He's also been Captain America, a Christian priest, a clone, a construction worker, a crazy person, a cult member, a divorced architect, a doctor with a bad leg, a dog, an exile from Asgard, a frog, a heathen priest, a horse-headed space alien, Lord of Asgard, a paramedic, Storm, a TV cameraman and a zombie. At the moment, those are the ones I can remember. I may have missed a few status updates.
|Marvel swears female Thor is forever.|
Forever? Forever ever? Forever ever?
Given the above, please excuse me for yawning while reading the breathless responses in mainstream media and social media to the Marvel Comics announcement that Thor will now be a woman. I hadn't even bothered to follow links to read any of the "news" stories, but people keep forwarding them to me and asking for my thoughts. I finally did some clicking around, and all was as I expected.
Marvel Comics editor Wil Moss insists, "This new Thor isn't a temporary female substitute – she's now the one and only Thor." As a check on the definitiveness of this definitive statement, please refer to the above list of the company's thunder god incarnations.
The more popular the character, the less permanent the change. Superman stayed dead for less than a year. The reports of the deaths of Batman, Captain America and many other household names have also been greatly exaggerated.
|One of the female Captain Marvels|
Changes of race, gender and sexual preference of supporting characters have also been used to generate media attention and sales. Jewish Lesbian Batwoman got a lot of press. Asian Batgirl brought new attention to the character, for a time – then she moved aside for the return of White Batgirl. Female Robins have come and gone. Captain Marvel (Marvel version) seems to change gender every few years.
Marvel gained a lot of attention for its Thor titles when Loki became female. When that novelty wore off, he became a teenage boy. When that novelty wore off, he was zapped back to his original adult age – thus skipping the awkward post-collegiate years when he moves back into Odin's basement and plays video games while "looking for a job."
|Female Loki on Marvel's commitment to "female-centrism"|
The Marvel website claims that the new female Thor is part of some wonderful empowerment plan for young American women: "THOR is the latest in the ever-growing and long list of female-centric titles that continues to invite new readers into the Marvel Universe. THOR will be the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for super hero comic books in America: women and girls."
Most people reacting to the Female Thor press release seem to have missed this little tidbit from IGN News: "The original Thor will still be operating in the Marvel Universe, however. He will now be wielding his magical god-slaying ax Jarnbjorn, which he used back in his younger days."
|Balder dead? What will they think of next?|
Do you think "the original Thor" will get his hammer back in time for the third Thor movie? Will Marvel re-start his comic book series with a Special Collector's Item First Issue in the lead-up to the film? Can we expect an iconic cover of Classic Thor holding the dead body of Not-a-Temporary-Female-Substitute Thor?