56 years of Thor: Tracing the strongest Avenger’s history
King of Asgard and God of Thunder, Thor has been ruling the comic pages and movies for over five decades now. On his 56th anniversary, we trace down the history of the hammer-wielding superhero.Updated: Aug 31, 2018 14:31 IST
“How do you make someone stronger than the strongest person? It finally came to me: Don’t make him human — make him a god.” These words were the very genesis of Thor — Marvel Comic’s rendition of the Norse god of thunder — who first appeared in comics, Journey into Mystery #83, 56 years ago this month, created by editor Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby, Thor debuted in the Silver Age of Comics and possessed the enchanted hammer Mjolnir, which granted him powers of flight and weather manipulation among other god-like abilities.
56 years on, the hammer-wielding god (who by the way was a founding member of the Avengers in the comics) has become one of the most beloved characters, thanks to Australian actor Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, that isn’t the only time Thor has had the fandom swooning for him. Here we take a look at the history of the strongest Avenger, in comics, TV series, animated features and movies.
While Thor debuted in comics in Journey into Mystery #83 back in 1962 and went on to appear in various Avengers issues, it wasn’t until 1966 that the character got his own self-titled series — The Mighty Thor #126. Thor, much like other superheroes who were part of the Avengers has often appeared in other teams in comics that include the Thor Corps, God Squad, and the New Avengers Unity Squad which had an amalgam of Avengers and X-Men members. While the Thor movies have never shown him assume his human alter-ego, the Norse god in comics was banished on Earth to live as Donald Blake, a doctor. One can notice a slight nod to this in the MCU in the character’s debut movie, but no other references ever came up. Some of the most popular comics include Thor: Ages of Thunder, Thor Reborn, Avengers #1, Journey into Mystery #83 and a graphic novel titled Loki (which told the what-if events of a time when his adopted brother, Loki, actually defeated Thor.
One of the Marvel superheroes to have appeared in several animated features on TV, Thor’s live-action television run wasn’t in a titular series, but in the American made-for-television superhero film, The Incredible Hulk that came out in 1988. American- Canadian actor Eric Allan Kramer portrayed this campy version of the Norse god in the movie who teams up with the Hulk to battle a criminal organization. His first animated segment was part of ‘The Mighty Thor’ segment of The Marvel Super Heroes which was syndicated in 1966. English-born Canadian actor, Chris Wiggins voiced the character in the segment. Some popular animated appearances of the character include The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Avengers Assemble, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Ultimate Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy TV series.
Thor’s run as part of the Marvel cinematic Universe started with his solo titular film, Thor, in 2011. Played by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, the character subsequently appeared in The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Hemsworth is all set to appear as the character again in the untitled sequel of Avengers: Infinity War. Thor’s trilogy is the only one in the MCU that has had wildly different tones in each movie, something one could also identify as character development. In his debut movie, Thor was a Shakespearean character who was serious with just hints of humour, in the second (and not so famous) instalment he took on the mantle of Marvel’s action powerhouse, while the third movie put a funnier and more balanced take on the character. In movies, Thor has wielded two major weapons — the first being his enchanted hammer Mjolnir which was later destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok, and then Stormbreaker, which he forged along with some help from Groot, Rocket Raccoon and the dwarf Eitri.
The weapons of Thor:
We all know the two most popular weapons Thor has used — Mjolnir and Stormbreaker — but here’s some history behind the two, and some other weapons that the God of Thunder has wielded. Mjolnir aka the OG hammer of Thor is made out of Uru metal — a mystical and indestructible metal — and was forged in the heart of a dying star. According to movies and comics, Mjolnir was enchanted by Odin to only be wielded by someone ‘worthy’. There have been a few storylines where either others like Jane Foster (Thor’s love interest), Captain America and Beta Ray Bill have been deemed worthy and have wielded the hammer. His other weapon, Stormbreaker, in the MCU was forged by Thor and Eitri with some help from Groot and Rocket Raccoon and is said to have the same powers as Mjolnir, but at the same time can summon the Bifrost, and also apparently take the force of the infinity stones at ease. Thor’s third most popular weapon is Jarnbjorn, a Battle Axe seen recently in Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s new Thor series. The Jarnbjorn is said to be a wrecker of worlds and is blessed with Thor’s blood which gives it the ability to cut through anything. Thor has also wielded weapons and enhancements such as Odinsword, the Uru Destroyer arm, Megingjord (his magical belt), Gungnir (Odin’s spear), Bloodaxe ( Executioner’s sword) and Dragonfang (Valkyrie’s sword).
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