Among the many Marvel Comics characters who are part of the publisher's Marvel NOW relaunch initiative is of course the mighty Thor, who's now quite the star thanks to actor Chris Hemsworth's excellent performance in Kenneth Branagh's live-action film and some scene-stealing moments in Joss Whedon's Avengers. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962, the superhero take on the son of Odin has been presented to readers in different variations over the decades -- secret identities, in a "is he a god or just a crazy dude?" incarnation, and sometimes as a clone from somewhere above Oklahoma -- but typically just one at a time. In the new Thor: God of Thunder series written by Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine and the X-Men) and drawn by Esad Ribic (Silver Surfer: Requiem, Ultimate Comics Ultimates), readers will follow an epic, space opera-esque narrative that spans three distinct timeframes, each featuring Thor in a specific phase of his life.Earlier this week Aaron and Ribic joined series editor Lauren Sankovitch for a conference call with members of the press to discuss Thor: God of Thunder, a conversation facilitated by Sales & Communications Coordinator James Viscardi and meticulously liveblogged by Assistant Editor Mark Strom. Here are the highlights:

- God of Thunder will follow Thor in three points in his life: young brash Thor, before he became "worthy" of his hammer (he carries a giant axe instead), who fights the Vikings; present day Thor, who's got his s*** together and goes on cosmic adventures; and super old King Thor, who's missing an eye and aan arm (he replaces it with one of the Destroyer's), and who's the last god of Asgard at a point in time that's "pretty close" to the end of the universe.

- The three narratives will connect by way of a "serial killer of the gods" storyline that affects every timeframe, but the three periods will be revisited on and off throughout Aaron's entire run on the book. The series is narrated in the first person, so we'll get inside Thor's head in three different phases of his life.

- The "God Butcher" is not a "big, axe-wielding Kirby villain. This is a creepy little guy who sticks to the shadows and has strange weapons. We don't know how or why he does these things, but he clearly has an axe to grind."

- Thor's supporting cast has been largely "stripped away," at least at first. Familiar faces like Sif and the Warriors Three will appear eventually. If you want some Loki stuff, read the new Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie in January. Beta Ray Bill will show up but Aaron and Sankovitch don't yet know where or when. Aaron is a big fan of the original Lee and Kirby stories, and you can expect Mangog to appear at some point in God of Thunder.

- The series will not attempt to reconcile other "end of the universe" Marvel stories like "Old Man Logan," so don't ask.

- Ribic said that depict settings like the cities of space gods, "you have to keep the scale in mind. You need to make it all big. You need to constantly remind readers that this is a huge building that is impossible for humans to build."

- Ribic said he doesn't set out with specific visual inspirations, but that he can sometimes identify them when his work is complete, citing the city of the gods' resemblance to the work of Moebius.

- Ribic and his colorist Dean White are pursuing a "more painterly" style in God of Thunder, and the collaboration is eased by the fact that the artists live near each other.

- Tonally, Aaron is attempting to synthesize the darker style of his early material with the "crazy, Jack Kirby/Grant Morrison-esque stuff" of his more recent work. "If you put that together, you've got Thor," he said, adding, "It's me trying to do Dark Kirby."

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Thor: God of Thunder #1 goes on sale November 14 in your local comics shop and digitally from comiXo

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