Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, is one of the most recognisable Marvel characters and was introduced into the Marvel Universe when Stan Lee decided that he wanted a superhero that was stronger than The Hulk. Since his introduction in 1962, Thor has become one of Marvel’s most popular characters and has risen in popularity in recent years due to Chris Hemsworth‘s portray of the character. With this popularity there has been a demand in the Thor comics, so I’ve made a list of the Thor comics you should read. Spanning over the decades, these are some of the best Thor comics that there is to offer.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Era
Plotted and written by Stan Lee. Written by Larry Lieber. Art by Jack Kibry.
Journey Into Mystery was originally a horror comic featuring supernatural situations and giant monsters until issue #83, when Thor was introduced to the world. The premise of the early Thor comics was that Thor had been sent down to Earth by Odin in so he could be taught humility. Thor was placed into the body of Donald Blake and it was not until his discovery of the legendary Mjolnir that Thor was set free.
Many of the stories in this era of Thor involved the character living a double life. Posing as Donald Blake he would treat people in a private practice, while the other part of his life involved him fighting aliens, monsters and super-villains. Many characters were introduced in this era including Loki, Jane Foster, Absorbing Man, The Destroyer and The Enchantress just to name a few.
While there are some great stories, I would not recommend this if you are very new to comics. I only say this as comics from the 1960’s can feel dated at times and are generally more appreciated if you have some comic reading experience. So it might be best if you brand new to comics read the other suggestions first then come back to this.
This begins with Journey Into Mystery #83 and continues through to Thor #177 (Journey Into Mystery was renamed Thor with issue #126). The best way to read these comics are either in the Essential collections (volumes 1-4), cheap black and white phone-book style collections, or the Marvel Masterworks collections (volumes 1-9), which are restored and recoloured collections.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger
Written by Roger Langridge. Art by Chris Samnee.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger is an all ages Thor comic that began in 2010. The series was big, fun and had plenty of laughs and was truly an all ages comic. Not only would it appeal to children but there was plenty of substance that adults would appreciate it too. Many cameos were made throughout the series including Iron Man, Fing Fang Foom and Namor the Submariner.
Sadly, the series was cancelled after only 8 issues due to low sales. Although, I can guarantee you that the low sales were not due to its quality; but more due to the nature of the market where all ages comics generally sell low numbers and that there are many people who are not willing to read a comic if it is not in continuity. This is a shame as it was Thor: The Mighty Avenger was a great title that more people should have read.
The best way to read this Thor: The Mighty Avenger would be in trade paperback, with all 8 issues collected into one edition.
Thor by J. Michael Straczynski
Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Art by Olivier Copiel and Marko Djurdjevic.
After many years of death, J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5) resurrected Thor to much critical and fan applause. This particular run saw Thor attempt to come to grips with a world where most of Marvel’s heroes were divided and have him figure out where his place in Marvel Universe is.
The series not only focuses on Thor but many of the supporting cast, allowing them to shine. The reader receives plenty of character development from Loki, Balder and many other Asgardian characters. Speaking of Asgard, this series introduces the relocation of Asgard to Oklahoma and how that effects those nearby.
Thor: God of Thunder
Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Esad Ribic and Ron Garney.
Thor: God of Thunder is the current series of Thor comics, which started in late 2012. The series began with an interesting approach, being told from the perspective of Thor from three different points in time as he investigates who has been killing gods. It is an interesting dynamic as it allows to shows character development throughout the centuries and how he has changed. Later stories see Thor return to Earth to try to find his place in the world, and where does he go when he is not saving the world with the Avengers?
The series mixes a dark tone, with seriousness and plenty of big scale action to create a series that has been critically acclaimed and enjoyed by fans.
Thor: The God of Thunder ran for 25 issues, but has since been continued in the form of new series Thor – which featured the much discussed and mysterious female Thor. Both series are written by Jason Aaron and are collected in multiple trade paperback collections.
Walter Simonson Era
Written Walter Simonson. Art by Walter Simonson and Sal Buscema.
Walt Simonson had a long and celebrated run as the writer and artist of Thor throughout the 80s, that has even been described as one of the greatest Thor comics of all time. His run defined the character to this day but was also filled with grand adventure and epic battles.
During the run that spans over 35 issues, there have been many notable stories including the introduction to Beta Ray Bill, a three issue story in which Thor was turned into a frog, Thor battling the World Serpent, the death of Odin and many more. What made these stories so great were that they use fantastic ideas told on a grand scale. Additionally, the art complements these epic stories quite well with plenty of detail, with art leaping from the page. Walt Simonson’s use of line greats emphasis that allows big moments and battles to become truly epic, allowing for a great read.
This era of Thor comics is collected in one giant omnibus as well as reprinted in smaller editions. The first two of these editions are currently available with a third available in December and more to come in 2014.
Have Your Say! What is You Favourite Thor Comic?
Did you check out any of these Thor comics? If you did let us know what you thought of them. Also do you have any favourite Thor comics? If so let us know! You can do so at the comments below or or via Facebook or Twitter.
Trevor Van As
Trevor Van As is the founder of How to Love Comics and has loved comics all his life. When he's not reading or talking about comics he can be found eating frozen yogurt and dancing like no one is watching.