How good is Thor: Ragnarok? Director and confirmed fashion icon Taika Waititi really knocked it out of the park, giving us not only the best Thor movie but probably the best Hulk movie we’ll ever get as well. So you might be thinking to yourself, “I really enjoyed Ragnarok, and I’d love to read more Thor and Hulk comics, but I don’t know where to start.”
Well good news, weirdly specific hypothetical! We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and compiled a shortlist of Thor and Hulk comics that you’re bound to get a kick out of.
THE MIGHTY THOR (1983)
Writer/Artist: Walt Simonson
Ask any comic book nerd worth their salt what the definitive Thor comic is, and they’ll tell you the same name: Walt Simonson. It’s everything you’d ever want or need in a Thor comic. Simonson’s run begins with Thor fighting a cybernetically-enhanced space horse named Beta Ray Bill on top of sentient spaceship, that ends with Bill lifting Mjölnir and becoming the new Thor. And that’s just the first issue.
It’s cosmic fantasy at its most epic, with Thor facing giant dragons, armies of demon, and Hela herself. “The Surtur Saga” in particular is a high point of the series, with the fire demon attempting to ignite Ragnarok. Simonson’s art is bold and dynamic, and he writes long-game story and characters arcs that’ll make any Game of Thrones fan froth. Ragnarok owes a lot to this run.
Plus, there’s an issue where Loki turns Thor into a frog, while still retaining all of his Thor powers. All glory to Throg.
PLANET HULK (2006)
Writer: Greg Pak, Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Aaron Lopresti et al.
If you’re a fan of the Hulk, or want to get started, this is the essential story. After becoming enraged and destroying most of Las Vegas, an unconscious Hulk is hauled onto a rocket-ship and launched into space. Harsh, but fair.
Crash landing on Sakaar, Hulk is forced to become a gladiator and fight for the amusement of the planet’s evil dictator The Red King. Banding together with his fellow warriors (which includes Ragnarok MVP Korg and Miek), they rise up and attempt to overthrow their malevolent ruler. Sound familiar?
(FYI: the comic version of Korg is nowhere near as funny as Waititi’s take – although it doesn’t hurt to read all his dialogue in a soft Kiwi accent.)
THOR: THE GOD OF THUNDER (2012)
Writer: Jason Aaron, Artist: Esad Ribic
The first two arcs, The God Butcher and Godbomb, has three generations of Thor – the young, arrogant Thor of the past, the super-heroic Thor of the present, and the battle-hardened King of Asgard Thor of the future– going up against Gorr, an alien hell-bent on killing all gods. Easily the best Thor series of the last decade, this run is part heavy metal album cover, part superhero comic.
If you dug the visuals of Valkyrie riding into battle against Hela, or Thor throwing down against the Goddess of Death’s undead army, this is the comic you want to be reading. Aaron is still writing an on-going Thor series, and it’s one of the most consistently great series coming out of Marvel.
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK (2012)
Writer: Mark Waid, Artist: Leinil Francis Yu, Matteo Scalera, et al.
A lot of Hulk comics usually have Bruce Banner trying to figure out how to rid himself of his more destructive side. This run takes a different route. Instead of obsessing over a cure, Bruce Banner is more concerned about how to manage it day-to-day, as you would with a chronic illness like diabetes.
Not wanting to have his legacy be “Radioactive Scientist Ruins Everything,” Banner sets out to help humanity through science, teaming up with S.H.I.E.L.D. who provide him with endless resources. In return, the defence agency is allowed to use Hulk as a weapon.
This run is a short but memorable take on the character, with the Green Goliath going up against classic villains like the Mad Thinker and the Quintronic Man, while also teaming up with Iron Man, Daredevil and Thor.
THOR: TO WAKE THE MANGOG (1968)
Writer: Stan Lee, Artist: Jack Kirby
If you want to go classic Thor, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s it doesn’t get much better than this.
A lot of the writing in old comic-books hasn’t aged particularly well – they’re very wordy – but Lee’s over-the-top dialogue combined with Kirby’s bombastic art really works to sell the story’s epic fantasy. This four-issue story focuses on Thor battling Mangog, a large, bull-faced monster that wants to bring about Ragnarok as revenge against Odin.
Powered by the collective hatred of his race (“The might of a billion, billion beings!”), Mangog wants to unsheathe the Odinsword – a huge, magical sword that, when drawn, will bring about the end of the entire universe. Cool.
LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD (2014)
Writer: Al Ewing, Artist: Lee Garbett
We haven’t seen Tom Hiddleston’s Loki since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and Ragnarok is a good reminder of how great the character is. Loki does show up in a couple of the previously mentioned comics, but if you’re looking for something where he’s the lead, this series is perfect.
The set-up of Agent of Asgard is simple: what if Loki, the God of Tricks, was a mystical secret agent? Directed by the Asgardian All-Mother, Loki is tasked with missions such as capturing a rogue sorceress, breaking into the uncrackable vaults of Asgardia and killing Thor. This run is a ton of fun, and if you dig the charm of Hiddleston’s Loki you’ll definitely find something to enjoy here.