Friday, November 19, 2021



I’m reading and writing about the glorious history and purpose of Loki, the legendary Norse god of mischief, as put forward in Loki Omnibus Vol. 1 [Marvel; $125]. In our premiere installment of this series, we covered the first three Loki appearances in Journey Into Mystery #85, #88 and #91. Which brings us to...

Journey Into Mystery #92 [May, 1963] and “The Day Loki Stole Thor’s Magic Hammer” by Stan Lee (plot), Robert Bernstein (script) and Joe Sinnott (art). Bernstein, who was a prolific writer at DC Comics, Archie Comics and other comics outfits, was credited as “R. Berns.” Such aliases were common in the 1960s as DC Comics, in particular, was not fond of “its” writers and artists working for that upstart Marvel Comics.


This clever story opens with Loki chained to a mountain by Asgard’s Rainbow Bridge. His chains were forged by Odin himself out of the same magic metal as Thor’s hammer. Odin has decreed Loki be chained there until the end of time. Norse gods must have magic bladders as well.

We then switch to Thor on Earth. A criminal was shot in a robbery and his men take him to the office of Doctor Don Blake, the Thunder God’s human identity of the Thunder God. They want Blake to operate on their boss, planning to kill him afterwards. Being a principled man of medicine, Blake saves the robber’s life and then psyches out the bad guys so he can switch to Thor. He ties Blake’s patient and the other criminals to the operating table and uses his hammer to send them flying through the air and to the nearest police station.It’s a great visual, but was that really the best way to transport a person who just had surgery?

Thor travels to a Norwegian sea port to create special effects for a Viking movie. The proceeds from Thor’s participation will go to charity. Thor dispatches a mechanical sea monster by drowning it, which seems improbable to me. Shouldn’t a sea monster be able to breathe underwater? He creates a thunder storm to destroy some evil Viking warrior dummies and then uses his hammer to bring down an actual mountain on a Viking village set. That’s when Loki makes his move.

Loki uses magic to attract the hammer to his chains via magnetism  and shatter said chains. With the sixty seconds before he changes back to Don Blake ticking away, Thor calls on Odin for assistance.Odin appears, which freezes time on Earth, and transports Thor to Asgard. Influenced by Loki’s sorcery, Odin and the Asgardians tell Thor they are too busy to help him find his hammer. I have a lot of questions about Loki’s magic and Asgard’s security measures, but I will get to those in a bit.

This is where this fun little story gets clever. Thor must fend off Loki’s subsequent attacks on him without his hammer. So he starts making substitute hammers. Loki turns giant trees into weapons of destruction, so Thor creates a giant wooden hammer out of stronger wood. Loki turns clouds into dragons, so Thor uses his fingers to carve hammers out of a cliff. Coincidentally, that cliff is made of  the same Uru metal as Loki’s chains and Thor’s hammer.

The makeshift stone hammers are attracted to Thor’s actual hammer. Thor follows them to regain his signature weapon while dropping a dime on Loki. Odin and the other Asgardians take Loki into custody. Odin vows to find a better way to imprison Loki.

My comments and questions...

The Uru metal appears to be more common on Asgard than I realized. The Asgardians don’t do a good job keeping it out of wrong hands.Wakanda must have been laughing its collective ass off looking at Asgard’s lack of security.

How powerful is Loki? He can be chained to a mountain until the end of time without having to go potty. He can cloud the minds of other Norse gods. He can turn clouds into dragons. This is not a guy who should be getting his ass kicked three or four times a year.

The setting for Thor’s hammer search is Loki’s forest. Which Loki controls. So why hasn’t Odin burned this forest out of existence? Use the land for classy Asgardian condos while preventing Loki from turning it into a weapon.

Thor acquits himself well in this story, but Loki should have won on points. Maybe next time...

Next time is just two months later. Journey Into Mystery #94 [July  1963] presents “Thor and Loki Attack the Human Race!” by Stan Lee (plot), R. Berns (script) and Joe Sinnott (art). I think Loki should’ve been paid time-and-a-half for these frequent appearances.

A chained Loki uses his magic to cause a nuclear missile to go out of control. Unable to blow up the bomb where it won’t cause death and destruction, the authorities call Thor to save the day. Which he does by hurling his hammer at it. However, Loki uses the last of his magic to distract Thor and the returning hammer strikes the god of thunder in the noggin. Or, more precisely, Thor’s chromosomatic gland. For anyone who didn’t graduate from a comic-book medical school, I’ll let Loki himself explain:

That means I timed the incident so perfectly that the hammer hit his chromosomatic gland, which determines and changes personality.

Thor becomes a villain and frees Loki. They want to conquer Asgard, but they don’t have enough power to beat the combined might of the other Asgardian gods. Knowing how dear Earth is to Odin, the king of the gods, they tell their dad they will wreck all kinds of godly havoc on our world unless Asgard is surrendered to them.

Thor and Loki don’t pull any punches. Thor destroys a dam, causes earthquakes, jeopardizes ships and triggers a volcanic eruption. He  reduces the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, a pyramid, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa to rubble. He even seals up the Panama Canal. While the death count from all this must be in the millions, there’s no mention of the loss of human life.

For his part, Loki turns a whale into a sea serpent. He brings the Sphinx to life and sends it to attack Cairo. He makes skyscrapers walk away from their foundations. He brings museum dinosaur models to life. It’s a bad day for humanity.

United Nations representatives beg the rogue gods to intercede with Odin and convince him to surrender Asgard. Until a trapdoor opens up beneath Thor, the brothers don’t realize that these UN fellows are actually Asgardians in disguise. Thor’s magic hammer falls as well, striking him on his chromosomatic gland and turning him back into a hero. Loki is boned again.

The gods promise to repair the damage done by Thor and Loki. Then they make mankind forget this whole thing ever happened. With that kind of power, you’d think they would come up with a new plan for imprisoning Loki. Not a chance, they chain him to the same old tree with the same old chains. Because that will absolutely definitely work this time.

That’s all for today, but I will again seek to fulfill my glorious purpose in the near future and bring you more of the adventures of Loki, god of mischief and/or evil. See you then.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Thursday, November 18, 2021




Marvel recently published Loki Omnibus Vol. 1 [$125]. I’m currently reading the 1000-page tome. First impression: Marvel’s omnibus game beats DC’s by a hefty margin.

When first introduced, Loki was a cool but pretty straightforward adversary for Thor. The hero was the god of thunder; Loki was the god of mischief and sometimes the god of evil. They were brothers from other mothers and fathers. Loki could be ruthlessly murderous  and that’s how they were originally and charmingly portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I wasn’t keeping any kind of Loki timeline - my aged mind can only hold so much information at a time - but it seems to me that, just as the amazing Tom Hiddleston was bringing new dimensions to Loki in the Marvel movies, the Marvel comics were presenting a bunch of new aspects to Loki. We got Loki as a smoking hot woman. We got Kid Loki. We got political candidate Loki. We even got Loki, Agent of Asgard. What had been an interesting but typical super-villain was evolving in exciting ways.

However, the stories I’m reading in the Loki Omnibus do not feature that evolving Loki. They take you from his earliest appearances in the comics from 1962 to 1970. Loki is the straightforward villain in these tales, but still a wonderful character and cunning foe for Thor and other Marvel heroes.

Let’s take a look at however many of those stories I can discuss in the first installment of this bloggy thing series...   



Journey Into Mystery #85 [October 1962] introduced Loki in a tale titled “Trapped by Loki, the God of Mischief!” by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers. Unless you want to count when Loki hypnotizes
Thor as trapping the God of Thunder, or when he turns three humans into negative versions of themselves, no one is actually trapped by Loki. Even so, “God of Mischief” does seem a little off the mark as Loki does nearly kill some other humans.

The story opens with Loki stuck in a tree which has been his prison  for centuries. By Odin’s decree, and this solidifies my long-head position that Odin is a massive dick, Loki will remain in the tree until his plight makes someone shed a tear. Controlling the tree, Loki makes a leaf falls into Heimdall’s eye and cause the Rainbow Bridge guardian to shed a tear. Loki is free and, with Heimdall off looking for some Visine, Loki skips along the Bridge to Earth and his planned vengeance on Thor.

One might think centuries of captivity would have allowed Loki to devise a terrific plan, but, basically, all he does is vex Thor for the remainder of the tale’s thirteen pages. Thor dumps Loki into a pool of water, apparently Loki’s never-since-seen weakness is that his magic doesn’t work in water. Thor ties his step-brother to his hammer and flings him back to Asgard.

This first comic-book meeting between Thor and Loki doesn’t really speak to Loki’s glorious purpose, but it’s a fun little adventure. This is also the first time Nurse Jane Foster’s gets a glimpse of  Thor and see likes what she sees. The expression on Doc Don Blake’s face makes me think he’s not thrilled with Jane’s attraction to his other identity.


Just three short months later, in Journey Into Mystery #88 [January 1963], Loki is back in “The Vengeance of Loki” by Stan Lee (plot), Larry Lieber (script), Jack Kirby (art) and Dick Ayers (inking). Even if publisher Martin Goodman got some early numbers on Loki’s first appearance, I doubt they would have been come soon enough to influence the creation of this rematch. More likely: Stan and Jack recognized Loki was the perfect arch-enemy for Thor. Both of them “gods.” They were step-brothers with daddy Odin clearly preferring Thor. Even the splash page refers to Loki as the “most dangerous of the Norse gods.”

Odin decrees Loki must forever remain in Asgard, which, of course, the God of Mischief sees as more of a suggestion. Via magic, Loki discovers Thor is also Don Blake and that, if separated from his hammer, transforms back into the frail doctor. Back on Earth, Loki forces Thor to choose between saving Jane Foster or letting the 60-second time limit expire. Before Blake can get back to the hammer,
Loki surrounds it with an impenetrable force field.

Loki is more about mischief than evil in this story. He proceeds to make sport with the humans. He temporarily turns several of them into blank beings, restores them minutes later, and turns buildings and vehicles into candy and ice cream. Rereading this story for the first time in several decades, I laughed out loud when a distraught driver cries out that the sun is melting his convertible.

Loki turns a Russian nuclear bomb into a dud. When confronted by a group of American soldiers, he gives wings to the weapons and sends them flying away. As Blake, Thor realizes Loki is only toying with mankind, but justifiably fears his step-brother’s pranks will grow more serious and more dangerous.

Blake turns the tables on Loki by tricking him, by way of a plastic statue, into thinking Thor has regained his hammer. When Loki drops the force field to see what’s up, it’s hammer time for the doctor.
Despite Loki’s uncanny ability to turn into a pigeon, Thor captures him and brings him back to Asgard. Odin is concerned:

“As for Loki, I know not what to do with him! He grows more wily, more dangerous, more uncontrollable each hour! We must pray that the world will never see the day when his power exceeds that of the mighty Thor!”

Who do Norse gods pray to? Asking for a friend.



What with Thor kicking his ass twice, at least to the extent that the Comics Code allowed ass-kicking back then, Loki changed up his quest for vengeance against the Thunder God. Imprisoned on Asgard, Loki increases the meager mental powers of a carnival performer to a godlike level, knowing the performer will use his greater powers for evil and attract the attention of Thor. This is the first time, but far from the last time, that Loki will enlist surrogates in his  ongoing war with his step-brother.

“Sandu, Master of the Supernatural” [Journey Into Mystery #91; April, 1963] was plotted by Stan Lee, scripted by Larry Lieber and drawn by Joe Sinnott. The most notable difference between Sinnott’s and co-creator Jack Kirby’s depiction of Thor was that Sinnott drew Thor’s hammer with a much longer handle.

The story’s deus ex machina ending is telegraphed in its first two panels. Odin contemplates Thor’s belt of strength that can increase his son’s already awesome might. When Sandu chains Thor and buries him under a building, beautiful valkyries float down through said building to reunite the Odinson with his belt. I’ve gotten ahead of myself, so let’s backtrack.

Loki proves himself an astute judge of character as Sandu’s great power does lead him to great acts of thievery and terror. Perhaps because Thor is unconsciously holding back against this mortal foe, Sandu cleans Thor’s the extent the Comics Code allowed clock-cleaning. Enter the gorgeous gals of Valhalla, looking much different from their warrior sisters of more recent comics.

Back in the fray, Thor hurls his hammer at Sandu. But the villain separates Thor from his weapon by transporting himself and hammer  to a different dimension. In these early days of the series, Thor reverts back to Doctor Don Blake if he is apart from his hammer for more than sixty seconds. From distant Asgard, Loki starts gloating. He will be disappointed.

Sandu may have separated Thor from his hammer, but he still isn’t worthy enough to lift it. Straining his powers trying to lift the hammer, Sandu short circuits them. His powers are gone. Hammer and villain return to our world just before the fateful sixty seconds have passed.

Sandu goes to prison. Thor goes to Asgard to give the belt back to Odin for safekeeping. In a remote part of Asgard, Loki curses the brainless mortal who failed him. Not that this defeat will prevent Loki from empowering other surrogates in the future.

We’re not even fifty pages into Loki Omnibus Vol. 1 at this point, so I’ll return to further explore the god of evil and/or mischief’s glorious purpose in the near future. Watch for it.

I’ll be back soon with more stuff.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Wednesday, November 17, 2021




October sucked as bad as did September. Our country and democracy continued to be in dire jeopardy from the criminal organization known as the Republican Party and its crazed followers with known traitors campaigning for and even winning public office on policies that are anti-equality, anti-history, anti-science, anti-teacher. Crimes are committed daily with little or no consciences for the perpetrators. And, as we’ve come to expect, DC Comics continues to show no respect for or understanding of Black Lightning, its first  and most iconic headline black super-hero.

Decent-paying writing assignments continue to elude me, even as so many of you, online and at conventions, tell me how much you have enjoyed my work and how much it means to you. I would ask you tell that to those in a position to hire me, but they don’t respect you any more than they respect me.

Conventions? I had hoped to do a lot of them in 2022, but that may turn out to be wishful thinking. I can’t afford to attend them for a free pass or a free booth. At least one and maybe more of these events have stopped inviting me because of my political and social postings. I accept free speech has consequences, but I must remain true to the progressive values I learned from my decades of reading
super-hero comic books. I admired those heroes. It’s why I wanted to write those heroes and heroes of my own creation.  

I am determined to keeping fighting the good fights. Which is why I post daily affirmations of the things that make me happy. These are the things that give me courage and hope and strength to keep fighting.

Here are those things that made me happy in October...

October 1: Every day is another chance to get it right. That’s what I hold on to as leaders fail us, as fellow citizens go start raving mad and as I struggle with hardship and loss. Not the cheeriest one of these I’ve posted, but hope endures.

October 2: My Alcoholic Escape from Reality by Nagata Kabi. Every time I read one of her books, I want to give her a virtual hug for her fearlessness in writing about her pain. She’s become one of my favorite manga creators.

October 3: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for 10-1-21 aired the host’s apology to Milwaukee. Filmed at a Brewers game, this piece of non-political comedy gold included Colbert participating in the traditional “Sausage Race.” Thank you, Stephen.

October 4: One Shot: A Story of Bullying by Alex Bruorton. This is a gripping tale of a young man with a rare disease and how he took a proud stand against those who would demean him and how he became a champion to others.

October 5: An Empty Grave by Andrew Walsh-Huggins is the author’s latest Andy Hayes mystery. Disgraced football star and struggling private eye Hayes is a relatable characters and, hey, his favorite artist is Milton Caniff.


October 6: Marvel’s Loki Omnibus. I’m having a blast reading these classic (and some not-so-classic) exploits of the God of Mischief.My glorious purpose (one of several) will be to write about these tales in my blog.


October 7: My Godzilla Advent Calendar. From across the seas comes the king of all advent calendars, filled with cool little stuff. I cheated and opened the first of the 24 boxes, but I’ll be saving the rest for December.


October 8: Fantaco’s Gorgo Attacks by Joe Gill, Joe Sinnott and Vince Colletta collects their seven issues of the Charlton title from 1961-62. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, this enormously fun book came with cool extras. I’ll write more about it soon.

October 9: Like no other TV show, The United States of Al’s second season premiere brought home the fall of Afghanistan as Al and his American family tried to get his sister out of that country. It was
award-deserving writing and acting.

October 10: Kim Kardashian was surprisingly entertaining as host of Saturday Night Live. No comedy genius, but save for a shockingly  inappropriate O.J. Simpson joke, she did well, cracking jokes about herself and her family and appearing in several sketches.

October 11: Glee star Amber Riley was nothing short of magnificent on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, winning nearly $250,000 for A Place Called Home. The actress, singer, author and activist is one of the best America has.


October 12: I have great friends. One of them sent me this Godzilla Super Diorama Theater book and two issues of the classic Japanese Giants fanzine. I’ll be reading them soon.

October 13: William Shatner aka Captain James Tiberius Kirk of USS Enterprise traveled into actual space. I don’t care how long or how short the trip was. It’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Live long and prosper, sir.

October 14: I Think Our Son Is Gay by Okura. Mom is sure her son is gay, likely because he’s bad at hiding it. Told in short chapters, this manga delivers smiles at the son’s expense and warm fuzzies at his mom’s unwavering love and support.

October 15: I received a comp copy of The Other History of the DC Universe by John Ripley. The hardcover includes mine and Trevor von Eeden’s Black Lightning creator credit and a Katana creator credit for Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo.

October 16: My final Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sale of 2021 was successful, achieving 87% of my ambitious two-day goal. I have started planning for my 2022 sales and for online sales prior to that. Keep watching..


October 17: On Sunday’s Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, actress Melissa Joan Hart won $1,039,800 for the charity Youth Villages, “serving families and children across 23 different states in every kind of level, going through foster care and aging out of foster care especially.”

October 18: Pops! With Purpose. Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Awareness Month, this DC Comics Bombshells version of Wonder Woman joins my Bombshells Batwoman among the Funko figures facing me and inspiring me as I work.

October 19: The new Capital One commercial featuring a collector of action figures, Samuel L. Jackson and a Samuel L. Jackson dressed as Black Lightning action figure. So cool.

October 20: Add Supergirl (DC Comics Bombshells) to my collection of Pops! With Purpose Breast Cancer Awareness Month figures. She’s my third figure of this year’s series, following Wonder Woman and Batwoman.

October 21: Jimmy Palmiotti does the best Kickstarter updates and delivers outstanding material. I’m not backing many campaigns these days, but Jimmy’s always get my consideration.

October 22: The extremely cool Square Round Table Podcast recorded a long interview with me on Friday night. I honestly think it’s one of the best I’ve done. Sure to amaze and inform and piss off some folks. It’s now available here.

October 23: Michael Che from Saturday Night Live. Discussing Donald Trump’s planned social media venture Truth Social, Che said, “But most people know it by its former name: the National Sex Offender Registry.” Now that’s truth.

October 24: I’ll be on set Monday and protocols call for a Covid-19 test before then. A company called Drip Hydration sent a friendly, efficient young lady named Penelope to my home to stick a swab up my nose. I feel special.

October 25: My one-day secret mission to New York went very well. I am pleased I could be of service to mankind. Also, on my flights there and back, I had an entire row of seats to myself. That hasn’t happened to me in decades.


October 26: Nodoka’s Tokyo Fashion: A Comic Book is a fascinating and fun guide to Japanese fashion. I’m using it as a wardrobe tool for a supporting character I’ve been working on. This book brought me clarity on who this character will be.

October 27: I love my new Tigra action figure, part of the Marvel Legends collection. It comes with a variant head and fists, which would definitely be a serious choking hazard if I intended to open its packaging. I don’t. It will have a honored place on my office wall.

October 28: Add Catwoman (DC Comics Bombshells) to my collection of Pops! With Purpose Breast Cancer Awareness Month figures. She’s my fourth figure of this year’s series, joining Batwoman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman and Batwoman.                                                                        

October 29: Fanboy Expo Knoxville. My first day of the convention and my first time at the Bard’s Tower booth. Hanging out with old and new friends. Viewing wonderful cosplay. I’ll have more when I blog about it.

October 30: Florence Rose Isabella, my mother, celebrated her 95th birthday on Halloween while I was in Knoxville. But I still got a candy bar with a special wrapper. (I’m not a terrible son. I went to visit her before I left for Knoxville.)

October 31: That American Airlines cancelled my connecting flight to Cleveland didn’t make me happy, but the swiftness with which one (and only one) of their employees set me up with a hotel voucher, a meal voucher and taxi vouchers did. Thanks, James.

With 2021 turning out to be one of my worst financial years ever, I’ll be adding a “Donate via PayPal” button to the bloggy things. But, if you don’t want to wait until I can get one of my friends or kids to do this relatively simple task for me - Trust me, I would break the whole damn Internet if I tried to do it myself - you can send your PayPal donations to me at my PayPal email address, which is the same as my email address: tonyisa at ohio dot net

I’ll be using whatever funds I receive to help support my writing. Upcoming projects include the second volume of July 1963: A Pivotal Mouth in the Comic-Book Life of Tony Isabella, my first children’s book (with a kaiju theme) and my continued development of a brand-new super-hero universe unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Thank you for your donations, large and small alike.

I’m also hoping to get the bloggy thing back to its original nigh-daily schedule. I have two completed bloggy in my files with more to come. You can encourage me by actually commenting on my columns as they are posted.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with the first of what will be an ongoing series on the comic-book life and times of Loki, god of evil and/or mischief. See you then.

© 2021 Tony Isabella

Thursday, November 4, 2021




We’re just two days away from the always amazing Akron Comiccon, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, November 6-7, at Emidio’s Expo Center, 48 E. Bath Street, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44223. Event hours are Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. This is my last convention appearance of the year.

Akron Comicon’s outstanding guest list includes actor and wrestler Sgt. Slaughter, Don Simpson, Aaron Archer, Mike W. Barr, the Fraim brothers, Craig Boldman, Jay Fife, Dan Gorman, Matt Horak, Jason Moore, Sean McArdle, Dave Nestler, authors Jan and Mike Olszweski, Ted Sikora and more. If you're a fan of horror hosts, this convention has a bunch of them: Son of Ghoul, Leopold & Lenora, Mummy and the Monkey and Drac and Karita.

There are many other special features of the event. Hartville Chips is the official chip of Akron Comicon. The Hero Initiative will be collected funds for that most worthy charity. NORKA Beverage is the official beverage of the convention. Rubber City Cosplay will be on hand. Also attending: Star Trek fan groups USS Lagrange and USS Renegade, cosplay group 8th Corvus Squadron G.I. Joe, health care provider Western Reserve Hospital, and my dear friends from WBNX-TV.  My booth will be set up next to WBNX.

What will I be selling at the convention? I wish I could tell you, but packing for the event is tomorrow’s task. At the moment, I am leaning heavily towards bringing boxes of bargain-priced hardcovers and trade well as some more pricey items.

My signing policy is the same as always. I charge a modest $5 per each item. That goes up to $15 per item if you come with a grading company employee to witness my signature. These charges will almost certainly go up in 2022.

Not tired of me? I’ll be doing my TONY’S TIPS LIVE! presentation on Sunday, November 7, at 11 am. It’s my usual mix of news, views and reviews. The rest of the panel schedule:


11 am. Working as a creative team with The Franklin Brothers.

12 pm. Writing for Comics with Mike Sangiacomo, Chris Lambert

1 pm. Talking with the Walking Dead. Hosted by W.F. Bell

2 pm. Meet Sgt. Slaughter!

3 pm. From Kickstarter to The Shelf with Ted Sikora and Caleb Thusat

4 pm. Cosplay Contest hosted by Rubber City Cosplay


12 pm. Horror Hosts! Oh my!

1 pm. Breaking Into Comics with Brian Dunphy.

2 pm. The Challenges of Self Publishing with Robert Multari and Tom Hitchison

For more information on Akron Comicon, visit their website.

That’s all for today. I’ll be resuming nigh-daily blogging in just a few more days. Hope to see you then.

© 2021 Tony Isabella