From seeming so unimportant that she was written out of the comics to proving herself worthy to carry the title of the Mighty Thor - and plenty of comics-worthy twists and turns over the decades in between - here's the truth behind Jane Foster.
Jane Foster was introduced in Journey Into Mystery #84, only a month after Thor himself made his first appearance in Marvel Comics. While issue #83 had been devoted to introducing the world to Dr. Donald Blake and his thundering alter ego, the following issue took a little time to fill out Thor's supporting cast, and it's not tough to figure out where creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby drew their inspiration.
If Thor was Marvel's take on Superman, then Jane Foster was Lee and Kirby's riff on Lois Lane. Like her DC counterpart, she was the coworker that the hero was pining for, who was far more interested in the superhero than the secret identity. The only big difference was that Jane was a nurse working with Blake rather than a reporter, and at least in her first few appearances, Jane was a redhead rather than a brunette.
But over the next few years, Jane would distinguish herself from Lois by learning Thor's secret identity and being brought into the mythologically inspired world of Asgard. For a while, at least.
Thor and Jane hoped to marry, but if you've read enough comics from the era, you know something had to get in the way. The major obstacle for this set of lovebirds came in the form of Thor's father, Odin, who forbade the marriage on the grounds that Thor was an immortal Asgardian thunder god, and Jane was human. There's a pretty simple solution that problem, though: make Jane a goddess.
That's what happens in 1967's Thor #136, where Thor takes Jane home to Asgard to meet the family. Odin, in a seemingly benevolent move, makes Jane a goddess, granting her an Asgardian costume and the power of flight. Unfortunately for Jane, this gift comes with a few strings attached. She has to prove she has "the courage of an immortal" to stay in Asgard, and Odin decides that the best way to test Jane's bravery is to lock her in a dark room with the Unknown, a Lovecraftian horror that can only be summoned by a gigantic magic tuning fork.
Jane freaks out upon being confronted with the Unknown, and declares her desire to get the heck out of there. With that, Odin declares her unfit, strips her of her powers, and boots her back to Earth without any of her memories of Thor. She's given a job with hunky doctor Keith Kincaid, with whom she immediately falls in love.
Jane made an unexpected return to the pages of Thor in issue #231 from 1975. Jane, mortal as ever, is on her quite literal deathbed, and can only be saved by divine intervention.
In this case, the role of the divine is played by Sif, the goddess who had been romantically linked to Thor since somewhere around the 11th century, and returned to Thor's life while Jane was off romancing Dr. Kincaid. Sif discovers that Thor still has feelings for Jane, and when she learns about Jane's ailment, she pulls off some eldritch magic in issue #236, merging her own godly essence with Jane's mortal form, seemingly sacrificing herself in the process. Jane, now recovered and with a taste for adventure that Thor attributed to Sif's spirit inhabiting her body, goes back to hanging out with the God of Thunder on Asgard, and even gains the ability to transform into Sif, just as Don Blake transformed into Thor. Keep watching the video to learn the truth about Thor's Jane Foster!
Another Lois Lane? | #
Into the Unknown | #
What Sif…? | #
The doctor is out | #
Jane, Jake, and Jimmy | #
See Jane act | #
The Mighty Thor | #
A new Valkyrie? | #
Love and Thunder | #