This was a promo poster to announce Walt Simonson took over Mighty Thor. He started his run off with maybe the most attention grabbing Marvel comic of all time up to that point. What if…someone else grabbed the hammer of Thor and could lift it? That sounds basic today but it never, ever occurred to anyone else before. By having an alien become Thor, and reducing Thor to nothing, all in one issue…amazing. What chip Simonson had!
What’s really funny to me is that we remember Walt Simonson’s Mighty Thor as this epoch-making event, but nobody remembers the guy Walt replaced. The guy before Simonson was Alan Zelenetz, who at one point, was viewed by the comics fandom as a whole as being in the company of guys like Frank Miller and Alan Moore. There was a Comics Journal article from 1982 called “The Three Men Who Will Change Mainstream Comics: Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Alan Zelenetz.”
To be fair, some interesting things did happen in Zelenetz’s Thor’s run: he brought back Jane Foster, who’d been almost entirely forgotten since the Lee/Kirby days, and after an attack by Dracula, had her merge with Lady Sif. If I was going for a no-prize again, I’d say the lingering effects of this merger, though eventually undone, were the reason Jane Foster could lift the Hammer of Thor later on when it was specifically stated she was UN-worthy during her encounter with the Nameless.
I have a fascination with Alan Zelenetz for this reason. Nowadays he’s best known as the guy who Walt Simonson replaced on Thor, or maybe for the absolutely amazing Alan Legion. But he never quite lived up to this hype.
One good thing about Marvel Comics is that they never showed marriage as an emasculating trap women trick a hero into, which is how it was portrayed in other silver age comics. By all accounts, Stan Lee was very happily married and never looked at another woman. So it should be unsurprising the one time that tendency does show up is in Mighty Thor, a comic that, in the early days, was written by Stan’s less famous brother Larry, and which Stan Lee had, of all the Marvel heroes, the least to do with.
John Buscema drew Lady Sif’s wedding dress during her forced wedding to Loki, in Thor #194.