In comics stores today, you’ll find THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES #1, the next big chapter in the ongoing tale of Jane Foster. This latest, stunningly-gorgeous series is very much the work of writer Torunn Grønbekk and artists Mattia de Iulis and Erica D'Urso, while I’m just happy to still be along for the ride with Jane, a character who’s come to mean quite a lot to me and whose story is one of the works I’m most proud of from throughout my career.
So in celebration of Valkyrie Day, as Torunn always calls it in excited texts to me every time a new issue comes out, I present here a few items of interest excavated from my archives, charting the course of Jane’s story these last few years.
Pictured above is the first mention of Jane from my notebook of Thor ideas. Just a very offhand thought about her having cancer and Thor’s reaction to it. The idea of a hero dealing with a sickness they couldn’t fix was something I initially scribbled down in relation to Thor Odinson but would eventually become a core part of Jane’s own story as Thor. Also, on the same page you get what’s basically the first appearance of Roz Solomon and a Young Thor idea that I never got to, so I’ll keep that one to myself for now.
What was initially envisioned as a THOR arc called “Unworthy,” where Thor finds he can’t lift his hammer just as the Mangog shows up to raise some hell, quickly evolved into a much bigger story, in part because of the ORIGINAL SIN event I committed to write and the chance it gave us to relaunch the THOR series and let someone new take the spotlight. Above is the section from a 2014 outline that first breaks down that new THOR series, where the mysterious hammer wielder’s identity would still be a secret. I’d forgotten that I was initially going to refer to the Odinson as Prince Thor, because, yeah, of course I was. (Five years today. RIP, the one and only Prince.)
Esad Ribic’s first painted design for the new Thor, also from 2014. A painting that proudly hangs on the wall above my desk.
My first jumbled notes for the new version of the Thor vs Mangog story, now featuring Jane at its center. This is very close to where I ended up, except instead of having Jane’s final moment as Thor being her still fighting the Mangog, it became a quiet moment between she and the Odinson. The final script for that moment from THE MIGHTY THOR #705 is below. A script I definitely cried over while writing.
17.1) Thor and Odinson stand on Asgardia, the light of the explosion shining down on them, fire spreading around them. Odinson looks up in disbelief. Thor looks calm and resolute.
ODINSON: did you just do?
17.2) Odinson is yelling at Thor in disbelief.
ODINSON: What did you do!?!
ODINSON: You killed Mjolnir!! You just…
17.3) Odinson’s anger is replaced by sadness and frantic despair. Thor gently tries to calm him.
ODINSON: You just killed… you…
THOR: I know.
ODINSON: But… you’re going to change back now… and you can’t… you won’t survive another…
THOR: Odinson, I know. I know exactly what I’ve done.
ODINSON: We… we can still get you to the healers.
17.4) She moves closer to him. He’s still frantic. She’s more filled with love than despair. She doesn’t want to waste her final moments.
THOR: There isn’t time for that. Not that it would matter even if there was.
ODINSON: No. It cannot end like this, Jane Foster. We need more time.
THOR: Let’s not waste what little we have.
ODINSON: But I… I know not what to say.
17.5) Tight on Thor, smiling sweetly, touching Odinson’s face, knowing this is it.
THOR: Say goodbye.
18.1) Thor and Odinson are embracing, kissing passionately, as Thor begins to transform back into Jane.
18.2) Pull back. They’re embracing in the midst of the roaring flames, as all of Asgardia is burning and as the magic swirls around her.
18.3) Exterior of Asgardia, completely engulfed in flames, falling toward the sun.
You may notice that the idea to have Jane remove her helmet during this final, emotional moment wasn’t in the script. That was something I came up with while Russell was already drawing the issue. I had avoided showing Jane without her helmet while she was Thor. I think she’d been shown that way in other series, but not in the pages of THOR. I can’t say I really had a specific reason why. I guess it was mostly because I wanted her to protect her secret identity. It wasn’t until I saw Artgerm’s gorgeous variant cover for THOR #705, with Jane removing her helmet, that I realized, oh shit, this is the perfect moment for that. It’s a simple little gesture that I think really adds to the intimacy and power of the moment, made all the more profound by the fact that Russell had never drawn her that way. It was almost like I’d been waiting and planning for that moment all along.
And now Jane is a Valkyrie in the comics and soon to be flying high as the Goddess of Thunder again up on the big screen in THOR LOVE AND THUNDER, and I, as much as anyone, will be excited to see where her story takes her from there.
For more info on the new books I have in stores today, including THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES #1 and the King In Black tie-in AVENGERS #45, head over to My Work Blog where I’ve gathered all the covers and previews pages and a few words on each.
Jane Foster Sale
In honor of Jane’s big day, every new order from My Online Store will come with a free signed Jane Foster Thor comic culled from the depths of the official Jason Aaron Archives (i.e., my basement). One of these beauties, picked at random:
While supplies last and whatnot. Or until May 5, when I’ll be back to celebrate the start of another new story I’m really excited about.
The wild and whacked out world of HEROES REBORN kicks off May 5. Here’s me talking about it with my face.
And here’s the recently released cover for AVENGERS #46 by artist Javier Garrón and colorist David Curiel, which kicks off the first AVENGERS arc after HEROES REBORN, “World War She-Hulk.”
When the Russian Winter Guard invade Avengers Mountain to arrest She-Hulk, it sets off a global espionage adventure that takes us from the notorious assassin training academy of the Red Room to an undersea kingdom on the verge of violent revolution. Along the way, traitors will fall, regimes will crumble and the dark evolution of Jennifer Walters will reach its bloody red crescendo, all as we build toward the epic events of AVENGERS #50.
This was the first AVENGERS arc I wrote in 2021, in this new year so full of promise. But it represents a shift to a darker tone for the series, as I begin to tie together some of the book's ongoing threads. The entire arc is actually already written, and I've moved on to the gargantuan AVENGERS #50, which is bursting with all sorts of epic madness that will set up some new things for 2022. The FREE COMIC BOOK DAY AVENGERS issue will be an important piece of that as well.
And then there are the three other new secret projects I’ve got in the works, some with Marvel, some elsewhere. More on those when it’s time.
You had mentioned in a previous Beard Missive that more Southern Bastards was in the future, any news on that? Thanks!
I get this question a lot. Believe me, I wish I had news I could give you. As soon as I can, you will hear it here first. I’m sorry I can’t say more right now.
Just know that I am here in the home office, busy working and being happy and fully-vaccinated and ready for a year with more goddamn hugs.
This has been Beard Missives, direct from the Pfizer protected face of Jason Aaron.
This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Kellogg’s Blue Raspberry Mermaid waffles, blue Witch Baby bath bombs, Elvis’s Blue Hawaii and the ice from Sonic used in blue cocktails.
Thanks for reading. Stay safe. Stay loved. Stay wild.
KC, April 2021