Thor Becomes a Woman as Marvel Updates Hero for Girls

Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Entertainment, publisher of the “The Avengers” and “X-Men,” will introduce a female Thor in comic books in October to capture a wider audience for its superheroes.

Marvel announced the plan today in a statement. Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of the show “The View” on Disney’s ABC network, told TV audiences today that the fictional Norse superhero will be a woman. Images on the Marvel website show a female with iron armor and a cape.

“This is not She-Thor,” Jason Aaron, the series writer, said in the statement. “This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is Thor. This is the Thor of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

Comic book producers Marvel and Time Warner Inc.’s DC Entertainment are increasingly targeting female characters to broaden the appeal of the male-centric superhero genre to include more women and girls. Thor will be the eighth Marvel comic book title to feature a female lead.

Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, the publisher of Wonder Woman and Catwoman, said at the company’s June 13 annual meeting that her staff is working on more content featuring female characters.

Earlier this year, DC introduced a new female character, Equinox, a 16-year-old member of the Cree tribe whose powers change with the seasons.

Marvel said it has no plans for a film or TV show based on the new character. The company has produced two “Thor” films featuring Chris Hemsworth in the title role.

The comic-book publisher has become crucial component of the film business at Burbank, California-based Disney. Two movies based on its characters, “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3,” rank among the company’s top-grossing pictures of all time, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, fell 0.7 percent to $86.15 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 13 percent this year.

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