Journey into Mystery

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Journey into Mystery
The debut of Thor, in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott
Publication information
Publisher Atlas, Marvel
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Horror, Superhero
Publication date June 1952 - Feb. 1966
(vol. 2) Oct. 1972 - Oct. 1975
(vol. 1 cont.) Nov. 1996 - June 1998
(vol. 1 cont.) June 2011 - Oct. 2013
Number of issues 125
(vol. 2) 19
(vol. 1 cont.) 20
(vol. 1 cont.) 35
Main character(s) Thor (#83-125)
Loki (#622-645)
Sif (#646-655)
Creative team
Writer(s) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
(vol. 2) Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman
(vol. 1 cont) Tom DeFalco, Scott Lobdell, Kieron Gillen
Penciller(s) Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko
(vol. 2) Gil Kane, Jim Starlin, Gene Colan, Win Mortimer, Rich Buckler
(vol. 1 cont.) Mike Deodato, Sal Buscema, Karl Kerschl, Doug Braithwaite
Inker(s) Joe Sinnott, Vince Colletta
(vol. 2) Frank Giacoia, Ernie Chan, Mike Esposito

Journey into Mystery is an American comic book series initially published by Atlas Comics, then by its successor, Marvel Comics. Initially a horror comics anthology, it segued to giant-monster and science fiction stories in the late 1950s. Beginning with issue #83 (cover dated August 1962), it ran the superhero feature "The Mighty Thor", created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by the mythological Norse thunder god. The series, which was renamed for its superhero star with issue #126 (March 1966), has been revived three times: in the 1970s as a horror anthology, and in the 1990s and 2010s with characters from Marvel's Thor mythos.

Publication history[edit]

1950s/1960s[edit]

The first Journey into Mystery series was initially a horror-fantasy anthology published by Marvel Comics' 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics, with a first issue cover-dated June 1952.[1] Artist Joe Kubert, who would later become one of the main war comics artists for DC Comics drew the story "The Hog" in Journey into Mystery #21 (January 1955).[2] Issue #23 was the first to be approved by the Comics Code Authority, which led to restrictions on horror comics. The title was caught in the collapse of Atlas' distributor, and publication was suspended for a year between issues #48 (Aug. 1957) and #49 (Nov. 1958).[3] Xemnu the Living Hulk, a huge, furry alien monster first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #62 (November 1960)[4] The character reappeared in issue #66 (March 1961). Since then the character has been a mainstay in the Marvel Universe, and was renamed Xemnu the Titan.[5] Journey into Mystery #69 and the teen-humor title Patsy Walker #95 (both June 1961) are the first modern comic books labeled "Marvel Comics", with each showing an "MC" box on its cover.[6]

Beginning with issue #83 (Aug. 1962), the title starred the Norse god superhero Thor.[7] The anthological stories, by now primarily science fiction-fantasy, gradually diminished after this, with the Thor-spinoff backup feature "Tales of Asgard" beginning in issue #97 (Oct. 1963).[8] They were dropped entirely with issue #105 (June 1964), when the "Thor" feature expanded from 13 to 18 pages. With the previous issue, the cover logo had changed to Journey into Mystery with the Mighty Thor. Its final issue was #125 (Feb. 1966), after which the series was retitled The Mighty Thor in its trademarked cover logo and simply Thor in its postal indicia copyright notice.[9] Thor's evil adoptive brother Loki was introduced in issue #85 (October 1962).[10] Other adversaries for the new hero included the Radioactive Man introduced in #93 (June 1963),[11] the Enchantress and the Executioner in #104 (April 1964),[12] the Absorbing Man in #114 (March 1965),[13] and the Destroyer in #118 (July 1965).[14] An oversized annual publication, featuring Thor, was released in 1965 and introduced the Marvel version of the Greco-Roman demigod Hercules.[15][16] Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "the adventures of Thor were gradually transformed from stories about a strange-looking superhero into a spectacular saga."[17]

Volume 2 (1972)[edit]

A second Journey into Mystery ran 19 issues (October 1972 - October 1975).[18] The title was one of four launched by Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Roy Thomas to form a line of science fiction and horror anthologies with more thematic cohesiveness than the company's earlier attempts that decade,[19] which had included the series Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows. Whereas those titles generally presented original stories, these new books would instead adapt genre classics and other stories. With the four titles' debuts set to be staggered over the course of four months, Marvel premiered Journey into Mystery vol. 2 (October 1972), Chamber of Chills (November 1972), Supernatural Thrillers (December 1972), and, with a late start, Worlds Unknown (May 1973).

The first five issues of Journey into Mystery vol. 2 featured such adaptations as Robert E. Howard's "Dig Me No Grave," by writer Thomas and penciler Gil Kane, in issue #1; Robert Bloch's "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" by Thomas and Ron Goulart and penciler Kane, in #2; and H. P. Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark" by Goulart and penciler Gene Colan, in addition to anthological horror stories by writers including George Alec Effinger, Steve Gerber, Steve Englehart, and Steve Skeates, and pencilers such as Billy Graham, Jim Starlin, Ralph Reese, and P. Craig Russell. Most issues also included a reprinted story from Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics. By issue #6, however, the magazine became a reprint title featuring science-fiction and giant-monster tales from the first Journey into Mystery series, as well as from the "pre-superhero Marvel" anthologies Amazing Adult Fantasy, Strange Tales, Strange Worlds, and Tales to Astonish.[18]

1990s series[edit]

As a consequence of the company-wide crossover "Heroes Reborn", Thor ceased to be the focus of his own series, which was restored to Journey into Mystery beginning with issue #503 (November 1996). The feature "The Lost Gods" ran through issue #513, followed by issues starring Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu and the Black Widow for three issues each, and reluctant vampire Hannibal King for two, ending with issue #521 (June 1998).[20]

2010s series[edit]

The Thor title resumed its original numbering (based on the 1990s Journey Into Mystery and intervening issues of Thor) in 2009, with Thor #600. Starting with issue #622, the book for a second time had its title restored to Journey Into Mystery, which accompanied the launch of a new title, Mighty Thor. Thor's supporting cast returned as the focus of a run written by Kieron Gillen (who had written Thor from #604 to #614), and drawn by Doug Braithwaite. Starring was the Thor antagonist Loki, who had been reincarnated as a child following his sacrifice in the series Siege. Gillen's run was favorably reviewed,[21][22][23] with one critic writing,

Gillen's work has always been big on theme and interconnectedness, and this is no exception. The finale encapsulates the run as a whole — ambitious, ambiguous, clever and uncompromising, as challenging as it is entertaining. Sometimes those qualities hurt it, and although sales were never especially healthy it's to Marvel's credit that they helped keep it afloat long enough for a proper ending when the alternative would have surely been easier.[24]

In Gillen's final issue, a letter from Tom Hiddleston, who portrays Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was published, in which he praised Gillen for his take on the character.

With issue #646, the focus of Journey into Mystery changed with its rebranding under the Marvel NOW! imprint. Written by Kathryn Immonen and drawn by Valerio Schiti, the series began starring the Marvel Asgardians, with the Lady Sif as its lead character.[25]

The series was cancelled with issue #655 (Oct. 2013).[26]

Collected editions[edit]

  • Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Journey Into Mystery
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor
    • Volume 1 collects Journey into Mystery #83-100, 280 pages, October 1991, ISBN 978-0785112679
    • Volume 2 collects Journey into Mystery #101-110, 224 pages, January 1994, ISBN 978-0785111917
    • Volume 3 collects Journey into Mystery #111-120 and Journey into Mystery Annual #1, 256 pages, November 2001, ISBN 978-0785112686
    • Volume 4 collects Journey into Mystery #121-125 and Thor #126-130, 240 pages, November 2005, ISBN 978-0785118800
  • Essential Thor
    • Volume 1 collects Journey into Mystery #83-112, 536 pages, February 2001, ISBN 978-0785118664
    • Volume 2 collects Journey into Mystery #113-125; ''Journey into Mystery Annual #1; Thor #126-136; and Thor Annual #2, 584 pages, June 2005, ISBN 978-0785115915
  • Origins of Marvel Comics includes Thor story from Journey into Mystery #83, 254 pages, September 1974, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0671218638
  • Bring on the Bad Guys includes Thor stories from Journey into Mystery #112-113 and 115, 253 pages, October 1976, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0671223557
  • Fear Itself: Journey into Mystery collects #622-626, Thor Spotlight, and Fear Itself Spotlight, 136 pages, September 2012, ISBN 978-0785148418
  • Journey into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout collects #626.1, 627-631, 136 pages, October 2012, ISBN 978-0785152620
  • Journey into Mystery: Terrorism Myth collects #632-636, 120 pages, October 2012, ISBN 978-0785161066
  • Journey into Mystery/New Mutants: Exiled collects #637-638, Exiled #1, and New Mutants #42-43, 120 pages, November 2012, ISBN 978-0785165408
  • Journey into Mystery: The Manchester Gods collects #639-641 and The Mighty Thor Annual #1, 120 pages, December 2012, ISBN 978-0785161073
  • The Mighty Thor/Journey into Mystery: Everything Burns collects #642-645 and The Mighty Thor #18-22, 216 pages, January 2013, ISBN 978-0785161684
  • Journey Into Mystery Featuring Sif - Vol. 1: Stronger Than Monsters collects #646-650, 120 pages, June 2013 ISBN 978-0785161080
  • Journey Into Mystery Featuring Sif - Vol. 2: Seeds of Destruction collects #651-655, 112 pages, November 2013 ISBN 978-0785184478

In other media[edit]

  • In the 2011 film Thor, the billboard says Journey into Mystery.
  • In the pilot episode for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jemma Simmons ask Grant Ward the line "Are you excited to be coming on our journey into mystery?".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brevoort, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1950s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 53. ISBN 978-0756641238. "From a historical perspective, the most important title that Atlas released in 1952 was the first issue of Journey into Mystery." 
  2. ^ Schelly, Bill (2011). The Art of Joe Kubert. Fantagraphics Books. pp. 131–132. ISBN 978-1606994870. 
  3. ^ Brevoort "1950s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 71: "In November [1958], Marines in Battle ended in favor of a revival of Journey into Mystery, one of Martin Goodman's steadiest mystery titles, which returned to the schedule after an absence of just over a year."
  4. ^ DeFalco, Tom "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 79: "The lead story of [Journey into Mystery] issue #62, 'I Was a Slave of the Living Hulk', introduced a giant monster called the Hulk - similar in name only to the future Hulk."
  5. ^ Christiansen, Jeff (March 15, 2012). "Xemnu the Titan". The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ Marvel : MC (Brand) at the Grand Comics Database.
  7. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 88: "[Stan Lee] had always been fascinated by the legends of the Norse gods and realized that he could use those tales as the basis for his new series centered on the mighty Thor."
  8. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 95: "These backup stories originally began with updated versions of Norse mythology, but later switched to the adventures of a younger Thor."
  9. ^ Journey into Mystery, Marvel, 1952 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 89
  11. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 92
  12. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), pp. 100-101
  13. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 107
  14. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 109
  15. ^ Journey into Mystery Annual at the Grand Comics Database
  16. ^ DeFalco "1960s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 110: "Thor accidentally crashed through a mystical barrier and found himself in Olympus, the home of the Greek gods. Thor later encountered Hercules."
  17. ^ Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics. Harry N. Abrams. p. 124. ISBN 9780810938212. 
  18. ^ a b Journey into Mystery (Marvel, 1972 series) at the Grand Comics Database
  19. ^ Roach, David A. (May 2001). "Shadows and The Darkness" (13). Comic Book Artist via OhTheHorror.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2008. 
  20. ^ Journey into Mystery (Marvel, 1996 series) at the Grand Comics Database
  21. ^ Scheeden, Jesse (October 24, 2012). "Journey into Mystery #645 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012. 
  22. ^ Scheeden, Jesse (April 14, 2011). "Journey into Mystery #622 Review". IGN. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved Octeober 31, 2012. 
  23. ^ Sava, Oliver (October 26, 2012). "Three Marvel series go meta for spectacular finales". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. 
  24. ^ Hunt, James (October 25, 2012). "Journey into Mystery #645". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012.  (Archive requires scrolldown and text blocking for visibility)
  25. ^ Campbell, Josie (August 14, 2012). "Immonen Leads Sif on a "Journey into Mystery"". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 29, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012. (Archive requires scrolldown)
  26. ^ Schedeen, Jesse. "Marvel Cancels Journey Into Mystery: No more JIM? We say thee nay!". Retrieved June 14, 2013.