Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, October 8, 2021


First off, this is not your Stan Lee/Marvel Thor...or, maybe it is.

Thor, God of Thunder appeared in the first five issues of Fox Feature syndicate's Weird Comics (April - August 1940), appearing alongside other heroes such as The Birdman, Voodoo Man, Typhon, and Blast Bennett, and Sorceress of Zoom.  Thor was the creation of Wright Lincoln and Pierce Rice; the stories were signed by Lincoln.  Neither creator knew much aboute Norse mythology, placing Thor in Valhalla rather than in Asgard.

Thor, looking down from his Valhalla castle, sees that Earth is in need of a mighty hero.  He decides to invest an ordinary mortal with his god-like powers.  The ordinary man is Grant Farrel, a shlub who is unlucky at love.  When a turnip-brained fathead named Glenda dumps him for a more manly man, Grant considers suicide.  That's when Thor appears and gives him superpowers.  Transformed into Thor's being (complete with cape and shorts, as well as me sort of weird helmet) Grant sees that Glenda unknowingly is hanging about with spies (!).  The spies kidnap her to help them find the Andurian mines in South America so they can blow up the mine (yep; we've gone from mines plural to mines singular and now they are evidently easy tp locate) in order to cripple the Andurian military.  But here comes Grant as Thor and puts a halt to their plans and rescues Glenda, who is impressed with Grant/Thor's manliness.  Grant poo-poos Glenda bcause he "has more important things to think of than the whim of a girl."

In Thor's second outing, Glenda decides to sail to Europe despite the dangers of ocean travel during a war.  Grant decides to go along, just in case...  Then the boat hits a mine and is destroyed and Grant and Glenda find themselves the soul occupants of a lifeboat.  They ar picked up by a cruiser whose captain is afraid to navigate the waters, so Thor uses his lightning to chart a safe path for the boat.  Glenda poo-poos Grant's help but is eager to accept help from Thor.   (There's a lot of poo-pooing going on in these early issues.)  She has overheard enemy plans to attack Paris and she and Thor fly there to warn the city.  But they are almost too late because the enemy planes are flying overhead.  Thor attaches a long chain to his hammer and uses it to bind all the enemy planes together,  He then hurls them to the enemy capitol where they crash and explode.  Glenda begins to suspect a link between Grant and Thor.

In the June issue, the evil country of Gratnia invades the United States through the Mexican border.  (This is long before Trump's Wall and I'd say he may have gotten the idea of an invasion from our Southern border from this comic, but we all know he can't read.)   The war catches America unaware but its loyal citizens rush to fill the ranks of the military, incuding Grant, who enlists as an Army private.  Not to be outdone, Glenda volunteers as a Red Cross nurse.  By this time Glenda is gaga over Grant and they are boyfriend and girlfriend.  Grant decides to serve as himself and not to utlize the powers of Thor.  This pledge holds until Grant's unit is nearly destroyed by the enemy and Thor jouins the action, raising havoc with the bad guys -- and also rescuing Glenda from an enemy rocket.  The bad guys are not deterred, though; they amass their troops and head northward to attack Chicago.  Thor arrives too late.  Chicago is in ruins.  Thor destroys the invaders.  Back as Grant, he hears a child cry from the ruins.  As he  goes to rescue the child, he gets in the way of an enemy soldier trying to escape.  The enemy (a dirty dog if there ever was one) shoots Grant in  the back and escapes.  Glenda finds her wounded boyfriend and carries him to the hospital.  The army knows that Grant somehow defeated the enemy so they give him a medal and a promotion.  Glenda now knows that Grant is Thor, but she likes Grant for himself.

Continuity was never a consideration in this comic.  When we next see Grant he is no longer in the Army and Glenda is no longer a Red Cross nurse.  For some reason Glenda is in tibet and has been captured by the bandit chief Wong, who tortures her to find ut the location of The Gold Horde of Buddha.  Grant, disguised as a Mongollian traveler, rescues Glenda (again).  They fly off but Wong's has his men shoot anti-aricraaft guns at them.  Glenda is hit and falls toward the ground, telling Grant to keep fighting.  Glenda evidently lands safely and is again captured by Wong.  Grant flies to the fornidden city to warn the "Grand Llama" (two L's, if you please) of the bandit's impending attack.  (Grant as Thor has lost his cape and helmet, BTW.)  Thor routs the bandits but the bombardment has severely damaged the giant dynamos that run the forbidden city -- that's a plot point that suddenly vanishes without explanation.  Also without explanation, Wong is no longer a bandit chief but an evil general with an army.  Thor takes care of the army.  Wong is imprisoned for life.  Glenda declares her love for Grant, who, in turn, promises to take good care of her in the future.  Did I mention that oneof Thor's powers was invisibilty?  No?  Well. in this issue it is.

In the final episode, Grant is now a young scientist and the head of a Chinese relief mission, with Glenda is his secretary.  The luxury liner they are traveling on explodes while moored at a Shanghai pier.  (Not too sure why.)  The evil doctor Hsin and his man-creation Mako take advantage of the disaster and rush to the scene to get a body for Hsin's experiments.  The body they get is the unconscious Glenda.  Hsin uses a cosmic pulsator to allow Glenda to absorb the essence of the hundreds of graat men and women whose blood had been harvested by him.  Mako, a distorted creature, believes he has been made as the "perfect man."  Grant, meanwhile, is unconscious in the hospital, recovering from the explosion.  In Valhalla, the god Thor sends Graant a psychic message that Glenda is in danger from Dr. Hsin.  Grant as Thor traacksdown Dr. Hsin's secret laboratory but is knocked unconscious by a borealic beam.  Hsin ties Thor down and begins to harvest his blood.  Thor has super recuperative powers and bursts free as Mako decides that, as a perfect man, he deserves to be the boss of Hsin and that he will take Glenda for his own.  Bad decision.  Mako is defeated,  Hsin is captured, Glenda is freed.  It turns out that Hsin's had been executed six months before but used a secret formula to fake his death; can you say, "Better living through chemistry"?  Hsin's plan was to murder the entire human race and, using their blood, create his own super-race.  He was truly an ambitious villain.

The last panel promises that Grant Farrel and Thor will return next issue.  It lied.

Now, about Stan Lee.  Lee never meant a superhero he wouldn't borrow from.  From this Thor, he got the cape, the hammer that returned to him, as well as various super-powers.  At least that's the theory.


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