Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Wrecker!

Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta
 
This might sound strange given all the world-beating foes that Thor has faced over the decades, one of my favorites of his rogues gallery is The Wrecker. The Wrecker was a mere thug named Dirk Garthwaite, a burglar who uses a crowbar to commit his crimes, and who accidentally gets imbued with some Asgardian power during a robbery.


(Note: Apparently John Romita and John Verpoorten did some alterations on the three figures at the bottom of this cover according to the GCD.)



Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta

The Wrecker very quickly turns his influx of power to his advantage and ends up in a brutal struggle with the Son of Odin. He actually defeats Thor in their first meeting, dropping a building on him. But The Destroyer shows up and knocks The Wrecker for a loop.


Jack Kirby and Bill Everett

 The Wrecker doesn't return until many moons later. He and Thor tee off again, this time their battle reaches a conclusion and Thor does indeed emerge victorious. But it's a very hard-won victory.




When next we see The Wrecker he is not alone. He has shared his magical might with some fellow prisoners giving birth to The Wrecking Crew.  The crew consists of The Wrecker, Thunderball, Pile-Driver, and Bulldozer. The Wrecking Crew would become a Marvel baddie mainstay, debuting in the pages of The Defenders, but showing up in a multitude of Marvel Comics for many many years. They supplied the raw power for many a grouping including a later incarnation of the Masters of Evil and notably during Marvel's first Secret Wars.

Sal Buscema and Dan Green

The Wrecker has proven to be a sturdy villain.

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10 comments:

  1. The cover to Thor #171 is one of my all-time favorites. Bill Everett always manages to surprise me by how much he adds to the equation.

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  2. I concur. For the brief time they were teamed up, the Kirby and Everett duo were fantastic. Everett brought out the energy of Kirby's pencils much like Royer would do a few years later.

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  3. The Wrecker is one of those unsung villains. He seems sort of goofy, but he worked very well against Thor! Great post.

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    1. Thanks. The Wrecker is a vintage Kirby creation, a thug who gets over. He did a bunch of 'em.

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  4. One of the things I love about superhero comics is we can write or say things like this:

    "He actually defeats Thor in their first meeting, dropping a building on him."

    And that's all perfectly normal and makes perfect sense to us. Destroying an entire planet or building some huge laser-gun deal is fine, but I'm all about dropping buildings and throwing cars during a good comic book slugfest.

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    1. Falling buildings were the norm in old Kirby comics in particular. I love that image of the Thing with a whole building on his back. The most recent Hulk movie really got hold of that idea.

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  5. Good job, Rip! I always (read: ALWAYS) love when you toss in that wonderful original art alongside the published covers/pages.

    Doug

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    1. They ain't mine of course, but it doesn't stop them from being beautiful. I got to see a Don Heck Avengers page for real the other day and Heck's skill was stunning. Printing really took the subtle edges off.

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    2. If my scanner could accommodate twice-up art, I'd offer you a vision at the Avengers page I have, with the first in-comic appearance of the Living Laser. Wonderful 3/4 splash of Goliath in all his glory. Don Heck was perfect for that era of the team! Maybe I'll try to do a photo sometime, although the page is matted and framed behind glass.

      Doug

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  6. I always felt that, good as he was, Everett's inks 'laminated' the increasing 'cartoon' aspect of Kirby's art. The result was much better when Colletta inked Thor, in my humble estimation.

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