Essential Thor

Essential Thor: Alter Egos

Look back at the history of the mortal guises Thor has used over the decades

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With the release of "Thor" on May 6, 2011 and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011, Marvel.com presents the Essentials, a series of articles showcasing each character's expansive history and mythology  in the Marvel comics.

From character retrospectives to a look at memorable storylines and interviews with key creators, the Essentials will act as the perfect guide for fans both old and new! Look for new Cap Essentials every Monday and Thor Essentials every Thursday as we head toward the release of each film!

 

Donald Blake transforms into Thor
By Jim Beard

The mighty Thor's been a tireless force for good in the universe for many a year, but even a Thunder God occasionally grows weary and seeks solace amidst the chaos of his career. Many super heroes claim a life outside their do-gooding, a secret identity in which they rest and recuperate, but Asgardians always do things bigger; Thor's had several identities.

We've lined them all up here, for your education and edification--the private lives of the God of Thunder among us mere mortals!

Donald Blake: Surgeon

Donald Blake discovers Mjolnir
Though Thor possessed other identities in ancient times, some of them rumored to be well-known historical personages, not until modern times could he claim his first significant--and humbling--role as a citizen of Midgard. Banished to Earth by his father Odin, Thor lived for many years as Doctor Donald Blake, unaware of his origins in lofty Asgard. 'Twas the ruling of the Allfather that his son should learn humility.

Reclaiming his mighty hammer Mjolnir and his memories during an alien invasion, Thor began a dual life with Blake, shifting back and forth to each identity as the situation needed. Reportedly, the crippled doctor originally existed as his own person before Odin merged him with the Thunderer, but eventually this stood revealed as a lie; Donald Blake had no previous, separate life before Thor.

In the middle of a raging crisis concerning the fire demon Surtur and the alien Beta Ray Bill, Thor lost the ability to change into Blake and finally abandoned the subterfuge. Putting the guise of the good doctor behind him, he looked to a new alias for a moment or two of peace on Earth.

Doctor Donald Blake first appeared in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83, which may be found collected in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: MIGHTY THOR VOL. 1 and in ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 1. The "demise" of Blake can be witnessed in THOR #337-340, collected in THOR VISIONAIRIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 1.

Sigurd Jarlson: Laborer

Sigurd Jarlson leaps into action
After bidding farewell to his life as Donald Blake, Thor adopted the identity of Sigurd Jarlson, a construction worker in New York City. No magics or enchantments this time; Jarlson came into being with the simple aid of a pair of glasses and a ponytail. Thor decided that he must remain himself and be ready to swing into battle at a moment's notice without a cumbersome mystical transformation to slow him down.

Though he had the help of none other than S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury in the fashioning of this new identity, Thor found Jarlson something of an encumbrance and utilized the role less and less until he abandoned it when something else came up in the identity game, for better or for worse.

Thor operated heavy machinery as Sigurd Jarlson for the first time in THOR #341, also collected THOR VISIONAIRIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 1.

Eric Masterson: Architect

Eric Masterson as Thunderstrike
While working in the construction business as Jarlson, Thor met and befriended architect Eric Masterson and Eric's young son, Kevin. Little did Eric dream in those early days that he'd become another identity for the God of Thunder on Midgard, but an attack by the devilish Mongoose left him at death's door and Thor with a conundrum.

Appealing to his father, Odin, the Thunder God soon found himself merged with Masterson, the Allfather's solution to saving the architect's life. Much like the shared lives of Thor and Don Blake, the two friends changed back and forth between their separate personages and Thor continued his adventures as a champion of both Asgard and Earth. On two separate occasions they became separated and the second time proved to be the last; Eric regained his own life and with it a super hero identity of his own: Thunderstrike.

Eric Masterson made his debut in THOR #391, merged with Thor in THOR #408 and became Thunderstrike in THOR #432.

Jake Olson: EMT

Jake Olson meets a fellow hero
When the Destroyer, a nigh-invincible suit of mystical armor created by Odin, once again rampaged across Earth, Thor confronted it and drew paramedic Jake Olson into a sticky web of intrigue and lost identities. Thor's injuries from the mighty battle brought him to the brink of death, but the mysterious Marnot combined his soul with that of the recently-killed Olson to create a new existence for the two men. Unfortunately, only one could live their own life at a time.

Olson and Thor's dual existence caused myriad problems for them both, most devastatingly for Olson's mortal life alongside his friends and co-workers. As it began with the Destroyer, so too did it end when Odin decreed that his once-again brutally injured son must be separated from his Midgardian identity. Olson returned to Earth and Thor remained in Asgard to heal, his own person at last.

THOR Vol. 2 #1 introduced Jake Olson to Thor's cast, and can be found collected in THOR BY DAN JURGENS AND JOHN ROMITA, JR VOL. 1. The two separated once more in THOR Vol. 2 #39.

Donald Blake: The Return

Donald Blake in present day
Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, fell upon Asgard and wiped the fabled realm from the face of the cosmos. Thor's spirit lingered in a kind of limbo until his original Don Blake aspect came a'callin' and convinced his better half to once again pick up Mjolnir and jumpstart a new Asgardian dawn. The Thunderer recreated his home as a floating city above an Oklahoma town with he and Blake looking forward as a merged personality once more.

The former doctor returned to his chosen profession while Thor sought out and revived his fellow Asgardians, putting the puzzle of his new life together piece by piece. Whether or not these two sides of the same coin can comfortably exist side-by-side still remains to be seen.

Thor--and Doctor Donald Blake--returned in THOR Vol. 3 #1, collected in THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 1.

 

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Comments

1 comments
GinnyBrown
GinnyBrown

Thor rocks, no matter what secret identity he has, but I really loved the Sigurd Jarlson I.D. The ponytail was freakin' hilarious.