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Thor has appeared as a character in various comics over the years, appearing in series from a range of publishers.
Thor (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).
On a mission from his father, the omnipotent Lord of Asgard, Odin, Thor acted as a superhero while maintaining the secret identity of Dr. Donald Blake, an American physician with a partially disabled leg. Blake would transform by tapping his walking stick on the ground; the cane became the magical hammer Mjolnir and Blake transformed into Thor.
Thor often battled his evil adoptive brother Loki, a Marvel character adapted from the Norse god of mischief, and was a member of the superhero group the Avengers. Apart from this superhero Marvel featured a number of Thors (and similar characters) based on him.
- In Adventure Comics #78 Sandman and Sandy the Golden Boy fought somebody claiming to be the thunder god Thor. His hammer was later stolen and used by the Ultra-Humanite.
- Thor is one of many minor deities seen in Neil Gaiman's Sandman. The mythological Thor also appears in DC Comics' War of the Gods and Jack Kirby's Fourth World. (It must be noted that the Thor seen in Sandman seems more like a parody of the character, and doesn't resemble the one seen in the other DC comics.)
Thor also appears in the second short story in DC Special # 4 ,Thirteen Shock Ending Stories, September 1969. Thor has red hair in this story. Loki also makes a brief appearance, depicted as a dwarf-like character.
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's 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 rather bad 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 name Thor in comics include:
- 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, 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.
- A villainous Thor appeared in Rob Liefeld's comic book Youngblood.
- Johnny Hart's comic strip BC also features Thor