Thor: Stan Lee Strikes Back

The Thunder God’s legendary creator talks about returning for the epic THOR #600 to heft the hammer once more



By Jim Beard Behold! Even a Thunder God must bow before the majesty of "The Man"! When the milestone THOR #600 hits Midgard (that's "Earth" for you civilians) on February 11 even Asgard's going to feel it. Why? Not only does it feature an incredible culmination to J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel's fan-favorite run on the title but also a new Thor tale by the one and only Stan Lee! That's right, True Believers, it's a 100% new story with top of the line art by David Aja and Stan's chompin' at the bit to tell you about it. In fact, he took a moment or two to talk with us from his headquarters in sunny California, and dish on his rambunctious reunion with the Mighty Thor!

THOR #600
variant cover by
Dell'Otto Stan, how did the project come about? Stan Lee: I got a call from [THOR editor Warren Simons] in New York and he asked if I'd write a story for THOR #600. How can you say no to something like that? I guess all the other writers were busy Did you ever imagine that you'd be writing the Mighty Thor again? Stan Lee: Well, I'm not that surprised. Every so often I get these offers to write things that are things that I never would have expected, so now the unexpected almost becomes the expected. For example, some time ago I was asked to write I was asked to write this Fantastic Four story that Jack [Kirby] and I had started and never finished and I worked on that. And then I was asked to write about Stan Lee [meeting] different characters at Marvel, and then I was asked to write THE LAST FANTASTIC FOUR STORY, so I never know. I mean, I'm not surprised anymore! The House of Ideas just doesn't want to let you go.

Preview art by
David Aja

Stan Lee:
[Laughs] No it's not that; they figure that, let's find out if the guy still can read and write. "I don't know, it's been so long." In a nutshell, what's your new Thor story about? Stan Lee: Oh it's about Thor. [Laughs] I was afraid you'd ask that. Well, can I give the plot away? Just a brief outline, how's that sound? Stan Lee: All right. [Thor] decides, enough of all this fighting up in Asgard and so forth, he'd like to come to Earth and just be a—remember he used to be a doctor? In the beginning, he was a doctor here on Earth, he was lame, he walked with a cane. And then he would tap the cane on the ground and it would turn into the hammer of Thor and off he would go up into Asgard. I figured that after all these years and decades of fighting up in Asgard, fighting Loki and Storm Giants and whatever monsters we could cook up, maybe he'd like to get back to Earth and just be a doctor again. Lead a nice, quiet life. So that's the premise of the beginning. Well actually, that's not how the story begins [Laughs]. But that's the main point of the story, but then something happens! I wish I could remember what it was. Even if I could remember, I don't think I should tell. So Thor fans will be glad for your return to the character, but perhaps not Thor himself! Stan Lee: [Laughs] Well, y'know the funny thing about that. When I used to write Thor, I had all the characters talk the way I imagined that Norse gods would talk. "Thou shalt not" and "get thee gone" and "so be it" and stuff like that. But

Preview art by
David Aja

I've been reading the Thor books lately and he talks like you or me! So I just had him talking like a regular guy because I didn't want to throw the readers off balance. Every balloon that I wrote, every panel, I was tempted to have him talk the way he used to, but I figured, well, that'll confuse people. You've said in the past that you originally went with the Norse myths for the character because you felt that the Greek myths had been done a lot and you had always felt that the Norse myths were very strong. What more can you tell us about that? Stan Lee: Well, I even liked the way they looked, the old Vikings. Because to me, the Norse gods were like Vikings. I knew that [artist and Thor co-creator] Jack [Kirby] could do a great job, and he did a job that was even greater than I expected drawing these characters and coming up with costumes for them and so forth. I figured we had super heroes who could do anything, who were so powerful, and you're always trying to top yourself. So I figured, what could I do that's even bigger and better, and I figured the only thing left is a god. So now it was a case of choosing a god. I did figure the Greek/Roman gods, which are almost interchangeable, they've been done so often, so I looked around. What other gods are there that nobody's using at the moment? [And] there we were with the Norse gods. So you're responsible for saving the Norse gods from obscurity, then. Stan Lee: Yeah, yeah, I saved them from oblivion. [Laughs] It'd be safe then to say that the visuals of Thor and company would be one of the things that you liked best about the character? Stan Lee: Oh, the visuals were great, and Jack Kirby deserves all the credit for that. I mean, I just said draw these guys heroic-looking and so forth. He gave them

Preview art by
David Aja

those costumes and those wings on the head and he had Odin looking like Odin oughtta look. It was just so great working with Jack. How do you feel about David Aja's art on your THOR #600 story? Stan Lee: It's beautiful. I mean, its gorgeous artwork Do you have any special favorites from among Thor's supporting cast? Stan Lee: Oh yeah, I loved his three friends; let's see if I can remember their names. Volstagg the voluptuous, and there was Hogan the Grim, and Fandral the swashbuckling or Fandral the dashing—something like that. I loved those three, because I threw them in for comedy and also for drama, whenever they were needed, but Volstagg was my favorite because he was this big, blustering, really a little bit cowardly kind of guy. And of course I loved all of them. I loved Odin, the All-Father, and I loved Balder the Brave, and Heimdall; he could hear a butterfly flapping its wings a million miles away and he could see anything. Will we see any of these characters in the new story? Stan Lee: No. [Laughs] No, I didn't have room, it was just 11 pages. I wrote the whole story for the ending; the ending is the important thing. The purpose of the story is to lead up to the ending. Thor has obviously endured as a character; why do you think that is? Stan Lee: He's a great character. And again, the way Kirby drew him he's unforgettable. He just looks so heroic and the other characters are so colorful. And of

Preview art by
David Aja

course you have Loki, the villain. I mean one of the most important things for any super hero is to have a great super villain, and how do you do better than Loki. THOR #600 clocks in at an Asgardian 104 pages, big enough to satisfy even the most voracious and discriminating Storm Giant—and it can be yours on February 11. Get thee to a comic shop, True Believer! And check out the very first appearance of Thor, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!
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