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To Surtur, With Love: Who the Hell Is Thor’s Fiery Foe?

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
To Surtur, With Love: Who the Hell Is Thor’s Fiery Foe?

In the final moment of the latest trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, we learn that classic Thor villain Surtur will play a role in MArvel’s anticipated sequel. It was later revealed that he will be voiced by classic superhero voiceover actor, Clancy Brown, a revelation that just got fans even more excited about his impending face-off with the Odinson and Incredible Hulk.

Surtur is, hands down, one of the top Thor villains of all-time, so his inclusion in the upcoming film is huge. Read on, and we’ll explain to you just why the fiery foe has been such an awesome presence in the comics for over 50 years now.

RELATED: Thor: Ragnarok’s Surtur Voiced by Marvel Animation Vet Clancy Brown

After launching the Thor feature in Journey Into Mystery, Jack Kirby took a bit of a break after eight issues. When the series began, Stan Lee was only plotting the series, while other writers like Lee’s brother, Larry Lieber and Robert Bernstein were scripting the comic. With Journey Into Mystery #97, though, Lee took over scripting duties full-time. Lee’s new commitment to the book likely inspired Kirby to be willing to re-commit to the series, as well, especially as Lee let him launch a new back-up feature in that issue called “Tales of Asgard.” Lee knew Kirby loved Norse mythology and this new feature allowed Kirby to cut loose and examine various pieces of the Norse mythos. One of the major ways that the “Tales of Asgard” backups were used in the early issues were for Kirby and Lee to introduce bold and inventive ideas and then perhaps later work them into the main stories in the title. In other words, a back-up might introduce a character and/or a concept and then a few issues later, that character and/or concept would show up in the main Thor feature.

A perfect example of this was the introduction of Surtur in the “Tales of Asgard” feature in Journey Into Mystery #99. The story (by Kirby, Lee and inker George Roussos) introduced the fire demon known as Surtur, who tried to invade Asgard in the past along with an army of trolls..

At the end of the story, Odin trapped Surtur, where he is ostensibly being held for all eternity…

Sure enough, just five issues later, in Journey Into Mystery #104 (by Kirby, Lee and inker Chic Stone), Loki managed to free both Surtur and a giant named Skagg and they try to destroy the Earth because they know it means a lot to Odin. Odin first sends all of humanity to another dimension briefly, while Surtur tries to melt the polar ice caps and flood the Earth.

Odin ultimately finds a series of asteroids and uses their magnetic properties to suck Surtur to them and trap him there (again, ostensibly for eternity). Odin then reverses time to fix the damage Surtur did to Earth and then retrieves humanity from the other dimension and everything was back to normal.

RELATED: Thor: Ragnarok Trailer Brings Hulk Smashing, Loki Scheming & [SPOILER]

The “Tales of Asgard” backup in Thor #128 (by Kirby, Lee and inker Vince Colletta – Journey Into Mystery was re-titled Thor with issue #126) is very important because it is the first one to detail the then just theoretical concept of Ragnarok and the destruction of the Norse gods, which is prophesied to be instigated by Loki and destined to involve Surtur…

NEXT: Surtur’s Biggest Marvel Role, Ever… Until Thor: Ragnarok

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