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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 9,474
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,976
Subj: I think mostly its the God thing
Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 09:43:54 pm EST (Viewed 97 times)
Reply Subj: Why is it just about every non-comic Thor story I can think of features Thor learning a lesson in "humility?"
Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 10:00:13 pm EST (Viewed 163 times)

Look at Thors background compared to most superhero protagonists. He is a God. Literally. Not only is he a God, he is a Prince amongst his society of fellow Gods. When he grows up he is going to be the King of the Gods one day.

Superman, who was raised as a simple farmboy, dresses up as mild mannered Clark Kent most of the day and goes to work at a job where his boss yells at him. The Hulk changes back into a skinny, nerdy scientitst who cant escape his unwanted savage half. Classically speaking Tony Stark had money, women and power but his body was fatally flawed with his weak heart. Batman was rich as all get out but he was always haunted by his parents death and so never really enjoyed life and that wealth except as part of his playboy disguise. The Silver Surfer had all the powers of a God and then some but was trapped on Earth, or at other times, is the extremely powerful slave of a monstrous force of nature. Wolverine was haunted by the fact that he couldnt even remember who he was, and had almost lost his ties to humanity after being turned into a living weapon. Spiderman - 'nuff said.

With his privileged background, if Thor didnt really have any personality flaw he wouldnt be a very compelling character. Sure you could tell a lot of good stories about a nice, super rich guy who will never grow old and die who goes out and does nice things and faces bad threats every month. But why wouldnt i want to read about some other guy who goes out and does nice things and faces bad threats every month who also has some other hook that makes him a bit more compelling and relatable?

Given Thors backstory in comparison to most superheroes I think its only natural, if a bit predictable that writers go for the humility lesson/take him down a notch approach. I think its significant that so many of the stories you mention are more or less one-off stories told in varying media, where writers are trying to get across a quick sketch of Thor and his most classic attributes rather than stories set in the main book where the writer is stringing together how Thor and Sif are going to get out of Loki's trap or whatever. When you are telling a self contained story you are much more likely to reach for those classic narrative threads, and like it or not, the essence of Thors story, right from issue No 1, is very much about learning humility.

    I know that is the big thing for Thor about why he was sent to Earth, but it feels like in just about every story to center around him where he is not putting in a guest appearence is about Thor learning humility.

    Thor Film -- Thor being humbled. Makes sense due to this being Thor revealed to the public at large.

    Avengers: EMH -- Thor and the rest of Asgard learning humility by being saved by the Avengers and paying homage to them.

    Next Avengers: Thor being a deadbeat dad and his daughter being abandoned on Earth to learn humility.

    Hulk vs -- Thor learning how to be a true hero from Banner.

    Thor: Tales of Asgard -- Thor learning humility and to grow up.

    Comics -- Many one-shots and side stories over the years.

    I know in some of these instances are necessary, but in anything outside of comics it feels like we only get "awesome Thor" for one episode guest appearences. Everything else is him learning some lesson in humility.


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