Episode 6: Aftermath (and Afterglow)

BEHOLD: Thor #355 & 357-359! Thor seeks solace in the icy wastes and finds unexpected hospitality! Lorelei makes her move… again! And on Midgard, Beta Ray Bill and the Lady Sif fight… communism?

26 thoughts on “Episode 6: Aftermath (and Afterglow)”

  1. I think I’ll just have to accept I’m going to be repeating myself when I comment on your podcast: I really enjoyed these comic and your zesty commentary. And now: Notes!
    Thor #355 was where Sal Buscema’s work caught my attention again after many years. I thought in the 70s the
    quality of his art suffered because of the volume he was producing. That he was inking himself suggested to me this work was more personal. The letters page thanks him for stepping in to help Simonson, who was late.. it also acknowledged Chris Claremont for the idea of the ice sculptures.
    At least one robot has lifted Thor’s hammer. In JIM #86 one of Zarko the Tomorrow Man’s robots hefts the mighty mallet. It does not get a winged hat, red cloak or power-up, though. Adhumia appears in JIM #97 in the first appearance of Tales of Asgard. Unfortunately, she is only called ‘magic cow’ in the story. Buri also appears from the ice in that story, but there’s no licking. I guess it fits since there’s that fan observation that cows are Marvel’s equivalent to DC’s gorillas.
    One of the many fun things about Power Pack #15 is Volstagg in glasses. I’ve never quite settled in my mind why he’s wearing them, but I love it.
    Nico and his dad from #359 may be based on real people, but I know them from Goodwin and Simonson’s Manhunter series from DC. I think the chapter’s called ‘Cathedral Perilous’. Manhunter is engaged in an epic martial arts brawl, which Nico sees, but his parents are oblivious to. This short series is well worth checking out; it’s Simonson’s first substantial professional work and he’s a boss from the start. It also has clones! ninjas! healing factors! a dark reworking of an existing character! It’s the secret origin of US comics in the late 70s and 80’s! It appeared in 1973 and I got in on the ground floor because of Kirby. I had been a Marvel guy, but I followed Kirby to DC and realised it was the creators, not the characters which mattered most to me. So I started to check out what was in the other DC books and then…

    1. The Manhunter reference makes sense when you consider that issue 359 bears the dedication “this one’s for Anne and Archie” a reference to the Goodwins. Obviously Archie Goodwin was the writer of Manhunter as well as the editor of Starslammers who feature on Walter’s t-shirt and his wife Anne is only the person who introduced Walt to Weezie and is therefore one of the most significant people in comics’ history.

      There is also a secondary meaning as June Brigman based James and Margaret Power on Walt and Weezie so it could be intended to be the Power parents ironically commenting on their own children who are off having an adventure with the Warriors 3.

  2. One thing the Tiwaz interlude, with Thor having to wrestle for his dinner, reminds me of is the legend of Thor and Utgarde-Loki, where the giant king Utgarde-Loki (no relation?) bade Thor perform three seemingly trivial feats of strength before he could feast in Utgarde-Loki’s hall, only for Thor to fail at each of them because Utgarde-Loki had used his magic to make impossible tasks seem easy.

    My boss at my summer job in high school was a Vietnam vet and told me a possibly true story: when he and his squadmates were hungry, he claimed, they would search for cockroaches in the rice paddies. They’d find big ones and cut their heads off. The rice the cockroaches had been eating would be reduced to paste in their digestive systems, and my boss and his squad could squeeze them like toothpaste tubes to get the sweet, slightly fermented rice paste out of them. I’ve always doubted this story, but here you go.

    1. IIRC, he has no relation to Loki, as I recall at least one version of that Myth where Thor and Loki were travelling together and while Thor managed to nearly do each task- win an eating contest against a dude, life a man’s cat, and race a third fellow, but really it was to outconsume fire, lift the Midgardsormr over his head, and run faster than light itself, it was Loki who realized the the dude was pulling a fast one.

      1. The whole Utgard-Loki story is very garbled and most experts turn their noses up at it, even though everyone else loves it. It would seem it’s maybe two myths, a fairytale, and possibly a bit of ad lib all mixed together by Snorri Sturlinson, who couldn’t quite remember how it all went. Most likely Utgard-Loki was Loki originally, but the name was changed because Loki was also Thor’s companion in the other story that got mushed in with it.

        But I did read a theory once that this story was part of a larger cycle, culminating in Loki’s capture and imprisonment. Supposedly the guy chained up with the guts of his son while a snake dribbles in his eyes has the appearance of Loki, but is actually Utgard-Loki who happens to look just like him, and the real Loki is off making trouble somewhere without the gods knowing. A very unlikely theory, but a fun one.

        1. I love how we know we’re missing big chunks of Norse myth because other stories have references to events we’ve never heard of. Almost the same effect as if someone had collected The Mighty Thor, but knew the Power Pack existed only because of the footnotes..!

          1. Not to turn this into “Growing up with Marvel UK”, but that’s exactly what it was like being dependent on Marvel UK when I was a child.

            Except that instead of Thor, it was Spider-Man that you could guarantee would always get reprinted.

            Aside from that, it was very much whatever a given Marvel UK editor felt like throwing against the wall for a while, and seeing if it stuck. You would get these constant little glimpses of characters beyond what you knew. Very little glimpses, if you found a back-issue of an old comic out of context, because what were originally 22-page monthly stories were divided up half for weekly publication (which has probably permanently damaged my sense of appropriate pacing).

            I remember that at one point I read an old issue of something which had some Thor in it. It must have been extracted from one of those times in the ’60s or ’70s where Hercules popped up for a couple of issues or so. But the way I understood it at the time was that I was getting a glimpse of an entire extended period, years and years, in which Hercules had been a supporting character in Thor, more-or-less as continual and important as Aunt May was for Spider-Man.

            All this is connected to why I remember Secret Wars II with nostalgia, something that is liable to make an American comics aficionado back away slowly from the crazy person while keeping an eye on any sharp objects.

  3. I read the story of Odin being four guys in a big coat a long time ago, I *think* the eye was actually Odin’s other eye, which had grown huge and sapient, and gained the ability to fly. Yeah.

    1. Ah Yes, Odin.. AdultFather. He has to go to job in Asgard and do Allfather Business… stuff. Very Important. No sons, you can’t come.

      Also, Odin is technically three men in one body with his brother’s essences added into him.

    2. Yep. IIRC, it’s part of Roy Thomas’s big epic story involving Eternals, Celestials, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle if I’m not confusing anything.

  4. Hey guys, just listening to the episode and heard Miles’ Thorsday crack. Nice!

    Here’s a bit of nerdiness for you; the days of the week are actually named after Norse gods/planets that gods have represented. Thursday is in fact Thor’s-day.

    Monday = Moonday
    Tuesday = Tyr’s-day
    Wednesday = Woden’s-day, Woden=Odin
    Thursday = Thor’s-day
    Friday = Frigg’s-day
    Saturday = Saturn’s-day. Not sure what the Norse equivalent to Saturn is.

    1. Saturn/Cronus would probably be equated to Frey, the Vanir harvest god, but I suppose that would make it another Friday, so they used the Roman name instead.

      I think it’s interesting that all Latinate languages now use some variant of “Sabbath” and “God’s Day” for Saturday and Sunday, but English managed to retain the original pre-Christian names. I suppose it has something to do with the pagan* Saxons that ultimately contributed so much to the language. (Even modern German calls Saturday “Samstag”, which comes from a corrupted version of “Sabbath”. And the Scandinavian word translates as “bathing day”.)

      *I sort of hate this term for its vagueness, but I haven’t a better one except to say they worshipped the Norse/Teutonic pantheon.

        1. There’s a bit more, that actually connects to this episode.

          Tuesday is not strictly “Tyr’s day.” It’s Tiw’s day, Tiw being the Old English equivalent of the Norse god Tyr.

          But Tiw – the resemblance to “Tiwaz” is not accidental. Tiwaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic original of both Tyr and Tiw (and other equivalent gods in other Germanic languages).

          So, obviously in #9 Tiwaz is not the same person as Tyr. That’s because it’s probably the case that Tiwaz was originally the king god and god of the sky, and was displaced by Odin (Woden,Wotan) and downgraded to being the war-god Tyr/Tiw/etc.

          The main reason to think that is that Tiwaz, in turn, is the Germanic version of the Proto-Indo-European name that became Greek Zeus (pronounced Sdeus – z’s weren’t z’s, and has other forms like Dia that show the connection more clearly), Latin Jupiter (Iuppiter = “Father Iu”), Sanskrit Dyaus pitar. In other words, Tiwaz is the original Indo-European sky/chief god.

          Which brings me to this episode (which I haven’t quite finished). Very nice commentary on the significance of Tiwaz really being Buri.

          But it’s equally important that Buri is really Tiwaz. What Simonson has done by equating the two (which is his invention) is make the Norse creation myth a mythological understanding of the “real” historical process by which Odin displaced Tiwaz as king god.

          I’d suggest that comes directly from Simonson’s agenda of exploring a “pre-philosophical”* mythic way of thinking. Standing outside the system of myth and looking at the gods from an “objective” historical perspective is that sort of “philosophical” thinking, and in this issue he juxtaposes the two.

          Or more exactly, reverses the two. That sort of speculative theory (e.g. Zeus and Hera’s difficult relationship in myth is a mythic memory of the process whereby the Greeks came into Greece and ended up marrying off their Into-European sky/king god to a pre-Greek goddess who was already there as a dominant figure in her own right) is a common approach to myths about gods, so that myths become imperfect memories of “real” historical processes and events. But in Simonson’s version, the myth is “real,” not the history.

          Points to note in connection with this are the cheeky way in which Tiwaz treats the previous Marvel universe versions of Odin’s past as possible but doubtful stories and, especially, the very mythic “Thor has to wrestle Tiwaz three times” bit.

          All this is part (but only part!) of why I think #355 is my favorite issue of Simonson’s run. I hate to say it, because of course it doesn’t have Simonson’s own art. But I think it has to be my favorite writing of his run, at least.

          *I’ll quickly note that I’m not necessarily endorsing this idea myself, certainly not in any straightforward “either-or” form. But Simonson has said that it was part of his inspiration for his Thor run, so it can be there whether or not you think it’s “correct.”

          1. [Expletive deleted]! Forgot to edit that. Sorry for not catching all the mistakes, and – especially – for not catching one of the bits where my autocorrect decided that “Taiwan” had to be “Taiwan.”

            1. Fixed using magical admin powers!

              I don’t have much to add right now, but I’m really enjoying your myth-based takes on the content of each episode. Thanks for continuing to post them!

  5. Reading Ahead:
    During the next episode’s Most Metal Moment (you know the one!) I had to Google “viking metal” for an appropriate soundtrack.

  6. I once moved into an apartment that was clean but, for some reason, had a single cockroach that got in. Attempts to capture/kill it were unsuccessful, so I resolved myself to just have a pet cockroach (I decided to name it “Kafka”). As long as we kept to ourselves, it would be fine. Unfortunately, Kafka had different ideas and instead crawled to the ceiling and primptly dropped on my head.

    BTW, how has noone mentioned Vision from Age of Ultron when it comes to the debate over unliving things lifting Thor’s hammer?

  7. Have either of you ever read Orion by Walter Simonson? Its very interesting seeing him write it as the New Gods are a stealth Thor sequel.

  8. Neat thing I just noticed about Thor threatening Loki with Mjolnir’s inevitable return to his hand. Thor throws Mjolnir into space with his right hand, and it returns to his right hand.

    He holds Loki in his left.

    “You’re BLUFFING!” Yes, he is, but the scene is so well written that even the reader is caught up in the moment and misses it.

  9. So is Bill’s race (Korbinite) a reference to Richard Corben? I have been listening to you guys and every Korbinite is said, I just think of how much Beta Ray Bill looks like a character from Den when in his mortal guise.

    Is this a thing or my imagination?

    1. I’ve been having the same mental query. While Den was bald, he had a nose and ears. Was there another big bald Corben character without those features?

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