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Friday, May 6, 2011

To Better Know A Hero: Thor

Forsooth! Verily, Thor doth star in a new film, in theaters now! Before seeing thy film, feast thy eyes on these runes to vanquish thine ignorance about the mighty Thor!

Real Name
Thor Odinson 

First Appearance
Journey Into Mystery #83, August 1962

Nicknames and Aliases
Dr. Don Blake, Sigurd Jarlson, Eric Masterson, Jake Olson, Siegfried, Siegmund,

Powers and Abilities
Thor possesses super-human strength, speed, endurance, durability and longevity thanks to his godly nature. He is also a skilled warrior.

Weaknesses and Achilles’ Heels
Pride, nurses, blonds


Gadgets and Accessories
Thor wields a nearly-indestructible hammer named Mjolnir, composed of mystic Uru metal. With the hammer, Thor can fly, manipulate the weather, absorb and project certain kinds of energy, and open dimensional portals. The hammer is enchanted such that only those worthy of its power can lift it.


For a time, after being cursed by Hela, Thor also wore armor which held together his broken body.


Friends and Allies
Odin, Jane Foster, Sif, Balder, the Warriors Three, Hercules, the Avengers


Foes and Antagonists

Loki, Hela, Enchantress, Destroyer, Absorbing Man, Grey Gargoyle, the Odinsleep, Clones, the 90s


Movies and Appearance
Thor was part of the Marvel Super Heroes animated series in the 60s, receiving thirteen episodes devoted to him. Since then, he has made guest appearances in most of Marvel's major animation ventures. He also guest-starred in the live action Incredible Hulk Returns TV movie, played by Eric Allan Kramer.


 

More recently, Thor is featured on Cartoon Network's Super Hero Squad Show and is a regular on Disney's recent and enjoyable Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon.


And of course, his feature film debut is in theaters now, with Thor being played by Captain Kirk's dad.


One-Sentence Origin
Cast out of Asgard and given mortal form by Odin to learn humility, Dr. Don Blake was eventually drawn to Norway where he discovered a walking stick that, when struck, transformed him into the mighty Thor!


Memorable Moment

Thor #364-366 Thor is transformed by Loki into a frog, and the story doesn't just not suck, but is actually tons of fun.


Teebore’s Take
Though Thor often gets compared to DC's Superman, being the benchmark for power in their respective superhero universes, Thor actually has much more in common with DC (nee Fawcett's) Captain Marvel, that of the mortal who transforms into a god-like hero. Like Captain Marvel (who manifests whenever Billy Batson shouts "Shazam!"), Marvel's take on Thor has often featured one otherwise normal person or another transforming into Thor. Stan Lee first hit on this idea when he created the superhero Thor in the 1960s: by having the lame Dr. Don Blake transform into the powerful Thor, he created a supremely powerful character while keeping the door open for the kind of comic book shenanigans that were required when writing comics during the Silver Age: a character torn between two world, struggling to balance his real identity with the super-heroic one, and all the romantic entanglements that follow. Though the character has since shed the Don Blake secret identity and currently exists as a whole character in and of himself, he will, from time to time, become entangled with a mortal guise (usually whenever a writer wants to tell more "down to earth" stories with a godlike main character).


As a kid, long before I started reading comic books, I was obsessed with Greek and Norse mythology. While my love of mythology was a big influence on my love of super hero comics in general, it also gave me a special fondness for Thor, as his adventures tended to feature depictions of characters and events I'd read about in books on Norse mythology.


It also helps that Thor is one of the most "comic book-y" characters, prone to outrageously fun, over-the-top adventures, all punctuated by that unique faux-Shakespearean dialogue and some of the best sound effects in comics.

17 comments:

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Sorry. My first post had too many typos. I had to delete it.

Hah! The 90's indeed. I actually don't know all that much about Thor - well all that much about Thor outside of the Ultimate verse (which i lurve). I always forget about these posts until you stick one in, and i'm all pleasantly surprised again.

Teebore said...

@Sarah: The 90's indeed.

Yeah. To be fair, I could probably put that for just about every character. But man, the 90s were especially hard on Thor...

I always forget about these posts until you stick one in, and i'm all pleasantly surprised again

I'd really like to do them more often, but for a post that has very little actual writing from me (aside from listing stuff) they're a pain in the butt to do.

Nevertheless, thanks to the bevy of comic book movies coming out this summer, you can expect some kind of X-Men related one, a Captain America post, and a re-posting of my Green Lantern one in the next few months.

Dr. Bitz said...

What did the 90's do to Thor?

Teebore said...

@Dr. Bitz: What did the 90's do to Thor?

Lots of terrible, terrible costumes, eviction from his comic and awful art that stretched the boundaries of human anatomy.

He put the 'roided up cartoon X-Men to shame.

Hannah Kincade said...

Lol, the 90s FTW! love it.

So what's with all the ladies thinking that guy is hot?? I guess I like my men less beardy. He was cute as Kirk's faja but I prefer Kirk. Mmmm, Kirk.

Also this post makes me want to watch Hercules and Xena.

Joan Crawford said...

I like my men *very beardy*! I think that facial hair must be one of the best things about being a guy... except sometimes ladies have beards too. Like this lady who works at a convenience store near my house. I'm not talking about a few little Billy-Goat Stragglers on her chin, I mean she has a beard that a 17 year old boy would be proud of. It parts. She undoubtedly has some horrible disorder that makes her facial hair grow but does she also have a terrible disorder that makes her not wax it? Is it OK for me to be grossed out by it or does that make me a bad person? Should I commend her for embracing her true self? Is she crazy, belligerent, or just selectively blind? Am I allowed to look at it or do we pretend it isn't there, like the proverbial bearded-lady in the room?

These are the things that plague me.

Anne said...

@ Hannah- have you seen the movie yet? There is a whole scene with a shirtless Thor (where his jeans don't even cover the hip bones) that is CLEARLY for the ladies- heard many an appreciative murmur in the theater. pretty sure anyone can get behind that- beard or no :-)

I like norse mythology a lot, but as we were dicsussing the movie, Thor as a character (even thought i like him in comics) just seems a little...silly. I mean, why isn't all mighty jesus hanging around, if Thor can?
just takes a little more suspension of disbelief for me, and it's getting close to the edge

@ Joan- how do you ever find sleep at night?!

Hannah Kincade said...

@Anne- that's one of my favorite parts of a man...mmmm, I will still wait to Netflix it though.

Teebore said...

@Hannah: I guess I like my men less beardy.

You crazy. Bearded men rock!

@Joan: Am I allowed to look at it or do we pretend it isn't there, like the proverbial bearded-lady in the room?

Oh, you're totally allowed to look at it. If she's not going to do anything to tame it, then looking is fair game in my opinion.

Also, you're story has raised my esteem for Canada as a whole.

@Anne: I mean, why isn't all mighty jesus hanging around, if Thor can?

It's actually something that gets discussed in the comics. Almost all the major mythological pantheons are present at Marvel (the Greeks, the Norse, Egyptian, etc.) and the idea is that they are former gods who have withdrawn through the years as humanity as ceased to worship them. But being comics, they still interact with mankind, just not in a "we are your gods, worship us" kind of way.

There have been a few instances through the years where creators have shown Thor acknowledge and defer to Christianity and the worship of Jesus (like removing his helmet when entering a church). The idea is basically that in the Marvel Universe, there are all the mythological gods, and then above them is the even higher power of the monotheistic God/Allah/Yaweh/what have you.

Also, Jesus would probably make a pretty badass superhero, especially if he could use the whole "forty loaves and fishes" thing to make a ton of, like, ninja stars or something.

Hannah Kincade said...

@Austin- You kiss a beared man and then we'll talk.

Teebore said...

@Hannah: You kiss a beared man and then we'll talk.

I kiss the bearded man in the mirror every day, and it's awesome.

Hannah Kincade said...

LMAO, a mirror doesn't count.

Teebore said...

@Hannah: Maybe you just can't handle the awesome of kissing a bearded man? ;)

Hannah Kincade said...

Oh yeah, it's awesome to shove a wet toothbrush in my nose as well.

Dr. Bitz said...

Yeah...beards suck...they're like pubes growing out of your face...

Teebore said...

@Dr. Bitz: they're like pubes growing out of your face...

I don't see how that's a bad thing... ;)

Harry Sewalski said...

Thor #364-366 Thor is transformed by Loki into a frog, and the story doesn't just not suck, but is actually tons of fun.

Alternate text: "Every damn thing about Simonson's run."

@Teebore: But man, the 90s were especially hard on Thor...

Well, at least we got Thunderstrike out of it... right?

Also, Jesus would probably make a pretty badass superhero, especially if he could use the whole "forty loaves and fishes" thing to make a ton of, like, ninja stars or something.

I don't know how Jesus-related it was, but I know that Robert Kirkman had an apparently-really-good Battle Pope series a few years ago.