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Thor (Marvel Comics)

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Thor #272 (June 1978).Cover art by John Buscema & Tom Palmer
Character Name = Thor
full name = Thor Odinson
Publisher = Marvel Comics
Debut = Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962)
Creators = Stan Lee
Larry Lieber
Jack Kirby
Based on the mythological character
Species = Asgardian
Homeworld = Asgard
Alliances = Asgard
Avengers
Warriors Three
Thor Corps
Aliases = Siegmund, Siegfried, Dr. Donald Blake, Jake Olson, Sigurd Jarlson, Eric Masterson
Supports =
Powers = Superhuman strength, stamina, speed, durability and longevity
The "Odin-Force"
Storm Summoning
Abilities via Mjolnir:
*Flight
*Energy absorption & projection
*Weather manipulation
*Dimensional transportation

Thor is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby, the character first appears in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) and is based on the deity of the same name from Norse mythology.

Contents

Publication history

Writer-editor Stan Lee described Thor's genesis: "How 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...."

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. Then 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 #83 (Aug. 1962): Thor's debut. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.

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, but 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.

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 Thor and the other heroes returned to the Marvel Universe, the 85-issue Thor vol. 2 was launched, premiering with #1 (July 1998). This series began using dual numbering to reflect the original Thor series, with issue #36 / #538 (June 2001). Dan Jurgens was writer for a majority of this series' run, leaving with issue #79 (July 2004). Scot G. Eaton joined him, as penciller, on #68-79. They were followed by co-writers Daniel Berman and Michael Avon Oeming and penciller-inker Andrea Di Vito for the "Avengers Disassembled" crossover storyline through the final issue #85 / #587 (Dec. 2004)

A third volume titled Thor premiered with a first issue cover-dated September 2007, written by J. Michael Straczynski and penciled by Olivier Coipel. Beginning in January 2009, this volume will revert to issue #600 (replacing issue #13), reflecting the total number of Thor-centric books, between Journey into Mystery and Thor/Mighty Thor.

Fictional character 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. After becoming a doctor and thoroughly believing himself to be the young surgeon Blake, he later discovers Thor's disguised hammer and learns to change back and forth into the Thunder God. The real Blake's persona remains elsewhere until many years later, after Odin becomes satisfied of Thor's humility and lifts the spell, thereby removing the need for a mortal alter ego. The mortal experience, however, shapes Thor into an honorable and courteous individual, who is loyal to all comrades.

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

Protector of Midgard

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. Thor's time on Earth is marked by battles against supervillains, monsters, cosmic beings, and even other gods.

Thor's principal foe is his adopted brother Loki, who has hated Thor since childhood. Although a master of magic, Loki usually avoids direct confrontations for fear of angering Odin. He is discreetly responsible for the creation and awakening of three of Thor's principal foes: the Absorbing Man; the Wrecker, and the Destroyer. On one noteworthy 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.

Thor's mortal foes include the Radioactive Man; Grey Gargoyle; and Wrecking Crew. Thor's Asgardian foes include the Storm and Frost Giants; the Enchanters Three;Mangog; the Midgard Serpent, the Enchantress and Executioner and the fire-demon Surtur. Thor has also faced a number of mystical and cosmic foes, such as Mephisto, Thanos, the God Eater, the Dark Gods, the Shi'ar Praetor Gladiator, and the god-slayer Desak. Thor also encountered the Fourth Celestial Host when it arrives to judge Earth.

The Reigning

When Thor decides to intervene in the affairs of Earth, it has major repercussions. 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.

Thor's hammer Mjolnir is found on Earth and put under U.S. Army protection. Sometime later, the supervillain Doctor Doom is escaping from Hell as Mjolnir falls through that dimensional plane, and tries unsuccessfully to claim the hammer, which eventually comes into the possession of a man carrying a bag with the initials "D.B". During a battle in the superhero "Civil War" between pro- and anti-Superhuman Registration factions, Thor apparently appears and kills the superhero Goliath. This "Thor" is later revealed to be a fusion of cloning technology and cybernetics created by scientists Reed Richards and Henry Pym, and is destroyed by the anti-registration superhero Hercules.

Thor #55 (July 2000). Cover art by Tom Raney.

New beginning

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, 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.

Thor rebuilds Asgard in Oklahoma, paying for the land with Asgardian treasure. He then learns of the events of the superhero-registration "Civil War" and is angered that Tony Stark (Iron Man) and others used his DNA to create a Thor clone. Stark, in response, suggests Asgard may be considered a foreign embassy, with diplomatic immunity granted to its inhabitants. Thor then begins searching for his fellow Asgardians, and although successfully restoring them all (with the exception of Sif who is trapped in an old woman's body), does not attempt to find his father, Odin. He eventually finds his father in Valhalla, waging constant battle with the fire demon Surtur. There Odin advises his son that Thor must lead the Asgardians.

Thor later rescues and heals ally Beta Ray Bill, who after being given Mjolnir aids Thor in a battle against an invading force of alien Skrulls. Thor also participates in the final battle against the Skrull forces, and is forced to sacrifice Avenger ally the Wasp.

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 an Asgardian-Elder God hybrid, Thor is the strongest of the Norse gods. He has performed feats such as lifting a large percentage of the World Serpent, stated to be one third the size of the Earth, and hurling the Odinsword, an enormous mystical blade of incalculable weight, through a Celestial. If pressed in battle, Thor is also capable of entering into a state known as the "Warrior's Madness" ("bärsärkargång" in Norse), which will temporarily increase his strength tenfold. He also possesses virtually inexhaustible godly stamina, high resistance to physical injury (eg. rocket fire, falls from orbital heights), immunity to all Earthly diseases, and superhuman agility and reflexes.

With centuries of experience, Thor is a superb hand-to-hand combatant and a weapons master excelling in the use of the war hammer, sword and mace. Thor possesses two items that assist him in combat: the enchanted Belt of Strength, and his mystical hammer Mjolnir. The first item doubles Thor's strength while the second is used for control of his weather abilities; flight energy projection and absorption; dimensional apertures; matter manipulation and the most powerful of his offensives, the God Blast, and the Anti-Force.

After Odin's death, Thor inherited his father's power, the Odinforce. Thor was then capable of feats such as reconstructing the Earth's Moon, willing the Asgardian monster Mangog into nothingness and, by focusing his entire power into a hammer throw, decapitating a Desak-occupied Destroyer. Thor later acquired mastery of the Runes, and a level of enlightenment that allowed him to free Asgard from the eternal cycle of Ragnarok and become even more powerful than his father.


Enemies

Other versions

In mainstream comic continuity

Beta Ray Bill

An alien from the Korbonite race, Bill warrior proved worthy to lift Mjolnir and was soon afterwards awarded the mystical hammer Stormbreaker by Odin as a reward.

Eric Masterson

Eric Masterson is initially bonded with Thor after the Thunder God is punished for apparently killing Loki. Masterson carries the mantle of Thor for several years, continuing Thor's dual roles as a member of the Avengers and protector of Midgard. Thor is eventually freed, and in gratitude for his services, Odin provides Masterson with an enchanted mace, which he uses under the alias of Thunderstrike.

Red Norvell

Part of a documentary crew brought to Asgard by Loki, Roger "Red" Norvell meets and falls in love with Lady Sif. Loki gives Norvell Thor's Iron Gauntlets and Belt of Strength to compete with Thor for Sif's affections, with neither realizing this was part of a master plan by Odin to create a surrogate God of Thunder to fulfill a prophecy and die fighting the Serpent of Ragnarok.

Other versions

Earth X

In this alternate universe, 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.

MC2

In this universe, 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.

Marvel 1602

In the Marvel 1602 alternate possible past, a version of Thor appears with an alter ego of an elderly Christian priest named Donal — an allusion to Thor's original secret identity Donald Blake. Donal fears and despises his alter-ego, believing that the shared existence will damn him.

2099

Set in a possible future year 2099, the role of Thor is taken by Cecil MacAdam, who belongs to a class of priests known as "Thorites" who worship the original version of Thor.

Age of Apocalypse

In the fictional crossover event "Age of Apocalypse", Donald Blake never discovers that 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.

Dargo Ktor

Dargo Ktor is the host of a 26th-century version of Thor, who is empowered when holding Mjolnir, a subject of worship in that century.

Marvel Mangaverse

A version of Thor appears briefly and aids the heroes against an other-world version of the villain Dormammu.

Marvel Zombies

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.

Spider-Ham

Thor appears as a dog called Thrr, Dog of Thunder.

Ultimate Marvel

Thor is a member of the superhero team the Ultimates in the Ultimate Universe. Despite his claims to be a Norse god, he is regarded by many to be delusional. When Thor summons an army of Asgardian warriors to fend off an attack by demonic forces commanded by Loki, the Ultimates realize he truly is a god.

In other media

Television

A "Mighty Thor" title card from a segment of the 1966 animated television series The Marvel Super Heroes.

Film

  • An animated version of Ultimate Thor appears in the direct-to-video animated features Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers 2, and is voiced by Dave Boatiman.
  • Thor makes an appearance in the direct-to-video animated movie Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow and is voiced by Michael Adamthwaite.
  • Thor will appear as the protaganist in the direct-to-video animated short film Hulk vs. Thor and is voiced by Matthew Wolf.
  • Screenwriter Mark Protosevich has been hired to write a script for a live-action Thor film. In December 2007, he described his plans for it "to be like a superhero origin story, but not one about a human gaining super powers, but of a god realizing his true potential. It's the story of an Old Testament god who becomes a New Testament god". The film has a scheduled release date of July 16, 2010.
  • Thor will be featured in a live-action Avengers film executive produced by Jon Favreau. The film has a scheduled release date of July 15, 2011.

Video games

Bibliography

Main series

  • Journey into Mystery #83-125   (Aug. 1962 - Feb. 1966)
  • Thor (a.k.a. The Mighty Thor) Vol. 1 #126-502   (March 1966 - Sept. 1996) #600- (January 2009 - )
  • Thor (a.k.a. The Mighty Thor) Vol. 2 #1-85   (July 1998 - Oct. 2004)
    • Cover-titled The Mighty Thor: Lord of Asgard from #45-67; The Mighty Thor: Lord of Earth from #68-#79
  • Thor Vol. 3 #1-12   (July 2007 - December 2008)

Annuals

  • Journey into Mystery Annual #1 (1966)
  • Thor (a.k.a. The Mighty Thor) Annual #2-19   (1966 - 1994)
  • Thor Annual '98; '99; 2000; and 2001  (1998-2001)

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)

Notes

References

External links