10 Best Thor Comics to Read After Watching Thor: Love and Thunder
Posted on July 26, 2022
As great as superhero movies are, they would be nothing without years of comic book stories from which to draw inspiration. With the release of Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth film in the series, now is the perfect time to check out some of our favorite comic book adventures featuring the God of Thunder—from trendsetting books of the 1960s and 1970s to modern day classics.
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Thor by J. Michael Straczynski Vol. 1
It may be difficult to believe these days, but prior to J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel taking over the God of Thunder in 2007, Thor was not exactly the hottest commodity from Marvel (remember when a cyborg clone of Thor appeared in Civil War?). Straczynski and Coipel take a much-needed back-to-basics approach that emphasizes not only Thor Odinson’s mythological roots, but the human world he’s come to embrace. Arguably the greatest run of Thor comics up to that point since the work of the great Walter Simonson in the mid-1980s (more on him later), this is the book that paved the way for Chris Hemsworth’s cinematic iteration. Bonus fact: remember the guy in the first film who finds Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, in the desert? That is none other than Straczynski himself.
Thor, Vol. 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman
Jason Aaron has written a lot of great books for Marvel. And DC. And Image. However, his greatest contribution to the medium of comics may very well be the introduction of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman’s character in the film) as Thor. A long-time Marvel character going back to the early 1960s, Jane has been a mainstay of Thor’s world since the beginning. While the idea of Jane becoming Thor was briefly explored in 1978’s What If? #10 (albeit out of continuity), it was not until 2014 that Jane was revealed to be worthy of wielding Mjolnir, the mighty hammer of Thor, in the mainstream Marvel Universe. And remember, if anyone takes issue with Thor as a woman, kindly remind them that there is comic book precedence for Thor being a frog, a robot, and a humanoid horse alien, among many other things.
The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson, Vol. 1
It’s very rare that you encounter a comic creator who is as synonymous with a particular character as Walt Simonson is with Thor. Simonson in many ways did to The Mighty Thor what Chris Claremont did to Uncanny X-Men—each creator took a classic Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation, elevated it, and established many of the conventions we associate with the franchise today. While any number of storylines could be considered not only Simonson’s best work on Thor, but also the best Thor tale of all time (“The Surtur Saga” and “Skurge’s Last Stand” come to mind as huge contenders), I find myself coming back to “The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill,” in which the writer/artist introduces fan-favorite Beta Ray Bill—a noble alien who forces Thor to truly examine what it means to be a hero.
Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor, Vol. 1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
That being said, you should not sleep on Stan and Jack’s early tales of the God of Thunder. This volume reprints issues of Journey Into Mystery, in which Thor and much of his iconic cast of allies and enemies are introduced. Perhaps most importantly, these early tales establish Thor’s contentious relationship with his adopted brother, Loki. While Jack Kirby spent the 1960s completely changing the game of superhero comics, his work on Journey Into Mystery is often criminally overlooked. If over-the-top superhero action is your thing, there’s a lot to love here.
The Mighty Thor and The Eternals: The Celestials Saga
It can be easy to forget that between the early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby tales and Walter Simonson’s acclaimed run on The Mighty Thor, Marvel great Roy Thomas put out some impressive comics featuring the resident God of Thunder. If you love stories that are epic in scope and explore the more cosmic corners of the Marvel Universe (or if The Eternals film left you underwhelmed), this collection may be a pleasant surprise. It’s also worth noting that this book features art from the great John Buscema, of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way fame.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Vol. 2 by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee
Before Chris Samnee became somewhat of a superstar on Marvel books like Daredevil, Black Widow, and Captain America, he teamed up with Roger Langridge to create this short-lived gem that coincided with the release of the first Thor film. Lighthearted and accessible, Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a great comic for new readers—or readers who need a break from the more intense, continuity-heavy superhero fare. Why am I choosing volume 2? Well, because it has the dragon-like alien Fin Fang Foom, of course.
Thor: God of Thunder, Vol. 1: The God Butcher by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
Once again, we have a series in which Jason Aaron pushes the lore of Thor in fascinating new directions. In this volume, Aaron introduces Gorr the God Butcher (played by Christian Bale in Thor: Love and Thunder), but the best part is that any hope of defeating him will require past, present, and future versions of Thor. Make sure to check out the second volume to see Gorr’s sinister plans unfold even further.
Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man, Thor & Captain America by Michael Avon Oeming, Daniel Berman, and Andrea DiVito
The Avengers: Disassembled event was a pretty huge deal back in 2004. With major characters dying, leaving the team, and/or falling from grace, not only did this event leave the Avengers in complete shambles, but also set the stage for years of Marvel stories. Within the issues of Thor that coincided with Disassembled, Michael Avon Oeming brings the death and destruction of Ragnarok to Asgard. While many know Oeming for his work as an artist on books such as Powers, his short tenure on Thor really showcases his writing skills as he crafts a story that’s brimming with love for the character—even as Thor’s world is being torn apart.
The Mighty Thor by Walter Simonson, Vol. 2
If you need more of Surtur, the huge fire demon at the beginning and end of Thor: Ragnarok, then this is the comic for you. The beauty of ”The Surtur Saga” (which appears in this collection) is how Walter Simonson spends over a year slowly laying the groundwork for the showdown between Thor and his nemesis. When they finally throw down, they really throw down. This storyline not only highlights Simonson’s skill as an exceptional visual storyteller but also stands as one of the great examples of how to create a superhero book that’s well-paced and crammed with action—all without sacrificing character drama.
Thor: The Devourer King by Donny Cares and Nic Klein
Donny Cates has proven himself to be one of Marvel’s top writers in recent years with stellar runs on Venom, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Silver Surfer. His work on Thor is no exception—a feat even more impressive when considering Cates had the unenviable task of following all-star Thor scribe, Jason Aaron. This tale begins with Thor as king of an unusually peaceful Asgard, but what is The Black Winter that looms ever closer? And how does the mighty Galactus, the world-eater, play into all of this?
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