It’s another Marvel Next Big Thing press call! Today we’re talking to writer Jason Aaron, artist Esad Ribic and editor Lauren Sankovitch about Thor: God of Thunder! Peppered throughout this article we’ve also got some truly awe-inspiring images from the first issue by Ribic and colorist Ive Scorcina.
Aaron admits that he hadn’t read a lot of Thor comics aside from Walt Simonson’s character-defining run, but he’s always been a fan of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, especially the King Conan iteration. It’s that love of sword and sandal pathos that ultimately led the writer to stake his claim on Thor once Marvel’s game of musical chairs started up at a past retreat. Oddly enough, Derf Backderf’s My Friend Dahmer OGN also inspired this particular story and its deeply unsettling villain.
Indeed. This first story line involves Thor’s struggles to track and smite a serial killer of gods known as Gorr the Butcher. Thor’s uniquely lengthy lifespan means this life-long investigation takes us from Midgard’s viking age through the present and even to the ends of time itself. Though we will see cameos from the likes of Iron Man and other Marvel mainstays, Aaron’s initial arc will not feature the larger ensemble of Asgardians like Loki, Lady Sif or even the voluminous Volstagg. Instead, the Gorr saga will serve as a robust character study for the ever-evolving title character, from his brash youth to his valiant tenure as Avenger and finally to his reign as the one-eyed, one-armed, embittered king of future Asgard.
Expect fountains of mead and literal heaps of debauchery in the sections devoted to Thor’s coming of age in Skandinavia. Though Aaron was probably just messing with us, we actually can’t rule out the involvement of goats in this epic bacchanal.
We asked about Old Thor and the missing limbs. There’s obviously a story there, but is it one we’re going to hear about right away, or is it just one of life’s great mysteries? “There’s a story there. Initially, that’ll be part of the mystery,” Aaron explained. “As long as I’m on this book, I want to keep going back to stories about young Thor and old Thor.” Further, Thor’s actually going to use a modified Destroyer arm as a prosthetic when he goes into battle. Cool idea or coolest idea?
Our own John Siuntres asked whether Aaron is writing with the philosophy that Thor and his kin are actual gods or a brand of extraterrestrial. Aaron conceded that the Thor film seems to confirm the Asgardians as aliens, and that recent talks in-house support this thinking, but he thinks both points of view are valid. For his part, Aaron sees Thor: God of Thunder as a deconstruction of godhood, an examination of mythology and its icons.
Esad Ribic’s powerful imagery tends to speak for itself, but for what it’s worth, the artist lists Moebius’ cityscapes as inspiration for the “city of the space gods” he was tasked with designing. Ribic calls each issue, each scene, a new challenge. Though he’s no stranger to Thor, he’s treating him as an all new character or characters, as the case seems to be.
Aaron is thoroughly enjoying his navigation through the three distinct eras of Thor’s life and tracking his psychology over time. The tale is told through Thor’s narration and it’s a wildly entertaining voice to tap into. ”The future Thor stuff is pretty dark and melancholy. It’s not drinking and carousing. Things have gone to hell,” Aaron said. “This is by far the oldest Thor we’ve ever seen. I know Dan Jurgens did some stuff with an old Thor who also lost an arm, but this is far beyond that.”
“It’s all the same guy, but it’s this slightly shifted way of viewing himself and this world,” Sankovitch added. “You not only get to see him at all these different times, you get to understand him in each era.”
Asked about the status of Thor’s home away from home in Broxton, Oklahoma, Aaron praised that element of J. Michael Straczynski’s run, but said that his story has a bit more of a cosmic scope.
Sankovitch promised a story that transcends the usual nine realms in favor of all new locales. “We’re going to be moving around to a lot of places fairly quickly. This book has no problem with taking things to the edge all the time.”
As for Gorr the god butcher, Aaron says it’s more Se7en than the typical comic book villain. ”This is not an axe-wielding Kirby villain. This is a creepy little guy who sticks to the shadows.”
Once this opening story wraps, Aaron says we’ll undoubtedly see a return of those classic Thor characters. Maybe even Beta Ray Bill. There’s no telling what the next few stories will bring, except for one future threat made inevitable by the writer’s own passions as a comic fan.
There will be Mangog. Oh yes.
Thor: God of Thunder #1 hits shelves on November 14th.