With apologies to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen and the many other brilliant creators who've contributed to the character over the years, I must declare this: Walt Simonson's run on Thor is the greatest in the character's comic book history. That's just a fact.
In four years and nearly 50 issues, Simonson brought us (most of the time as writer and artist) the Thunder Frog, the World Serpent, Malekith the Accursed and, of course, Beta Ray Bill, the alien warrior who was the first non-Asgardian to wield Mjonir and who proved so noble that Odin granted him his own hammer, Stormbreaker. Bill remains a favorite among Thor fans, and he's still having adventures with the Thunder God today.
Simonson's also still around, creating comics and working with the nonprofit comic creator support charity The Hero Initiative. He's also a regular presence on social media, where he shows off new art and pieces from his archives. Earlier this week, he unearthed the first Beta Ray Bill drawing he ever did, dating back to 1983. It is, in typical Simonson fashion, perfect.
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The same image would later appear with a different hammer design in Thor #339, when Bill is first presented with Stormbreaker. It's almost more breathtaking without the coloring, though.
For more awesome Walt Simonson art, click over and follow him on Twitter via the link above.