I know there are a lot of people out there who will be going to see Thor this week, and I’m betting that a lot of these people have never read any of his comic adventures. I’m here to present a few comics that are worth checking out if after you leave the theater you want to check out some of the god of thunder’s printed adventures.
If you want to check out the original stories that brought the god of thunder into the Marvel universe, there are two ways to do that. If you’re on a budget, you can pick up a volume of Essential Thor (there are 5 volumes currently available). These are nice black and white reproductions of the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stories (along with other creators in the later volumes) and each volume has about 25 issues each, so you get a lot of value. If you have a bit more money to spend, you might track down a copy of The Mighty Thor Omnibus. This is a massive hardcover that collects almost 40 issues’ worth of material and presents them in beautiful color. It is a little bit pricier, and may not be for the casual fan.
If you’re looking for a more modern take on Thor, you’ll want to check out Thor by J. Michael Straczynski (three trade paperbacks available and one hardcover collecting the whole run). Straczynski has his critics in comic book circles, but his run on Thor re-introduced the character into the Marvel universe after he’d been away for a while and featured spectacular art by Olivier Coipel and Marko Djurdjevic. It also featured the redesign of the character that is used primarily in the movie.
If you want to get caught up on the most recent adventures of Thor, you’ll want to read anything that Matt Fraction has done. So, you have a couple of choices; you can jump into his new series, The Mighty Thor (the first issue came out last week). It’s a good jumping-on point and features more stunning art by Olivier Coipel. If you want to get Fractions’s entire run, you’ll have to track down the issues 615 through 621 of Thor, or you can wait until next month when the Thor: The World Eaters hardcover comes out. Either way should get you up to date on what’s going on in Thor’s corner of the Marvel U.
If you’re looking for one of the most celebrated runs in all of Thor’s history in the Marvel universe, then you will want to pick up the recently released Walt Simonson Thor Omnibus. This one is a little pricey as well, but features all of Walt Simonson’s classic run from the 80’s and has a lot of great stories in it. Simonson’s art is a wonder to behold, and he is able to convey Thor’s power in a way few artists have ever been able to.
Finally, if you’re looking for a different take on the character, pick up the two volumes of Thor: The Mighty Avenger by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee. The Mighty Avenger is an all-ages book that retells Thor’s story, and will probably feel a lot like the movie in terms of his relationship with Jane Foster. The art by Samnee is unlike any of the other artists on the books I’ve listed above. He doesn’t use a “classic” comic book style, but his clean style is totally unique. The only problem with the series is that you can tell Langridge had a longer story in mind before the series was canceled. Still, it is a totally unique take on the character, and well worth your time.
I hope I’ve given you a good selection of books to check out. Any of these titles have their own take on the character while presenting tons of action and good old fashioned Thor speak. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I hope it lives up to some of the classic runs that Thor has had in his history. Now get thee to yonder bookstore!