And Then I Read: THOR GODSTORM

Images © Marvel Characters, Inc.

I missed this when it came out in 2001, so I was delighted to get this new hardcover collecting the three issue series, with some very short Tales of Asgard stories by Tom DeFalco and Mike Mignola rounding out the package. The book is larger than comics size, about 10 to 15% I’d guess, and printed on glossy stock. More about the reproduction later.

At the beginning of this tale, which takes place on the coast of the North Sea in 912 AD, two boys are scolded by a white-bearded elder, who vows to correct their foolishness with tales of great deeds by the god Thor, revolving around a mysterious stone worn by their tribe’s leader. We soon find out that the Godstorm of the title is an actual thunderstorm which dares to rebel and disobey Thor, incited by Loki of course, and it continues to plague the thunder god through the centuries, with each issue focusing on a different time period, including our own time in the final issue.

Writer Kurt Busiek begins very much in the style of Stan Lee, and artist Steve Rude very much in the style of Jack Kirby in the “Tales of Asgard” stories by those two legends. The writing is fine, but to my taste doesn’t really come alive fully until Kurt starts to stretch and breathe a little, loosening up as the tales unfold, adding more modern writing tropes and dialogue, especially in the final present-day issue. The wrap-up goes back to Stan Lee’s somewhat over-the-top style, but by then we’ve been through enough with the characters that it still works fine.

The art by Steve Rude looks great overall, and I love Steve’s work, so this was a pleasure to see. While he does draw heavily on Kirby, Steve’s own style shows through more and more as the story progresses, and Rude has always declared his debt to Kirby, so it makes sense for him to use a lot of that style, especially here. I have to say Rude’s women are a lot cuter than Kirby’s, too, which is not a bad thing. The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the reproduction of the art on the Rude pages. You have to look close to see it, but when you do look close, the lines are jaggy, meaning the scan resolution was not set high enough. Here’s a close look at one of the balloons—the black lettering on white is where it’s most noticeable:

See how the lines aren’t smooth, but instead broken into little jagged edges? This could have been avoided if the original scans were made at a higher resolution. I’m being picky here, and there’s a good chance many readers might not even notice, but I did, so I thought I should point it out. And, on the original comics it would have been less noticeable. Making the art larger only serves to make this issue more visible.

It’s a minor flaw on an otherwise fine package, though, and I had a fine time reading the book. The Mignola shorts aren’t bad, though mostly I was looking at how Mike’s art style has changed since they were done.

Highly recommended.

7 thoughts on “And Then I Read: THOR GODSTORM

  1. Ptor

    Todd,

    I think I must go get this now.
    While I’m not a huge fan of THOR, I do appreciate the old Lee/Kirby “Tales of Asgard” stories and LOVE Kurt and “the Dude”!

    As for the size of the book, I just received a HC of “Invaders : NOW”, one of the newest Alex Ross golden-age tributes.
    It is also slightly larger than most comic-sized trades.

    Originally, I thought it was “golden-age” comic sized because of the subject matter.
    Now, I’m wondering if Marvel is trying out a new size for their HCs.

    Off topic I do have a question:
    What is the status of that Man-Thing graphic novel?
    I know that Kevin Nowlan was working on it from the old Gerber script and I thought you were in the lettering stage.
    With Manny in the lime-light as of late, I would think now would be the time to publish that book.
    Any insights?

    Thanks!

    ~P~
    “PTOR”
    http://midnight-images.blogspot.com/
    http://sanctumsanctorumcomix.blogspot.com/

  2. Todd Post author

    Most of that Man-Thing story is finished and lettered, but we’re all still waiting for Kevin to finish the last batch of pages.

  3. Justin H.

    Todd-

    Thanks for noticing the bad scans on the lettering- I find this in many collections (the first Starman omnibus springs to mind… the Eternals omnibus and doubtless more) but no one ever mentions them! Arrgh!

    PS- No reflection on Godstorm itself, which was neato-keen.

  4. Todd Post author

    Actually, it’s the entire black line art, but it’s most noticeable on the lettering. Don’t know about this one, in some cases the art was a victim of perceived quality standards of the time, which looked okay on newsprint paper, but not on higher quality offset paper. Older art, which was photographed, not scanned, usually doesn’t have this kind of problem, and new art is usually scanned at higher resolutions, also avoiding the problem.

  5. Don

    Hi Todd, your Thor post got me thinking about John Workman, who lettered Thor during the Walt Simonson era. What do you think of his work? How are you two similar? Different? Post idea: I’d also be curious to know what you think of the Thor movie (and the other big comic book movies that will be coming out this summer).

  6. Todd Post author

    John Workman is a friend, and helped me get started with lettering, something I’ve written about before on my blog and website. Haven’t seen Thor yet, and I’m too busy right now to see it this week probably.

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