In the reporting process of our "Why They Endure: THOR - An Immortal Hero" article, published this past Thursday as part of our "THORSDAY" coverage, we ended up with a lot of interesting insight on the Thunder God that unfortunately didn't fit into the proper article.
So, with the Thor film in theaters today, presented here are some bonus bits of Thor knowledge from the comic book pros who helped contribute to the piece.
Bryan J.L. Glass (co-creator of The Mice Templar, writer of Thor: First Thunder and an all-ages Thor movie tie-in series for Burger King) on what he believes to be the definitive interpretations of Thor over the years:
"Allow me to join the chorus of those praising the Walt Simonson era (recently collected in a beautiful and heavy Omnibus edition) as the definitive incarnation of the character. This was also my introduction to the character in his own series, as opposed to reading his appearances in Avengers.
Having also worked on First Thunder, I had purpose in revisiting the early Journey Into Mystery appearances. While those earliest adventures read heavy to modern sensibilities, there is a point that the storytelling changes: JIM #97. It is more than just the introduction of the backup feature "Tales of Asgard," but represents a decisive change in the main story's adventure. It begins the era that Roger Landridge took his inspiration from for the marvelous Thor the Mighty Avenger series he produced with Chris Samnee. This is the classic era that truly defined Thor as a comic hero: running afoul of All-Father Odin's wishes due to his double-life as Don Blake and Thor, his relationship with Jane Foster, and the introduction of his classic supporting cast, as well as his cosmic adventures.
Mike Oeming and Dan Berman's "Thor: Disassembled" arc marked a worthy close to an era that had spanned 40 years: awesome storytelling, and surprisingly inspiring for a tale of such tragedy.
And the Straczynski run that restored Thor to the modern Marvel universe is equal parts power, somber majesty, royal brooding, insidious plotting, and laugh out loud humor. It reminded me of how much the Marvel Universe actually needs its deity to feel truly comfortable and whole."
Fred Van Lente (writer of Comic Book Comics, Herc and a Thor story in Disney Publishing's Thor: The Official Movie Magazine) on Thor's accessibility and versatility:"I think Stan Lee's decision to give him the Shakespearean way of talking was pretty clever. Sort of how Fantastic Four always contrasted the crazy science-fiction stuff with people commenting on the street, and this relationship with their mailman, and this constant reminder than the real world was there. The fact that you had Thor interacting with normal, everyday Americans, yet was such a grand, theatrical figure, I think was what really initially made the strip work.
"Towards the end of [Jack Kirby's] run, Thor was almost more of a science-fiction strip. You could definitely see, in those later issues, the way Kirby was laying ground for New Gods. You had a lot more dealing with aliens, and this giant monster Mangog that was basically the summation of this evil alien race that Odin destroyed. In the '60s, Galactus ended up being almost more of a reoccurring Thor character than he was a Fantastic Four character."
Nate Cosby (editor of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, co-writer with Ben McCool on upcoming Image series Pigs) on his favorite Thor story:"To be honest, I was never a huge fan of Thor growing up, which probably benefitted TMA (didn’t have continuity baggage in the back of my mind). He was usually the giant dude in the background while Captain America or Iron Man or Hawkeye were arguing. I couldn’t relate to him, and was kinda put off by his faux-Shakespearean speech pattern. The only Thor story that really stuck with me is Walt Simonson’s Frog Thor issues (The Mighty Thor #363-366), which was the cornerstone inspiration for Chris Eliopoulos’ Pet Avengers minis. I’ve talked to Walt several times about those issues, and he always laughingly says he just did those because he was kinda bored and wanted to do something nuts to change up the pace. But something as crazy as turning a god into a frog, placing him in this epic Central Park battle between amphibians and rats…it was almost a meta-metaphor for the standard Thor status quo: He’s a stranger in a strange land, forced to get along with those he used to consider “less” than him, and help to fight off the forces of evil. Required reading, even if you’re not a Thor fan."
Kieron Gillen (current writer of "Asgardian black-ops" series Journey Into Mystery, plus Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope) on his pick for "definitive" takes on Thor:
"Well, there's one obvious definitive take which has just come out in an awesome enormous hardback, which I'm still waiting for my copy of. You can't really argue with Simonson's run, in many ways. And we can't put aside the importance of Straczynski's reboot of Thor, which brought mainstream Thor into the 21st century. If you want a slightly leftfield one, I thought Millar's Ultimate Thor is arguably the best reinvention in the entire Ultimate Line, especially those first issues. The take that Thor could simply be insane is a radical one, but worked."Visit Newsarama on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and tell us what you think!