Marvel's Thor movie has already been released around the world, but here in the US, it doesn't officially open until this Friday. In my ongoing mission to appraise moviegoers about the Thor cast's comic history (and to hear myself talk), I've spotlighted a few Asgardians in the past, with Loki, and Beta Ray Bill. I didn't think I'd touch on Goldilocks himself, and technically I'm still not. This, my friends, is the tale of Thor's earthly identity. He who is lame of leg, but pure of heart, he with the enchanted Uru cane, he with the M.D. on his shingle. Yes, prepare yourselves for the Secret Origin of... Dr. Donald Blake!

Don Blake is one depressed guy. He's been fighting the good fight in Asgard as Thor for so long, his medical practice is in shambles. Since he has no clients, he has ample time to contemplate his existence.  It's actually quite a predicament. If Don is truly Thor, son of Odin, God of Thunder, and all that jazz, who in the heck is Don Blake anyway? Dr. Blake retreats to the only refuge he can at the moment, which is the time-honored flashback!  We travel back with Don as he's vacationing in Norway. I am sure the Norwegian tourism board was thrilled that he picked them instead of say, Waikiki. Anyway, before he can enjoy himself a bunch of vaguely Moai-headed aliens show up. No, I'm not kidding!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="637" caption="Only in the Silver Age can Sci-Fi and Mythology clash so succinctly!"][/caption]

Before the aliens can say "Kill anyone who sees us!" Dr. Blake stumbles, making enough noise for the Moais to detect him and they give chase. For having a bum leg, Blake seems to be doing ok. My bet is that the aliens, being made completely out of rock run veeeeeerrrrry sloooooooowly. Dr. Blake still manages to trip on a cliff face and lose his cane. He seeks refuge in a nearby cave. Unfortunately, the only other exit is blocked by a boulder so huge even he himself couldn't lift it. Then, inexplicably, a wall opens revealing a hidden room. It has a convenient cane on a pedestal. Blake grabs it, and tries to use it as a simple lever to move the boulder. After that doesn't work, the frustrated man of medicine lashes out, with incredible results...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="662" caption=""Those not worthy will find themselves pummeled within the furthest extent of the law of Odin!""][/caption]

So, we know what happens after this. Dr. Blake becomes Thor, spends the next 10 or so pages chiseling some rocky alien butt, and finds his way to Asgard eventually. This is Blake's story, not Thor's. If you want to read what happens, check my "this story appeared in" footnote. We find ourselves back in the present with Dr. Blake, and his reminiscence has left him even more frustrated. With no answers to turn to, he does what introspective Marvel characters do best, he mopes/shouts to no one in particular!

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="641" caption="I guess being "star-kissed" is what gave him that yellow-orange pallor?"][/caption]

The next day, Dr. Blake is back to being a surgeon. His thoughts from the previous night are nagging at him all through a delicate procedure. He still manages to perform admirably (he's the man), but one of his colleagues notices the far away look in his eyes, and tells him to sleep it off. As Don drifts off, he turns his thoughts away from earthly affairs, and lets the memory of Thor take over. That's what the book says, but given what's about to happen it seems instead that while Blake is asleep, Thor is back in Asgard. I'm just gonna chalk it up to "comics!" and continue the tale. Thor, in Asgard, makes nicey-nice with Heimdall at the rainbow bridge, greets all of his godly pals, all the while basking in the glow of his home. His thoughts too turn to the meaning of Blake's life. As he comes across Loki, he nearly asks his half-brother, before realizing that the dude is the God of Lies and Mischief. Finally, Thor makes his way to the one man who can answer his yearning question.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="677" caption="Translation: "It's good to be (son of) the king!""][/caption]

Odin, being the all-knowing type of deity that he is, already knows what's up. Odin decrees that "Knowledge shall be had! Then, we're back with a startled Don Blake saying he's himself again (see what I meant?). Don isn't alone though, as he's accompanied by the disembodied hand of Odin, big as life and twice as Kirby-eqsue! Blake is very lucky that he inherently knows that the voice accompanying the hand is that of Odin, otherwise he might have had to change his name of the God of Urea, if you know what I mean. Odin peels the veil of time to look upon Thor as a young man. It seems that there was a truce between Asgard and Niffelheim, home of the Storm Giants. The decree is that none of Asgardian blood shall enter Niffelheim. By fate, a ravenous Birdbeast has just flown into Niffelheim's side of the fence. Thor, being both headstrong and noble, dispatches the creature, but well, he did just break a truce...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="628" caption=""Dost thou haveth an installment plan!""][/caption]

Thor does what is most logical (for him) in this situation. He gets offended that anyone would dare strike the son of Odin and proceeds to give the stone giant a full-flavored taste of Mjolnir! Their leader soundly defeated, the other stone giants try to dogpile Asgard's favorite son. Thor is having none of it though and uses his hammer to shatter a mountain on top of his assailants! He is about to give the coupé de grace when Balder, the Brave shows up and tell him: "Dude, you're in a crap-ton of trouble with your pop.", albeit with more verilies and forsooths thrown in. The duo flee the fray, ready to face Odin's wrath. We pause our story there, for Dr. Blake to whine a bit...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="651" caption="Dr. Blake needs to go back to school to learn how to read between the lines."][/caption]

Odin is all like, "I planned it that way. You weren't ready yet!" In comic-speak, that means "Stan and Jack are making it up as they go along, cut them some slack!" Right, so we return to Thor's past. He's back in Asgard at a tavern with his buddies, engaged in the time-honored sport of arm wrestling! It looks like his opponent Gondolff may have the upper hand, but just before Thor can go all "Lincoln Hawk" on the guy, Volstagg the Voluminous (look it up) does his clumsy oaf shtick and ends up shattering the wrestling table asunder. Now, since he thought he was winning, Gondolff says Thor signaled to the 'Stagg to put on an act. Thor says "No way guy! I was about to use 'the wing'!". Now with hurt Asgardian pride on both sides, it of course devolves into a fracas. With most of the bar against them, Thor summons all of his crew... well almost all of them.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="516" caption=""What? Dost Thou take noble Volstagg for a base liar!?""][/caption]

The boys do battle, as they are wont to do.  There are punches, blades, and insults flying everywhere. Truly it is a bar brawl for the ages, but it is cut short when the booming (literally) voice of Odin, the All-Father breaks it up. Yup, it looks like Thor is about to get sent to Midgard without his supper. Before that though, let's do a quick cut back to Don Blake, who's anguish may finally be coming to an end.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="621" caption=""But noble father, I humiliate Volstagg ALL THE TIME!""][/caption]

Odin has had about enough of his son's lip, so he sends him packing to Midgard, aka Earth, and strips him of his godhood while he's at it. He goes on to say that, until he can learn to be humble, Thor won't ever be a true hero. Just for good measure, he strips Thor of his memories. Now honestly, I guess I shouldn't question the wisdom of someone who is supposedly omniscient, but if Thor doesn't know who he is, how is he supposed to know what he has to learn?  Regardless, when Thor materializes on Earth, it is in the form of Dr. Donald Blake. After this revelation, Blake seems to relive his newfound memories...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="623" caption=""My life is a lie, but it's OK because Odin said so!""][/caption]

Odin then reveals the rest. Namely, that he recreated his son as a doctor so he would learn compassion for the weak and therefore humility. Odin is also the one who compelled Dr. Blake to visit sunny Norway once he thought the lesson was learned (the Moai guys were just a coincidence). Blake takes all this much better than I would in his place, and as our tale ends, Blake vanishes into the countenance of Thor, possibly forever?

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="676" caption=""Unless I need to perform an emergency appendectomy!""][/caption]

Actually, Thor would continue to use the Donald Blake identity for many years, until Odin bestowed that particular enchantment to Beta Ray Bill. After Ragnarök, Don Blake surfaced again, but that's another tale! Suffice it to say, Thor's time as Blake endeared him so much to life on Earth, that he truly became one of its mightiest heroes! Now go and see the movie, where they probably won't even mention Blake!

This story originally appeared in Thor #158-159, with the bulk being reprinted in Thor #254. It can also be had in Essential Thor Volume 3. A big thank you to Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull for indirectly pointing this story out to me.






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Tags: Marvel , Thor , Top , Secret Origins , Comics