2. Donald Blake Was the Dominant Identity, Not Just a Human Alias
Poor Donald Blake. He’s a skilled doctor trained at Harvard University, a kind-hearted and inquisitive everyman. While Matt Murdock was limited by his blindness and Peter Parker faced the challenges of poverty, Donald Blake had a bum leg that required the use of a cane. It’s actually pretty weird seeing him fumble about in these early comics, as a modern society we don’t really consider “lame” as one of the default disabilities. Maybe it’s medical technology that’s advanced or our understanding of injuries has evolved but it’s awkward to read now. Despite his physical setback, Donald Blake decided to travel to Norway, by himself, on a hiking trip, at which point he is promptly chased into a cave where he finds a magic cane that’s ACTUALLY a magic hammer that transforms him into a jacked dude.
Almost all modern interpretations of the character has hand-waived Donald Blake away. It was Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who actually retconned this secret identity as just an illusion set up by Odin to teach the REAL Thor a lesson about humility. That doesn’t gel with these initial stories, as even in Thor form we’re given glimpses into Donald’s thoughts as he experiments with his new powers and struggles to remember his grade-school mythology lessons to help understand what happened to him. Too many comic fans have argued about which of a superhero’s two personas are “real”. Is Clark Kent merely a cheap disguise for Superman or vice versa? In this story it’s clear, Thor wasn’t the story of a god brought low to Earth, but a man who unwittingly became elevated to godhood.