Marvel: New Thor is a woman

Thor is Marvel’s eighth franchise to feature a female lead protagonist

Just call her Thor.

In a news release that shook up the comic book world, Marvel Comics announced Tuesday that the traditionally masculine Norse god of thunder will be portrayed by a woman in the newest iteration of the classic comic book series.

“The inscription on Thor's hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it's time to update that inscription,” Marvel editor Wil Moss said, according to the statement.

“The new Thor continues Marvel's proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn't a temporary female substitute — she's now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Thor series writer Jason Aaron added that the new character is “not she-Thor,” “lady Thor” or “Thorita.”

“This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before,” Aaron said.

There was little by way of explanation on why the outgoing Thor was, well, on his way out: “No longer is the classic male hero able to hold the mighty hammer,” is as far as Marvel would go, which garnered mixed reaction from fans.

While some praised the change as exciting, others decried it as a “major step backwards,” as one fan wrote on Marvel’s website.

“Way to say Thor is worthless and he can’t even have his own name,” wrote another fan. One commenter went so far as to call it the “stupidest thing Marvel has ever done” and demanded the people behind the change be fired.

Changing the character of Thor from a man to a woman is a big deal for Marvel, whose comic books have been almost exclusively male-led since the publisher launched in 1939. But the company has been making changes in the past few years to attract a wider audience and recruit more female fans.

Thor, in fact, is Marvel’s eighth franchise to feature a female hero.

"We see fans of all shapes and sizes and genders in comic stores and at conventions," Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso told Time magazine in a Q&A. "And we perceived there to be a real thirst for characters that reflect what we see in the mirror. From Miles Morales, the African-American Spider-Man, to the new female Thor, our goal is to make our characters reflect the outside world."

Alonso also said the company is used to getting mostly negative feedback in the early stages of any major change it makes.

"I can say unequivocally that there’s no amount of negative feedback we could get right now out the gate that would stop us from publishing this story because we think it’s worth publishing," Alonso said. "And that’s that."

Aside from a new Thor picking up the hammer, Marvel is also currently in production on a stand-alone film for Black Widow, the character who has been played by Scarlett Johansson in the popular “Avengers” franchise.

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