Alright, I appreciate that several pressing questions immediately spring to mind on seeing this card; ranging from the reasonable "what's the Norse god Thor doing in a horror themed deck?", to the more blunt - "what in the seven names of the fuck is that?!?" And the answer to both these queries I'm afraid is that I have no bloody idea either! I can only assume that the fumes of the paints and pens used to create these cards were very potent indeed...

However, I do have a possible answer to that third question hammering inside your skull - why does in the name of Loki does he have four eyes? Well, as we have already seen, and will see again, a favourite trick employed by the Unknown Artist who did these decks to disguise the fact that he was simply copying off various stills and pictures Top Trumps probably had no copyright clearance for whatsoever, was to add or subtract assorted ocular organs. Hence poor old Babs Steele went all cyclops when a pic of her from Curse of the Crimson Altar became High Priestess of Zoltan (see here for details).

So then, the quad-vision this strange figure is equipped with is a dead-giveaway that despite all evidence to the contrary suggesting that this is a product of a deranged imagination, "Thor" must have a basis somewhere in reality! Albeit a very heavily disguised one! For look closely at the card.... go on, I dare you! Observe the extremely shaky physique! And all those weird lines that suggest that our Unknown Artist was attempting something else before deciding to give up and just cover the lot with spikes and weird sketchy armour? Is it armour? Buggered if I know! However being no stranger to the pencil case and paint box myself, I can spot the signs of an artist improvising to cover-up a massive cock-up any day of the week!

For "Thor" I believe began life as a copy of the famous Frank Franzetta painting "The Barbarian". Now I know that seems unlikely at first... but the more you look at the two images the more similarities you will see. Both have the same pose, and the sword hilts are identical. And their silhouettes are the same shape too - which is why Thor's head and helmet are so weird-looking. Indeed you can see traces of long hair underneath the helmet, and other signs that he was doing a more faithful copy but got the arms so wrong he decided to improvise wildly. Hence the Barbarian's spiky necklace becomes a weird goatee, and there's a liberal, almost frantic application of eyes and spikes in the hope that no one will notice he's attempted to rip off Franzetta and cocked it up royally!

The Barbarian by Frank Franzetta

I'm guessing our Unknonw Artist originally saw this iconic painting in the same place most of us did - and that is as the cover art on the Lancer paperback edition of Conan The Adventurer. Ah well, I suppose we getting near the end of the Devil Priest pack and I'm guessing a deadline was looming! And that might explain the lurid and bizarre offerings we're looking at at next time...

Conan the Adventurer
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The Devil Priest Pack
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