Comic books are in the mainstream headlines more than they ever have been, thanks to the success of Marvel films — and DC Comics, to a lesser extent (though that could change over the next few years with Superman and Batman getting rebooted on screen).
But with the movies distilling these iconic characters to their most important traits and storylines, and just about anything seeming possible with visual effects now, it’s difficult for the source comic books to match up. So the comics have to shake things up. We saw the latest example of this with Tuesday’s announcement from Marvel that the next incarnation of Thor is going to be a woman.
Here’s an image, revealed on The View.
The Asgardian God of Thunder isn’t undergoing a gender reassignment, however. The new Thor will be an entirely new character, as the current one we’re familiar with has been deemed unworthy of wielding the hammer Mjolnir. This isn’t “Thor Girl” or “Lady Thor.” She holds the mantle that comes with the hammer.
As some have pointed out, Thor has been turned into a frog and Mjolnir has been wielded by an alien named Beta Ray Bill. But that somehow seems to diminish having a woman taking on the title of one of Marvel’s signature characters, which is a big deal.
Check out this TIME interview with Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and Thor writer Jason Aaron for more on the new creative direction and what’s in store for the character. (No, it almost certainly won’t affect what happens in the movies. You’re safe, Chris Hemsworth. At least for the near-future.)
The new Thor No. 1, written by Aaron and illustrated by Russell Dauterman, will debut in October.