Thor has brought adventure to the people of Midgard for over a thousand years, whether as a hero of folklore or a character in novels. These days, the character has been the most popular as a Marvel Comics character. Since the early 1960s, Marvel’s version of Thor has been delighting fans around the world.
While many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or classic Norse mythos may be hesitant to dive headfirst into the comics, there are plenty of excellent Thor stories that honor and reinterpret the character in exciting ways. From epic sagas to kid-friendly adventures, there’s a Thor story for everyone.
ten “Journey Into Mystery” #83 Stands the Test of Time
Thor first appeared in 1962 Journey into mystery #83. While the comic was originally an anthology series, Thor proved so popular that artist Jack Kirby and writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber quickly turned the title into a Thor-centric book.
The story, titled “The Mighty Thor and the Stone Men from Saturn”, sees Dr Donald Blake visiting rural Norway just in time for it to be attacked by aliens. Blake quickly hides in a nearby cave and, in his frustration, knocks a stick found in the cave on the wall. From there, he transforms into Mighty Thor, beginning the legend of one of comics’ greatest characters.
9 ‘Tales Of Asgard’ Expanded The Eternal Realm
Kirby and Lee would go on to tell many stories with Thor, a character they were both passionate about. Kirby in particular has turned to the god of thunder, using his talent for drawing otherworldly dimensions to create a mesmerizingly beautiful version of Asgard and the rest of the Nine Realms.
In the last part of the new Thor-centric Journey into mysteryLee and Kirby created the Tales of Asgard featurette. The Tales explored the fantasy realm of Thor and the adventures of characters like Balder and the Warriors Three. By including stories that otherwise wouldn’t have made it into JourneyKirby and Lee fleshed out a timeless cosmology.
8 “The Avengers” #1 cemented Thor in the MU
While the worlds of Norse Myth were essential to Thor, Thor himself would become a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe. Following the success of several of their creations, Lee and Kirby sought to tie several of their heroes together. Thus, the Avengers were formed.
The first issue of The Avengers is driven by action on Asgard as Loki has the Hulk rampage and lure out his brother. However, Iron Man, the Wasp, and Ant-Man also join the fight, and together the quintet defeats the God of Mischief and establishes a new heroic tradition.
seven ‘The Celestials Saga’ Features Classic Marvel Creators
After Kirby and Lee leave the book, Thor became a title with an ever-changing creative team, leaving few iconic stories for much of the 1970s. From this period, however, classic Marvel writer Roy Thomas’ tenure at the time was a highlight, especially in the “Celestials Saga”.
The story, which took place in Thor #293-301 also features writing by Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio, with work primarily by Keith Pollard. In it, an exiled Thor seeks to stop the all-powerful Celestials from destroying the world, battling the Eternals and Greek gods along the way. While often wordy, the “Celestials Saga” is an epic space opera that helps contextualize MU’s various deities.
6 ‘The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill’ Started an Epic New Direction for Thor
The Mighty Thor #337 was a critical issue for the character: it was the start of Walt Simonson’s iconic tenure on the book. Simonson brought blocky, heroic pencils and heartfelt, heroic stories to the title, and this was exemplified in his debut story, “The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill.”
An alien species fleeing across the cosmos is protected by a figure: a being named Beta Ray Bill. Sif takes Thor to help him, but the thunder god is mistaken for a demon and Bill defeats him in a fight. Amazingly, Bill is imbued with the power of Thor, heralding an exciting and different era for the character.
5 “Like a Bat Out of Hel” is Peak Epic Simonson
Simonson’s Race Thor was marked by epic adventure after epic adventure as the artist used classic mythos, the work of Kirby and Lee, and his own powerful imagination to invigorate the character. This is best illustrated in Thor #362“Like a bat out of Hel!”
Still drawn and written by Simonson, the story sees the continuing quest of Thor, his fellow god Balder, the Silver Age villain the Executioner, and a band of mystical Vikings as they work to free unjustly trapped souls. of the Norse underworld of Hel. Their pursuers are hot on their heels, prompting the Executioner to make one last stand on the mythical bridge of Gjallerbru. One of the most badass moments in comics, Simonson’s excellence on the title perfectly showcases his marriage of new and old.
4 “The Thunder Frog” is charming and different
Not all of Simonson’s work was jaw-droppingly epic — at times, he relied more on humor and charm. Thor 364-366 saw the God of Thunder transformed into a frog by Loki, giving readers a singularly different story.
As “Thunder Frog”, Thor is embroiled in a conflict between the frogs and the rats of Central Park. Alongside his ally Puddlegulp, Thor helps the frogs defend themselves. In return, the frogs help Thor return to Asgard where he can exact revenge on his brother to become human again.
3 Thor Volume Three updated the character for the Aughts
After Simonson vacated the title, Thor saw a variety of superstar creators like Dan Jurgens and Mike Deodato write and draw the continuing adventures of the God of Thunder. However, the next critical piece of Thor’s release was found in Thor Volume Three, written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by Oliver Coipel.
Following the events of Ragnarök, the story integrated Thor into the new, post-Civil War/Dismantled Marvel Universe. Coipel’s pencils created an ethereal new Asgard in Broxton, Oklahoma as Straczynski led Thor on adventures to restore his home.
2 “The God Butcher” is a perfect space fantasy
The next big creative team to take on Thor was Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, who, in Thor: god of thunder, brought the character into an awesome era of galactic fantasy. Of particular interest is the “God Butcher/Godbomb” story arc, which features Gorr the God Butcher, the villain of the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.
In God of Thunder #1-11, Aaron and Ribic weave an exciting and complex story about the meaning of divinity in the Marvel Universe. Being a Jason Aaron story, it also features time travel, space sharks, and epic battles, all richly illustrated by Ribic.
1 Thor Volume Four Gave Readers a Brand New God of Thunder
Following its success on thunder god, Jason Aaron continued his Thor story with volume four of the title alongside artist Russell Dauterman. Establishing Jane Foster as the new Thor was a bold move that provided new fans with the perfect starting point.
In the first half of the series, the new Thor confronts evils old and new, ranging from rock trolls to oil company Roxxon. She also faces characters like Odin as the greater Marvel Universe comes to terms with a new female Thor. Featuring beautiful Dauterman artwork, Aaron’s story of legacy and strength is an epic adventure for Thor fans everywhere.
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