Why Female Thor is Actually Awesome
Two days ago, Marvel announced that the new Thor storyline would change his sex from male to female. Since then, a fair amount of support and disdain has arisen. Most support seems to be coming from people who just want more women in comics. Most antagonism has revolved around changing a beloved character just to push an agenda. Those would both be valid viewpoints if they were referencing a fundamental shift in Thor’s premise or a retcon. They aren’t.
Look, I understand the resistance to this change. I’m not going to pretend that I’m one of those lucky people who don’t feel the pinch of cynicism when they find out that one of the staples of their childhood has been altered in a way that makes it more acceptable to changing social norms. It feels like pandering, right? It’s insulting to your intelligence. They’re –unintentionally and in a small way– suggesting that you were wrong for enjoying the previous version for what it was. Well, breathe a sigh of relief. That isn’t happening here.
Much of what the current population knows about Marvel’s Thor comes from the films. That Thor is, and always has been, the son of Odin. He’s an Asgardian warrior who takes a field trip to Earth every once in a while to dote on some smug lady who doesn’t have a clear purpose in the films, rather than valuing the amazing, beautiful, capable, and powerful woman at his side.
The point is that Thor is the name of some guy from space. Trying to imagine how he could just become a woman overnight, or that a woman could be him by just picking up his hammer doesn’t make a lot of sense. Well, that’s because the Thor of the comics and the Thor of the films are two very different characters.
The original Marvel Thor was a crippled doctor named Donald Blake, who found an enchanted staff in the mountains. When he rapped the staff on the ground, both he and it transformed. It became Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor, and he became a demigod. The hammer had an inscription that read “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” Donald Blake was the first worthy creature to find the staff.
Inheriting the power of Thor would be interesting enough, but it actually gave Doctor Blake Thor’s mind. He gained the knowledge and relationships of Thor as well. Donald Blake was a man, and Thor was a demigod, but they both shared the same body. This internal struggle for control was one of the many things that made Thor interesting to read in my younger years. It was a mature concept; power, responsibility, and self-control.
… For the five of you that actually got that joke, Nerdy Show offers its most sincere apologies.
Thor has been many different people over the years, yet many more have held the hammer. Those that proved worthy but remained themselves did so because Thor already had an earthly avatar.
It could be awful, but it could also be amazing.
How badass does Thor look in these? Was the lipstick the host’s idea, or has Thor secretly wanted to be pretty all along?
Okay, I hate the lipstick. Everything else looks great.
What is perhaps most exciting about this is that DC Comics can’t ignore it. If you just look at the storylines that Thor has led in the past and imagine the demigod as a woman, she becomes the version of Wonder Woman that we’ve always wanted but has never truly been delivered.
The New 52 and New Frontier depictions of WW were good, but neither of them got close enough to the Conan-esque adventure her character demands. I think we’ve had enough of Wonder Woman fighting supervillains or Greek mythology. Give us Diana of Themyscira wading through the undead to shatter an unholy lich’s evil empire, leaving the weak and cowardly battered and shaking in her wake.
Is that something you’d like to read? If so, that is exactly what Marvel is bringing to the table. If you show up at the comic store for it, DC will notice.