Thor's History in the Media

Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2135 posts) - - Show Bio

With Marvel's The Avengers about to hit theaters, Lets take a look back of Thor, and his many appearances in TV and Movies.

The Marvel Super Heroes

Thor's first TV appearance came in 1966, in this animated series focused on a rotating cast of characters, including Iron Man, Captain America, Sub-Mariner and the Hulk. This "Animated Series" used comic book panels in poor manor.

Marvel Super-Heroes

At least directly adapted from the early Thor comic book stories, including villains like Loki, the Enchantress, Absorbing Man, Mister Hyde and the Destroyer.

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Spider-Man / Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

After taking time off in the '70s, Thor made his return to TV in the early '80s via appearances on two animated series focused on Spider-Man. The first was a cameo aimed at Marvel comic book fans in the 1981 solo Spider-Man animated series, where the guest starring Sub-Mariner rushes his injured cousin Namorita to a hospital where she is helped by none other than Thor's alter-ego, Dr. Donald Blake. Blake only has a couple of lines of dialogue, but Namorita praises "this handsome doctor."


However, the God of Thunder would get a much bigger spotlight in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode, "Vengeance of Loki" (coincidentally also a Marvel Super Heroes Thor episode title). This episode saw Thor and the "Spider-Friends" teaming up against the god of thunder's evil brother Loki, who has managed to transform himself so that he appears to be Thor himself. Though the wackiest part of this story involved Iceman having a bizarre love story of sorts with a towering Frost Giant woman, here called "Ice Giants."

The Incredible Hulk Returns

The most famous and infamous of Thor's TV appearances and the only time for decades, until the Thor feature film and now The Avengers, that the character ever appeared in live action. The Incredible Hulk Returns was the first of three TV movie reunions for The Incredible Hulk TV series, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. While the Hulk TV show rarely had any other super-powered characters, much less any Marvel-specific characters, the TV movies were seen as potential launching pads for new Marvel-based shows, and Thor was chosen as the first character to get a big guest starring spotlight.

Return of the Incredible Hulk

The only trouble was, The Incredible Hulk Returns was pretty awful. It lacked any of the pathos and drama The Incredible Hulk series had in its best episodes, and its portrayal of Thor was incredibly off from the comics. Let's forgive the fact that, like the Hulk, he's far less powerful than the comics, given the fact that the budget simply wouldn't allow for him to do what he does in the comics. Played by Eric Allan Kramer, He's more Hercules than Thor with his crazy manly attitude!

Comic book alter ego Don Blake was used, but in a completely different manner from the source material, where Blake (here a decidedly dorky former student of David Banner's) can summon Thor before him, rather than turning into him – by holding Thor's hammer and yelling, "Odin!" Oh, and apparently Thor is dead, since we see his skeleton when Blake finds his hammer and he laments his dead friends at one point. He's also not the brightest guy, who upon being summoned immediately screams for a drink while ripping apart important scientific equipment (apparently believing it's a refrigerator?) while bellowing, "Is there nothing to drink in this alchemist's den?" But hey, if you've wanted to see a scene in which Thor goes to a biker/honkytonk bar and dances, drinks and arm wrestles to crappy music, this is the TV movie for you!

The story involves the requisite "two heroes initially fight, but then team up against a common foe" scenario, in which Thor and Hulk battle, and then pit their collective might against a generic group of criminals – albeit one that includes awesome character actor Charles Napier. The highlight, as it were, may be the campy display of Hulk and Thor both growling and yelling at a helicopter as it escapes from them. Though, in 1988, that aforementioned Hulk vs. Thor fight was all Marvel fans had ever gotten in terms of seeing two big Marvel characters battle, as sad as that was, so I guess that's a highlight too? Suffice to say, fans weren't clamoring for more of this version of Thor and there never was an ongoing series.

The Fantastic Four / The Incredible Hulk

While never getting his own series, Thor popped up a few times in the semi-connected world of the 1990s-era Marvel animated series, played each time by the suitably powerful voice of John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones/Lord of the Rings). Thor first guest starred on The Fantastic Four animated series, in a story that found him seeking out the FF for help against the threat of Ego, the Living Planet. The most amusing part of this story was Thing's frustration with Thor, which led to Ben Grimm gripping, "You mean I owe my life to the 'Fabio of the Fjords?!'" A couple of episodes later, Thor briefly returned, to help the Fantastic Four battle Galactus, along with Ghost Rider. The end of the episode found Thor going along with Reed Richards' questionable (though comic book based) plan to save Galactus from dying, So he Thor just strikes lightning at him to energize the World Eater, well, if it isn't broke don't try to fix it!

Fantastic Four

The Rhys-Davies incarnation of Thor would also appear on an episode of the 1990s Incredible Hulk animated series. Thor did his best to befriend Hulk, who just wasn't having it, leading to a couple of tussles between the two. And while this animated series wasn't anything great, it certainly allowed for a bigger and better battle between the two than The Incredible Hulk Returns did.

Thor also made a very quick, silent cameo on an episode of X-Men, as one of three Marvel powerhouses (including Doctor Strange and The Watcher) who felt the dangerous presence of Phoenix, as her power built.

The Super Hero Squad Show

Back when Superhero Squad was on,this Thor was aimed at a decidedly young audience,and with purposely goofy versions of Marvel heroes. He's a bit of a cheapskate, and a braggart – sometimes coming off like the Thor version of The Tick. His adversaries, including Loki and Enchantress, remain intact, but the stakes are not exactly that high, nor are they meant to be.

The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Oh Brother!"

Though the most amusing part of this Thor's depiction may be the reveal that he was in a band in high school (yes, this Thor went to high school), as you can see around 3:45 into the clip below…

Thor's costume has actually been changed for Season 2 of the series, going from his more classic duds to a suit that looks more like his current comic book suit, which not so coincidentally also resembles the Thor movie costume.

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Thor's current TV gig is a far more straight-forward version, played much more seriously than The Super Hero Squad Show. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is the first ongoing series to focus on the core, A-list Avengers, adapting many stories from the comics – unlike the late 90s Avengers: United They Stand series, which Thor never had a chance to show up in.

This is the classic Thor, and probably the first time he's been portrayed as powerfully as he should, which means DON'T EFF WITH THOR! or Jane Foster

Check out Thor in action from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes below.

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Thor, If you find him annoying or bad ass, hes a Avenger, and you will see him in Marvel's The Avengers!

#1 Posted by majestic99 (8915 posts) - - Show Bio


Nice post. Although IMO Thor is depowered in Avengers: EMH, Thor the movie, and the upcoming Avengers Movie.


#2 Posted by Deadcool (6901 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article

#3 Posted by jeanroygrant (20442 posts) - - Show Bio

@Deadcool said:

Good article

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