FANTASTIC FOUR 11 / cover by JACK KIRBY (w/ Al Hartley)
TALES TO ASTONISH 40 / cover by JACK KIRBY
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 89 / cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"THE THUNDER GOD AND THE THUG!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: A gangster wounded in an escape has his men kidnap Dr. Blake to operate on his gunshot wound. Blake transforms himself into Thor and brings the gang to justice, as well as rescuing Jane."
That's funny. The plot description here reminds me a lot of a 5th-season GET SMART story, "Physician Impossible". Max wounds a notorious gangster who escapes & vows vengeance. While picking his wife up from the hospital shortly after she had the twins, Max & 99 are both kidnapped by the gangster's men, mistaking them for a doctor & nurse, because he needs to have that bullet Max put in him removed. The gangster was played by Henry Cordon, who earlier had been THE MONKEES' landlord, and later became the 2nd voice of Fred Flintstone. While near-delerious, he planned what he was gonna to when he got his hands on Max... "I know-- I'll drop him from a plane-- in front of a train! No-- that's too GOOD for him! I know, I'll... uhhhhhhh."
JACK KIRBY breaks his string here, so far he'd been rotating between sci-fi, cold war & Asgard, and this should have been a sci-fi story. Oh well! This was also the last of 7 consecutive episodes with Kirby doing story & art, with Larry Lieber doing dialogue. It was also Dick Ayers' 6th episode on inks. Next issue, Kirby & Ayers must have been busy elsewhere, as only Lieber returned.
Although, the more I learn about how things REALLY went on at Marvel around that time, I woudn't be surprised if Kirby wasn't supplying the stories ANYWAY, as, apparently, he did on the first year (at least) of IRON MAN.
Just checked... as it happens, the SAME 6 months Kirby, Lieber & Ayers worked on THOR, they were also doing ANT-MAN in TALES TO ASTONISH. For the Mar'63 episodes, both Kirby & Ayers left both features! DON HECK took over ANT-MAN (with Kirby presumably still supplying stories), while Joe Sinnott took over THOR (ditto). I know from all evidence that Don Heck became a decent writer on IRON MAN starting with TALES OF SUSPENSE #50, but the stories have a very different feel to them before that, which suggests he wasn't pressured to write until then. Also, Joe Sinnott is one guy I've never heard even a hint about his having done writing, which may "explain" exactly WHY he stopped pencilling for Marvel around that point, even though he had always done full art before, and occasionally done pencils which others would ink later.
IRON MAN started in the Mar'63 issue of TALES OF SUSPENSE, and since Kirby was so involved in the creation of that series, and pencilled 3 episodes in addition to supplying Robert Bernstein & Don Heck with stories, it seems a good bet it was IRON MAN that took Kirby away from THOR at this point.
SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS debuted with the May'63 issues 2 months later, which stretched Kirby's resources even further. Looks like he barely had time to do those 3 IRON MAN episodes before diving in full-blast with the war book.
STRANGE TALES 105 / cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
(Continued in March 1963)
All Text (C) Henry R. Kujawa
Artwork (C) Marvel Comics
Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa