If your Twitter feed isn’t thick with comic writers, artists, and reviewers, you may have missed the tidbit of breaking news from Marvel:
Our favorite Norse God is now a Goddess.
The next storyline of Thor will feature Thor as a woman.
As you might expect, reading the comments on Twitter and on the direct announcement from Marvel.com and on The View somewhat resembled what might happen if someone put snakes on a plane. But as far as my quiet office goes, my unprecedented, loud, and questionably appropriate happy dance didn’t occur until I read the response by Ryan Penagos, Executive Director at Marvel.
Essentially, Marvel just made a God into a Goddess, and then said “Come at me, Bro!”
The last few weeks have lit my Feminist/Comic-ish Twitter/Tumblr feeds up like dazzling rainbow fireworks. After having experienced my first instance of territorial marking after the release of my last article, it was quickly outshined by a new Batgirl design that is both surprisingly inclusive, friendly, and fun. And today, Marvel steps up to the plate with this bombshell (pun intended).
Several fans have questioned the gimmickiness of this move. It’s not out of line to be standoffish when one of the big two offer up a supreme title to the ladies. She Hulk has undergone some pretty hurtful scrutiny lately, among many others. Sometimes the offerings feel more like a kick in the stomach to feminism than someone sincerely holding the door open.
That said, a lady such as myself cannot deny the overwhelming feeling of minor victory that accompanies this announcement. You guys, Marvel just made THOR A WOMAN. Because dude Thor did something to make him UNWORTHY. I share Whoopi’s announcement enthusiasm, though she did say “For the first time in history, a woman wield’s Thor’s hammer.”
Let’s be clear; This is not the first time a woman has wielded the hammer. Our girl, Wonder Woman lifted the mighty Mjolnir during a Marvel/DC Crossover. Storm has also wielded Mjolnir. But this is the first time where Marvel will feature a complete arc regarding Mjolnir’s beholden as a woman. But more importantly, as Thor.
This is also not the first time comic characters have swapped genders. Thor’s own brother, Loki, did a stint as a lady as well. And must I mention all the times us ladies had to disguise ourselves as men?
So why did Marvel decide to make this move?
Marvel has been explicit and clear in saying “If we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman.”
However, shadows of politics are present. Comics are fantastic stories, but we shan’t forget they are also a booming business. According to Comics Beat, women make up 47% of all comic fans. With a formula featuring leading ladies in main titles leading to a jackpot (Captain Marvel, Red Sonja, Wonder Woman, Bat Girl) why not follow this formula with a story line which indicates that not only are women good enough to play with the big boys, but that in some cases, they are, in fact, better?
Beyond the shadows, however, shows a silver lining so bright, this move could be taken for lightning. This is, in my opinion, a fine move by Marvel to empower the ladies. If we examine the foreshadowing of a storyline that Marvel has teased us with, via Time’s interview with Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso:
“She wields the hammer because Thor can’t. This is different because for reasons we can’t disclose quite yet, Thor is unable to pick up the hammer. There are a number of women in Thor’s life, and we’re going to tease out for quite awhile the identity of who this woman is. But one of the women in Thor’s life picks up the hammer. She is in fact worthy. And she becomes Thor.”
Alonso followed up with saying:
“This will have long-term effects on the title. This isn’t something that’s just going to last for a few issues. She is Thor. She will carry that hammer in her own books and the other books as well. So for the foreseeable future this is Thor.”
Inscribed on the side of Mjolnir, you’ll find the following—
On behalf of the PDXX Collective, I’d like to thank Marvel for stepping up and indeed acknowledging that FINALLY…
She be worthy.