Some people compare superheroes to mythical gods because of their supernatural powers (and for their all-too-human squabbles), and Marvel has made a mint on translating a Norse deity into a superhero with Thor. But beyond the borders of Asgard is a cornucopia of gods and demigods in the Marvel pantheon just waiting to be reawakened and put back into the fight. And I’m not talking about Marvel movies (although that’d be nice, too!). I’m talking about Marvel Comics’ staff bringing these heroes (and villains) of lore back into the mix.
Thor: The Dark World actress Jaimie Alexander donned her Sif garments again recently on a trip to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, spending an afternoon visiting with young patients. Marvel.com has posted a massive photo gallery of Alexander as Sif with many patients and staff, who were able to pose with the Asgardian warrior and in some cases, even hold her weapons. The actress also gave out signed Thor DVDs and posters.
Check out the highlights of Alexander’s trip to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles below.
Tony Swatton, the veteran armorer and master blacksmith who previously recreated the Dark Knight’s Batarangs and Captain America’s shield on his web series Man at Arms, is back to craft a replica of Thor’s hammer Mjolnir.
Apparently lacking uru, Swatton and his crew instead use materials like chromoly steel, bronze and other Midgard materials to forge the mighty weapon, which weighs 20 pounds hollow and will be 200 pounds when filled.
Looking back, the first Thor movie was a marvel, no pun intended. It was the first of the Marvel Studios films not to have Iron Man in it at all, plus it was the first major step toward what we would come to know as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Incredible Hulk was really its own little world, with a little Stark tacked on at the end to hint at the idea that was still forming. By the time Thor came out, the path toward a full fledged Avengers movie was on the horizon and Thor was our introduction to the next Earth’s Mightiest Hero.
Although the character is difficult to translate, Thor showed modern movie audiences a near-perfect tale of a god humbled, heroic triumph and the kick-ass design of a Jack Kirby-inspired Asgard. There was a flexibility of tone and style that showed us the fantastic was possible too in the Marvel world of science and technology; Thor even explains to Jane Foster and the audience very clearly that science and fantasy aren’t that far apart, sort of justifying the god’s association with more science-based characters. The movie had an amazing balance between so many different themes, it’s still my favorite Marvel movie yet.
Sequels to such great films can be incredibly difficult. On one hand, they can often flesh out the elements we liked from the original while trimming a bit of the fat (see Star Trek II vs. Star Trek: The Motion Picture). The second film can strike directly to the heart of the matter, rather than spend time telling audiences where they are and why they should care about the people on screen. On the other hand, reference can equal preference, and when the second movie is nothing like the first, it can fall flat if it’s not what we were expecting. Not everyone can return for the second movie, be they actors, directors or designers, so cracks can form if there’s not a consistency from one installment to the next. Others can complain if the next movie relies too heavily on the first, “continuity porn” showing up on angry Internet forums or from more casual movie-going folk. It’s a lot of concern to carry with you into a sequel.
The good news is that the god of thunder bears this weight heroically in Thor: the Dark Work. I can’t say he juggles it all effortlessly, I can’t say it doesn’t seem a little awkward and uneven at times, but all the troubles are carried in an impressive spectacle. Want to know more? Read on!
WARNING: No spoilers. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen any plot details that I might discuss, so click with confidence!
My favorite Thor-themed joke appeared in The Sandman, where the god of thunder delivers the off-color punchline “You’re Thor? I’m tho thore I can hardly pith!” But next on the list may be this groan-inducing yet adorable visual gag from Charmin — first, because deep down inside I’m 12 years old, and second … because it’s a toilet paper manufacturer.
Of course, I’m hesitant to mention to Charmin that Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, through the character Kate Bishop, made the same play on “Asgardian” eight years ago in Young Avengers #6 (below) — although, in fairness, it was in a wildly different context.
In a particularly timely installment of “Stan’s Rants,” the legendary Stan Lee once again brings into question Superman’s flying ability — “The man has no visible means of propulsion!” — and points to Marvel’s Thor as a prime example of comic-book flight done right.
“When Thor wants to fly, we use a scientific principle. He has his hammer, he has a leather thong attached to his wrist,” Lee explains. “He swings the hammer around faster and faster ’til it’s going like a propeller, and then he lets go of it — well, the hammer goes flying off into space, but the thong is wrapped around Thor’s wrist, so he goes with it. So you have hammer propulsion.”
Take that, Angry Nerd.
Earlier this year, rock-star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson calculated the weight of Thor’s hammer at 4.5 quadrillion pounds — roughly the same as 300 billion elephants — only for his comic-book knowledge to be called into question by another scientist, who pointed out that Mjolnir is forged out of fictional metal Uru and not neutron-star matter.
And now the hammer is in the scientific spotlight once again, but not for its weight or composition, but rather for its violation of the laws of physics.
Much like Marvel’s Iron Man display at San Diego a few years ago, their Thor throne display is finding new life at Disneyland. As announced in August, Thor will appear in Disneyland’s Innoventions area as part of Thor: Treasures of Asgard at Disneyland park.
The exhibit features “an epic collection of objects brought to Earth straight from Thor’s home world of Asgard,” which you can see below. You’ll also be able to walk across the Bifrost bridge to meet Thor.
For the past decade, a number of innovative toy companies have created unique vinyl figures that artists decorate, illustrate and deform to create all sorts of characters. And now artist Ryan “Rocketboy” McClure has created a quartet of Marvel designs based on Kidrobot’s Micro Munny figures that will leave your pocketbook wanting.
In addition to the above blood-splattered Punisher, Rocketboy has also produced custom takes on Thor, Captain America and Wolverine. In the past he’s done other designs such as an Archangel and a great Hulk using a Marshall figure and more. If you want one, head to Rocketboy’s website or Facebook page and drop a line.
In a rather vague announcement, Disney revealed today that it will bring more of the Marvel Universe to its theme parks this fall, when Disneyland guests will have a chance to visit Asgard and “come face-to-face” with Thor himself.
It’s obvious the attraction is designed to coincide with the Nov. 8 release of Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World, but beyond that, no details have been made public. More information is promised next month on the Disney Parks Blog.
Because it’s just not possible to get too much Loki, or too much Arrested Development, allow us to present … “Thorested Development,” Leigh Lahav’s note-perfect mash-up of the beloved comedy and the trailer for Thor: The Dark World.
Please, please, please let this be only the first video in a series.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed Marvel a significant victory this morning, upholding a 2011 ruling that Jack Kirby’s contributions to the publisher in the 1960s were work for hire, and therefore not subject to copyright reclamation by the artist’s heirs.
However, as Tom Spurgeon first reported, the appellate court vacated the New York district judge’s summary ruling against two of Kirby’s children, California residents Lisa and Neal, on jurisdictional grounds; the judgment against Susan and Barbara stands.
Secondarily, the Second Circuit upheld the lower court’s exclusion of expert testimony offered by John Morrow and Mark Evanier on behalf of the Kirby heirs, agreeing that “their reports are by and large undergirded by hearsay statements, made by freelance artists in both formal and informal settings, concerning Marvel’s general practices towards its artists during the relevant time period.”
Despite competition from cinematic upstarts like Iron Man, Wolverine and Captain America, Batman reigns as the most popular superhero on YouTube, with more than 3 billion views of a staggering 71,000 hours of video. But the character at No. 2 may surprise fans, and undoubtedly please Marvel Studios. Verily.
That’s according to research released today by the video-sharing website as part of its “Geek Week” celebration. The breakdown is based on keyword searches since 2008 for everything from film trailers to fan originals to video-game play.
Marvel has announced a line-up of merchandise for Comic-Con International that includes a Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. T-shirt, a Rocket Raccoon mug and, perhaps most adorably of all, Skottie Young’s Avengers movie poster (part of the Phase 1 Marvel Cinematic Universe Blu-Ray Collector’s Set) and glass tumbler.
The limited-edition pieces will be available at the Marvel booth (#2329) at the San Diego Convention Center. See the list, with images, below:
Marvel history is filled with grudges, the kind that aren’t settled with harsh words and tough love over warm tea. Nope, they’re settled with fists — or sometimes claws, hammers or psychic blasts. WeLoveFine celebrates three of these ongoing rivalries with some new shirts featuring playbills for the brawl-to-end-all: Professor X vs. Magneto, Thor vs. Loki and Wolverine vs. Sabretooth.
I have it on good authority that they’re hoping to do more of them, so who would you like to see next? Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus? Captain America vs. The Red Skull? Howard the Duck vs. Dr. Bong? Share your ideas in the comments section.