Heroes: The Course of Comics to Movies Part 2: Thor
A continuation of my last article ‘Heroes: The Course of Comics to Movies’, which focused on Iron Man, this article will focus on The God of Thunder- and where the comics and movies meet.
For those of you just joining in, I hope you’ve taken time to read my last article located HERE! It took a dive into Iron Man’s origins from the days of his Vietnam beginnings and how the movie did just right in blending his origins (before the Extremis story-line) and where the movie took its own direction. A fellow Twitter-er had wanted me to do an article on the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, but I’m very unfamiliar with that subject. So before I did that, I want to go into Thor’s origins.
In the beginning, there was a time where comics and books were the only media that took your imagination to other realms. Over time, TV, movies, and even video games allowed our imaginations to stretch out and continue. Throughout that time, characters come and go, heroes would sometimes fall, and the villains would sometimes be the ones we'd cheer for. Our heroes were still all symbols we've looked up to, but as times changed, so did the heroes- most notably the transition from comics to movies. Ten years ago, if you would have told me I'd see The Avengers on the big screen, I wouldn't believe you. I look back at it, and I still can't believe it is happening. Some people don't know what has changed from the original comics, to the movies, meaning both origin stories, and what exactly we've been delivered in the media. I'll be providing one example where updates from originals helped benefits the movies we got today.
Before Thor came to Earth, there was another important character, which received a proper nod in last year’s Thor. Doctor Donald Blake, whom played a HUGE role in Thor’s origin, was arguably the main character in the comics. He was the Clark Kent of Marvel; by which he was Thor’s alter ego.
Thor’s back story remains very similar to last year’s movie; he was headstrong. Now here’s his comic origin:
To teach his son a lesson in humility, Odin sent Thor to Earth in the mortal body of a crippled medical student, Donald Blake. Stripped of his hammer, his powers and memories of being an Asgardian, Thor, as Blake, graduated medical school with top honors, gained a reputation as a caring family doctor and a brilliant surgeon, and opened a private practice in New York City. He worked beside a caring and skillful nurse, Jane Foster, and the two fell in love.
For the movie to even attack that, so much work would have been needed to be done in order to both pull the audience (fan boys and joe public) and give them something palatable. Would the movie focus on Thor, or Donald Blake? Both sharing screen time, might make things eerily similar to Superman for the audience. The movie would have to deal with the opening act- Thor losing his powers. The second act – Thor (Blake’s) story of being a doctor, having a love interest. Leading to the third act- 10 years later-Blake discovery and taking the charge as Thor. Lastly, the fourth act- Thor fighting off Aliens, returning to New York.
That would have been one hell of a crazy movie if it was pulled off exactly like the origins. Aside from absolute cheesiness, having a ‘norse’ version of Superman’s main attributes would harm the movie. I don’t mean Thor’s a direct copy of Superman, but if the movie had focused on the two egos, on top of a love story, origin story, and then the ending would enforce his true hero status, you’d have a similar themed movie. Comic wise, they are very different, but how did the movie succeed? Well it did everything in a much more creative and straightforward direction by borrowing from Thor’s Stan Lee origins, the ‘Ultimates’ universe, and J. Michael Straczynski’s run in 2007. The combination of stories allowed the movie to both stretch the realm of magic (science?) and deliver that rich comic experience we all cherish.
To wrap things up, how many of you readers knew this already? What about the subtle nod to Donald Blake in 2011’s Thor, did you pick up on that? I hope that this read helped enlighten those who had no prior knowledge, and for those who already knew this: I hope you remember that sometimes movies need to update their source of information. There will always need to be changes, for better or for worse. As always, comments and suggestions for future articles are welcome.
Don't forget to check out the first article:
Heroes: The Course of Comics to Movies!
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