Comic book superhero character Thor, who first appeared in 1962 and is based on the Norse hammer-wielding god, will now be a woman.
The female Thor is an effort to bring new readers and to appeal to women and girls, whom Marvel said have long been ignored in comics. It will be the biggest change to its three largest comic characters, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.
“This is not She-Thor,” Jason Aaron, the writer of the new Thor series, said in a statement. “This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is Thor,” reported Reuters.
The new series will debut in October. Thor, which was created by comic book writer Stan Lee, has also been the subject of two blockbuster films. The movies, which have grossed $1.1 billion at the global box office, star Australian actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Fans were shocked to find out that for the foreseeable future, the long, blonde locks waving under Thor’s Norse helmet in the comic books will belong to a lady.
Fangirls, it turns out, are the greatest untapped resource of the comic book world, and they want to see more characters that look like them: 47% of comic fans are female, and women made up 62% of the Facebook fans of female comic characters (including Black Widow, Elektra and She-Hulk), according to Comics Beat, reported Time magazine.
In conversation with Time magazine, the writer and editor of the Thor comics, along with Marvel’s editor-in-chief, reveal why they made Thor a woman and how male and female fans have reacted.
Why make Thor a woman instead of creating a whole new female character in the series?
We can’t give away all the story details now obviously, but once the story is out there, it becomes clear why there’s a new female Thor. It’s not about filling a certain quota.
Has there ever been a female Thor before?
There have been occasional stories where a female has picked up the hammer; like there’s an X-Men story where Storm picked up the hammer. But there’s never been a female Thor.
She wields the hammer because Thor can’t. This is different because for reasons we can’t disclose quite yet, Thor is unable to pick up the hammer. One of the women in Thor’s life picks up the hammer. She is in fact worthy. And she becomes Thor. There’s only one Thor in the Marvel Universe. The character we know as Thor will not refer to himself as Thor anymore.
How do you think this will impact fans who have been following the male version of Thor for such a long time?
If you’re a long-time Thor fan you know there’s kind of a tradition from time to time of somebody else picking up that hammer. Beta Ray Bill was a horse-faced alien guy who picked up the hammer. At one point Thor was a frog. So I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before. The male Thor—he’s still going to be around. He’s still a character.
This is in some ways a continuation of everything that I’ve been doing on that. We’re not throwing out everything that’s come before.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.
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