Thor’s first adventure introduced readers to the doctor Donald Blake. While vacationing in Norway, Blake stumbles across an invasion force of the Stone Men of Saturn (an alien race later known as Kronans ). When the startled doctor takes refuge in a nearby cave, he finds a cane, which he strikes against the wall, only to find himself dramatically changed. Blake becomes thunder god Thor, and the cane transforms into the enchanted hammer Mjolnir The inscription on the hammer declares, “Whosoever holds this hammer if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” As Thor, Blake could fly and control the elements, and he possessed extraordinary strength. Mjolnir magically returned after being thrown, but if it was out of Thor’s grasp for more than one minute, Thor reverted to his civilian identity as Blake.
Thor soon accumulated a stable of more mundane foes, such as the Grey Gargoyle, Radioactive Man, the Cobra, and Mister Hyde. Thor became a founding member of the Avengers in 1963, but his solo series in Journey into Mystery began to evolve as Lee and Kirby returned in late 1963 to change the strip’s focus from Earth-bound crime-fighting to the more expansive, imaginative realm of Asgard.
The creative team introduced a new series, “Tales of Asgard,” which adapted Norse legends an integrated them with the lead strip’s growing band of Asgardians. Among the most important new characters were Thor’s companions Volstagg, Fandral, and Hogun—a band collectively known as the Warriors Three—and his half-brother Balder.