Most fans assume that Jane Foster’s ability to lift Thor’s hammer is a recent concept, but the female Thor actually debuted back in 1978 in an issue of the classic Marvel novel “What If…?” series. Jane Foster’s version of Thor has become an unexpected fan favorite since writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman launched Thor in 2014. The storyline tells how Jane Foster, a cancer patient, welds Mjolnir and recovers her strength thanks to the power of Thor. This story inspired the release of the 2022 MCU “Thor: Love and Thunder”.
Inauguration What If…? The series followed a Watcher as he peered into the alternate realities of the Marvel universe to see the different outcomes of established events. While none of the stories told in “What If…?” were canonical to Marvel’s core continuity, many of them contained the seeds of ideas that would sprout further down the line, such as Magneto ruling over all mutants, the fascist Captain America, and Spider-Man’s daughter continuing his legacy as Spider-Girl. What if…? books were an ideal place to experiment with new ideas and deviations, for example, Jane Foster was worthy of calling herself the god of thunder.
Related: Jane Foster’s Thor Costume Has a Secret Detail That Fans Completely Missed
What if…? #10 is called “What if Jane Foster had Found Thor’s Hammer?” Written by Don Glut with pencils by Rick Hoberg, the problem unfolds in the early period of the Thor comics, when Thor was still chained to the body of the mortal doctor Dr. Donald Blake. In this version of events, Blake discovers not a magic cane that turns into Thor’s hammer, but his colleague and potential love interest, nurse Jane Foster. Being somewhat familiar with Norse mythology, Jane takes the female version of Thor’s name, Thordis, and uses her newfound powers to fight Thor’s villains such as Cobra, Radioactive Man, and Lava Men. Of course, she also runs into her younger brother Loki, who is incredibly confused by Thor’s new female form, but is no less willing to try to kill her.
In this 1978 comic, Tordis is permanently banished from Asgard by Odin after she rightly attacked a Trio of Warriors for immediately sexually harassing her upon arrival. She is also watched by the Hank Pym of the Giant-Man era when she joins the Avengers. The issue also mixes the usual romantic couples of Thor comics: Donald Blake/Thor and Lady Sif fall in love, and Jane Foster refuses the Hammer, receives divinity from Odin (who is not married in this universe) and eventually marries him. While Tordis is portrayed as an assertive, resourceful hero who truly appreciates the power she has been given, she is still trapped in the gender norms of the 1970s, unlike her contemporary counterpart.
Empowering a hero to their love interest is an image that can be found in all superhero comics, from Superwoman to Venom. Jason Aaron’s story about Jane Foster as Thor made it possible to view this premise as something deeper than “the other way around.” Tordis’ problem is What If…? it may not contain the nuances of the official 616 female Torah, but both of them tell the story of an ordinary woman who acquires godlike abilities and uses them for good and becomes an honorary Asgardian after losing her title. Be it What if…? Jane sits next to Odin or Jane’s main continuity becomes a Valkyrie, Jane Foster’s time as Thor proves that she is worthy.