Episode 145: Thor - Marvel vs. Myth

You might know Thor from mythology, Marvel movies, and comic books. But do you know how these various versions compare? This week, Julia walks us through the origins of Thor’s mythology. Then we sit down with the incredible comic historian Lorraine Cink to talk about the god’s transition into the world of Marvel. 

Get tickets to our Boston show now! And, get ready to get nerdy as you help us decide the future of Spirits and Multitude by taking the 2019 Multitude survey. This week, Julia recommends To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers.

Content Warning: This episode contains conversations about war, animal death, violence, and human sacrifice.


- Lorraine Cink is a host at Marvel Comics and the author of Powers of a Girl.


- Skillshare is an online learning community where you can learn—and teach—just about anything. Visit skillshare.com/spirits2 to get two months of Skillshare Premium for free! This week Amanda recommends “ODD BODIES: Illustrating Expressive, Stylized People” by Tom Froese.

- Warby Parker is our go-to destination for eyeglasses. Order your free home try-ons at warbyparker.com/spirits.

- Honeybook: A purpose-built business management platform for creative small businesses. Get 50% off your first year on HoneyBook.com/SPIRITS.

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About Us

Spirits was created by Julia Schifini, Amanda McLoughlin and Eric Schneider. We are founding members of Multitude, a production collective of indie audio professionals. Our music is "Danger Storm" by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com), licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.


Amanda:            Welcome to Spirits Podcast, a boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore. Every week, we pour a drink and learn about a new story from around the world. I'm Amanda.

Julia:                    And I'm Julia.

Amanda:            And this is episode 145. Thor: Marvel versus Myth.

Julia:                    I'm really excited, because if you're listening to this episode, tomorrow, on Thursday, Mike Schubert is going to be arguing that Thor is the best original Avenger in Head, Heart, Gut. It's just like a Thor filled week.

Amanda:            It absolutely is, and what a worthy character. I thought I liked Thor a lot before we did this episode, but we got to learn so much more about the mythological origins and also talked to a Thor expert about Thor in the Marvel Comics Universe. It was so much fun.

Julia:                    Yeah. Lorraine is the absolute best. It was such a delight to get to talk to her for the back half of this episode.

Amanda:            I learned so much more about the Thor comics than I ever thought I would.

Julia:                    We talk about D&D. We talk about Ru Paul's Drag Race. We talk about squirrels. It's a very fun interview. You guys are going to love it. Yeah, it's going to be real, real good. But first, why don't we talk about another thing that delights us as much Thor, Amanda?

Amanda:            Ah, Julia. What a perfect segue. We would love to welcome our newest patrons, Aura, Bethany, Chris, Michael, Kenna, and Isabel, who joined the ranks of our supporting producer level patrons. Audra, Jack Marie, Cody, Mark, Mr. Folk, Sandra, and Sarah. And our legend level producers, those legends of stage, screen, myth, Marvel, and spirits. Phillip, Eeyore, Jessica, Josie, Marissa, Megan, Mercedes, Neil, Phil Fresh, Samantha, Sammy, and Skyla.

Julia:                    What wonderful human beings. I love them all so much.

Amanda:            Absolutely wonderful. I also like the drink we made for this episode, Julia, maybe a little bit too much. We describe it in the episode, but give us a high level overview.

Julia:                    So yeah. Normally, if we were talking about Norse mythology, I would recommend a beer or a mead, because those are very traditional drinks, but I really wanted a cocktail, so I decided it's a cross between Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey as a base, which is typically a honey-based alcohol, and then I included limoncello, which I made myself.

Amanda:            It's deadly.

Julia:                    And then a little bit of fresh lemon as well.

Amanda:            Shout out to Editor Eric's girlfriend Kelsey, who at Julia's wedding last weekend, which was absolutely fabulous, made a gin and tonic with limoncello. Throughout the course of the night maintained complete composure. Looked radiant, and lots of fun, and just like a regular wedding guest, and also managed to drink an entire bottle of limoncello, by which I mean like a four ounce bottle. It was still a lot of limoncello to me. Anyway, she is a boss.

Julia:                    What a goddess.

Amanda:            Truly. Speaking of which, Julia, I know that you were busy getting married this past week, but did you have any books, recommendations, music, podcasts that gave you a little bit of escapism, a little bit of calm?

Julia:                    Yeah, I actually woke up really, really early the day of my wedding and couldn't get back to sleep, as one does, and I brought with me a little novella from my girl, Becky Chambers, who wrote The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet-

Amanda:            So good.

Julia:                    ... which I've recommended on the show before. This one is called To Be Taught, If Fortunate, which is about the first interstellar astronauts that the Earth sends to other planets that they believe host life. It's really, really good, and really, really interesting. It's kind of about what we do when we forget about our journeys and our goals.

Amanda:            Fabulous. Oh my goodness. That sounds so good.

Julia:                    It was very, very good. Really happy with it.

Amanda:            We also have two very exciting announcements to share with you. Number one, we are going to be in Boston for Multitude Live on October 10th. We are so, so, so excited about this show. Julia is going to her home away from home, where she went to college. We get to visit our many friends and listeners who live in the Boston Area. That's October 10th. We do expect it to be a pretty full house, so please grab your tickets now if you're planning on making it. That's at Multitude.Productions/Live.

Julia:                    Our live shows are the best. I really, really enjoy doing them, and I think that they are ... I've been to a lot of podcasting live shows before. I think that the Multitude ones do it way differently than everyone else does. If you have been to a podcasting live show, and you were like, "Yeah, this is pretty good," come to the Multitude ones. We might blow you out of the water.

Amanda:            We absolutely may. As well as our friend, Helen Zaltzman, who's doing The Allusionist live the night before. Come do a podcasting double feature, have a wonderful night. Bring a friend, a loved one, a date from Bumble, or Hinge, or whatever the kids are using these days. Come on over. It's going to be great.

Julia:                    I don't know what the kids are using these days.

Amanda:            I know. You've been out of the game much longer than me.

Julia:                    That's fair.

Amanda:            Finally, it's kind of the most exciting time of the year for us at Multitude, because we just launched our annual listener survey. Why are you laughing?

Julia:                    I love that you're just like, "Ah, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Survey time. Data collection."

Amanda:            It is, Julia, because we get to refresh the webpage and watch people's responses pour in. We ask you not just what you think of the shows, and of Multitude as a whole, but where we should bring our live shows next year, what kind of merch we should be making next. If you have plants, or pets, or I don't know, kids.

Julia:                    It is very exciting. We like to talk to our listeners. I just love when Amanda geeks out about data.

Amanda:            Also, it's the best survey anyone's ever going to take. Right now, throwing down the gauntlet. Listen, I'm taking on the mantle of Thor and saying that there's only few people who are worthy of writing consumer research surveys. One of them is me. There's lots of emojis. It is fun. There is a cute photo at the end. Trust me, you're going to love it.

Julia:                    There is a very cute photo at the end. I love that photo.

Amanda:            Please. It'll take about 10 minutes. It's the length of a very moderate bathroom break, or a short coffee break, or a very quick lunch. That's Multitude.Productions/Survey.

Julia:                    Then, if you tweet about it afterwards like Amanda recommends you do, I will send you a cute thank you gif.

Amanda:            Yay. Or put it on your Insta story.

Julia:                    That's a gif, as in a moving image on the internet. Not a gift as in a thing I will send to you.

Amanda:            Julia, your social media is a gift.

Julia:                    Thank you.

Amanda:            Well, we're not going to hold you any longer from this absolutely wonderful episode, so please enjoy Spirits Podcast episode 145, Thor: Marvel versus Myth.

Julia:                    Amanda, here's a fun fact for you.

Amanda:            Okay.

Julia:                    When you Google Thor in this very moment, the first thing that you see is the article about Natalie Portman returning for Marvel's fourth Thor movie, to be playing Thor, which is very cool.

Amanda:            I think it's fucking awesome. I can't wait.

Julia:                    I'm very, very excited. It's actually one of my favorite storylines from the Thor, in recent years, from the Thor franchise. I'm stoked to see it on the big screen. On the first page of Google, though, Amanda, there's nothing about the Norse god. On the second page of Google, there is nothing about the Norse god. It takes until the third page before we see something mythology related.

Amanda:            I mean, fair enough. I think, probably, a lot of people don't know that Thor is based on real life traditions and mythology, because we just love our Hemsworth and now our Portman.

Julia:                    It's true. We do love our Hemsworth and our Portman.

Amanda:            And our sweet, sweet Tessa Thompson. I think, also, almost my favorite of all would be Tom Hiddleston as Loki. So good.

Julia:                    So Amanda, today, I want to play a little game with mythology, and how we change it to adapt to pop culture. I am calling it Thor: Marvel versus Myth.

Amanda:            Ooh, I like this.

Julia:                    Thank you to Eric Silver for the idea for this episode, because I am very excited about it. I am going to start this episode out by giving you the lowdown of classic Thor from Norse mythology.

Amanda:            Can't wait. I'm ready.

Julia:                    Before we get started, I want to talk about what we're drinking this week, because as always, we have a beverage in hand. While beer and mead would be kind of be pretty accurate to either version of Thor, I wanted to make a cocktail. I'm always craving a cocktail.

Amanda:            Me too. Especially in the summer. I don't want all that volume of liquid necessarily.

Julia:                    Yeah, exactly. This one reminds me of lightning streaking across the sky, and since it's still summertime, I wanted to do something that was a little bit more refreshing, right? It has Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey as the base. It also has limoncello, blue curacao, and some fresh lemon juice in there. Please, take a sip, let me know what you think.

Amanda:            Oh, oh. I could drink this all day. Oh, it's too smooth, Julia. Too smooth.

Julia:                    Very refreshing. I like it.

Amanda:            Too smooth.

Julia:                    A little bit of honey, which kind of represents the mead and stuff from the classic Norse, and then the shock of the lemon, I think, is really, really nice. Okay, so let's get into it, all right?

Amanda:            I'm ready.

Julia:                    Amanda, take a moment and do your best to describe to me what Thor looks like.

Amanda:            Okay. Well, my impression of him is white, blonde hair, maybe shoulder length, like longer hair, extremely built male.

Julia:                    Actually, there's very little indication in Norse mythology and prose that Thor was blonde. In fact, one of his epithets or names was Redbeard. He was often described as being fierce eyed, red haired, and red bearded. Most of the confusion over the blonde version of Thor comes from the fact that in the prologue of the Prose Edda, they say that Thor's quote, "Hair is more beautiful than gold."

Amanda:            I mean, lots of things are more beautiful than gold.

Julia:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amanda:            I get it.

Julia:                    Silver, for instance.

Amanda:            Yeah.

Julia:                    I think silver, prettier than gold.

Amanda:            Me too. Rose gold. All kinds of things.

Julia:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative). White gold.

Amanda:            Titanium.

Julia:                    In a lot of ways, Thor is, in fact, that archetype of the kind of warrior that was held as the golden standard for the Norse warriors. Get it? Golden standard?

Amanda:            Very good. Very good.

Julia:                    He's prettier than gold.

Amanda:            I like it.

Julia:                    He is loyal. He is honorable. He never tires in his duty to protect Asgard, which is the home of the Norse gods. He's obviously extremely strong. Like any good warrior in Norse mythology would be, or just in Norse tradition would be.

Amanda:            Must be all the mead. That really keeps it going.

Julia:                    Yeah, it's really just, it powers through. It's like spinach with Popeye. His most notable weapon, being the strong, strong man that he was, was Mjölnir, which did you know it translates directly to lightning?

Amanda:            No.

Julia:                    Yeah. That's a fun fact for you.

Amanda:            Does it draw lightning canonically, or is it more just like endlessly throwable hammer?

Julia:                    Actually, Amanda, give me a moment. Describe to me what you know about Mjölnir.

Amanda:            I know that only the worthy can lift it, a la, like King Arthur's sword. I know that he can sometimes draw the powers of lightning through it. Like you put it up in the sky and it's a little lightning rod, and you can do something with it. And that he can also throw it boomerang-style and summon it to him at any time.

Julia:                    Ah, okay. Good. You covered all the things that I wanted you to cover.

Amanda:            Yay.

Julia:                    In order to use Mjölnir in mythology, Thor does not have to be worthy like he does in the comics. He wears a special belt that allows him to lift the hammer and use it appropriately.

Amanda:            Really?

Julia:                    Like a magic weightlifting belt, like you see those hardcore guys at the gym wear, and I personally find this very hilarious. I don't know why.

Amanda:            Or like movers will wear a back bracing belt. That's so funny. Wow.

Julia:                    Amanda, you mentioned the ability for Thor to throw the hammer and then summon it back to him.

Amanda:            Yes.

Julia:                    Did you know that it's not just something he can do because he's like soul-bound to the hammer?

Amanda:            Julia, is it magnets?

Julia:                    It's not magnets.

Amanda:            No.

Julia:                    He actually has magic gloves that allowed him to call the hammer back to him.

Amanda:            Oh.

Julia:                    Yes, interesting.

Amanda:            I love this focus on accessorizing and making tools.

Julia:                    You see that in Greek mythology, too, where it's these additional things that allow the person to do the things. Like Hermes is able to fly with his winged sandals.

Amanda:            Yeah, that makes total sense.

Julia:                    Or Eros is able to do love stuff with the arrows.

Amanda:            Love stuff.

Julia:                    Shut up. Also, Thor can't just whip around his hammer and fly, Amanda, like you see a lot in the movies and the comics. In fact, in the original mythology, he's said to ride a chariot across the sky, which is drawn by two goats whose names are ... they translate to Tooth Gnasher and Tooth Grinder.

Amanda:            Yes. Oh no, but ... Oh no. Julia, what if the goats have anxiety? Is that why they're grinding their teeth?

Julia:                    No, I hope not.

Amanda:            Oh. I think they're more just like chomping at the bit, you know?

Julia:                    Yeah. I think that's also just a thing that goats do. You know how cows-

Amanda:            They do, they do.

Julia:                    ... chew cud, yeah.

Amanda:            They chew anything. Dumb goats. Just stand on stuff and chew stuff.

Julia:                    That's true. They eat it all, they eat it all. To Marvel's credit, they do sometimes appear in the comic series, Tooth Gnasher and Tooth Grinder, but mostly Thor is flying around via spinning Mjölnir a whole bunch.

Amanda:            Yeah. I mean, it's harder to have your chariot and goats waiting for you when you have to make an escape, you know?

Julia:                    That's true, that's true. If you're riding into battle, usually you'll have goats on hand, I guess, or a chariot on hand. Maybe not goats on hand. I wish I always had a goat on hand.

Amanda:            I know. So do I. Just a little goat to pet.

Julia:                    Just a small goat.

Amanda:            And won't make me sneeze.

Julia:                    Small goat to do a-

Amanda:            Small goat.

Julia:                    ... to do a ride with.

Amanda:            Little friend.

Julia:                    In terms of worship, Thor was perhaps the most popular of the gods, which is interesting, because he wasn't the head of the Pantheon.

Amanda:            Oh, I always wondered about that, because there is a plot line in the movies about him taking over his father's, I don't know, kingship or rulership, but I sort of assumed that he had some kind of position of authority. You're saying more like he's a crowd favorite.

Julia:                    Yeah, he's a crowd favorite. People really liked him, and I'll tell you why. According to speculations from a few scholars. Odin, the Allfather, the head of the hierarchy in Norse mythology, he was not as popular because he occasionally demanded human sacrifice while Thor did not.

Amanda:            Sure, yeah.

Julia:                    That'll do it. But, you know, Odin's powers were much more influential, and Odin was one of the few male gods who had control over magic. He had a lot of influence. Thor was also viewed as the great protector of all who were good, whereas most of the other gods and goddesses were patrons to a specific group, like kings, or poets, are thieves. Stuff like that.

Amanda:            That's awesome.

Julia:                    Thor was the happy warrior. He was described as indomitable, indefatigable ... Indefatigable is a new word.

Amanda:            Indefatigable.

Julia:                    What is it?

Amanda:            Indefatigable. Tireless. Tireless is a synonym.

Julia:                    Tireless is a good word for it, and much less complicated than that one, that we just struggled with.

Amanda:            I know. It sounds like you're saying the F word in the middle of it.

Julia:                    Also steadfast in his defense of Asgard. At the time that the Vikings began to occupy Iceland, for instance, more than a quarter of the population had names that were giving honor to Thor, such as Thorkell or Thorgest.

Amanda:            Oh, those are great names.

Julia:                    Yeah. Those are very good names. I'm really, really ... I want to name all of my future fictional characters after Thor names.

Amanda:            Also, that's wishing a great future for your kid. Being a favorite, being cheerful, being strong. I love that.

Julia:                    Yeah. Untiring.

Amanda:            Yeah.

Julia:                    Endlessly protecting the good. It's nice.

Amanda:            So good.

Julia:                    It reminds me of the Puritan aspirational names.

Amanda:            Yeah, only it's not calling your newborn child Chastity.

Julia:                    Or like, "Thou shall not commit adultery."

Amanda:            Yeah. Okay, Dad. Thanks.

Julia:                    Interestingly, Mjölnir amulets were also extremely popular items of protection that were worn by the Norse.

Amanda:            Oh shit. Love that.

Julia:                    Also, easily could be found after the rise of Christianity. It's something that persisted even after Christianity kind of got its hold on Europe.

Amanda:            Cool.

Julia:                    Thor wasn't just the hero of Asgard, of course, but he went out of his way to protect Midgard, which is the world of the mortals and humanity, which is why he was probably so beloved. He wasn't separate from the mortals. He was out there doing battle and protecting them as well as the Asgardians.

Amanda:            I think the most charming part of Marvel's Thor as well is just his absolute charmedness and love for humans and human things.

Julia:                    That's true. He does love a human. While Thor could be destructive, he was out there fighting off giants who wanted to destroy both Asgard and Midgard, as well as the serpent, Jörmungandr, who was said to swim in the great ocean that encircles Midgard and is so huge it bites its own tail. Remember, we talked about Ouroboros a couple episodes ago?

Amanda:            We did.

Julia:                    Basically, one big one.

Amanda:            Aw. Big old boy.

Julia:                    One of the things that will actually start Ragnarok, which we've discussed before, is that if Jörmungandr releases his own tail. There's a very cool story actually, about how Thor encountered one of the giant kings and was forced to perform deeds of strength and whatnot for him. One of the challenges was this test of strength where the giant king asked Thor to lift up a magical colossal cat.

Amanda:            Oh my goodness. I want to pet them.

Julia:                    What Thor does not know is the cat is actually Jörmungandr disguised by magic. Thor grabs the cat, tries to lift it up by its belly, which is bad. Don't ever grab a cat by its belly. They'll scratch you.

Amanda:            Oh no.

Julia:                    He just cannot lift it despite his incredible strength. The most he manages to do is lift the cat just high enough that one of its paws raises off the floor. The king stops him there, says he's very impressed by the god's strength, and reveals the true nature of the cat. He also claims that if Thor had managed to lift the cat/Jörmungandr completely off the ground, it would have altered the boundaries of the universe.

Amanda:            Oh my god. That's a very high stakes errand.

Julia:                    It is. Well, he expected him not to be able to do it whatsoever, so the fact that he got even one paw off the ground is really, really impressive.

Amanda:            Oh no.

Julia:                    There's also a story of Jörmungandr and Thor meeting when Thor goes fishing with the god, Hymir, and manages to pull Jörmungandr out of the water. Thor is ready to go into battle with the beast, but Hymir is terrified, and he cuts the fishing line before Thor can strike a blow against the serpent, and it just goes back to swimming.

Amanda:            Okay. Just keep swimming, pal. Thor's doing good, though.

Julia:                    Yeah, he's doing good. Lots of strength. He's doing a lot of lifting of this giant serpent that is supposed to surround our entire globe. They face each other a final time during Ragnarok. In that situation, which is said not yet to happen, Thor will be so preoccupied with his battle that he will not be able to help the other gods in their fight. Basically, taking their strongest player out of commission and not being able to protect the rest of the gods.

Amanda:            That's really real.

Julia:                    While he will be able to kill the serpent, Jörmungandr's poison will kill him after he walks nine paces. Nine's a super important number in Norse mythology, too. Odin spends nine days dying on the tree and is able to unlock nine different types of spells that allow him to cast magic.

Amanda:            Cool. Nine is a very witchy number.

Julia:                    It is, right? Amanda, you know that Thor is associated with thunder, lightning, and storms. Did you also know that he's associated with oak trees, strength, but also hallowing and fertility?

Amanda:            Okay. I mean, sure.

Julia:                    The latter two are associated almost directly with his marriage and association with his wife, Sif. Sif was associated with fertility and agriculture as her often mentioned golden hair is a symbol of the rich fields of grain that she's said to reside over.

Amanda:            That makes sense.

Julia:                    It's really sweet. I love that imagery.

Amanda:            Together, they would have very sweet strawberry haired children.

Julia:                    Oh god, yeah, they would. It would be so cute. Scholars point out that divine marriages like this one are supposed to link a sky god with an Earth goddess so that the land will prosper from the relationship. We've seen that a lot in different areas, I think, as well.

Amanda:            Yeah, that's true.

Julia:                    Even the creation story of Greek mythology has that. Where the god of the sky and the goddess of the Earth literally give birth to all of the other gods.

Amanda:            Yup.

Julia:                    Here's a quote from a German historian from the 11th century. 11th century. Adam of Bremen who said quote, "Thor, they say, presides over the air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and the rains, fair weather and crops." I love that.

Amanda:            Delightful.

Julia:                    Short, sweet, and to the point. I appreciate that.

Amanda:            I know, and I love this idea of agriculture and human sustenance as a partnership between sky and land, because it really is.

Julia:                    We talked about this, too, with the Isis episode, where Isis kind of gains more dominion over certain things because they start connecting her with ... All of a sudden, she's connected with the ocean, and fertility, and also the sky now, because it encompasses everything. I just like the expansion of dominion in mythologies as they grow.

Amanda:            Totally. I think it points toward really interesting implications for environmentalism, and sustainability, and defending our planet against destruction, because everything is interconnected. There is no such thing as a solo or solitary life in a planet like this.

Julia:                    Yeah. We're part of intertwined ecosystems. We're not a remote system.

Amanda:            Yeah, and people have known that for a long, long time. It's just the capitalist lie that you could do whatever you want without consequences.

Julia:                    That's true. Thanks capitalism.

Amanda:            God. Come on, Thor. Where are you to destroy capitalism when we need you?

Julia:                    Well, Thor's out here doing some hallowing instead. As I mentioned, that is a really important part of Thor's worshiped. He's invoked during the blessing and hallowing of places, things, and events, as is evident from the inscriptions that are found on Norse relics. He was typically called upon to hallow weddings as well as a settler's first plot of land before they began to build or plant crops.

Amanda:            Oh, Julia. Oh man. Someone has to write a musical where instead of at the beginning just Hugh Jackman talking about how nice the fields are in Oklahoma, they bring Thor to bless the marriage, and just be like, "Yo, farmers. Yo, cowmen. Can't we all agree that goats are great?" Then, there's no conflict.

Julia:                    How about this? How about Hugh Jackman play Thor?

Amanda:            Could be.

Julia:                    Change plot Oklahoma.

Amanda:            Love it. Ride with goats.

Julia:                    Ride with goats.

Amanda:            Oklahoma, but goats. We have Oklahoma, but sexy. How about Oklahoma, but goats?

Julia:                    Fun thing about goats coming up. Give me two seconds.

Amanda:            Okay.

Julia:                    While we think of Mjölnir as a weapon of destruction, it was also Thor's way of hallowing things. Blessings for weddings were given by touching his hammer to the couple. As you already brought up, you remembered the goats from before. Sometimes, Thor get hungry. Thor eat goats.

Amanda:            Oh no.

Julia:                    Gather their bones together and their hides, bless them with their hammer, and then bring them back to life again.

Amanda:            Oh, I love that.

Julia:                    Do you?

Amanda:            I mean, I don't love it, but I do like that the goats are renewable resources.

Julia:                    Yeah, yeah. I just feel like if I had someone who I worked for who would occasionally be like, "I'm hungry, I got to eat you right now," and then bring me back to life, I feel like I would still get a little mad.

Amanda:            Yeah. I mean, I don't know how much resentment and memory these goats are capable of, but it's not idea. I'll grant you that.

Julia:                    Is their memory resetting every time they die? Are they the new version of the goats?

Amanda:            That's what I'm imagining, but if you save the hide and the bones, there must be something carrying over.

Julia:                    Maybe. Interesting.

Amanda:            Questions for the ages, Julia.

Julia:                    Amanda, before we grab some refills of our lightning strikes in the sky, what do you think of the original Norse version of Thor versus what you've known so far about the Marvel version?

Amanda:            I like him a lot. I think the Marvel version characterizes him as someone who still has to learn the world. He seems a little bit insulated. He seems like he's grown up in this royal family, and maybe not had a lot of experience in the world yet. My perception of that character's growth is discovering things, starting to care about things, making decisions for himself and deciding where his own values lie. I love this idea of, or this version, this truthful version, of a fully baked Thor who knows what he cares about, knows what he's here to defend, and doesn't mind that he's kind of different from the other gods. I really love that.

Julia:                    Yeah. I appreciate that. I like the idea of the Marvel version of Thor is the teen version of Thor. Still learning the ropes.

Amanda:            He really is. Yeah, like him and Spider-Man are really coming into their own.

Julia:                    Except he's a grown ass man who's been alive for a couple of thousands of years.

Amanda:            Yeah, on the timeline, you know?

Julia:                    Yeah. It is what it is. Yeah. I'm glad that we were able to dig into the lore of Thor.

Amanda:            Now, after Julia took us through that excellent tour of Thor in mythology, we're going to talk to someone who knows Thor in Marvel better than just about anyone. But first, let's grab a refill.

                             We are sponsored this week by Skillshare. By now, you know that Skillshare is one of the best places to learn on the internet. It's an online learning community for creators specifically. They have classes on business, on design, on comics, on running a leadership-type situation. There's lots and lots of great stuff going on, but one of my favorite ways to use Skillshare is to learn about crafts that I'm not good at, and to just kind of learn more about what goes into stuff like filmmaking and illustration.

                             This week, Jules, I want to recommend a course called Odd Bodies: Illustrating Expressive Stylized People by Tom Froese, which is a really wonderful class that shows how he makes unique, personally styled people. Not just sort of stick figures, which is my kind of level of drawing and animation, but how you draw stylized quirky interesting people, and it's super, super interesting.

Julia:                    I'm really excited to see what you come up with after that class.

Amanda:            I know. I've been doing it sort of as little breaks throughout the day, and I really enjoy doing Skillshare in that way, because it's online courses that you can take at your own pace and in your own way. Skillshare is offering our listeners two months of Skillshare Premium for free. What that means is you get access to all of Skillshare's 25,000+ classes as a Skillshare Premium member. You can get two months free at Skillshare.com/Spirits2.

Julia:                    Yeah, so fuel your curiosity, your creativity, and your career today by going to Skillshare.com/Spirits2 for two free months of Skillshare Premium.

Amanda:            Thanks, Skillshare.

Julia:                    Amanda, my eyes are bad.

Amanda:            Oh no. Mine too.

Julia:                    I got bad eyes. I can see you wearing your glasses right now, and they're really, really cute. Where'd you get those from?

Amanda:            I got them, no lie, from Warby Parker. They're extremely cute, and colorful, and affordable, which is why I can have a blue pair and a pink pair.

Julia:                    Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty goal to create boutique quality eyewear at a revolutionary price. My favorite part about this is you take a style quiz, and then you order the home try-on kit. It's just they send you the ones that you like to your house, and then you try them on on your face, and it's so easy to pick out which ones look best on you.

Amanda:            The packaging is also really efficient, which we always appreciate.

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Amanda:            Aw, so nice.

Julia:                    Yeah, but before that, he got the try on for free. It ships for free, includes a prepaid return shipping label, which makes it 1,000 times easier. All you have to do is go to WarbyParker.com/Spirits to order your free home try on and then take a quiz to find a pair that is perfect for you. The nice part is, the glasses start at like $95, so they're really cheap, especially if you don't have optical insurance. If you go to an optician and try on a pair, sometimes they're like, "Ah, yes. That's not in your network, though, so it's $300." I'm like, "Oh, here you go. I'm not going to take these."

Amanda:            And, because healthcare should be a right and not a privilege, Warby Parker also distributes a pair of glasses for someone in need for every pair of glasses sold.

Julia:                    I tend to leave my glasses around, and they kind of just jumble in my bag and stuff like that. The lenses actually come with anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings so my glasses don't get messed up in my bag when I forget to put them in the case. Warby Parker, just crushing it.

Amanda:            That's WarbyParker.com/Spirits to order your free home try ons today.

Julia:                    WarbyParker.com/Spirits.

Amanda:            Finally, we are sponsored by HoneyBook. This week actually marks my one year anniversary as a full-time Multi-dude.

Julia:                    So proud of you.

Amanda:            Thank you. I am very proud as well. It has been quite a journey. As all of my subscriptions come up for renewal, and our domain names renew, it's an exciting kind of milestone, very geekily for me.

Julia:                    I love it. I'm so happy for you.

Amanda:            Thank you, and one of the tools that has made this year smoother than I thought it might be is HoneyBook, because when you start a business, you don't necessarily dream about doing all the admin tasks, like drafting contracts, and hounding people to pay you for invoices that are five months overdue. That kind of wasn't part of my vision when starting Multitude, but HoneyBook has really helped in making sure that I can focus on what I love and not what I tend not to love about owning a business.

                             HoneyBook is basically a business management tool. It's a platform. It helps you organize everything to do with client communications, like bookings, contracts, invoices, all in one place. They have professional templates, e-signatures, which are built in, which is so useful when you're signing contracts with people, and automation that keeps everything on track, makes you look good on top of your shit without you having to necessarily remember, "Oh, right. That person I emailed three weeks ago should've gotten back to me by now."

Julia:                    Oh, what if you use stuff like, I don't know, QuickBooks, or Google Suite, or MailChimp, or whatever? It is easy to make that work with HoneyBooks?

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Julia:                    Yeah, so go to HoneyBook.com/Spirits for 50% off your first year or your first month, whatever you want to do.

Amanda:            That's HoneyBook.com/Spirits. Now, let's get back to the show. We're so honored to be joined by Lorraine Cink, who is author of Marvel: Powers of a Girl, and a Marvel.com host, including This Week in Marvel. Hello.

Lorraine:            Hi. Thanks for having me.

Julia:                    It is our pleasure. We've brought you in to talk about Thor.

Amanda:            Do you want to talk about your personal history with Thor? Would that be something you would be interested in talking about?

Lorraine:            We've never dated.

Amanda:            Okay, that's fair.

Lorraine:            No, Thor is a character that's near and dear to my heart. I think he's one of the most arrogant Marvel characters to actually become a hero. It's interesting, because we've been celebrating our 60th anniversary all year, and I've been thinking about Thor a lot, because I kind of feel like Stan Lee hung the entire Marvel universe somewhat on this idea of mythos. You know, he's even said, "I look to these great myths, and what were they? These super men." A lot of our characters are based in myth on these sort of titanic figures.

                             Then, science fiction, so I kind of feel like it's part and parcel to the whole creation of the universe.

Amanda:            Yeah. I mean, do you think Thor ... Obviously, there's lots of Marvel characters that are drawn from inspiration in history, but I feel like that might be the closest kind of one to one, a version of a character that we have in folklore. Do you think that's accurate?

Lorraine:            Oh yeah. No, I definitely think that's true. There are not a lot of real life characters that pop up in the Marvel universe. They're usually kind of proxies for legal reasons, but also I think you don't want to be too on the nose, because you are ultimately telling a story and we don't want to blur the line between fiction and reality. The Marvel universe is also based on the world outside your window. It kind of makes sense that these sort of myths in the real world would become myths in the Marvel universe.

                             We also have Hercules and the whole Olympian set of gods as well. Then, we have these sort of titans that come from outer space and onward. I think it's just kind of a normal part of the Marvel universe to say, "Okay, we have these myths. How does that translate here?" Well, of course, we're dealing with fiction, so we can make those people be real. Why not?

Julia:                    Can you talk a little bit about the history of Thor, and how he was introduced into the Marvel Comics world?

Lorraine:            Yeah, I think it's really interesting, actually, because all of these characters that we think about as the Marvel superheroes, and we think of superheroes as being this genre, were actually introduced in the weird, wild, strange tales, pulp fiction style comics of the sort of coming out of the '50s and into the '60s. Science fiction was really sort of taking off as a genre, and it was all of these stories, like Ant Man was just this guy who messed with these particles that shrunk him down. Oh, weird science.

Amanda:            Yeah, it's so nuclear era.

Lorraine:            Yeah, totally.

Amanda:            Yeah, for sure.

Lorraine:            Totally, and everything is coming out of this idea of the atom bomb and industrialism. It kind of made sense for Thor, Thor was introduced in a series called Journey into Mystery. It was sort of dealing with the fantastical stuff. This would be what I would call the more D&D realm, because I play a lot of D&D.

Amanda:            Nice. Us too. Welcome.

Lorraine:            Yeah.

Amanda:            You're among good company.

Lorraine:            I'm amongst my people. This would be more in that sort of vein. He was originally ... Journey into Mystery, I believe it's 83, from 1962. We're also early '60s, we're coming out of the '50s. We're getting into a more mind expanded era, but we're still a little bit in the groovy, early times.

Julia:                    Everyone's dropping a little bit of LSD. Not a lot, yet, but a little bit.

Lorraine:            Right now, we're more in the reefer will kill you phase of life, I think in this sort of-

Amanda:            Reefer Madness.

Lorraine:            ... historical context. This Dr. Donald Blake is drawn to go on a trip to Norway. There's something about Norway that he just needs to go to. There's an alien crash, and he's like, "What am I going to do?" He picks up the staff, he hits it on the ground, and he turns into the god, Thor. This is kind of supposed to be one of those weird stories like, "Can you believe it? This guy turns into Thor."

Amanda:            Yeah. "On my vacation ..."

Lorraine:            He channels Thor. Yeah. "On my summer vacation, I turned into Thor." Then, he became this character that people loved and continued to come back. Over time, it was revealed that Odin had actually sent down Thor from Asgard, because he was such an arrogant jerk. He kept getting into fights that he shouldn't have been in, and so his dad was like, "You need to learn some humility. For your hubris, you are being sent down to Earth to live in the body of a young man who's differently abled."

                             He had an injured leg, so he couldn't walk properly. He needed this cane. He found this staff. Thus, Thor was born. Then, we had the fun sort of duality of hiding your alter ego. He we doctor by day, dating beautiful nurse, Jane Foster, who of course was getting caught up in the mix between him and his mischievous brother, Loki, who's constantly coming down to Earth. I'm obsessed with when Loki first comes into comics, because he causes the dumbest problems.

                             In the comics, he's really introduced initially as a maker of mischief. He's turning New York City into ice cream. Then, he's making some people invisible. They're like, "Oh no. I'm invisible." It's like no one's actually getting really hurt other than ice cream skyscrapers potentially melting.

Julia:                    I mean, but the dream.

Lorraine:            But the dream. I know. I'm like, "Not a bad problem."

Amanda:            What an interesting foil to these themes you were mentioning earlier, of the atom bomb, and industrialism, and global tensions escalating and changing.

Lorraine:            Yeah. Thor really was such an escape, and such a fantasy kind of story. It's interesting, because as he grew, and I think as comics grew, and as fiction has grown, he's become such a more serious character. Loki has taken much more evil turns. They've introduced the nine realms, and then ... Well, it was initially nine realms. We've added a 10th realm. We added heaven, which is a whole realm of warrior women.

Julia:                    I mean, obviously, that's what heaven is.

Amanda:            Yep.

Lorraine:            They look like angels, but they will straight up cut everyone. They are not nice.

Julia:                    The dream, again.

Amanda:            That's wonderful. I have to look into.

Julia:                    We're just like, "Mm-hmm (affirmative). That sounds right." Everything about this. "Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. Good."

Lorraine:            Thor's sister actually, it was revealed in the comics that his sister Angela was born to his mother ... Well, actually, technically his stepmother, because you know the gods. They're non-monogamous. Ethically non-monogamous, maybe. I don't know, TBD.

Julia:                    Yeah, they're not constrained by our mortal bounds.

Lorraine:            His sister was actually given to the angels as sort of a treaty, a peace treaty. They said, "Okay, you can take our kid." A lot like you would see in the Game of Thrones-esque things. Like, "You take my kid. We'll call it even." She was raised there. He technically has a sister who's an angel in the Marvel universe as well. He has like a million siblings.

Julia:                    So many at this point.

Amanda:            Yeah, can you walk us through a little bit of the family structure, and how much of Asgard and Asgard politics kind of make it into the Thor comics canon?

Lorraine:            Yeah. As best I can. The creation of the world is sort of weird and interesting. Ymir, I believe, is supposed to be the beginning of the universe, and he rose from the water, and essentially gave birth to life. Then, a lot of, basically, the realms came from that. He gave birth to Bor. Bor took his wife Belta, Belta and Bor had their kids, which was Odin, and most notably another guy called Cul Borson, who we call the Serpent, who's really bad. He is super not nice.

                             Also, gave birth to Niflheim, and the realms of the mist, and hell, and all that bad stuff. As well as Muspelheim, where Surtr and the demons hang out. Let's see if I can do these all.

Julia:                    You're killing it already. Let's go.

Lorraine:            There's Alfheim, which is the light elves, which is essentially magic land. It's like champagne and candy canes grow. It's really what you would think of when you're like, happy go lucky elves. There's Nidavellir, which is where all of the dwarves live, and they are master craftsmens. They actually made Thor's hammer, Mjölnir, out of uru, which is a magical material out of a star. They're kind of like the worker bees of the realms. They kind of do a lot of thankless work, I think. Poor dwarves. I guess in a lot of different lore.

Amanda:            I'm now sort of realizing a parallel between the discover of nuclear energy and knowing that these elements are in stars, and we can recreate them and split them here on Earth, and this idea of that material that we haven't named yet coming from outer space and being the downfall of a hero or the key to a hero's power.

Lorraine:            Oh yeah.

Amanda:            I'm sure there have been very smart theses written about this topic. I'll have to look it up.

Lorraine:            Probably. Well, and it's kind of crazy, because also, science fiction sort of leads the way for science fact. It's weird to think teleportation was something we used to see on TV or in books, and now they're like blipping up atoms into the stratosphere. Like NASA's doing it.

Amanda:            Yeah, it's amazing.

Julia:                    I love science. I wish I knew more about science. I'm just here for mythology and stuff.

Lorraine:            I'm just here for those NASA tweets. That's my frame of reference. Then, we have Svartalfheim. That's where all of the dark elves live. In the Thor canon, probably Thor's worst enemy, especially as of late, has been this guy, Malekith, the Cursed, or Accursed. He has a half and halfsy face. One side is light, one side is dark. He is the worst rock and roll, metal, evil god. I don't know. He kind of just, to me, has a real death metal vibe about him. He's essentially always trying to sneak to Midgard, which is Earth, and just cause trouble for Asgard, for Midgard. He essentially always wants all of Yggdrasil, the world tree that connects all of the realms. He just wants to own Yggdrasil. Which sounds like a medicative cream, but is not.

                             That is essentially his vibe. I think that's the thing, is everything all kind of ties together, because someone is always searching for domination, whether it's Surtr in Muspelheim, who's in the fire all the time. He's always hooking up with Mangog, who's a creation of all of the hate of mankind, and all of these dead souls. It's super weird and creepy. He essentially looks like a monster. He's always trying to sneak into Asgard, because you guys probably know from the film, and from all things Ragnarok, is their life and birth cycle. Someone's always trying to cause Ragnarok.

                             Mangog is constantly trying to take out the Twilight Sword, which is an enormous sword. It's giant. I don't know how to explain it any other way than it's like several buildings long. It's just outrageously huge. When you unsheathe the Sword of Twilight, it will create Ragnarok and the world will end. It'll also be reborn.

                             There's this sort of interesting theory of like, "Which Thor is Thor, and how many Thors have there been? This is the cycle. As much as things are meant to be, they're also meant to end." It is interesting, because essentially, a lot of the plots come down to, "Who is trying to rule?" It's very Game of Thrones, it's very fighting for the crown. Odin kind of is the one who sits above all, but everybody would like to be at the top of the Yggdrasil. It's essentially, "Who's willing to burn down the world tree to be in control of it all?"

Amanda:            It's very human in that way, right?

Julia:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Lorraine:            Well, they are kind of really human. The Asgardians have gods above them. They're literally called, I think, the gods above all who kind of use the Asgardians as their pawns. They live, they die, they have Valkyries, who also live and die. It's kind of weird, because they're kind of like not god god. There is something very human about them.

Julia:                    Which is something I really like about mythology, because you have such human gods. You have gods that make faults, and do mistakes, and have tempers, and whatnot. We kind of have gone away from that in traditional monotheistic religions, where it's like, all-knowing, all-loving, et cetera, et cetera. I think, personally, I enjoy the stories where the gods have personalities, because it reminds you humans appreciated that. Humans can look at the gods and see the answers, because that's the way that they would react, you know?

Lorraine:            I love that Odin is, honestly, really depicted as the biggest jerk in Asgard a lot of the time. You know, sometimes, he's trying to teach his son good lessons to be humble and to be kind, but just as much as that, he's completely driven by his ego.

Julia:                    Loki has a point. That's what I always think about when I read and watch Loki. I'm like, "Look, he's got a point. I get where you come from, bud."

Lorraine:            Yeah, yeah. Also, that's another thing that I always think is so interesting about the Marvel universe, is Loki is so kind of messed up about his parentage, you know? He was adopted by Odin. He was a frost giant. But Thor's mom is also not actually Frigga. He's the child of Gaea, but was raised by Frigga. He's totally cool with his mom being his mom, and he's just sort of accepted that.

Julia:                    She's the one that's been around. I get it.

Lorraine:            Yeah, yeah. Like, "You're my mom. You raised me. It's cool." Loki has so many identity issues. I mean, you can even see it in ... I mean, a lot of it comes from our writers, but I think a lot of our writers have allowed him to be like, sometimes Loki's a woman, sometimes Loki's a man, sometimes Loki is a child, sometimes Loki is a raven. He kind of has room to be a little bit of anything because he kind of is this lost child who's just getting into trouble trying to get his father's attention.

Julia:                    Yeah, and there is a beautiful basis of that in the original mythology as well, because you have Loki as the mayor trying to seduce the workhorse of the dwarf that wants to steal away the moon goddess.

Amanda:            Yeah. I mean, that's sometimes that's always appealed to me, too, about Loki as a character, is that sort of explicit struggle for place and identity, recognition, for others to see you as you see yourself. I think especially among queer folks and trans folks, Loki is such a sort of relatable figure. It's the canonical gender fluidity, but it's also looking for a reflection of yourself and looking for the world to see you as you see yourself.

Lorraine:            Oh, absolutely. I also think, again, to go back to D&D, but I think Loki is that character, it's like when you want to play a rogue in D&D, which is my number one choice for D&D.

Amanda:            I play a rogue in my D&D campaign.

Lorraine:            Oh my god. Do you wreck everything also?

Amanda:            Yeah. No, I'm just a gay teen disaster. I'm just like, "I don't know. I'm going to either flirt with you or try to kill you later, but that's my two modes."

Lorraine:            Same, same. I think that's why rogue is the most fun, but Loki is completely driven by the whim of that moment, and what is he feeling? He's sort of all passion all the time. It's, I think, how we all kind of dream we could live our life. It might not be always the most healthy or sensible way, but it's a really exciting way to function, if it's allowed.

Amanda:            Yeah, or escapism, right? What I look to comics for, you know?

Julia:                    I would love to ask you, because in recent years, you have the idea of Thor being a mantle as opposed to Thor being simply the character, with Jane Foster coming in and taking up the mantle of Thor. I'd love to just talk about the decision behind that, I guess, in the comics, and what that means in the grand scheme of things for Thor in Marvel.

Lorraine:            You know, it is really interesting. When it happened, I was so excited about it. There's an amazing creative team named Jason Aaron & Russell Dauterman. They had this idea, what if Thor became unworthy of the mantle? It is whosoever is worthy has the mantle of Thor. It says that and Mjölnir. They were like, "Well, what if Thor isn't worthy? Then what happens?" He's Odinson, just like Cul Borson is Borson, son of Bor. It's pretty simple math there. So, okay, Odinson loses the title Thor. What happens?

                             They left it a mystery for a long time. It was sort of this mysterious woman was showing up, who had become worthy, and it was revealed that Jane Foster, his long time love from the very early days of his comics, took up the mantle, and then there was this sort of added drama that she was sick with cancer. The actual using of that power was weakening her immune system.

                             I think that something that I really appreciated when I've talked to both Jason and Russell is that they were like, "This matters, to give someone else an opportunity to have this mantle, because Thor means something in the minds of people." You know, you say Thor, there's this idea of immense power, godliness, ego. All of those fun, delicious things. To let someone else have the opportunity to take up that mantle, it's imbuing them with that power, and it felt like, at that time, and still in comics, at Marvel, we're always exploring new female titles, and looking to tell more stories of women. That felt like such a fun, interesting way to allow a woman to step up and take on that story.

                             I really enjoyed it. What's great, is you kind of don't lose what Odinson is doing. He still gets to be a badass. He still gets to fight. He has this cool ax, Jarnbjorn.

Julia:                    He's got his goats.

Lorraine:            He's got his goats, Tooth Gnasher and Tooth Grinder.

Julia:                    The best.

Lorraine:            With his little flying cart. I just love that also Thor's this huge guy in a little tiny flying cart with two little goats on them.

Amanda:            Perfect. It's perfect.

Julia:                    Love a flying chariot any day of the week, honestly.

Amanda:            No, it's true. It really, I think, challenges us to see and define strength for ourselves, because strength is not just a six foot six muscly blonde man. It's whoever is worthy and willing to go the distance for the thing they believe in.

Lorraine:            Absolutely. I think Jane in comics is such an ... She's had such a period of growth, because she was introduced almost ... You're coming out of the romance comics era, where I like to call them ladies with jobs, were really big. Where it's like Millie the Model, Patsy Walker, teen model. They were a lot of

Julia:                    A lot of alliteration with the title and name, too. It's like Wendy the Waitress. That was one. I remember that.

Lorraine:            You know, there were so many of those comics, and so Jane really kind of went from being a woman on the sidelines, where they over time, and as times changed, her character's really reflected in that. She became a doctor instead of being kind of relegated to being, quote unquote, a nurse. Not that there's anything wrong with being a nurse. Nurses are vital and important to society. As it became socially acceptable for women to be accepted into medical schools, she became a doctor.

                             She has gone through love and loss, and all of those things, and has been this sort of doctor in the Marvel universe taking care of Marvel superheroes. Her willingness and her heart was there, so it was the right point for her to step up again into something bigger, I think.

Amanda:            Yeah, that's so exciting. It must be such a wonderful challenge to kind of take this existing infrastructure. I'm picturing a big mansion that was built for you, and as you're walking through, you're trying to make renovations, and to add new things, and to make it hospitable, not just for you now, but for the future, without changing too much of the structure that it all falls down.

Lorraine:            Yeah. I think that is something interesting for our writers and artists to deal with, because you always want to sort of honor where they come from. You don't want to say, "Okay, let's wipe the slate and pretend that didn't happen," although we do have Ragnarok. Ragnarok happens. You can wipe the slate a little bit here and there. You do want to honor it, because people love the stuff for a lifetime, you know? There are people that have been reading comics for 50 years, 60 years, 80 years. It's been around that long.

                             There are people that, like our dear Peter Sanderson, who is a Marvel historian. He's been working with Marvel on and off for literal decades. He's read every comic every week for much longer than I've been alive, and could tell you literally everything. He's an encyclopedia. There's so many people that are like that, that I think it's nice to give it its due.

Amanda:            Yeah, absolutely. That's something that I, as a non-lifetime comics reader, but someone who's getting into it now, respect so much. I feel like I have lots of friends who are writers, and I write myself sometimes, and I feel like there are so many ways that comics challenge us to push the bounds of world building and plot, and what we can do with stories, how we can honor stories while still making new changes, that, I don't know, I feel like I'm constantly learning from the stuff that comics pull off.

Lorraine:            I love comics, too. I mean, obviously. I work in comics.

Amanda:            You don't say. Hopefully.

Lorraine:            I'm like, I love books, and I love movies, and I love just media. I love stories. To me, comics are ... I feel like not enough people give comics time. I get it. There's a million things to watch on Netflix and whatever, but I love comics because it is a perfect marriage to me of reading a book and watching a movie. It's sort of the perfect little inner play, because I'm getting the visuals of what is the world? It's telling me visually, but I'm still getting a plot, and a story. It's essentially just a script that's fully storyboarded for you. Sometimes, that's better, because you get to have the actors in your head. You can have the best possible portrayal, because it's exactly what you want it to be.

                             I mean, I just think comics are fun. You should read them.

Amanda:            Yeah. I mean, it's almost like the opposite of podcasting in some way, but has the exact same effect, where something that we love about the medium is you can walk around with these people's voices in your head, and you can be going about your day, seeing your own sights in your own home. It feels like this wonderful marriage of you're picturing whatever it is that makes sense to you while still having the richness of the story in your brain. Comics, for me, is exactly like you say. I hear it in my head, but I see the indications of what the world is like around me.

                             Even though it's a few panels on the page, I feel like I'm in the room, and seeing how things are going on around me.

Lorraine:            It's all Hamilton. We're in the room here it happened.

Julia:                    Yeah, there it is.

Amanda:            I love it. Are there any visual, I don't know, elements, styles ... I don't even know the words to ask the question, because I'm not a visual person, but what about, if anything, in the Thor comics, and how they're illustrated, are there any distinctive elements that lend to the world building or story progression, something that's different from the Thor comics to other comics in Marvel.

Lorraine:            Oh, for sure. I think, well Thor definitely comes the most out of the fantasy realm, and I think you get to see the most fantasy elements in a lot of the Thor comics. If you think about it, it's going to feel more like Lord of the Rings compared to industrialist Tony Stark, cool guy, where everything's going to be like cool mech stuff. You know, the Thor world, you're going to see, especially when they're telling stories that are in Asgard, and more in the Yggdrasil tree and less in the Midgard area, which is our Earth, you're going to see a lot more organic shapes in general.

                             You're going to see a lot more vines and greenery. Asgard, depicted in the Marvel universe, is this huge ... At least before it was destroyed in Ragnarok, and now it exists sort of hovering in space, but at the time, Asgard was this big, huge golden palace, sort of almost in your mind, like what Atlantis would look like. These huge, towering pillars, and this rainbow bridge that is very much just a rainbow. Just a full on rainbow with an arch and everything, connecting it to the other world.

                             It's really opulent in a way that Midgard is not. You know, the heroes of Earth live in New York City. It looks like New York City. Asgard is very much palaces, greenery, opulence. If you love Drag Race, opulence.

Amanda:            Opulence

Julia:                    Opulence.

Lorraine:            You own everything.

Amanda:            Doing the dance, y'all.

Lorraine:            This is my highlight of my life.

Amanda:            Listen, where else can you get comics, D&D, Drag Race? Spirits Podcast.

Lorraine:            This is literally what my personal podcast would be.

Julia:                    Well, you could come on any time and borrow it.

Lorraine:            Okay, great.

Julia:                    Oh, I do have ... One of my favorite things from the stylization, like you were talking about, with the comics, is the fact that whenever, or in a lot of the comics, when Thor speaks, it's always in a very stylized script, opposed to everyone else.

Lorraine:            Yeah. Thor does get his own lettering. You kind of think of comic sans. I know that's like a dirty word to people who use fonts.

Amanda:            Or like block lettering. I kind of picture comics in all caps a lot of the time.

Lorraine:            Yeah, it's generally written in all caps, in very traditional block lettering, but Thor has sort of this Old English. He also kind of is like, "Have at thee." He gets different sort of dialog, and he has this antiquated, not quite Shakespearean dialog always. He does not change with the times so much.

Julia:                    I love it. It makes him stand out as a character when you're reading dialog. You're almost like, "There's Thor." You don't even have to see him offscreen. You know exactly who's talking.

Lorraine:            Oh yeah. For real.

Amanda:            Oh, that's so cool. Is there a particular place that you suggest listeners that are really excited and galvanized, and want to jump into the Thor comics, where should they begin?

Lorraine:            That is always such a good question.

Julia:                    A hard one, though.

Amanda:            From your tone, I guess it's hard.

Lorraine:            Well, so I would say, if you want to start with the early comics, I think that's a great sort of fun place to start. If you're looking for, "What's the most traditional bing, bang, boom, big sound effects, big action kind of comics?" You can always start Journey into Mystery, number 83. That essentially becomes the Thor numbering. You can kind of start there. I also highly recommend ... This is non-sponsored. Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service that Marvel has, and you can essentially read almost all of the Marvel comics ever created. They're always uploading new ones. I just recommend that, because you can kind of sit down and start wherever you want.

                             I think you can always start there. I think the '90s get weird for my personal taste.

Julia:                    It's the '90s, though. All the comic books were weird during that period of time.

Lorraine:            So weird. You know, Thor has taken on different human hosts. That's a thing he likes to do. He likes to go hang out in somebody's body for a while, or his dad feels bad for somebody, and so then he's like, "Why don't you go live with Jake Olson for a while?" He's like, "Okay."

Amanda:            "If you say so, Dad."

Lorraine:            "All right, Dad." I really think you can jump on very easily with Jason Aaron's run, if you look at his initial run on Thor. That starts with Thor Odinson. There's a story called The God Bomb. It's about a god who wants to kill all of the gods. It's awesome. The artwork is incredible. It's like super, duper fantasy. It's really badass. There are all these cool warrior women in it. He meets all of his selves through time. It's just a really cool story, and you kind of can just jump into it, and you're like, "Okay, I know who Thor is. Okay, I'm ready to go."

Amanda:            I like that.

Lorraine:            You don't need a ton of it, and you can essentially follow that run through to read about Jane Foster becoming Thor, because it all follows that lineage. I think that's probably my favorite part. Start with Jason Aaron.

Amanda:            That sounds perfect. Well, thank you so much for coming in and speaking with us about Thor. If folks, as they should, love your perspective and your work, where's the best place to catch you on a podcast?

Lorraine:            Yeah, you can listen to me on This Week in Marvel. We have new podcasts every Friday, wherever you listen to your podcasts, or on Marvel.com. I'm also on a weekly show called Earth's Mightiest Show every Thursday on Marvel.com.

Julia:                    Love it. And, they can pick up your book anywhere books are sold.

Lorraine:            Yeah, please. Buy my book. If you like ladies and you like superheroes, it's for you.

Julia:                    You probably do if you're listening to this podcast right now.

Lorraine:            Powers of a Girl. It's based on the character, Squirrel Girl, because she has all of the powers of a squirrel and all of the powers of a girl.

Julia:                    Oh, she's the best.

Lorraine:            And she's so nice.

Julia:                    I love her so much.

Lorraine:            I do, too. She's so funny, and she just solves problems with her heart. She's like Galactus. He could eat planets, but also he needs a snack. Let's just feed this guy, and it'll be fine.

Amanda:            Yeah, that's all he needs. Sounds ideal. Powers of a Girl. Well, thank you so, so much, Lorraine.

Lorraine:            Thank you.

Amanda:            Thanks.

Julia:                    Remember listeners, to stay creepy.

Amanda:            Stay cool.