overwhelmed by dialogue and thought balloons, confusing and bewildering even the most patient of readers. If only there was a firey, impulsive, rage-filled man, or man-god, of action who could burst into this comic with the force of a thunderbolt and get things moving! If only!
And here he is folks, the star of our show, carefully evoking not just the Jack Kirby but the Walt Simonson eras of the Thor comics that we all know and love, it's Thor and his mighty hammer, peeking out behind big chunks of completely useless expository captions.
Did'st now thou seek to speaketh such to the Mighty Thor such speech of impenetrable and well-nigh ridiculous fakery? I say thee nay!
Say, the thing about that "show, don't tell" rule is that everybody breaks it All. The. Time. Maybe we should downgrade it to "guideline" or "suggestion" status. I'm just sayin'.
When drawing your very serious Thor comic, you definitely want to remind the reader of Graham Chapman in "Monty Python's Holy Grail". That's definitely what you want to remind us of.
Also you want plenty of captions about "pressure mounting" and "a rapid sequence of potentially explosive self-appeasement," so that we can't help but think Thor is about to rub one out.
Yeah, we went there! You're welcome!
Using all his mighty godlike power, Thor smacks an old man into a pit. And while we condemn this violent act, we can't help but think Thor might have a point, and further ask Thor to smack this whole comic book into a pit because that seems to be the only thing that will shut anyone up around here.
That is bold talk for what appears to be four completely different people!
Forsooth, I am minded to ponder 'pon the godlike visage of Thor, which meseems to deform and twist itself e're into shapes both unmanly and without logic or sense!
Boy, if only those Marvel Thor movies had approached this level of excitement, right? Who needs special effects and movie stars and movement and action? Not us. Right kids? Huh?
Thor literally does the heavy metal devil sign with his squat, plug-like arm, and his mighty chariot appears to whisk him away to a tour of the East Coast and to star in the film "Rock And Roll Nightmare". Sorry, wrong Thor.
I'd look depressed too, if I was trapped in a pit with Loki, a dead guy, and gigantic blocks of ponderous captions. On the other hand, these will make great mid 70s record album covers.
This is it! The people of Ginnungagap are in fear and you must take up the Thorr-sverd, or the Sword Of Thor, right, and accompany Thor on a challenging assignment! Yes, Thor, who is a total dick! Or Thorr-kukk, as we say!
That's what you needed, a big comforting hug from the Norse god Loki. All the raping and looting and pillaging in these Norse god-Viking comics, we sometimes forget about the hugs.
And now! After the hugs, drink this and take off all your clothes! Remember to keep careful notes; you'll need them later when giving evidence at the sexual assault trial.
Let's see, belt, cape, sword of Thor, long underwear... we're good to go!
No, don't let me interrupt your speech. I know how important it is to talk a lot in times of crisis.
And now enough talking! Let's get this Thorr-sverd swinging! It's time for Norse godlike battles and destruction and all kinds of horrifying mythological serpents and fire demons and monsters and action! Let's go!
Crap, it's a "to be continued." Sorry. Maybe some adventure next time. Give us a few months, the letterer's hand needs a lot of rest.
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