The news came out yesterday, and we posted about it, that the mantle of Thor will be passed to a female character in Marvel comics. Thor will be deemed “unworthy” and will no longer wield Mjolnir. As usual, the internet community lost it’s f—ing mind. Here’s a Tweet from Ryan Penagos, Marvel’s Executive Editorial Director for their Digital Media Department…
In the dark depths of our own 4LN Facebook message thread, things got… heated.
I’ll be honest… THAT was the only non-expletive statement I made.
Let me say first, that I understand the hesitation. This is not like Bucky being Captain America, because he never became “Steve Rogers”. And it isn’t like Miles Morales becoming the Ultimate universe Spider-Man, because he never became “Peter Parker”. And it’s not like Carol Danvers becoming Captain Marvel because she’s still Carol Danvers. These individuals define the costumes they wear, the costumes do not define them.
But Thor… Thor IS Thor. I mean, in current continuity anyway (the whole Dr. Donald Blake thing is not really relevant but, granted, it used to be). Taking a character and literally giving his name to someone else, man or woman, is kind of a shock. Its weird enough for characters to change appearance, but for one of them to completely become someone else, well that’s just… crazy. Almost as crazy as a man who flies and shoots lasers out of his eyes, or a woman who can control the weather, or a kid with super strength and the ability to climb walls by sticking to them… it’s ALL crazy. The craziness is why we love these characters. But when you mess with someones favorite crazy, they’ll turn on you faster than a bolt of lightning.
This is our first look at Unworthy Thor. I speculate that in a future issue of Thor: God of Thunder we’ll find out his father is really Jax from Mortal Kombat.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, if you’re not reading the comics, this will have no impact on you. Maybe you just like the movies… never fear, for Chris Hemsworth isn’t going anywhere (not for about 3 more appearances as Thor, anyway). Also, if you haven’t read and/or don’t read any ongoing Marvel comics at all, this doesn’t affect you. Your opinion, while free to exist in this great nation of ours, carries no real value. You’re not really invested in this character so stop pretending like you are. I’ve been reading the current run, Thor: God of Thunder, since issue #1. I try to convince everyone I talk to about comics that the first story arc, Gorr the God Butcher and the Godbomb, is a must read and the best thing I’ve ever read from either of the big 2 publishers. I even have a Jason Aaron autographed copy of Thor: GoT #1, and a few variant cover books. I don’t state all that to brag, I state it to let you know that I’m writing from the place of someone who is very invested in this Thor.
Then there are those of you who have the argument of “They’re just making the character a girl because they can! Thor ain’t no sissy girl!” To that I say, If you prefer your superheroes to have large, throbbing muscles with sweat dripping from them while they fight evil-doers in their form-fitting tights that reveal every bulge… I get it. No woman could ever be good enough to satisfy your desires. I fully support you and will be here to love and accept you when you’re ready to be honest with yourself and others.
“Excuse me… have you seen my hammer?”
Coming up later this week we will launch an article celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. All of us here at 4LN discuss what Batman means to us and we reached out to some of our contributing writers and other people connected to us to chime in with their thoughts as well. When I started organizing that article I had no idea what we were taking on. Everyone involved is so different and each person has a completely different view of The Dark Knight than the person before them. But that philosophy doesn’t stop at Batman. All comic book characters are subject to it. Comics are art, and art instigates different emotions in the people that partake of it. OK, so this isn’t YOUR Thor, but Thor doesn’t belong to you. Ideologically speaking, Thor doesn’t really even belong to Marvel. The character can mean and represent something different to everyone. This female Thor is a new opportunity to expand and explore the artistic nature of Thor and see what kind of emotions it stirs in readers.
This is one of my all-time favorite Thor images, because he looks like a super-powered Zakk Wylde
Initially, I was confused when Marvel made this announcement on The View because I thought, “Middle-aged women are the View’s primary audience and they can’t make up more than 0.000003% of comic readers, right?” But then, after talking it out with my wife I stared to have some realizations.
First, this is a brilliant business decision. Do you know how many of those middle-aged women are going to head to a comic shop within the next week asking about the “girl Thor”? OK, probably not a ton, but a lot of them will. And this story-line leading up to the big event hasn’t really even kicked off yet. The previous story-arc just finished so it’ll be a few weeks before the next issue of Thor: God of Thunder even comes out. BUT… if comic-shop guys are smart, they’ll use this as an opportunity to sell books that are already out and sign up new pull-box customers. Don’t be an idiot. Sell comics to people who want them and make money. If you’re one of those “this is a gimmick!” people, you’re damn right it’s a gimmick. Comics live for gimmicks.
This especially applies to those of you who complain that they could have just made a new character. A new character would not bring in the same level of attention and financial gain. It’s art & entertainment, but it’s still about making money in the long run, so don’t be naive. It used to be that depicting women as nothing more than voluptuous sex-objects sold comics, now giving them the power of the gods and a big ass hammer sells comics. Excuse me while I evolve with the rest of society.
Oh yeah, Wonder Woman also once held Mjolnir so figure that out…
The other thing I realized about Marvel making this announcement on the View is this… If you’re in a business that has been heavily dominated by men for, literally, it’s entire existence, how do you reach out to a new demographic of readership and let them know that you’re thinking about them and you’re making decisions with their wants in mind? You meet them where they’re at. As I mentioned already, I’m not convinced that there are going to be many regular View… viewers(?)… Watchers(!)… that run to a local comic shop to pick up Thor, but now Marvel has extended that olive branch to show that they recognize women as an important part of the comics community, and not just for My Little Pony and The Vampire Diaries. They’re showing that real equality in comics is not batting an eye when a character changes gender cause we’re not either of us weaker or stronger than the other. (Except when it comes to birthing. Dudes cry when we get a zit popped. Birthing would annihilate us,)
Lastly, I want to share with you an analogy that this new direction of Thor brings to mind. Thor, a man’s man, a mighty god, becomes unworthy of his title and inept in his abilities and therefore his power and status are passed to a new, more worthy, bearer. Someone who just happens to be a woman. Thor is the comic book industry. A medium that has always been controlled by men but has been seeing an increase in female involvement throughout the decades, and we’re now seeing a more intentional integration of women in roles of leadership and creativity. To quote Odin: “You are unworthy of these realms, you’re unworthy of your title, you’re unworthy… of the loved ones you have betrayed! I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before, I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!” The men in charge have not always been responsible or respectful with the success they’ve been given, so it’s time somebody new stepped in to help. It doesn’t mean they’re going away entirely, it just means there’s more room for everyone who brings something of worth to the table.
I understand that many of you probably see this as some Feminist dribble, but I have never called myself a feminist. I just have this ridiculous idea that equality means women and men are capable of doing the same things and therefor deserve an equal amount of recognition and respect. In the comic book community this is often referred to as “heresy”.
Sad Thor accepts the consequences of his actions.
Your aversion to a female Thor means less than nothing to me. My 1 year old daughter is named Torunn, after the daughter of Thor, so trust me when I say, Thor is a big part of my life in general. When she grows up I’ll be proud to share with her the adventures of female Thor so she can see how strong and noble women can be depicted in comics. But, you know, go ahead and keep letting your children, your daughters, believe that the only option out there for them to have positive roles moles in comics are women with huge boobs and big asses that stand in the background and cheer on the men. That should work out just fine, and I bet you even won’t have to sell any of your collection for therapy or bail money.
I’ll end with this… I told my 7 year old son about the new female Thor last night. He looked a little confused about it at first and so I asked, “Does that bother you at all?” He replied, “No. I don’t care. Can I have more pizza?” And that folks, is what we should be aiming for… not indifference (as I’ve been gravely guilty of), but more unconcern. If a child can comprehend that a female Thor is no cause for alarm and worry, then how is it that we as grown men and women can’t? The next generation of comic book readers is at a much greater advantage. They accept that characters can evolve. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are some message boards that are running dangerously low on negative opinions about DC’s coming changes to Batgirl. THIS INJUSTICE WILL NOT GO UN-COMMENTED ON!