Thor: Love and Thunder is inspired by the seminal comic book directed by Jason Aaron in the 2010s. Aaron’s work features both cosmic villain Gorr the Butcher God and Jane Foster as Thor. Aaron’s work proves hugely influential in the MCU, but it stands on the shoulders of giants, including legends like Stan Lee and Walt Simonson.
Next to Aaron, Simonson probably ranks among the top Thor comic writers for the impact of his work on the MCU. His historic 1980s run as a writer and artist continues to inspire the MCU, with moments and characters, the frog Thor appearing in the Loki streaming series.
Donny Cates likes to tell stories on the biggest stage possible and that’s evident in his recent run on Thor. He expands Thor’s abilities with the Power Cosmic and becomes the heart of Galactus before slaying the ancient deity, then using the power to battle an even greater cosmic force, the Black Winter.
Cates gives Thor a dark side that pushes him further from relatability, but truly embraces the divine possibility in the character and the world he inhabits.
J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski, the architect of Babylon 5, brought his skill at layering complex narratives to Thor in the early 2000s. During his run, Thor returns from his apparent death to recreate Asgard on Earth, after its destruction. New Asgard eventually settles in Oklahoma, different from the MCU, but this storyline is a clear influence.
Straczynski renders Loki, among Thor’s most powerful villains in the comics, in perhaps his most evil version yet. This eventually leads to the epic Siege storyline and Loki’s (apparent) death.
Roger Langridge Brings a Wonderful Charm Back to His Memoir Thor: The Mighty Avenger series from the early 2000s, with a light touch that underscores the character’s comedic ability. This Thor probably sounds familiar to MCU fans, and for those looking for a good starting point for Thor’s sixty-year adventure, Langridge provides the perfect entry.
Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated Langridge revisits Thor’s origin with a modern take that’s suitable for all ages, and although the title only lasted eight issues, it remains among the best Thor comics.
Brian Michael Bendis
Brian Michael Bendis never wrote the main title for Thor, but he brought his signature talent for long storytelling and narrative shocks to the character. He left his mark throughout several major Marvel Comics events, including Secret Invasion and Avengers vs. X-Menwhere Thor played a key role as the Avenger.
Thor battles the Phoenix Five in this latter storyline, suffering a brutal defeat at the hands of Emma Frost. This battle sparks a growing connection between Thor and the Phoenix Force that the comics ultimately reveal dates back millions of years.
Like Bendis, Roy Thomas hasn’t been a regular contributor to the best Thor comic book stories, but he has added key elements to the character’s lore. Thomas tapped into Thor’s cosmic sensibilities by pairing him with the Eternals in Thor Annual #7, establishing a bond that expanded the interstellar web of the Marvel Universe.
Thomas also wrote key storylines that introduced the Heliopolitan gods, including Osiris, Isis, and Seth, to the Marvel Universe, a powerful pantheon that now takes hold of the MCU thanks to moon knight.
The Thor comic book saga runs through Ragnarok again and again, but Michael Oeming delivers the most brutal and arguably realistic version of this mythical concept. His run on The Mighty Thor of the early 2000s, ending with the brutal “Ragnarok” storyline, sees Asgard completely destroyed and several supporting characters shockingly killed.
Thor himself dies, completing his destiny in mythos and giving fans perhaps the most powerful example of his heroism in Marvel Comics at this point.
Dan Jurgens takes Thor back to basics in the late 1990s after the character returns to Earth-616 after the heroes reborn an event. Jurgens’ skill at telling huge stories with godlike characters while finding ways to advance their characters – his contributions to The Death of Superman the storyline helped make it iconic – works perfectly for Thor.
Jurgens explores the nature of Thor as he pits him against powerful villains, including the Dark Gods, who could potentially serve as live-action villains at some point in the future/
Stan Lee co-created Marvel Comics Thor alongside legendary artist Jack Kirby, bringing his classic ability to marry the fantastical with the mundane to the mythical hero. Lee gives Thor a human alter ego in Dr. Donald Blake and a love interest in Jane Foster, establishing a foundation that the comics have run on for years.
Lee wrote a significant amount for Thor in the 1960s, building the world with Kirby and introducing Loki to Thor’s greatest allies and enemies, the Warriors Three and Mangog.
Walt Simonson not only ranks among the best Thor comic book writers, but he is also among the most influential Thor artists. Simonson wrote and drew the book during a legendary run in the 1980s that introduced several concepts that have since emerged in the MCU, including Thor’s blue and gold armor, which appears in the new film.
Simonson brought boundless, imaginative creativity to the title, turning Thor into a frog, creating alien warrior Beta Ray Bill, and creating indelible moments during the battle with Surtur that directly inspired events in Thor: Ragnarok.
Jason Aaron dominated the 2010s with a long, deep run on Thor that shattered the status quo and provided the character with plenty of new elements. He introduced Gorr the Butcher God in 2013 Thor: god of thundercreating an instantly iconic villain who now threatens the MCU.
Aaron’s greatest triumphs during this time include directing Jane Foster’s Thor, elevating a character largely out of the way for much of his comic book history, and bringing a new life to thor concept. Jane’s transformation continued in later comics, where she eventually became a Valkyrie.
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