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ThorOf all the super heroes based on mythological gods, it is the Mighty Thor who is the longest running and most popular.
ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY THOR!
Created by Stan Lee in 1962, Thor was created simply because Lee was running out of ideas for giving normal humans super powers. There are only so many radioactive spiders and gamma bombs after all. So why not just make his new hero an actual God?
Instead of going for the more well known Greco/Roman myths, Stan and artist Jack Kirby opted for the lesser known Norse Viking mythology, and the whole thing worked like gangbusters. For some reason, Stan gave the Norse Gods the affectation of speaking in Shakespearean dialect, which made zero logical sense, and yet everybody rolled with it.
Although a contemporary of Spider-Man, The Hulk, and the X-Men, Thor never really achieved their mainstream success, although that changed when Marvel Studios released Thor and The Avengers, making him not only a beloved character, but an attractive one as well.
ZeusWhile the king of Mount Olympus exists in Marvel Comics, usually tangling with Thor or his own son Hercules, it is DC’s Zeus who gets this slot.
Because this version of Zeus is a bit more in line with Greek myths, and is therefore a complete and utter pig. He even wears flowing white bedding, like the Greeks did.
When his son Ares almost destroyed the world, as well as Olympus but was thwarted by Wonder Woman, Zeus decided to reward Diana… with his man-piece. That's right, THAT man piece.
When Diana told him that God or no God, her nether regions were her own and she got to decide who gets near them, Zeus cast her down to the pits of Tartarus where she had to face all kinds of trails and monsters, which of course, she beat, making Zeus look even more like the douchey p***k he is.
But hey, at least he had confidence.
Wonder WomanEven though she has origins in Greek mythology, Wonder Woman spent most of her career as merely a God-powered Amazon, not an actual deity.
However, DC Comics killed Princess Diana off in August of 1997 (the same month and year as the real life Princess Diana... creepy!) and was promptly resurrected as the "Goddess of Truth" by the Olympian Gods.
Eventually, of course, Diana renounced her godhood and returned to the mortal world, where tons of gay men continue to worship her as a Goddess anyway (*ahem*).
- 5I refer now to Marvel’s more super heroic version of Ares, not DC’s Wonder Woman arch villain (although isn’t war seen traditionally as a bad, villianous thing pretty much all the time?)
Actually, Marvel’s Ares also started out as a villain, primarily for Thor and Hercules, before going the Venom and Punisher route and becoming more of an anti-hero.
Most recently he was starring in the Mighty Avengers comic, although with Thor back in the Marvel Universe, he was once again deemed useless and killed off, torn in half by The Sentry.
Some bad ass he turned out to be, when you are killed off by possibly Marvel's most hated character of all time (possibly because he's arguably one of the strongest).
HerculesPoor old Hercules, son of Zeus.
In the Marvel Universe, he is totally the poor man’s Thor, although without that cool badass hammer.
Whenever events in Thor’s own comic book force him to take a leave of absence from the Avengers, here comes ol’ Herc to fill in. He’s like the "In Case Of Emergency, Break Glass" Thor of the Marvel Universe. He has had a few attempts at his own series, usually ending prematurely.
He most recently took over the Incredible Hulk’s book (this time filling in for a non-God for a change, which you might consider a demotion) and it was renamed The Incredible Hercules. That didn’t last too long either, and now Herc is currently dead.
I’m sure he’ll get better though, the next time Thor needs a vacation.
OdinThe source of all of Thor’s daddy issues, Odin rules over the Gods of Asgard with one eye and one hell of a beard.
Mostly used to issue declarations and shake his head in disappointment as his wayward children, Thor and Loki, Odin could throw down with the best of them when it came down to it.
In fact, Odin has died something like three times in glorious battle since his Marvel introduction, but like all good comic book characters, he keeps managing to get better.