SOURCE MATERIAL By Drew Mollo
Many viewers often leave a comic book movie with the question: “Is that how it happened in the comics?” Here at ironagecomics.com, we have the answers! Let’s look at the real comics storylines that influenced Marvel’s latest blockbuster hit – THOR: RAGNAROK.
Walter Simonson’s Ragnarok and Roll
Few creators have contributed to the Mighty Thor like writer/artist Walter Simonson. One of his iconic stories features Thor and his allies Lady Sif, Beta Ray Bill, and Loki battling the fire demon Surtur, who sought to massacre both men and gods at the end of the world. Since Surtur and Hela the Asgardian’s Queen of the Underworld are the movie’s antagonists in this film, I suggest picking up the Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus which contain more of Simonson’s epic stories.
Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder/Mighty Thor
Director Taika Waititi admitted that Jason Aaron’s Thor storylines inspired his film both in appearance and in content – especially the storyline featuring Gorr: The God Butcher. Appearing in Thor: God of Thunder #2- #11 drawn by Esad Ribic, the otherworldly Gorr lost his family at a young age – a loss that cemented his belief that the gods did not exist. Upon learning that a variety of deities do indeed exist, he sought the Necrosword and spent centuries killing
any god he could find as his revenge for unanswered prayers. He nearly defeated Thor several times but Thor managed to outsmart him with the help of a Godbomb and successfully ended his campaign of terror. Hela’s appearance and abilities were also based on Aaron’s storyline with Ribic. Jason Aaron is known for his Original Sin story which had Thor declared unworthy to lift his hammer and the title of the Mighty Thor would be
maintained by Dr. Jane Foster. Aaron’s Thor run has been widely accepted as a commercial and critical success.
Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk
In Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk, Bruce Banner aka The Hulk is jettisoned from Earth by Marvel heroes who believe Hulk is too dangerous to live on Earth. The plan to send him to a peaceful planet is coincidentally changed and Hulk ends up on the planet Sakaar, where he is forced to battle in gladiator-like games for the planet’s ruler, the Red King. He bonds with his fellow gladiators, eventually usurps the Red King and decides to remain on Sakaar with his new love, Queen Caiera. Gladiator Hulk is definitely one of the smarter Hulk personalities we’ve seen recently, capable of strategy while still channeling Hulk’s rage and strength. As this is first time we’ve seen Hulk since 2015’s Age of Ultron, the atmosphere and change in personality is a welcome evolution of Bruce Banner and his famous green counterpart. If you’d like to see more, you can check out the Planet Hulk animated film or read the Planet Hulk Omnibus written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti.
Movie interpretations usually end up straying a bit from the original comics. But with these titles, you might better appreciate the characters you’ve seen and have a better perception of the events that unfold within the film. Most importantly, this movie is the final piece in our understanding of the Infinity Stones, the last of which will be revealed in Thor: Ragnarok, and their importance to Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Hope you enjoy the film!
-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in comics media and has had Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” stuck in his head since April.