Classic Comic Cover Corner – Thor #236

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Thor #236 – June, 1975

Cover art by Gil Kane

Thor #236 – June, 1975
Thor #236 – June, 1975

The second season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned to television this past week and introduced several new characters to the series, including a couple that are actually from the Marvel Comic Universe, like Carl “Crusher” Creel, the Absorbing Man, who has been around since Journey into Mystery #114 back in 1965. Too bad the TV character didn’t absorb any of his namesakes personality attributes.

I have to admit that the show’s writers, Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, have, so far, done a slightly better job with the Absorbing Man than they did with Deathlok during last season’s fiasco (let the S.H.I.E.L.D. troll fury begin), at least they got his name right, but not so much regarding his look, powers and attitude.

Thor #236 – June, 1975Crusher Creel in the comics gets his powers from Loki and he is a big, dumb, burly convict with a huge chip on his shoulder. He’s arrogant and is powerful enough to fight Thor or Hulk to a standstill. Compare this to the television show’s Creel, a Hydra agent, bald, yes, but built like a male fashion model and can barely stand up to non-powered S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

I get that the Absorbing Man’s big ball and chain are kind of hokey in live action, but I give them credit for at least giving a nod to Creel’s favorite weapon. Creel at a computer doing email though is another matter. I can’t see the Crusher Creel I know and love as a Hydra agent or ever doing anything with a computer – he has more of a “Machete” mindset.

Thor #236 is easily my favorite Absorbing Man cover, and one of the best stories featuring the character. In this book Creel actually manages to beat Thor down in an epic battle that ends in the middle of a Manhattan toy store.

Creel snatches Thor’s hammer and absorbs what he thinks is its Uru metal, not knowing that the Thunder God has swapped Mjolnir for a toy replica (made out of cardboard – in Japan) he found in the rubble.

When Absorby attempts to deliver what he thinks is an Uru-powered deathblow, his arm crumples like a paper box. To add to his humiliation, the cops then haul Creel away in a simple cardboard box, ingeniously preventing him from touching anything else.

Here’s hoping that in the future S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes Creel becomes better developed and more closely resembles the fun supervillain that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created. It couldn’t be that difficult to write him with some good old-fashioned New York attitude – or at least some kind of personality.

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About the author

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Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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