Marvel Comics has announced that Thor, the God of Thunder, will be getting a sex change: in a new series to be released in October, Thor will be portrayed as a woman.
The series will be Marvel’s eighth to feature a female lead. The company says the new character “aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for superhero comic books in America–women and girls.”
In Norse Mythology, Thor is the god of thunder, the hammer-wielding son of Odin. His comic-book superhero adaptation, which first appeared in 1962’s Journey into Mystery, was as stereotypically masculine as they come. He wields a mystical hammer called Mjolnir, which bestows god-like powers and can’t be lifted unless the lifter is “worthy.”
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor,” Marvel editor Wil Moss says in a statement. “Well, it’s time to update that inscription. This new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute–she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”
“This is not She-Thor,” series writer Jason Aaron says. “This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.” She won’t be called Goddess of Thunder, either–she’s a god.
While it’s definitely a refreshing change from usual macho superheroes, it’s not the first time Thor has taken on other identities. In the 1980s, Thor was briefly portrayed by Marvel as an alien space horse, and then a frog. Apparently, in the Marvel universe, gender-bending is more radical than species-bending.