Comic Art Friday: You’re Thor? I’m tho Thor I can’t write an ethay

The truth can now be told: I’ve never much liked Thor.

Steel vs. Thor, pencils by Trevor Von Eeden, inks by Joe Rubinstein

I actually think the concept of Thor — lightning-wielding proto-Viking with a flying hammer — is pretty awesome. The character himself? Not so much.

I want to like Thor. He’s a pillar of the Marvel Universe, an original Avenger, wears a wicked costume, and talks as though he wandered in from an improvisational Shakespeare road company. His adventures have been drawn by some of the greatest artists in comics history: Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Keith Pollard, and Walt Simonson, to name just a few. What’s not to like?

But from the dawn of my comics-reading days until now, Thor has always left me kind of cold.

Thor, pencils by Geof Isherwood, inks by Bob Almond

For me, Thor doesn’t work very well as a superhero. A superhero is a rather narrowly specific kind of fantasy character, a creature of modern urban mythology. Thor, who’s more or less a port-over from ancient Norse legend given a comic book twist, feels awkwardly shoehorned into superherodom. He’s too powerful to waste his time beating up Earthbound bad guys — which, let’s be frank, is also one of the main problems with the prototypical superhero, Superman — and yet, that’s mainly what superheroes do. It’s no accident that Thor’s best storylines place him outside the terrestrial realm and give him a more cosmic scope. But since he’s not a true spacefaring quasi-science-fictional character, like, say, Adam Strange or the various Green Lanterns, that doesn’t suit Thor very well either. So, he kind of floats in between, neither fish nor fowl.

We see this problem play out in Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie. Of all the titular heroes, Thor’s by far the least interesting — and, despite his familial connection to the villain of the piece, the one whose presence adds the least to the story. Which is saying something, considering how brutally that film treats Hawkeye, a character for whom I have a fair amount of affection. At least Hawkeye’s narrative, clumsy as it is, has some semblance of an arc.

Thor’s supporting cast can be fun. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Warriors Three, the triumvirate of bickering adventurers who occasionally pal around with the big guy. And Thor’s half-brother Loki makes a decent villain, as his enjoyable appearances in the first Thor and Avengers films attest. There’s at least a modicum of potential in the whole Asgardian thing.

Just not for me, I guess.

Thor, pencils and inks by Bob McLeod

To his credit, though, Thor does make for some appealing pictures.

At the top of this post is a Common Elements scenario pitting the Thunder God against another hammer-slinging hero, Steel. Penciler Trevor Von Eeden said that he wanted to comment on the relative merits of the two characters. I believe it’s clear whom Trevor favors in this duel. Veteran inker Joe Rubinstein contributed the finishes.

Next up, penciler Geof Isherwood and inker Bob Almond team up to present old Winghead in all his Mjolnir-gripping glory.

Lastly, Bob McLeod gives us a classic rendering of the Asgardian wunderkind.

Ah, Thor. I wish we could be better pals. Unfortunately, that would require you to be less lame. No Dr. Don Blake reference intended.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Comic Art Friday, Hero of the Day, SwanStuff, That's Cool!

One Comment on “Comic Art Friday: You’re Thor? I’m tho Thor I can’t write an ethay”

  1. DamonO Says:

    Quote: For me, Thor doesn’t work very well as a superhero. A superhero is a rather narrowly specific kind of fantasy character, a creature of modern urban mythology. Thor, who’s more or less a port-over from ancient Norse legend given a comic book twist, feels awkwardly shoehorned into superherodom. He’s too powerful to waste his time beating up Earthbound bad guys — which, let’s be
    frank, is also one of the main problems with the prototypical superhero, Superman — and yet, that’s mainly what superheroes do.

    Me: Couldn’t you kinda say the same thing about Wonder Woman? Just sayin’.:-)


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