In Marvel Comics' "Journey Into Mystery" Issue 83, published in August 1962, we meet Donald Blake, an infirm medical doctor.
In a small village, he overhears a fisherman tell his neighbors of the strange rock people he has seen. While the locals take no notice of the man's ravings, Donald Blake decides to check out his story.
Before he can return to the village to confirm the fisherman's story, the rock men see him hobbling away. When the rock men fire their guns at him, Don Blake trips, and his cane falls into the ocean. He crawls into a cave, where he finds...
In need of the walking aid, he picks it up. Suddenly...
And not only does the old gnarled walking stick transform, but Don Blake's appearance also alters.
A few months ago, during a fight in Earth orbit, Thor's hammer Mjolnir slipped from his hand and fell to the Moon. In the days that follow, a group of people gather on the air-filled section of the Moon formerly inhabited by the supremely powerful Watcher. These people come not only from Asgard, but also from Earth, thanks to SHIELD's spaceships. They watch Thor struggle and strain, but despite all his strength of muscle and will, and his familiarity with Molnir, he cannot pick up the hammer. Finally Thor's family convince him to return to Asgard and rest. Shortly thereafter, a woman picks up Mjolnir, Thor's hammer of power, and her appearance is likewise transformed.
After all this time in his possession, the loss of his hammer traumatizes Thor. Imagine something so central to your self-image being suddenly ripped away like that. Consider how losing all that power and ability, in a second, would make you feel.
Talk about Identity Theft!
Reeling from this loss, Thor Odinson vows to discover the identity of the woman now wielding Mjolnir. There's only one problem. Once he was ordinary physician Donald Blake, a handicapped man who needed a cane to walk. Whoever picked up Mjolnir, If this woman was equally transformed by contact with his hammer, then her new physical appearance might bear no correlation to the way she has looked in the past. But then, if quests to reclaim one's honor, sense of purpose, and fabulous weapons of power were easy, we wouldn't cherish those stories like we do.
What are your favorite quest stories? What aspects of the stories make them important to you?
P.S. To discover how Thor lost Mjolnir, read the graphic novel Original Sin by Jason Aaron. To follow Thor Odinson's quest, read the new THOR comic book series, also written by Mr. Aaron.