Yesterday, Marvel released some news about Thor. A lot of people seem to have a problem with a woman being able to weild the power of Thor. In a way, I blame the media and the more sensational headlines. Thor is not getting a sex change or turning into a woman as some of the wilder headlines claim.
As a long time comic book reader and fan, Thor has always been one of my favorite characters. He was one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. First and foremoest, he was a warrior. He was always willing to throw himself into any battle no matter how bad it looked. More importantly, he represnted hope. His power came from his hammer, Mjolnir. Anyone who was worthy could wield the weapon and possess the power of Thor. He was a hero anyone could be. Your race, gender, nationality, or ethnicity didn’t matter. This is why I find the backlash mystifying and disturbing.
This isn’t the first time someone else has wielded Thor’s hammer. There have been at least four men, one of them an alien, who wielded the power of Mjolnir. In the Earth X series, Thor was even a woman. Also, let’s not forget the time when Thor was turned into a frog yet he was still able to use his hammer and godlike power. Each person who wielded the power was called Thor. Odin, Sif, and the other gods didn’t refer to Eric Masterson or the others who succeeded the orginal as Thor but the general public did.
Some think this is purely an attempt to create a new female character to increase diversity. It’s the same story when a new character is unvieled or an existing one passes the torch on to a person of color, lgbt, or whatever. They say you don’t need to artificially add diversity to comics. They say you should focus on creating good characters and stories, instead of changing exiting characters. Maybe, just maybe, people are creating good characters that happen to be persons of color, female, lgbt, or whatever? Maybe the change is motivated by a writer wanting to tell a cool story and the publisher going, “Wow! That’s an awesome idea, let’s run with it,”? I’m willing to wait and see what Jason Aaron does with Thor before I pass judgment. He’s already crafted some great stories.
The last arguement some naysayers raise is the one that bothers me the most. They say a man more worthy to possess the power of Thor than a woman. That’s an argument we should all reject. It’s the path to hate and discrimination. Those using this argument could easily say the same thing about any race, nationality, or whatever to further their wrong and backward thinking. In their eyes, the only ones who are worthy or can be a hero are white heterosexual males and that’s a problem.
All of this backlash is a sympton of a larger problem. The way some long time comic book entusiasts and professionals see women, minorities, and lgbt needs to change. It’s no longer the 50s, 60s, or 70s when most of our favorite comic books characters were created. Times have changed and so have we. Comics (and the media in general) need to change as well.
Finally, the most important thing I’ve learned to day is that you can’t spout misogynistic crap and keep your girlfriend. At least two people on Facebook learned that today.
Edit: Another thing that bugged me about all of this concerns Loki. For a time, Loki was a woman. There was no backlash or angry cries from fans. Why was that? A character that was male was now female. No one wanted to lynch anyone. Instead, people seemed enthusiatic about the change. For those of you reading this who have a problem with the change to Thor, where was your anger? Was it because Loki was a villain and it’s easy to recast the character as a femme fatale?