In Hawaii, Kane-Hekili, is our God of Thunder and Lightning. Besides knowing that the great warrior chief, Kahekili, tattooed one half of his body to emulate his namesake, I truly know little else. Interestingly enough, with the important roles that sky gods play in the Pacific there is barely a mention of one who rules over thunder and lightning if any at all. But, there are few who I am aware of that haven’t heard in some shape or form of the Norse God, Thor!
As Marvel Studio releases “Thor: Love and Thunder” I am reminded of my own introduction to the Asgardian hero. At about age eight, my Uncle Sione was an aspiring artist who had sketched a number of Polynesian Gods and warriors.
But there was one sketch that didn’t look like the others. Instead of wielding a club, spear or tooth edged weapon, this one held a mallet. Intrigued, I asked who was he and shocked, Uncle Sione replied “you’ve never heard of Thor?!” He then showed me the comic that inspired the sketch and for years to follow, not only did I hunt every Marvel mention of the character, but I also became enthralled by Norse mythology in general!
Though I may not have been the one to introduce my nephews to the Thunder God, I was truly impressed by the impact that Marvel Studios' and specifically Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal had on three of these young men. The first time I take anyone out to Dragon’s Layer Comics, I always ask the same question. “What character do you have an interest in reading more about?”
On one of these occasions, Tilini Livai, a former state football champion from Hilo High School replied, one of my favorite character is Thor! To my surprise, a few years later, his cousins William Taumoepenu, a former high school Rugby standout and his older brother Maurice, who is currently an Air Force hopeful, would have a very similar reaction in that very same comic shop!
Upon each mention, I have defaulted to the same story, “Thor: God of Thunder” issues #1-#5 “The God Butcher” and it’s epic conclusion “#6-#11 “Godbomb” by the legendary creative team of writer, Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic on pencils! I am proud to say that none of these young Polynesian men were disappointed!
Can you imagine all our delight when the early teasers of the latest Marvel Studios release seemed strikingly familiar?! Some sequences even look like they’re straight off the pages! It is so refreshing to rediscover my own passion for comic books in the excitement of another generation finding their own!
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of their thoughts leading up to what may very well be another blockbuster hit! I asked all three the same questions, do you remember the first time you found out about Thor and why is he one of your favorite heroes. Their answers were:
“Yeah, May 2nd, 2011 when his first movie came out. I like Thor because he was fearless, though he didn't really make wise decisions. His father, Odin, banished him to earth and strip his powers from him. So, when he came to earth HE WAS AN ORDINARY GUY, had to learn to become a wiser man, make better choices and became a better Thor than he was before!
Reading the comic books you gave me made me like him even more! And, to me, he’s the most powerful superhero I know, haha!”
“I first saw Thor in the first Avengers movie. I didn’t think much about him because I was more into Hulk at the time. But as the movie progresses I started to like him. Especially when he and Iron Man fought!
After the movie, I decided to read and watch more on Thor. As it turns out, his background story is WAY BETTER than Hulk’s! Since my knowledge grew more about Thor, he became one of my top 3 favorite Avengers. His sense of humor is plain but also funny if you think about it. Other than that, he may have gained some weight but he’s still my favorite!”
Before I read the comics I only knew what I heard from other people talking about Thor. I thought he was a hero or a god of hammers. After reading about Thor, I found out that he was the god of thunder! That he’s a stubborn guy, loves his ale, and more! What I liked about Thor is that he loves fighting, love his home, and not only that he is honest.”
The most impressive thing I took away from their admiration of this Norwegian deity is that not once did any of them mention race, culture or differences between him and them. They ONLY took away the good stuff! Polynesians have a deep love of home and family. Most of us have a complex of trying to live up to legacy and our fathers’ expectations. We get a little rowdy sometimes but always do our best to keep the island pride alive.
These three young men reminded me that a good story doesn’t have to be defined by what somebody looks like or where they come from. It’s about what they do and why, even in the face of danger or defeat. It’s far more than skin deep and knows no borders. A good story is made from the stuff of legends!
Thank you boys for keeping this old man young! For making me watch my step whether you’re around or not because I know you’re always watch, absorbing and emulating. Thank you for making me a better man. Uncle Kk loves you very much.
And readers, I hope you take their examples and give something new a try or revisit something that wasn’t given it’s fair shot at first glance. More than likely there’s a story we’re missing out on that’s worth the watch or read. May we live a life worth reading about long after we’ve found our own Valhalla.
Till then, as always,
Mahalo for reading,