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Thor (Marvel Comics)

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Thor

Thor appears in the cover of Thor #272 (June 1978).
Art by John Buscema & Tom Palmer.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceJourney into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962)
Created byStan Lee
Larry Lieber
Jack Kirby
Based on the mythological character
In-story information
Full nameThor Odinson
SpeciesAsgardian
Place of originAsgard
Team affiliationsAsgard
Avengers
Warriors Three
Thor Corps
Notable aliasesSiegmund, Siegfried, Dr. Donald Blake, Jake Olson, Sigurd Jarlson, Eric Masterson
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength, speed, durability and longevity (via the golden apples of Idunn)

Abilities via Mjolnir:

Thor is a fictional superhero who appears in publications published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in Journey into Mystery #83 (August 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, the character is based on the Thor of Norse mythology. Thor has starred in several ongoing series; limited series and has been a perennial member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each of the three volumes. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series; clothing; toys; trading cards and video games.

Contents

Publication history

Writer-editor Stan Lee described Thor's genesis, in the context of having been after the creation of the Hulk:

[H]ow do you make someone stronger than the strongest person? It finally came to me: Don't make him human — make him a god. I decided readers were already pretty familiar with the Greek and Roman gods. It might be fun to delve into the old Norse legends.... Besides, I pictured Norse gods looking like Vikings of old, with the flowing beards, horned helmets, and battle clubs.  ...Journey into Mystery, needed a shot in the arm, so I picked Thor ... to headline the book. After writing an outline depicting the story and the characters I had in mind, I asked my brother, Larry, to write the script because I didn't have time. ...and it was only natural for me to assign the penciling to Jack Kirby....[1]

Following Thor's debut in the science fiction/fantasy anthology title Journey into Mystery, the 13-page feature "The Mighty Thor" continued to be plotted by Lee but scripted by Lee's brother Larry Lieber or Robert Bernstein (working under the pseudonym "R. Berns"). Penciling was by either Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, Don Heck, or, for a single issue, Al Hartley. With Journey into Mystery #101 (Feb. 1964), the series began a long and definitive run by Lee and Kirby that lasted until the by-then-retitled The Mighty Thor #179 (Aug. 1970).

The five-page featurette "Tales of Asgard" was added in Journey into Mystery # 97 (Oct. 1963) followed by "The Mighty Thor" becoming the dominant cover logo with issue #104 (May 1964). The feature itself expanded to 18 pages in #105, which eliminated the remaining anthological story from each issue; it was reduced to 16 pages five issues later.

Journey into Mystery was retitled The Mighty Thor with issue #126 (March 1966). "Tales of Asgard" was replaced by a five-page featurette starring the "The Inhumans", from #146–152 (Nov. 1967 – May 1968), after which featurettes were dropped and the Thor stories reverted to Marvel's then-standard 20-page length.

Once Kirby left the book, John Buscema and Neal Adams each drew a few issues. Buscema became the regular artist with issue #182 (Nov. 1970) and continued to draw the book almost without interruption until #278 (Dec. 1978). Lee stopped scripting soon after Kirby left, and during Buscema's long stint on the book, the stories were mostly written by Gerry Conway, Len Wein, or Roy Thomas. Thomas continued to write the book after Buscema's departure, working much of the time with the artist Keith Pollard; during this period Thomas integrated many elements of traditional Norse mythology into the title, with specific stories translated into comics form.[2] Following Thomas's tenure, for several years The Mighty Thor had a changing creative team.

Walt Simonson took over both writing and art as of #337 (Nov. 1983). Simonson's run as writer-artist lasted until #367 (May 1986), although he continued to write – and occasionally draw – the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987). Simonson was responsible for introducing the character Beta Ray Bill, in what was regarded as a popular and critically acclaimed run.[3][4]

After Simonson's departure, Marvel's editor-in-chief at the time, Tom DeFalco, became the writer. Working primarily with artist Ron Frenz, DeFalco stayed on the book until #459 (Feb. 1993).

As a consequence of the "Heroes Reborn" crossover event of the 1990s, Thor was removed from mainstream Marvel continuity and, with many other Marvel characters, re-imagined in an alternate universe for one year. The Thor title reverted to Journey into Mystery with issue #503 (Nov. 1996), and ran four different, sequential features ("The Lost Gods", "Master of Kung Fu", "Black Widow", and "Hannibal King") before ceasing publication with #521 (June 1998).

When the heroes returned to the mainstream Marvel Universe, Thor was relaunched in a second volume, and debuted as Thor vol. 2, #1 (July 1998). As of issue #36, the title used dual numbering in a tribute to the original Thor series, and the caption box for said issue became #36 / #538 (June 2001). The title ran until issue #85/#587, dated December 2004. Dan Jurgens wrote the first 79 issues, with Daniel Berman and Michael Avon Oeming completing the series.

The third volume dedicated to Thor's adventures debuted as Thor #1 in September 2007, initially written by J. Michael Straczynski and penciled by Olivier Coipel. In January 2009, the third volume reverted to issue #600 (replacing issue #13), reflecting the total number of published issues from all three volumes.[5][6]

Thor debuts on the cover of Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962).
Cover art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.

Biography

Thor's father Odin decides his son needs to be taught humility and consequently places Thor (without memories of godhood) into the body and memories of an existing, partially disabled human medical student, Donald Blake.[7] After becoming a doctor and on holiday in Norway, Blake witnesses the arrival of an alien scouting party. Black flees into a cave, and after discovering Thor's disguised hammer Mjolnir transforms into the Thunder God.[8]

Defeating the aliens, Thor shares a double life with his alter ego: treating the ill in a private practice with nurse - and eventual love - Jane Foster and defending humanity for evil. Thor's presence on Earth almost immediately attracts the attention of his step-brother and arch-foe Loki;[9] who returns repeatedly to Earth in a bid to destroy Thor.[10] Loki is also responsible for the emergence of three of Thor's principal foes: the Absorbing Man;[11] the Wrecker,[12] and the Destroyer.[13] On one occasion, Loki's tactics are accidentally beneficial - although successful in using the Hulk to draw Thor into battle, it results in the formation of the superhero team the Avengers, of which Thor is a founding and longstanding member.[14]

Thor's other early foes included the Red Army;[15] Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man;[16] the Radioactive Man;[17] the Lava Man;[18] the Cobra;[19] Mister Hyde[20] and the Grey Gargoyle.[21] Although Thor initially regarded himself as a "superhero" like his teammates in the Avengers,[22] Loki's machinations draw Thor into increasingly epic adventures, such as teaming with father Odin and Asgardian ally Balder against fire demon Surtur; defeating an increasingly powerful Absorbing Man and proving his innocence in the "Trial of the Gods"; battling Greek God and eventual friend Hercules; stopping the advance of Ego the Living Planet; encountering the High Evolutionary and defeating his flawed creation, the Man-Beast.

Being the son of the Elder Goddess Gaea, Thor has a natural affinity for Earth and feels obliged to protect the mortals that occupy it.

When Thor intervenes in the affairs of Earth, it has major repercussions.[23] After reluctantly assuming the throne of Asgard, Thor sees mortals at their worst and reshapes the world in his image. A nightmarish future follows as Thor and the Asgardians conquer Earth and slay or imprison those who oppose them, including a young religious mutant called Davis; Zarrko the Tomorrow Man; Perrikus of the Dark Gods; the U.S. Government, and even his fellow Avengers. He marries Amora (the Enchantress), and has a son, Magni. Wracked with guilt, Thor is eventually drawn into a final battle with Tarene and a Desak-occupied Destroyer in a time travel bid to undo what he has done.

When the timeline is reset, Loki revives Surtur, who forges new uru hammers for Loki's Storm Giant followers and begins Ragnarök, "the twilight of the gods". Thor learns that the Ragnarok cycle is the result of self-styled "gods to the gods" known as Those Who Sit Above in Shadow, who feed on the cycle. Thor confronts the Norns (Fates), breaking the Ragnarok cycle, and then enters a stasis, sleeping "the sleep of the gods." With his fate unknown to the Avengers, he is believed to be missing in action.[24]

Thor's hammer Mjolnir is found on Earth and put under U.S. Army protection. When the supervillain Doctor Doom escapes from Hell Mjolnir falls through the dimensional plane, and Doom tries unsuccessfully to claim the hammer, which eventually comes into the possession of a man carrying a bag with the initials "D.B".[25]Donald Blake, upon touching the hammer Mjolnir, is transported to the void of non-existence in which Thor now resides. Blake explains that when Odin originally removed the Blake persona from Thor,[26] Blake was consigned to the void that Thor now inhabits. When Thor entered that void, Blake was suddenly restored to being, in New York City. Blake convinces Thor to wield Mjolnir once more, return to Earth, and renew the dual identity with Blake. Blake also reveals that Thor's fellow Asgardians are actually not dead but hidden on Earth.[27]

Thor rebuilds Asgard in Oklahoma (paying for the land with Asgardian treasure)[28], learns of the events of the Civil War[29] and is angered that Tony Stark and others used his DNA to create a Thor clone (which subsequently kills Bill Foster in a battle between pro and anti-registration heroes).[30] Thor accepts an offer by Stark for Asgard to be considered a foreign embassy, with diplomatic immunity granted to its inhabitants. Thor searches for his fellow Asgardians,[31] and restores each with the exception of Sif, who is trapped in an old woman's body and escapes Thor's notice (Loki, being of Giant blood becomes a woman). The Thunder God eventually searches for his father, and locates Odin in Valhalla, waging constant battle with the fire demon Surtur. Odin advises his son that Thor must lead the Asgardians.[32]

Thor battles Hercules on the cover of Thor #126 (March 1966), the first self-titled issue.
Cover art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.

During the events of the Secret Invasion, Thor rescues and heals ally Beta Ray Bill, who after being temporarily given Mjolnir, aids Thor in a battle against an invading force of alien Skrulls.[33] Thor also participates in the final battle against the Skrull forces, and is forced to sacrifice Avenger ally the Wasp.[34]

Due to a deception by Loki, Thor battles and kills his grandfather Bor, and is banished from Asgard. With Thor absent, Loki convinces his fellow Asgardians to transport Asgard to Latveria, the home of Doctor Doom.[35] As Mjolnir is damaged in battle with Bor, Thor seeks out Doctor Strange, who is only able to repair the hammer by transferring the Odinforce from the Thunder God to the hammer directly. The process binds the two in a symbiotic relationship. With the repaired hammer Thor is able to draw out the imprisoned Sif.[36]

Powers and abilities

Like all Asgardians, Thor is not truly immortal but relies upon periodic consumption of the Golden Apples of Idunn to sustain his lifespan, which to date has lasted many millennia. Being the son of Odin and the elder goddess Gaea, the character is physically the strongest of the Norse gods, and has performed such feats as almost lifting the entire World Serpent[37] (stated to encircle the Earth),[38] and hurling the Odinsword, an enormous mystical blade of incalculable weight, through a Celestial.[39] If pressed in battle, Thor is also capable of entering into a state known as the "Warrior's Madness" ("berserksgangr" in Norse), which will temporarily increase his strength tenfold.[40] The character also possesses high resistance to physical injury such as rocket fire[41] and falls from orbital heights;[42] and superhuman speed, agility and reflexes. As the Norse god of Thunder, Thor can summon the elements of the storm (lightning; rain; wind; snow) and uses Mjolnir as a tool to focus this ability. Using Mjolnir he can fly at supersonic speeds in Earth's atmosphere, and fly faster than light in space.

The character is a superb hand-to-hand combatant, and also skilled in armed combat, excelling in the use of the war hammer, sword and mace. Once he was able to best Captain America in combat, despite not having his other powers. Thor possesses two items which assist him in combat: the enchanted Belt of Strength, and his mystical hammer Mjolnir. The first item doubles Thor's strength and endurance[43] while the second is used to control his weather abilities; flight; energy projection and absorption; dimensional apertures; matter manipulation and the most powerful of his offensives, the God Blast[44] and the Anti-Force.[45] Thor also uses a chariot drawn by two huge mystical goats called Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.[46]

After Odin's death, Thor inherited his father's power, the Odinforce. Thor becomes capable of feats such as reconstructing the Earth's Moon,[47] willing the Asgardian monster Mangog into nothingness[48] and, by focusing his entire power into a hammer throw, decapitating a Desak-occupied Destroyer.[49] Thor also acquires mastery of the Runes, and a level of enlightenment that allows him to free Asgard from the eternal cycle of Ragnarok.[50]

As Donald Blake he is a highly trained and licensed physician and surgeon.

When Mjolnir is damaged, the Odinforce is transferred by Doctor Strange from Thor to the hammer, as the power is required to restore it.[51]

Supporting Characters

Other versions

There are several alternate universe versions of Thor.

In the limited series Earth X, Thor and the other Asgardians are members of a shapeshifting alien race, with forms and identities determined by the imagination of "Odin", a human Norse storyteller. Due to Loki's trickery, Thor is female in this universe.[52]

In the MC2 title A-Next Thor is the King of Asgard, while Eric Masterson's son Kevin is a member of A-Next, a next-generation version of the Avengers.[53] The limited series Marvel 1602 is set in a medieval past, and a version of Thor appears with an alter ego of an elderly Christian monk named Donal — an allusion to Thor's original secret identity Donald Blake. Donal fears and despises his alter-ego, believing that summoning a non-Christian deity will damn him.[54] The Marvel 2099 title Spider-Man 2099 reveals the role of Thor is taken by Cecil MacAdam, who belongs to a class of priests known as "Thorites" and worship the original version of Thor.[55]

As a result of the temporary "Age of Apocalypse", the title X-Universe #1 (May 1995) features a version of Donald Blake that never discovers he is the reincarnation of Thor, and is instead an agent of the Human High Council and a doctor, traveling with Gwen Stacy to provide aid in human refugee camps.[56] The limited series Thor Corps reveals that Dargo Ktor is the host of a 26th-century version of Thor[57] while in the Marvel Mangaverse title Marvel Mangaverse: Avengers Assemble! Thor is virtually all-powerful and aids the heroes against an other-world version of the villain Dormammu.[58]

In the limited series Marvel Zombies, set in Earth-2149, Thor appears as a cannibalistic zombie wielding a makeshift version of a hammer composed of a concrete block and pipe as he is no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir;[59] and in the title Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, appears as a dog called Thrr, Dog of Thunder.[60]

The Ultimate Marvel imprint title the Ultimates features a version of Thor who is generally not believed to be a god. Regarded as a delusional former mental patient, Thor proves his godhood when summoning an army of Asgardian warriors to fend off an attack by demonic forces commanded by Loki.[61]

In other media

Bibliography

Main series

  • Journey Into Mystery #'s 83–125 (Aug.1962–Feb.1966)
  • Thor (vol.1) (aka The Mighty Thor) #'s 126–502 (Mar.1966–Sep.1996)
  • Thor (vol.2) (aka The Mighty Thor, The Mighty Thor: Lord of Asgard, The Mighty Thor: Lord of Earth) #'s 1–85 (Jul.1998–Oct.2004)
  • Thor (vol. 3) #'s 1–12, 600–current (Jul.2007–present)

Annuals

  • Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 (1966)
  • Thor (a.k.a. The Mighty Thor) Annual #2-19   (1966-1994)
  • Silver Surfer/Thor Annual '98 (1998)
  • Thor Annual '99; 2000; and 2001  (1999-2001)
  • Thor Annual #1-present (2009-present)

One-shots and limited series

  • Thor - I, Whom The Gods Would Destroy (1987; Marvel Graphic Novel #33)
  • Thor Corps #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 1993)
  • Thor: Rough Cut #1 (Sept. 1998; pencil-only reprint of Thor vol. 2, #1)
  • Thor: Godstorm #1-3 (Nov. 2001 - Jan. 2002)
  • Thor: Vikings #1-5 (Sept. 2003 - Jan. 2004)
  • Thor: Son of Asgard #1-12 (May 2004 - Jan. 2005)
  • Thor: Blood Oath #1-6 (Nov. 2005- Feb. 2006)
  • Thor: Ages of Thunder #1 (June 2008)
  • Thor: Reign of Blood #1 (Aug. 2008)
  • Thor: The Truth of History #1 (Oct. 2008)
  • Thor: Man of War #1 (Nov. 2008)
  • Thor: God-Sized Special #1 (Dec. 2008)

Collected editions

  • Essential Thor Vol. 1: Journey into Mystery #83-112 (b&w)
  • Essential Thor Vol. 2: Journey into Mystery #113-125; Thor #126-136, Annual #1-2 (b&w)
  • Essential Thor Vol. 3: Thor #137-166 (b&w)
  • Essential Thor Vol. 4: Thor #167-195 (b&w)
  • Thor: The Eternals Saga Vol. 1: Thor #283-291, Annual #7
  • Thor: The Eternals Saga Vol. 2: Thor #292-301
  • THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 1: Thor #337-348
  • THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 2: Thor #349-355, #357-359
  • THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 3: Thor #360-369
  • THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 4: Thor #371-374
  • THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 5: Thor #375-382
  • Thor: Alone Against the Celestials: Thor #387-389
  • Thor: World Engine: Thor #491-494
  • THOR VISIONARIES: Mike Dedato Jnr.: Thor #491-494, 498-500
  • Thor: Resurrection: Thor vol. 2, #1-12
  • Thor: vol. 3, #1-8; Peter Parker: Spider-Man #2
  • Thor: The Dark Gods: Thor vol. 3, #9-13
  • Thor: Across All Worlds: Thor vol. 3, #28-35
  • Thor: Death of Odin: Thor vol. 3, #36-44
  • Thor: Lord of Asgard: Thor vol. 3, #45-50
  • Thor: Gods on Earth: Thor vol. 3, #51-58
  • Thor: Spiral: Thor vol. 3, #60-67
  • Thor: The Reigning: Thor vol. 3, #68-74
  • Thor: Across All Worlds: Thor vol. 3, #75-79
  • AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED: THOR: Thor vol. 3, #80-85
  • Thor by J. Michael Straczynski Vol. 1: Thor vol. 4, #1-6
  • Thor by J. Michael Straczynski Vol. 2: Thor vol. 4, #7-12; #600
  • Thor by J. Michael Straczynski Vol. 3: Thor vol. 4, #601-603 and Thor: Giant Size Finale #1

Footnotes

  1. ^ Excelsior!: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee (Fireside, 2002; ISBN 0-684-87305-2), by Lee and George Mair}
  2. ^ Such as the Ring of Nibelung saga, in The Mighty Thor issues #293–297 (cover dated March – July 1980).
  3. ^ Review of a trade paperback collecting some of Simonson's run at PopImage.com
  4. ^ Essay on what makes certain stories definitive at Silver bullet Comics.
  5. ^ Debuting Thor #600, IGN
  6. ^ Holding the Hammer: JMS Talks Thor, Newsarama, October 17, 2008
  7. ^ Revealed in flashback in Thor Annual #11 (Jan. 1983)
  8. ^ Journey Into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962)
  9. ^ Journey Into Mystery #85 (Oct. 1962)
  10. ^ Journey Into Mystery #88 (Jan. 1963); #91 -92 (April - May 1963)
  11. ^ Journey Into Mystery #114 (March 1965)
  12. ^ Thor #148 (Jan. 1968)
  13. ^ Journey Into Mystery #118 (July 1965)
  14. ^ Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963)
  15. ^ Journey Into Mystery #84 (Sept. 1962); #87 (Dec. 1962)
  16. ^ Journey Into Mystery #86 (Nov. 1962)
  17. ^ Journey Into Mystery #93 (June 1963)
  18. ^ Journey Into Mystery #97 (Oct. 1963)
  19. ^ Journey Into Mystery #98 (Nov. 1963)
  20. ^ Journey Into Mystery #99 (Dec. 1963)
  21. ^ Journey Into Mystery #107 (Aug. 1964)
  22. ^ Thor #300 (Oct. 1980)
  23. ^ Thor vol. 2, #41-85 (Nov. 2001 - Dec. 2004)
  24. ^ Thor vol. 2, #85 (Dec. 2004)
  25. ^ Fantastic Four #536 (May 2006)
  26. ^ Thor #340 (Feb. 1984)
  27. ^ Thor vol. 4, #1 (Sep. 2007)
  28. ^ Thor vol. 4, #2 (Oct. 2007)
  29. ^ Civil War #1 - 7 (June 2006 - Jan. 2007)
  30. ^ Civil War #1 - 7 (July 2006 - Jan. 2007)
  31. ^ Thor vol. 4, #3 - 5 (Nov. 2007 - Jan. 2008)
  32. ^ Thor vol. 4, #7 - 8 (March - April 2008)
  33. ^ Secret Invasion: Thor #1 (Aug. 2008)
  34. ^ Secret Invasion #8 (Nov. 2008)
  35. ^ Thor #600 (Feb. 2009)
  36. ^ Thor #602 (June 2009)
  37. ^ Thor #272 (June 1978)
  38. ^ Thor #379 (May 1987)
  39. ^ Thor #300 Oct. 1980
  40. ^ Thor #166 (July 1969); Hulk#440 (Apr. 1996); Thor #502 (Sep. 1996)
  41. ^ Thor #309 (July 1981)
  42. ^ Thor #324 (Oct. 1982)
  43. ^ Journey Into Mystery #91 (Apr. 1963)
  44. ^ Thor vol. 2, #25 (July 2003)
  45. ^ Thor vol. 2, #12 (June 1999)
  46. ^ Thor #364 - 366 (Feb. - April 1986)
  47. ^ Thor vol. 2, #57 (Feb. 2003)
  48. ^ Thor vol. 2, #84 (Nov. 2004)
  49. ^ Thor vol. 2, #79 (July 2004)
  50. ^ Thor vol. 2, #83 - 85 (Oct. - Dec. 2004)
  51. ^ Thor vol. 4, #602 (June 2009)
  52. ^ Earth X #0 (March 1999); #0.5 (Jan. 2000); #1 - 10 (April 1999 - Jan. 2000); #11 - 12 (March - April 2000); #13 (June 2000)
  53. ^ A-Next #1 (Oct. 1998)
  54. ^ Marvel: 1602 #1 - 8 (Nov. 2003 - June 2004)
  55. ^ Spider-Man 2099 #15 (Jan. 1994)
  56. ^ Age of Apocalypse #1 (May 1995)
  57. ^ Thor Corps #1–4 (Sept.-Dec. 1993)
  58. ^ Marvel Mangaverse: Avengers Assemble! #1 (March 2002)
  59. ^ Marvel Zombies #1-5 (Feb.-June 2006)
  60. ^ "Tails of Arfgard" backup feature in Spider-Ham|Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #5 (Jan. (1986)
  61. ^ Ultimates #1-13 (March 2002 - April 2004)

External links

 

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