Free Thor Book Day

So, you made it through one or two screenings of “Thor” on opening day and now you want more. You want to go to the source, but Vikings are hard to find these days, so you turn to Marvel.

Well, good news. It’s Free Comic Book Day.

Yes, Free Comic Book Day, that first Saturday in May when comic publishers send out books to comic book shops throughout the land to be handed out at no charge to the masses. It’s a great day, and I would join you there but I’m stuck in a 15-passenger van with my family on a five-hour drive to Oklahoma.

Did I say “stuck” ? I meant “joyfully sitting.”

For the rest of you, just go to your participating comic book shop or library and check out the offerings. Each shop has different rules on how many free books you can have, so you may have to go to multiple shops. Make a day of it. That’s what I’d do, if I weren’t trapped in a van with my family driving to Oklahoma.

Did I say “trapped” ? I meant “happily riding to Oklahoma and singing along to Garth Brooks Greatest Hits with the Bestest Family Ever.”

If you can only score one free comic, I recommend “Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers” by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee. Yes, it’s a blatant tie-in to Marvel’s two movies coming out this summer (poor, ignored “X-Men: First Class”) but the creative team gave us the entertaining but short-lived “Thor the Mighty Avenger” comic, so it’s bound to be good.

You should also pick up a free Heroclix Green Lantern. And pick up one for me while you’re at it. I have one already, but it’s lame Kyle Rayner, not the one, true Green Lantern. I’d rather they were giving away Thor or Captain America figures, but I don’t run the Heroclix operation.

Read Thor About It

If you seek more Thor, Marvel is glad to oblige you. They’ve been pumping out an insane amount of Thor comics over the past year in anticipation of the movie. I haven’t read most of them, I doubt if anyone at Marvel has, so instead I will point you to the Thor books that have the RROY REPORT Seal of Approval.

1. The Essential Thor, by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and many others. If you want to go back to the very beginning, the Essential line offers large, cheap collections of Thor comics beginning with Journey Into Mystery 83. The downside is they’re in black and white. If you must have color, turn to the Marvel Masterworks line. They’re more expensive and don’t have as many issues per volume, but that’s the price of color.

Be warned that many early ’60s comics haven’t aged well and Thor is no exception. There’s some pretty silly stuff in the first volume.

2. Thor Visionaries – Walter Simonson. In the 1980s writer/artist Walt Simonson began a run on Thor that is considered definitive by many fans, best remembered for the introduction of Beta Ray Bill and a story in which Thor is turned into a frog (OK, the silly stuff wasn’t limited to the ’60s).

Those comics have been collected in a series of five volumes or you can buy the whole run in one Frost Giant-sized omnibus. I don’t know why anyone would buy an omnibus given how heavy and unwieldy they are, but they seem to be popular these days.

3. Thor by J. Michael Straczynski, Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjevic. If you want to read Thor comics written in the 21st century, this is the most recent relaunch of the character and sets the stage for where he is now. As you can see, this is where his movie costume came from. Straczynski is also co-credited with the story for the film.

Straczynski’s run gave us the return of Don Blake, Asgard in Oklahoma and Loki in drag. It’s available in three volumes or another oversized omnibus. Straczyski’s run wasn’t nearly as long as Simonson’s, so this omnibus is not that big of a doorstop.

4. Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson. If you enjoy this year’s Free Comic Book Day “Captain America/Thor” book, this is more of the same in that same all-ages style, but without Cap. The series was sadly canceled after 8 issues so it’s available in two paperback collections.

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And that, at long last, brings us to the end of  Thor Week. Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. Although I am pretty sick of Thor right now. Not really.

Thor Week is dedicated to my late Norwegian Elkhound, Thor: Dog of Thunder. Sadly, while movie Thor can take getting hit by a car, dog Thor could not.

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