From The Archives: The Godly Hammer-Throw

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November 6, 2015 by T. Gregory Argall

I wrote this several years ago for a now-defunct blog called “The Forty-Something Comic Book Geek.” This was at a time before the blockbuster Thor films when all we had to judge were the monthly publication.


So Thor doesn’t actually fly, he just throws his hammer and then hangs on tight? Really?
Thor, Marvel Comics’ God of Thunder, has a big hammer made of mystical Uru metal, It has a leather strap at the bottom of the handle. Thor even named his hammer, because, well, doesn’t everyone name their hammer. He named his hammer Mjolnir and sometimes he talks to it.

Already, you can see why Thor’s parents make him wear a helmet all the time.

When Thor has to travel a great distance and he doesn’t want to go on the bus because the other kids will take his lunch, he just winds up and throws his hammer in the air (aiming in the general direction of wherever he wants to go) and then hangs on to the strap. The force of the throw (generated, remember, by Thor) is enough to actually lift Thor himself and fling him through the air to his destination, many miles away.
Really. That’s the explanation, going all the way back to Journey Into Mystery #83 in August of 1962. Ponder that for a moment. Even in 1962, the physics of that are dodgy at best.
Many years ago, as a joke, I proposed to some friends the game of Tackle Bowling. There’s barbed wire at the end of the lane in front of the pins, you have to wear a helmet and you’ve got a modified skateboard strapped to your torso. It’s just like normal bowling, I explained, except you don’t let go of the ball. This whole “throw-the-hammer-but-don’t-let-go” thing sounds like a similar sort of thing. Thor’s adopted brother Loki is the prankster God of Mischief. It’s really no mystery where Thor got the idea for his fake-flying power.

"Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, verily!"

“Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, verily!”

But then it just gets silly. Having thrown Molly the Hammer, Thor is “flying” along beside Iron Man, on the way to an Avengers cook out or something. “Lookest thou at me, Iron Man,” Thor says, with stars in his eyes and a bit of wind-blown dribble on his chin. “I canst fly! I doth be flying just like thee. Now we canst be bestest friends. Yay!” Wishing he hadn’t given up drinking, Iron Man says, “That’s nice. Turning left now.” So Thor, while in motion through open air, with nothing to anchor against and no pivot point, being dragged along behind a hunk of metal and leather COMPLETELY CHANGES DIRECTION BY AIMING THE HAMMER TO THE LEFT!!!
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. That’s just messed up. Even with Asgardian physics, that’s gotta be about eight different flavors of impossible.

Here’s a fun game you can play with children… (Don’t play it with your own children; use nephews or neighborhood kids or any kids that, ultimately, you won’t have to wheel around if things go wrong.) Get a big plastic hammer and tie a belt to the handle. Better yet, just duct tape the hammer to the kid’s hand. Then tell the kid about Thor and how he can fly just like a real superhero when he throws his hammer. Then sit on your back porch, have a beer and watch the eager little thunder god fling himself around the backyard in his futile attempts to fly.
Fling! Waahhh! Thump!
Fling! Waahhh! Thump!
Fling! Waahhh! Thump!
Oh, it’ll be lots of fun.

Try to be nice to each other.


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