Since his debut in 1962, the Mighty Thor has been one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful heroes. Even if you’re caught up on his adventures, can recite the inscription on his hammer from memory, and know the name of the magical metal it was crafted from, here are a few things about Odin’s favorite son that you’d be surprised to learn. (when you try to go back and rewatch Thor: The Dark World) Kirby’s Three Thors When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were creating the Marvel Universe in the ‘60s, they’d already been working in comics for 20 years. With that in mind, it might not be surprising that Journey Into Mystery #83 wasn’t Kirby’s first shot at doing a story about the Norse god of Thunder. That honor goes to Adventure Comics #75. In a story by Kirby and his Captain America collaborator Joe Simon, the Golden Age Sandman goes up against a crook named “Fairy Tale” Fenton, who masquerades as the hammer-swinging thunder god in order to pull off daring robberies.
After injuring the Sandman’s sidekick and sparking a full-on riot, Fenton is finally brought down and sent packing, never to be seen again. 15 years later, Kirby would hit a little closer to the mark with Tales of the Unexpected #16. A six-page story called “The Magic Hammer” featured a Thor with plenty of familiar design elements and a version of Mjolnir that looks an awful lot like the one that would show up at Marvel at the start of the next decade. It was even hidden on Earth until it was found by a mere mortal who could tap into its power, although in this case, it was discovered by a cowboy crook named Bard who was anything but worthy.
The real twist, though? While Kirby’s third shot at Thor would be a success for the fledgling Marvel Comics, both the Sandman story and Tales of the Unexpected were published by DC. Journey Into Mystery Building off the success that they’d found by introducing the Fantastic Four the previous year, Lee and Kirby decided in 1962 to expand their superhero universe, and the mighty Thor charged into the pages of Journey Into Mystery #83. For the most part, “The Stone Men From Saturn” follows the usual beats of the sci-fi monster comics that that Marvel had been publishing in the ‘50s: aliens invade Earth, but get scared off when they encounter someone who’s strong enough to stand against them. The big difference is that the “someone” is, of course, Dr.
Don Blake, who finds a cane tucked away in a cave in Norway that can transform him into Thor. But there’s another important character who made his debut in that issue. In 2006, the “Planet Hulk” storyline revealed that one of those “Stone Men From Saturn” fled back to the stars and wound up stranded on the planet Sakaar, living as a gladiator. His name was Korg, and while a similar rock monster appeared in the opening of Thor: The Dark World in a tribute to that first issue, Korg himself would wind up being a pretty major character in Thor: Ragnarok. “P— off, ghost!” Dr. Don Who? Marvel superheroes are often defined by having disadvantages in their civilian identities that bleed into their heroic exploits. Iron Man had to wear the chestplate of his armor all the time in order to keep shrapnel from moving closer to his heart. Spider-Man was perpetually broke and struggled with school. For Thor, the consequence of losing control of his hammer for 60 seconds was that he would turn back into his human identity: Dr. Donald Blake, a disabled doctor who worked with his nurse and love interest, Jane Foster.
In the ‘80s, Marvel introduced a big twist: Don Blake didn’t actually exist. Instead, Thor’s human form was created by Odin in order to teach his son the folly of his arrogance. By imprisoning him in the body of a human, Odin hoped that Thor would stop bragging and learn to put the needs of others before his own. Considering the stories we’ve gotten since, it’s safe to say that it worked. Tales of Asgard While Thor himself was in the spotlight, Lee and Kirby added an awful lot to Marvel’s version of Norse pantheon to help distinguish it from the classic mythology. The “Tales of Asgard” backup stories adapted myths and helped introduce new characters like Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the Voluminous better known as the Warriors Three. “Never cared for spies…” “Exquisite.” Everything you need to know about those three characters is right there in their names. Fandral is a swashbuckler based on the on-screen exploits of Robin Hood actor Errol Flynn, while Hogun was a fearsome fighter that, according to Lee, was based on Charles Bronson.
Volstagg was inspired by Falstaff, from Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth: an aging warrior who often exaggerated his own accomplishments, and was eventually revealed to have an equally voluminous wife and about a dozen kids. The Warriors Three quickly became fan favorite supporting characters, and even managed to spin off into a few stories focused entirely on them as a leading trio. The Thor Corps When Walt Simonson took over Thor in 1983 for a truly definitive run on the character, one of the biggest changes he made was the introduction of Beta Ray Bill. An alien “everyman” who looked like a cross between an orange humanoid and a skeletal horse, Bill was the chosen defender of his race as they fled the destruction of their home planet. After a cosmic misunderstanding led him into a brutal battle against Thor, he proved he was worthy to hoist the hammer, and Odin granted him one of his own: Stormbreaker.
Bill wasn’t the only other Marvel character to ever wield the power of Thor. In 1988,Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz gave Thor a new secret identity in the form of Eric Masterson, an architect whose inexperience with godly powers gave him a pretty big challenge in crime-fighting. In 1993, the two characters were separated, but Eric continued his heroic career as Thunderstrike, wielding a magical mace with the same name. In Thor #384, they introduced Dargo Ktor, a resident of a 26th century dystopia who lifted Mjolnir, and became that era’s version of Thor. Needless to say, he crossed over to the core Marvel Universe to battle the Fantastic Four on the orders of Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man. No, really, that is the actual name of a Marvel character. With all these Thors running around at the same time, they obviously had to form a team. Thus was born the Thor Corps, in which Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Thunderstrike, and Dargo united for a battle across time and space that would basically just prove how wild comics in the ’90s could be. The Incredible Hulk Returns Until the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Incredible Hulk TV show was one of Marvel’s greatest mass media successes.
It ran for five seasons and gave the Hulk one of the most memorable catchphrases of all time. “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” When Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno returned as Banner and his green alter ego for a series of TV movies, Marvel used that popularity to shift the spotlight on a few of their other characters. The second, Trial of the Incredible Hulk, would use its courtroom setting to introduce TV audiences to Marvel’s resident attorney, Daredevil, but the first one pit the Incredible Hulk against the Mighty Thor. In this case, Thor was played by Eric Kramer, and while his TV appearance did include Don Blake, it wasn’t as Thor’s alter ego. Instead, Blake found himself in a sort of Aladdin situation where Thor was compelled to do his bidding, leading to a pretty weird scene where Blake and Thor hung out in a bar trying to decide whether Thor should take up a career as a crimefighter.
Clor goes bad In 2006, the Marvel Universe was divided in the Civil War crossover. On one side, Iron Man was pushing for and eventually enforcing the Superhuman Registration Act, which would require all superheroes to sign up with the government for training, organization, and oversight. On the other, Captain America and a band of rebels were fighting against the SHRA in the name of freedom and the slippery slope that would inevitably lead to giant robots rounding up mutants. It stands to reason that whichever side got Marvel’s most powerful heroes would have a pretty big advantage, but there was a problem: the Hulk was out in the depths of space, and Thor was temporarily no longer alive. But Tony Stark didn’t let a problem like that stop him.
With a strand of Asgardian hair and some pseudo-science, he and Reed Richards were able to cook up the pro-registration side’s ultimate weapon: a cybernetic clone of Thor that was quickly dubbed “Clor.” Given how well cyborgs and clones have gone for, you know, the entire history of comics, it won’t surprise you that Clor went rogue at his earliest opportunity and ended up blowing a hole through a hero called Goliath. While Clor was smashed to bits by Hercules at the end of Civil War, he was eventually rebuilt and christened “Ragnarok,” cropping up in the pages of Dark Avengers before the real Thor returned to Midgard and proved that Ragnarok couldn’t hold up to the genuine article.
You should have brought more Thors Thor’s identity has been pretty malleable ever since Beta Ray Bill first hefted the hammer back in 1983, but recent stories have seen more people claiming the title than ever before. A 2013 story saw the arrival of Gorr the God-Butcher, a cosmic threat so dire that in order to defeat him, Thor had to team up with the greatest warriors he could think of: himself, twice.
Together with a young Thor who had yet to prove himself worthy of Mjolnir and an older, one-eyed, one-armed version who had taken Odin’s role as Allfather, they united to defeat the God-Butcher. It’s a more Gorr Thor Corps! In 2014, after the Odinson’s worthiness was called into question, Mjolnir found a replacement in the form of a new Thor, one whose arrival changed the inscription to read “if she be worthy.” This Thor’s identity was initially played as a mystery, but was eventually revealed to be the original Thor’s former love interest, Jane Foster, whose mortal form was dying of cancer.
She proved herself to be more than capable of living up to her namesake, but during a desperate struggle against the monstrous Mangog, she was only able to defeat him by hurling Mjolnir into the sun, apparently destroying it, and ending her own life in the process. And Thor Girl? We don’t talk about Thor Girl. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know you’ll love, too!.