Thor is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby, the character first appears in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) and is based on the god of the same name from Norse mythology.
[H]ow do you make someone stronger than the strongest person? It finally came to me: Don't make him human — make him a god. I decided readers were already pretty familiar with the Greek and Roman gods. It might be fun to delve into the old Norse legends.... Besides, I pictured Norse gods looking like Vikings of old, with the flowing beards, horned helmets, and battle clubs. ...Journey into Mystery, needed a shot in the arm, so I picked Thor ... to headline the book. After writing an outline depicting the story and the characters I had in mind, I asked my brother, Larry, to write the script because I didn't have time. ...[A]nd it was only natural for me to assign the penciling to Jack Kirby....
Following Thor's debut in the science fiction/fantasy anthology title Journey into Mystery, the 13-page feature "The Mighty Thor" continued to be plotted by Lee but scripted by Lee's brother Larry Lieber or Robert Bernstein (working under the pseudonym "R. Berns"). Penciling was by either Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, Don Heck, or, for a single issue, Al Hartley. Then with Journey into Mystery #101 (Feb. 1964), the series began a long and definitive run by Lee and Kirby that lasted until the by-then-retitled The Mighty Thor #179 (Aug. 1970).
The five-page featurette "Tales of Asgard" was added in Journey into Mystery # 97 (Oct. 1963) followed by "The Mighty Thor" becoming the dominant cover logo with issue #104 (May 1964). The feature itself expanded to 18 pages in #105, which eliminated the remaining anthological story from each issue; it was reduced to 16 pages five issues later. Journey into Mystery was retitled The Mighty Thor with issue #126 (March 1966). "Tales of Asgard" was replaced by a five-page featurette starring the "The Inhumans", from #146–152 (Nov. 1967 – May 1968), after which featurettes were dropped and the Thor stories reverted to Marvel's then-standard 20-page length.
Once Kirby left the book, John Buscema and Neal Adams each drew a few issues. Buscema became the regular artist with issue #182 (Nov. 1970) and continued to draw the book almost without interruption until #278 (Dec. 1978). Lee stopped scripting soon after Kirby left, and during Buscema's long stint on the book, the stories were mostly written by Gerry Conway, Len Wein, or Roy Thomas. Thomas continued to write the book after Buscema's departure, working much of the time with the artist Keith Pollard, but for several years The Mighty Thor had a changing creative team.
Walt Simonson took over both writing and art as of #337 (Nov. 1983). Simonson's run as writer-artist lasted until #367 (May 1986), although he continued to write – and occasionally draw – the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987). He introduced many popular characters, such as Beta Ray Bill, in a popular and critically acclaimed run.
As a consequence of the "Heroes Reborn" crossover event of the 1990s, Thor was removed from mainstream Marvel continuity and, with many other Marvel characters, re-imagined in an alternate universe for one year. His series' title reverted to Journey into Mystery with issue #503 (Nov. 1996), and ran four different, sequential features ("The Lost Gods", "Master of Kung Fu", "Black Widow", and "Hannibal King") before ceasing publication with #521 (June 1998).
When Thor and the other heroes returned to the Marvel Universe, the 85-issue Thor vol. 2 was launched, premiering with #1 (July 1998). This series began using dual numbering, as if the original Thor series had continued unbroken, with issue #36 / #538 (June 2001). At the time, the Marvel Comics series begun in the 1960s, such as Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man, were given such dual numbering on the front cover, with the present-day volume's numbering alongside the numbering from the original series. Dan Jurgens was writer for a majority of this series' run, leaving with issue #79 (July 2004). Scot G. Eaton joined him, as penciller, on #68-79. They were followed by co-writers Daniel Berman and Michael Avon Oeming and penciller-inker Andrea Di Vito for the "Avengers Disassembled" crossover storyline through the final issue #85 / #587 (Dec. 2004)
Thor's principal foe is his adopted brother Loki, who has hated Thor since childhood. Although a master of magic, Loki usually avoids direct confrontations for fear of angering Odin. He is discreetly responsible for the creation and awakening of three of Thor's principal foes: the Absorbing Man; the Wrecker, and the Destroyer. On one noteworthy occasion, Loki's tactics are accidentally beneficial - although successful in using the Hulk to draw Thor into battle, it results in the formation of the superhero team the Avengers, of which Thor is a founding and longstanding member.
Thor's mortal foes include the Radioactive Man; Grey Gargoyle; and Wrecking Crew. Thor's Asgardian foes include the Storm and Frost Giants; the Enchanters Three;Mangog; the Midgard Serpent, the Enchantress and Executioner and the fire-demon Surtur. Thor has also faced a number of mystical and cosmic foes, such as Mephisto, Thanos, the God Eater, the Dark Gods, the Shi'ar Praetor Gladiator, and the god-slayer Desak. Thor has also encountered the Fourth Celestial Host when it arrives to judge Earth.
The majority of the second volume of the title deals with the consequences of Thor's decision to intervene in the affairs of Earth. After reluctantly assuming the throne of Asgard, Thor sees mortals at their worst and reshapes the world in his image.
A nightmarish future follows as Thor and the Asgardians conquer Earth and slay or imprison those who oppose them, including a young religious mutant called Davis; Zarrko the Tomorrow Man; Perrikus of the Dark Gods; the U.S. Government, and even his fellow Avengers. He marries Amora (the Enchantress), and has a son, Magni.
Wracked with guilt, Thor is eventually drawn into a final battle with Tarene and a Desak-occupied Destroyer in a time travel bid to undo what he has done. As soon as the timeline is reset, Loki revives Surtur, who forges new uru hammers for Loki's Storm Giant followers and begins Ragnarok, a.k.a. Götterdämmerung or "the twilight of the gods".
Thor learns that the Ragnarok cycle is the result of self-styled "gods to the gods" known as Those Who Sit Above in Shadow, who feed on the cycle. Thor confronts the Norns (Fates), breaking the Ragnarok cycle, and then enters a stasis, sleeping "the sleep of the gods." With his fate unknown to the Avengers, he is believed to be missing in action.
Thor's hammer Mjolnir is found on Earth and put under U.S. Army protection. Sometime later, the supervillain Doctor Doom is escaping from Hell as Mjolnir falls through that dimensional plane, and tries unsuccessfully to claim the hammer, which eventually comes into the possession of a man carrying a bag with the initials "D.B". During a battle in the superhero "Civil War" between pro- and anti-Superhuman Registration factions, Thor seems to appear and kills the superhero Goliath. This "Thor" is later revealed to be a fusion of cloning technology and cybernetics created by scientists Reed Richards and Henry Pym, and is destroyed by anti-registration superheroes Storm and Hercules.
Thor rebuilds Asgard in Broxton, Oklahoma, paying for the land with Asgardian treasure. He then learns of the events of the superhero-registration "Civil War" and is angered that Tony Stark (Iron Man) and others used his DNA to create a Thor clone that killed Black Goliath. Following a savage beating at the hands of his former ally, Stark, in a desperate offer to placate Thor, suggests Asgard may be considered a foreign embassy, with diplomatic immunity granted to its inhabitants. Thor accepts but warns that matters between them are far from settled and commences the search for his fellow Asgardians, and although successfully restoring them all (with the exception of Sif who is trapped in an old woman's body), does not attempt to find his father, Odin. He eventually finds his father in Valhalla, waging constant battle with the fire demon Surtur. There Odin advises his son that Thor must lead the Asgardians.
Thor later rescues and heals ally Beta Ray Bill, who after being given Mjolnir aids Thor in a battle against an invading force of alien Skrulls.
Thor is a superb hand-to-hand combatant, trained in the Asgardian arts of war, and has mastered most Asgardian weaponry, especially the war hammer, sword and mace. He is also cunning and intuitive in battle, with many centuries of experience. Thor possesses two items that assist him in combat: the enchanted Belt of Strength, and his mystical hammer Mjolnir. The first item doubles his attributes when he wears it (but physically drains him after wearing it), while the second is used for control of his weather abilities; flight; energy projection and absorption; dimensional apertures; matter manipulation and the most powerful of his offensives, the God Blast, and the Anti-Force. At one time, due to Odin's enchantment, while in Earth's dimension, Thor would revert to his mortal form if separated from his hammer for over sixty seconds. Thor has also worn a suit of Asgardian battle armor that he designed or a pair of strong iron gauntlets. He sometimes uses a chariot-like vehicle pulled by two large enchanted goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.
After Odin's death, Thor inherited his father's power, the Odinforce. Thor was then capable of feats such as reconstructing the Earth's Moon, willing the Asgardian monster Mangog into nothingness and, by focusing his entire power into a hammer throw, even decapitated a Desak-occupied Destroyer. Thor later briefly acquired mastery of the Runes, and a level of enlightenment that allowed him to free Asgard from the eternal cycle of Ragnarok, becoming even more powerful than his father.
Thor is a member of the superhero team the Ultimates in the Ultimate Universe. Despite his claims to be a Norse god, he is regarded by many to be delusional. When Thor summons an army of Asgardian warriors to fend off an attack by demonic forces commanded by Loki, the Ultimates realize he truly is a god.