Over the years, I’ve stumbled across individual issues of comics that I love.
Among my favorites are “Spectacular Spider-Man” No. 58, “The Uncanny X-Men” No. 182 and “Justice League International” No. 23.
As of yesterday, I can add a new one: “The Mighty Thor” No. 379 from May 1987.
In this issue written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Sal Buscema, Thor finds himself pitted against the golden-age monster Fin Fang Foom.
It all starts simply enough. Some shrunken-down giants (!!) awaken Fin Fang Foom from his arctic slumber. They convince the haughty dragon that he ought to devour Thor.
So, the dragon zooms off to New York City where he pounces on Thor. The only problem is that at second glance, Fin decides that this can’t be Thor because Thor has a completely different uniform.
Thor, who does indeed have a different uniform, decides not to correct the dragon’s error. Instead, he goads the dragon into a contest as the two exchange in a surprisingly witty banter, rather than tossing blows.
The thing I loved so much about it is that the conversation harkens back to a Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan Tall Tale. It’s like watching a trick maneuver in a chess game.
Here’s a sample …
THOR: I take it you are searching for someone in particular? Perhaps I might be of some assistance? I am fairly familiar with most of the wearers of such capes. Whom do you seek?
FIN FANG FOOM: Thor, the Thunderer, Son of Odin!
THOR: Not a social call, I presume?
FIN FANG FOOM: Hardly, Thor is an ancient enemy and I have recently discovered that he is suffering under a considerable handicap! One hates to do the dishonorable thing and take unfair advantage but really, history only loves the winner — Custer and the Alamo excepted. And historians care nothing of the niceties of the victors, especially in this day and age. A pity really, but if the old stories are true, Thor and I are destined one day to slay each other in a fair fight.
THOR: I know this Thor. You hardly look large enough to provide him a worthy opponent.
FIN FANG FOOM: Poppycock! But I intend to forestall any such possiblity!
So, what are some of your favorite comics?