Welcome to From the Comic Book Archives, in which we take a look back at classic comic book stories and story arcs from the past that we think you would like. In terms of the word “classic” our ground rule is simple, these are going to be stories that are at least 25 years old and can be as old as 60 years or more. We’re also going to do our best to tell you how you can find these stories in an inexpensive manner such as in a trade collection or online.
This week we look at Thor #303 from 1981.
“Miracle of Storms”
Written by: Doug Moench
Art by: Rick Leonardi & Chic Stone
Cover by: Rick Leonardi & Chic Stone
Comic books have tackled a lot of important social issues over the decades. Subjects such as war, drug abuse, racism, sexism, and more have been dealt with in many titles and in many ways over the years. But one pool that comics have rarely dared to dip its toes into is religion. Sure, we have characters who are angels, demons, and Gods themselves but they’ve been treated in pure comic book ways for the most part as protagonists or antagonists. But what happens when a Catholic priest comes face to face with an actual living, breathing God?
That is what we find out in Thor #303 from January, 1981 in a story titled “Miracle of Storms.” Thor rescues Father Coza who is being beaten by a couple of street thugs. His injuries require Thor to revert to his alter-ego, Doctor Donald Blake to perform emergency surgery. Thor learns that the Church is under siege from a local mob boss, Angelo Simoni, who is trying to force the Church to shut down so he can acquire the property. Father Coza is ready to give up due to lack of money to keep the church operating and the apparent lack of good around him.
Thor visits the mobster and “convinces” him to leave the church alone. However, Simoni has already sent his men to burn the church down. Father Coza finds himself trapped in the burning church with a pregnant woman. Thor arrives, summoning a storm to douse the flames and rescuing the priest and the woman from a falling wall. Father Coza becomes confused in that it was Thor and not God who rescued them.
Thor explains that there are many gods across the universe, all originating from the same universal higher force and given truth by their worshippers’ faith. His faith renewed, Father Coza, with the help of the community…and a large donation from Simoni, sets about rebuilding his church.
Thor #303 is a self-contained story told in a single issue, something unheard of today. It features no super villains or aliens, just an ordinary priest who found his faith again thanks to the Thunder God, Thor.