Real Name: Mike (last name unrevealed)
Identity/Class: Human (see comments)
Occupation: Strong man; Thor impersonator
Group Membership: Circus of Crime (Clown, the Great Gambonnos, Princess Python, Ringmaster)
Affiliations: Circus of Crime
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "The Mighty Thor," the most powerful of all men," "the strongest man alive" (circus billings)
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: Thor I#173 (February, 1970) (see comments)
Powers/Abilities: Mike had greater-than-normal strength (see comments). Along with a blond wig, he wore a duplicate of Thor's costume and had a replica of Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. Mike was also coordinated enough to juggle six balls.
Mike injured his back while lifting a dual computer, which weighed somewhere around 5,000 pounds.
History: (Thor I#173 (fb) - BTS) - Mike's past is unknown, but he had been doing his weight-lifting act for years. He was eventually recruited by the Ringmaster's Circus of Crime for the theft of a dual computer from a government electronic center. During the raid, the Great Gambonnos gained access through a third floor window, while the Clown and Princess Python drew the guards' attention, and it was Mike's job to lift the large computer; it was during this robbery that Mike initially strained his back.
(Thor I#173 (fb) - BTS) - During his regular circus performance as "Thor," Mike wrenched his back, and his injury was further aggravated. Fortunately, Dr. Don Blake (the mortal guise of the real Thor) was in the audience -- Blake was at the circus investigating the theft of the computer.
(Thor I#173) - Backstage in a private circus tent, Blake examined Mike and found he was suffering from a very severe back strain ("You must have lifted something fantastically heavy!"), and gave him a sedative to make him sleep all night. The Ringmaster came in to check on them, and Blake told him, "Whatever strained his back like that must have weighed over a ton!" Worried that the physician was getting too close to the truth, the Ringmaster urged Blake to leave now that his work was finished...
Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
And that's all there was to Mike's appearance -- just the first two pages of the book. The rest of the story he was behind the scenes, passed out from the sedative, while Thor was impersonating Mike impersonating Thor (clear as mud?). Thor had to battle a hypnotized Ulik the Rock Troll before finding the stolen computer -- see the profile on the Circus of Crime in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z: Update#1 (a plug!) for further details.
(Obviously there must have been a close facial resemblance between Mike and Thor in order for this story to work...either that, or else those circus people are really, really stoopid!)
At the end of the story, Mike was probably taken into custody (along with the other Circus members) for his part in the robbery. Mike's current whereabouts are unknown; possibly he retired because of his injury.
Mike's strength must have been at a near super-human level for him to be able to lift that computer, which was later disguised as a 5,000 pound barbell -- true, its weight may have been exaggerated a bit by the Ringmaster, but remember that this story was from 1970, back when computers were still bulky, heavy devices that couldn't even do what the average laptop of today can do.
The most weight ever officially recorded by the International Powerlifting Federation as being lifted by a person in the real world was by Shane Hamman on July 31, 1994: 447.5kg (close to 1,000 pounds). Considering the weight of the dual computer and Blake's diagnosis of Mike's condition, I'd say that Mike probably had around Class 2 strength -- still beyond the range of "normal" humans. So although I have Mike classified as a human, it's also possible that his strength could be attributed to the fact that he was actually a mutant, mutate, or even an alien disguised as a human.
Curiously, Mike displayed some qualities that were not typical of comicbook strong guys -- in one panel, he's using a "dese, dem, an' dose" speech pattern, then he switches to a more sophisticated vernacular. And whereas hired muscle men in comics often smoke cigars or cigarettes, Mike smoked a pipe (something usually reserved for intellectuals, like Reed Richards); perhaps there's more to the story of Mike than meets the eye...
Although Thor I#173 was where Mike was first identified, maybe his actual first appearance was a little earlier in Thor I#145, wherein the Circus of Crime was holding auditions for a new strong man after their regular strong man (Bruto) injured himself while trying to lift an elephant. The Circus needed a new strong man for the purpose of stealing the Golden Bull -- the thunder god Thor ended up getting the job, but the strong man who auditioned just before him had a slight resemblance to Mike -- possibly the same guy with a different hairstyle? He demonstrated his strength and almost got the job...until the Human Cannonball launched himself at him and hit him in the gut, knocking him out.
And in the Marvel Universe, where super-strong people are popping up every day, how does an "ordinary" circus strong man do anything that would impress anyone? But I digress...(with apologies to Peter David).
Profile by John Kaminski
Mike the Thor impersonator has no known connections to:
A large computer built by the government for national defense, it was stolen by the Circus of Crime and later disguised as a large, spiked 5,000 pound barbell which was to be incorporated into "Thor's" act, then smuggled out of the country.
Thor I#173, p1, pan1 (main image)
Thor I#173 (February, 1970) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Bill Everett (inks)
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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