Thor Odinson (often called The Mighty Thor) is a Marvel Comics superhero, based on the thunder god of Norse mythology. The superhero was created by editor Stan Lee and penciller Jack Kirby, who co-plotted, and scripter Larry Lieber, and first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962).
Stan Lee created Thor Odinson as a means of being stronger than even the toughest mortal, the Incredible Hulk. However, since Hulk was the strongest mortal, the one man stronger than the strongest mortal, had to be more than a mortal. He had to be a god. Therefore, Thor Odinson, the mightiest hero in all the nine realms, was created.
On a mission from his father, Odin, Thor acts as a superhero while maintaining the secret identity of Dr. Donald Blake, an American physician with a partially disabled leg. Blake can transform by tapping his walking stick on the ground; the cane becomes the magical hammer Mjolnir and Blake transforms into Thor.
Thor, a founding member of the superhero group the Avengers, often battles his evil adoptive brother Loki, a Marvel character adapted from the Norse god of mischief. He is among Marvel's most powerful superheroes. Many recurring characters in his stories are based on Norse Mythology. As with other superheroes, the Thor identity has been taken by other characters, including Jane Foster, who became a female Thor.
Apart from this main superhero, Marvel features a number of characters based on him.
Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor in films set within Marvel Studios' cinematic universe, first appearing in the 2011 film Thor. Hemsworth reprised his role for The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Jack Kirby made a story featuring Thor in Tales of the Unexpected #16. A cowboy finds Thor's hammer in the American desert and uses it for his own gain, until it is reclaimed by Thor. This version of Thor is not similar to the Marvel Comics character that Kirby would create five years later, although there are some minor similarities, such as the design of Mjolnir and the circles in Thor's chest. Kirby would often cite this adventure to claim that he was the main creator of the Marvel Comics character.
Thor appears in the first issues of Jack Kirby's Fourth World by John Byrne. His appearance is explicitly based on Kirby's design of the Marvel character, but is more faithful to the original mythology having red hair, a beard and a more brutish personality. He and the other Asgard gods are stated to be related to, but not synonymous with, the Old Gods (the progenitors of the New Gods). Later Thor clarifies that they are "echoes" of the Old Gods and resemble them down to their names, thus explaining how the Norse gods can still exist in the DC Universe when the event that killed the Old Gods is implied to have been Ragnarök.
Thor also appears briefly in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series in the story "Seasons of Mists". In that story, he, Odin and Loki try (and fail) to get the key of Hell. Thor is portrayed as a lewd drunk. This is in contrast to the Marvel Comics portrayal of Thor, where Thor is portrayed as very noble and earnest. In the later Sandman story, "Kindly Ones", he helps Odin capture Loki.
America's Best Comics (ABC)
The deity Thor (called Þunor or Thunor as in Thor's Old English name) appears in the America's Best Comics police procedural series Top 10 by artist Gene Ha and writer Alan Moore, where officers interview the deity and other gods as witnesses to the death of Baldur at the hands of Hod. The god appears here as a belligerent, red-bearded, balding man, prone to swearing, whose lack of cooperation leads to a swift takedown by Smax.
Willy Vandersteen group (Flemish)
The Flemish comic artist Willy Vandersteen started three series in which a Thor was featured. His very first published newspaper comic series (when World War II stopped US-import in 1941) was "Tor de Holbewoner", about a caveman called Tor. Taking into account that "Tor" is a Dutch word for beetle, in Dutch the difference between T and Th is hardly (if at all) heard and that it was about a caveman living way before the invention of orthography, it is no miracle that this caveman returned (still during the war) with his name changed to "Thor".
In "De Rode Ridder" series the existence of the thunder god Thor is shown in #45, (The Hammer of Thor, 1970) and the Thunderer has a role in #63 (The Valkyrie, 1974), in which the Rode/Red Knight has been chosen by Odin to complete a mission the gods cannot do themselves without causing Ragnarok. Both albums are by Karel Biddeloo. Unlike the Marvel Thor, Biddeloo's Thor is more or less a country boy, with enormous powers but bound by responsibility (avoidance of Ragnarok). The hammer of Thor was a weapon mortals could and did carry and use, but it was too powerful to control.
In the most popular series started by Vandersteen, Suske en Wiske (Spike and Suzy), Thor is featured once in #158 in a story by Paul Geerts. Thor in this version is a cruel, grey-bearded god, going a bit bald on top, thundering and lightninging with his hammer, without throwing it. (Odin in this story is the young-looking, bearded redhead). Like Biddeloo's Thor, this one is also dressed in animal skins, and that may be seen as a reference to the caveman.
Madsen’s Valhalla Thor (Danish)
This is Thor in the European "comedic adventure" tradition of Asterix, Lucky Luke etc. with the difference that where those series are using history as source material, Peter Madsen uses mythology for his series Valhalla (1978), with the same freedom to make jokes about current reality or other works of fiction, mostly following the Eddas.
Thor is one of the main heroes of the series and can be seen as a central character.
Thor is here rather correctly put, as the honest, red bearded muscular, powerful god, with a bit of extra human weaknesses to keep the comic funny. Statements that he would be fat are false, but may be based on his disguise in #3 as Volstagg, thus parodying Marvel's Asgardians.
Thrud and Modi are his firstborn children (in #2), their mother is Sif (pregnant from the start of the series). Magni has Jarnsaxa as mother and shows up in #9.
Other uses of Thor in comics
Other uses of the Norse myth in comics
Other uses of the Thor of Norse mythology include:
- Thor is a semi-regular character in the Karl Vincent: Vampire Hunter series from KRG comics
- In issues 1-5 of the Golden Age anthology Weird Comics, a scientist given the powers of the Thundergod by lightning strike is active as Thor, while in issues 6-8 Dynamite Thor's adventures were shown. Thor decides to give a mortal powers. Grant Farrel thinks of suicide when girl goes with another. Thor appears and takes Grant to Valhalla. Grant sees Glenda with spies, she doesn't believe him. She is dragged into a car, then plane to South America. She is gagged and finds her ‘friends’ kidnapped her. Thor flies after plane and rescues her. He turns back, but 2 men recognise him and tie him in mine. He hears they plan to blow it up. Glenda tries to warn Andurians, but a Spy throws her into mine. The mine explodes, Thor catches the men. He frees her, and stops spies, who are hit and shattered by their own anti-aircraft shells. Thor takes Glenda home, Thor says he has earned name and hammer.
- Thor, along with the other Norse gods, appears in David Brin's comic, The Life Eaters.
- Thôrr-Sverd: The Sword of Thor #1-3, published ca. 1987 by Vincent Creations, began the telling of the story of the impact of the gods on the Proto-Indo-European people. It suggested that perhaps, contrary to canonical mythology, the giants were the good guys and the gods were the villains.
- Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon has its own version of Thor, a red-headed villainous thunder god.
- A villainous Thor appeared in Rob Liefeld's comic book Youngblood.
- El Cazador de Aventuras from Argentina included in its 32-34 issues a remake of the Ragnarok, with Cazador in the middle of it.
- In Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, the antagonist Beatrice Flowerchild uses the Berserker Class Card to gain Thor's powers and his hammer, Mjolnir.
Other characters by the name of Thor in comics
Other characters by the name of Thor include:
- Johnny Hart's comic strip BC also features a caveman named Thor.
- The Quality Comics version of Manhunter had a dog named Thor that assisted him.
- Jake Young (August 11, 2017). "6 Weird Things About Thor's Origin Story Nobody Talks About". Dorkly. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
- 'Jack Kirby's Fourth World (vol. 1) #1-3 (March–May 1997). DC Comics.
- Sandman (vol. 2) #24 (March 1991). DC Comics.
- Sandman (vol. 2) #26 (May 1991). DC Comics.
- Action Comics (vol. 1) #761 (January 2000). Mc Comics.
- Top 10 (vol. 1) #7
| This article includes a list of related items that share the same name (or similar names).
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