Nov 8, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 622: Tor #5, February 1976

In an effort to channel my inner Monty Python (of the "And now for something completely different" mode), let's have a look at Tor.

My knowledge of Joe Kubert is mainly by reputation - he's held up as this paragon of old-school cartooning and comics art, he ran (runs?) a school to train people in the techniques he's mastered over the years, and has sired two of the more popular Marvel artists of the 90s. So to take a moment to actually read some of his works seems to be, sadly, far too long in coming.

I enjoyed this comic, but I didn't love it. I'm not a huge fan of the prehistoric adventure genre, though I do have a soft spot for Kirby's Devil Dinosaur. What I was surprised by was actually Kubert's art. I had a picture in my mind of what it looked like, and the cover to this issue did not dissuade me of my supposition. But the interior art is a bit different. It still evokes the hyper-masculine fantasy of the cover, but there's moments of real cartooniness as well, mostly in facial expressions, which adds a really cool blend of an almost newspaper strip feeling to this comic. Story-wise, I come in part way, as is the case with much of my reading, but I wasn't too lost. There was a very brief and effective recap, and then we move on to the adventure of the exiled Tor confronting a giant man who has a whole valley full of people cowering under his rule. The action is good, the drama is good.

It's cool to consider these masters of the form, and to be surprised by them. I had a similar feeling on reading Ditko's Shade, the Changing Man for the first time, or Kirby's New Gods, that moment of realizing that I'd had a notion of what these artists' works were like based solely on reputation, not experience. I'm looking forward to many more of these kinds of experiences over the next few years.


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