Thor has been a regular part of Marvel Comics for many years. When Marvel created the Avengers, he was a founding member.
He was part of many comics before he ever got his own long-running comic.
Through all of this, his trusty hammer has been present.
The name of Thor’s hammer is Mjölnir. This might appear to be a hard name to pronounce. It is not really as hard as it looks and should be pronounced [miol-ier]. It should be spoken quite quickly, with a slight emphasis on the “ïer” part of the word.
Origins Of Thor’s Hammer Name
The origins of the word Mjölnir (the name of the hammer) is disputed among scholars.
One suggestion is that it comes from Old Norse Mjölnir, which was a development of the Proto-Norse melluniaR. This may in turn be connected to Old Style Church-based Slavonic mlunuji and Russian molnija meaning lightening.
The Russian may have been borrowed from a Slavik origin, or maybe both words stemmed from a common origin, which may have had the meaning Lightening maker.
Another source is said to connect the name to Old Norse mjöll which means new snow. and the modern Icelandic mjalli which means the color white, which would make Mjölnir into the shining lightning weapon.
The third and last option is that there is a connection between Old Norse Mjölnir to Old Norse mala meaning ‘to grind’ and the Gothic malwjan which means to grind, the result of which is that Mjölnir means the grinder.
There you have three options buried deep within the etymology of various languages which is why the word Mjölnir appears to be so complex.
If the name was not complicated enough, the comic book background featuring Thor and the weapon Mjölnir is equally complicated.
Is Thor And His Hammer DC or Marvel?
This may be the question you are tempted to ask, but the reality is much more complex than that.
Everyone seems to have had a go at Thor at some time or other.
America’s Best Comics
Thor appears as a character using his Old English name, which was Punor or Thunor.
This character appeared in 1949 and Thor was portrayed as a somewhat hostile, balding man with a red beard, who was often swearing and not very cooperative.
DC Introduced a character called Thor, in the Tales of the Unexpected #16, way back in 1956.
This was a science fiction, horror, and fantasy comic which appeared between 1956 and 1968.
In Issue number #16 Jack Kirby created a storyline that featured Thor.
In this story, a cowboy comes across The Hammer of Thor in the desert and makes use of it, but it was reclaimed by the God Thor.
A different version of Thor to the one that the same writer would make for Marvel five years later.
They are not completely dissimilar, in that they both have the same design of circles on Thor’s chest.
Mjolnir is present in both stories but there are some differences in the design.
Thor also appeared in the Fourth World, which is a timeline story run by DC Comics between 1970 to 1973. DC also used Thor in several single storylines.
DC’s portrayal of Thor seems to be far more like the original Norse God characters, with John Byrne reworking Kirby’s characters to have flaming red hair and a bushy beard.
The personality was also much more course than Marvels.
Thor Odinson, the Marvel version of Thor, was produced by a team that included Jack Kirby, who had produced the earlier DC comic.
Thor has an alternate identity called Dr. Donald Blake and he can use this identity as a disguise.
When he changes to Blake, Mjölnir becomes a cane.
Thor appeared first in the Journey into Mystery in #83 (Aug. 1962).
Thor was one of the founding members of the Avengers and many storylines find him battling his adoptive brother Loki.
They tend to bring various Norse characters into the stories.
Thor later evolved from comics into the MCU Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, comics still continued but with a different storyline.
Peter Madsen’s Danish version of Valhalla Thor
Coming back to his Norse roots Thor was also featured by Peter Madsen in his comic series Valhalla (1978). Thor appears as a good guy, honest, muscular red-bearded, and powerful god.
He was a central figure in these comics.
Thor was a fictional character who was featured as part of the Comico Comic Series called Elementals.
He was seen first in Elementals #23 which appeared in March 1988. In this comic Thor lives in an underground cave on the Moon.
Asgard is deserted and the Asgard Gods sided with the Nazis in World War 2.
Willy Vandersteen Group
The Dutch comic artist Willy Vandersteen reacted to American comics drying up when World War 2 arrived and began publishing comics.
Tor de Holbewoner was a caveman character with the name Tor.
This was published in a newspaper, but when the war finally arrived his name was changed to Thor.
Later Thor became the Thunder God and in the comic published in 1980, the character Thor was selected by Odin to try to avoid Ragnarok.
Thor was a bit of a rural Hick with added superpowers. Later in the eighties, Thor became a grey-haired warrior wearing animal skins, slightly balding, and who waved his hammer around a lot.
You can see that Thor is not the most straightforward character and his hammer Mjölnir is just as complex.
A character that has survived over 70 years of publication and is still in future plans for the next phase of Marvel Movies.
Even the experts are not 100% sure of the exact origin of the name of Thor’s hammer, so how can we mere mortals hope to be sure.
One thing though, the word Mjölnir does add a touch of Norse traditions to the story, making it much more authentic.
Thor has proved very popular over the years and is one of those stories that appeal to each generation.