just random stuff

A rose by any other name…

Last evening, I started drafting a post for today. It was a good start, it had positive statements, plans for projects, I talked about my friends. The usual stuff I love writing about and you love reading about. It was a draft I was planning on reviewing and improving today.

Later in the evening, this happened:

Facebook Post

When I saw my friend Joda’s post (or @krisiku, if you’re on Twitter), my first reaction was to believe I had misread it, as you can see. Oh, yes, that’s me… That’s the name everyone calls me in real life. Weird, huh? Ha-ha! Go ahead, click on the image, click on it! And read.

I know that replacing characters with newer, better, sleeker, hotter, up-to-dater versions is not a new concept. It’s been done time after time. That’s one of the reasons X-Men have so many different series with parallel universes and stuff like that. You have a character, then you get bored writing about it, you kill it or do something to them so that a new character can take that identity. The initial superhero’s fans start a riot and instead of just backtracking, you tell them it was all just a joke/dream/parallel universe/spell… Sometimes, if some of the new superhero’s fans get annoyed, you decide that two superheros create more profit than just one, so why not? After all, if the sales of one or the other start to go down, you can always do a cross-over, no? (Let’s be honest, that’s what cross-overs are there for!)

Comic book fans get very attached to their series and many don’t like changes. Change Spidey’s suit into a black one. Wow, that’s something… boring? But wait, make the suit itself to actually be an alien that has learnt Spidey’s powers and can transfer them to a different person. And just like that, here comes Venom! Now we have two characters instead of one. Awesome!

Sometimes, a seemingly normal character finds a powerful object that when worn, carried or whatever, transfers those powers to the wearer/carrier/whateverer. This is pretty much what happens with someone like Green Lantern and his magic ring.

According to Wikipedia (just a quick glance to the table of contents), there’s been not one, not two, but nine different Green Lanterns! There might be others, I don’t know, I’m not really that much into GL, I think.

In this case, they all have their own identities as Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner… They happen to take on the job of being a Green Lantern. I imagine it’s the same as if I left my job as Internal Communications Coordinator, someone else would replace me (it’s an important role, there always has to be one of us in charge, guarding over everyone’s souls!) but I would still be Marta, and whoever replaced me would be themselves. Same as Green Lantern.

So, Thor…

Upon reading the article, Marvel insist on claiming that this will be the real deal, not just a female version of the god, but the god(dess?) him(her?)self.

As I said earlier, I don’t have much problem with change, as long as it’s done clearly and in a controlled manner. Chaotic change on the other hand makes me nervous.

This whole Thor thing prompted a massive question in the cogs of my brain: How can she be Thor? What happens to the actual, real Thor? Wasn’t Thor the name Odin and Gaea gave their child? Is Thor going to be left with no name?

If the series and the superhero-slash-god were called The Wielder of Mjolnir or something of the sort, I could understand, but… how can Thor stop being Thor and someone else go and take his identity? It seems whatever it is that he does makes him lose his name and all. What has he done that’s so heinous that he loses not only his hammer and powers, but also his name? Aren’t you curious?

I turned to Google and did some searches. This gave me a bit more of background on Thor’s story and origin (other than Norse mythology, of course, I already knew a bit about that). Thing is, other than the actual Norse stuff and Chris Hemsworth, my knowledge of Thor is limited to reading one issue once and to hearing my dad saying he read it when young.

So, let’s go back to the origin story (everyone loves a good origin story, especially if it has family feuds, drama, love, some amnesia… grab the popcorn!)

We don’t know what Thor exactly did to break the camel’s back (meaning, I haven’t done that much research yet) but Odin got a bit annoyed at Thor and decided that he had had enough of a brat son, and that humility was in order. It seems that he had it easier than most parents these days, he just sent him to Earth and wiped his memory completely (Oh, no, he didn’t!). On Earth, Thor has a completely fabricated identity, as some random dude named Donald Blake. Poor Donald has no idea who he really is (Thor, come on, catch up!) and goes about with his life, being a random disabled nobody. He becomes a doctor, which may or may not be important, and then he goes on holidays to Norway, where he gets to touch the Insignificant Walking Cane (which was really Mjolnir in disguise) and boom! Thor remembers.

Now, if you’ve read the comic books or seen the movies,

Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy,
shall possess the power of Thor

I think the key here is the whole possessing the power of Thor. Not shall become Thor or something like that, but will possess his power.

It seems, at some point in Thor’s story, Mjolnir breaks and he takes it to Doctor Strange to get it fixed (it was a time when you fixed broken things, instead of just replacing them… I mean, I get it though, they don’t make hammers like they used to, do they?) Doctor Strange fixes Mjolnir by creating a symbiotic relationship between Thor and his hammer. What does that mean? It means that if Mjolnir is broken again, Thor will die.

This is Marvel, so I’m guessing the hammer can change hands freely and Thor will still be alive… or maybe not, who knows. Also, if Thor dies, does anything happen to the hammer?

This all still bothers me a little.

I am all up for more female heroes. However, in some of the different articles I read, they said this change was being done to attract more females into reading comic books. Now, I completely understand that, but then again… If I were to read Thor now, I would do it thanks to Chris Hemsworth and the fact that Thor is supposed to be this hot, muscular, bearded Norse god! OK, maybe he’s not bearded in the actual comics, but he is in the films a bit, no? A girl can dream.

I can’t help but feeling a bit cheated, like they took your favourite toy and replaced it with a knock-off.

Jokes aside. What’s with creating some female version of a male hero? Why can’t we just have a female superhero by her own rights? Why do we need a she-something? Storm is awesome as herself. Jean Grey is cool. Mistique, Rogue… Not sure, maybe some of those started as female versions… but it sounds they have their own names and identities, don’t they? Going away from Marvel, I would say a great female hero is Promethea, by Alan Moore. It has her own history and all the reincarnations are women, at least up until the last comic I read. It doesn’t need to be the female last-in-the-race-consolation-prize version of a strong male character.

Withouth entering a debate of whether you like Image comics or not, they’ve had a lot of female superheroes, some better than others. True, from what I remember, they pretty much showed all heroines almost naked, but at least they were the main characters of their own stories. As an example, I remember Top Cow’s Witchblade. Sarah Pezzini got this awesome gauntlet that was a symbiont and gave her powers. It could transform itself into weapons. Sure, the symbiont could have cover her body a bit more, but well, what can we do about it now? Do you know why I mention this one? Because they made a male version of it afterwardsThe Darkness’ first appearance was on Witchblade #10.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the new Thor will kick ass, but to me, she won’t be Thor. I’m hoping that whatever Thor did, he will get forgiven and restored into his name and legacy, and then we can have two Thors if they want to, I don’t care.

On a bright note, it seems she will be wearing the same costume as current-Thor, so that’s a point for not having sexist uniforms for female heroes. So far, Chris Hemsworth seems to be appearing as Thor, or at least, nothing else has been said yet but if they do decide to make a film of the new one, I hope she won’t be a bimbo, I hope they will cast someone actually strong and who would look impressive while wielding Mjolnir. Someone like Gwendoline Christie.

So, to end today’s post, let me leave you with a question…

Would Thor (franchise and/or character) still be Thor without Thor?