Thor debuted in the science fiction/fantasy anthology title Journey into Mystery #83 (cover-date Aug. 1962), and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller-plotter Jack Kirby. A different version of the mythological Thor had appeared previously in Venus #12-13 (Feb.-April 1951).
In a 1984 interview Kirby said “I did a version of Thor for D.C. in the Fifties before I did him for Marvel. I created Thor at Marvel because I was forever enamored of legends, which is why I knew about Balder, Heimdall, and Odin. I tried to update Thor and put him into a superhero costume, but he was still Thor.” And in a 1992 interview, Kirby said “[I] knew the Thor legends very well, but I wanted to modernize them. I felt that might be a new thing for comics, taking the old legends and modernizing them.”
Journey into Mystery was retitled Thor (per the indicia, or The Mighty Thor per most covers)with issue #126 (March 1966). “Tales of Asgard” was replaced by a five-page featurette starring the Inhumans from #146–152 (Nov. 1967 – May 1968), after which featurettes were dropped and the Thor stories expanded to Marvel’s then-standard 20-page length.
Marvel Premiere ran for 61 issues from April 1972 to August 1981. The series introduced new characters and reintroduced characters who no longer had their own titles. Writer Roy Thomas and penciler Gil Kane significantly revamped Him as the allegorical Messiah Adam Warlock in Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972). Iron Fist first appeared in issue #15, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane. Other introductions include the Legion of Monsters, the Liberty Legion,Woodgod, the 3-D Man, and the second Ant-Man (Scott Lang). The series also featured the first comic book appearance of rock musician Alice Cooper. Later in the title’s run, Marvel Premiere was used to finish stories of characters who had lost their own series including the Man-Wolf in issues #45-46 and the Black Panther in issues #51-53.
In 2009, Thomas explained he had been a fan of the soundtrack to the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and sought to bring the story to comic books in a superhero context: “Yes, I had some trepidation about the Christ parallels, but I hoped there would be little outcry if I handled it tastefully, since I was not really making any serious statement on religion… at least not overtly.” Choosing to use a preexisting character while keeping the series locale separate from mainstream Marvel Earth, he created Counter-Earth, a new planet generated from a chunk of Earth and set in orbit on the opposite side of the sun. Thomas and Kane collaborated on the costume, with the red tunic and golden lightning bolt as their homage to Fawcett Comics‘ 1940s-1950s character Captain Marvel. The story continued in the series The Power of Warlock, which ran eight issues (Aug. 1972 – Oct. 1973)
Writer-artist Jim Starlin revived Warlock in Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb.-Aug. 1975). Warlock’s adventures became more cosmic in scope as Starlin took the character through an extended storyline referred to as “The Magus Saga.”
The reimagined title continued the numbering of The Power of Warlock and began with Warlock #9 (Oct. 1975) and ran seven issues. The bimonthly series was initially written and drawn by Starlin, but was eventually co-penciled and inked by Steve Leialoha.
Although he lost part of himself when he became the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd can never forget the woman he loved from his days on Zenn-La. With Shalla-Bal’s death never far from his thoughts, the Surfer is more haunted than ever. But when Pip the Troll delivers a message from Adam Warlock, Surfer’s hope sparks anew. Warlock claims Shalla-Bal is alive! But if so, where is she?
Doctor Strange was canceled with #183 (Nov. 1969). Four years later, Strange Tales resumed at its old numbering with #169 (Sept. 1973), which introduced the supernatural feature Brother Voodoo by writer Len Wein and artist Gene Colan. This lasted only to issue #173 (April 1974), with Brother Voodoo continuing briefly in the black-and-white Marvel horror-comics magazine Tales of the Zombie. This was followed by two different creative teams producing three stories of The Golem in four issues (#174–177), the second of these a fill-in monster-reprint issue.
The next feature was writer-artist-colorist Jim Starlin‘s take on Adam Warlock, picking up the character from the 1972–73 series Warlock (a.k.a. The Power of Warlock) and reviving him in Strange Tales #178 (Feb. 1975). Another creative high-water mark, this feverishly imaginative feature from Starlin, who had similarly reinvigorated Captain Marvel, introduced the Marvel characters Gamora, Pip the Troll and The Magus, and helped establish the mythos Starlin would mine in his many “Infinity” sagas of the 1990s. After issue #181 (Aug. 1975), the story would continue in Warlock #9 (Oct. 1975), picking up from the old series’ numbering. Strange Tales soldiered on with Doctor Strange reprints through issue #188 (Nov. 1976).
In this series, The Magus, the purged, evil side of Adam Warlock believed to have been dead, has returned in order to collect the Infinity Gems and recreate the Infinity Gauntlet itself. He sent evil doppelgangers of Marvel’s superheroes to attack and usurp the originals. Thanos, exiled since his defeat during the Infinity Gauntlet event, learned of the Magus’ plans and set out to aid Adam Warlock and the heroes in defending the universe.