COMMENTS: "Thor #1"; Italian Version; 1971; Journey Into Mystery #83-85
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Heath cvr; Ayers art
"Thor #1"; Italian Version; 1971; Journey Into Mystery #83-85
Heath cvr; Ayers artIn the dark days post-Timely and pre-Marvel, Atlas comics consisted mostly of a young, overworked Stan Lee hunkered down at a lonely desk in the corner of an office, desperately keeping the comics end of the publishing business afloat with anything that would sell -- westerns, romance, boys' adventures, and, during the pre-code EC craze, horror comics. While not as ghoulish or feverish as those of their competitors, Lee's Atlas horror anthologies with blessed with art from some of the greats of the industry, whom Lee secretly handed work even when times were hard and money was tight, slowly creating the core creative talent that would soon revolutionize the face of comics, both at Marvel and beyond. One of the best-selling of Atlas' mystery titles, the appropriately named Journey Into Mystery, would become known five years into its run as the home of the Mighty Thor, but in the meantime, was home to some of the looniest, most reverently drawn, coolest-looking genre tales to ever appear under the Marvel imprints. Published in low numbers during one of the toughest periods in the comics business, and rarely kept by the kids and barber-shop customers who consumed them, these early classics are super-scarce and avidly sought by Marvel fans and pre-code horror fanatics.
Richard "Dick" Ayers was an American comic book artist and cartoonist best known for his work as one of the main inkers during the late-1950's and 1960's Silver Age of Comics, including some of the earliest issues of Marvel Comics' including Jack Kirby's The Fantastic Four. He is the signature penciler of Marvel's World War II comic Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, drawing it for a 10-year run, and he co-created Magazine Enterprises' 1950s Western-horror character the Ghost Rider, a version of which he would draw for Marvel in the 1960s. His career would span 7 decades until his death in 2014.