For every hero man franchise, there is a female who can do the same thing. So Thor got his lady counterpart in 2011 with Jane Foster. But before that, there was an amphibian wielding the hammer of the gods.
30 years before women had equal share in the pages of Marvel Comics, at least in the Thor titles, a frog could wield Thor’s hammer. In 1986, we had just that.
So the frog was actually Thor because of some weird magical spell put on him by Loki. And like Thordis (the female Thor that happened in the late 70’s for a one-off What If?.. comic), this was a short lived form. But something else was set up during that time, so that a frog could wield powers akin to the God of Thunder.
Thus Throg, the frog of Thunder, was created.
And this frog Throg carried the worthy hammer a good five years before Jane Foster got her hands on one.
The Tragic Story of Simon Walterson
Simon Walterson (A play on the name of one of the original writer/artists for the Thor titles: Walter Simonson) is actually an ex-college football player. He suffers an injury to where he could no longer play the sport. He gets married and enjoys a normal life as he and his wife devote their lives to helping the less fortunate. However, his wife dies unexpectedly, as well as his unborn child.
Stricken with grief, he seeks out mystics, psychics, fortune tellers, and other mediums to speak with his wife one last time. He comes across a witch who tells Simon things about his wife that only he knew about her, pushing him further into grief. When she asked for her payment, he was out of money (having spent most of it on the other psychics and mediums). So she put a curse upon him and transformed him into a frog.
Talk about falling on hard times.
The Frog Life of Puddlegulp
What follows is Simon’s life as an amphibian in Central Park, New York City. He becomes part of a frog collective, and is given the nickname Puddlegulp. He aides his frog group in a constant war with the rats of the area. In this comic, Puddlegulp runs into Thor, who also had been turned into a Frog by Loki. Although he still has all his warrior training and wits about him.
Because of this, the frog Thor easily defeats a group of rats, and befriends Puddlegulp and the rest of the frog collective. However, Walterson finds out that the rats are planning to take their revenge on the frog Thor. Trying to locate him, Walterson finds out Thor’s secret as two large goats come to bring a hammer to the Asgardian-turned-amphibian. Suddenly the amphibious Thor turns into a version of himself with the iconic armor – but still as a frog. These events took place in Thor #364 in 1986.
The story of Puddlegulp does not happen until long after.
The story continues in Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1 in 2009. Walterson/Puddlegulp retells the tale from 1986, that he then becomes the target of the rats. Their true target, Thor, was taken back to Asgard by the goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder.
However, one of the goats in kicking Mjolnir back to the Asgardian had accidentally chipped off a sliver of the hammer. Walterson picks up this piece in an attempt to defend himself against the horde of rats, and slams it to the ground. The sliver reacts and becomes a smaller version Mjolnir, compact enough for the frog to carry. And now Walterson is decked out in the same armor as the frog version of Thor Odinson.
From that point on he calls himself Throg. And he named the hammer Frogjolnir. And he continues to protect the pond at Central Park.
Throg the Frog of Thunder
Aside from battling rats, there is a story of Throg contributing to the Pet Avengers. At this time, Reed Richards and members of the Illuminati are looking to keep the Infinity Gems so they do not fall into the wrong hands. One of them is buried on the moon near the Inhumans base.
And Lockjaw finds it buried. Like dogs do, he digs it up and swallows it. And the power in the gem gives him abilities to read and project thoughts.
Lockjaw’s first stop is to Central Park where he meets Throg. He joins Lockjaw’s quest after sharing his tragic tale. Soon after they recruit other members to the team, like Lockheed, Redwing, Hairball, and Ms. Lion (the pets of Shadowcat, Falcon, Speedball, and May Parker respectively).
During their adventure, they manage to gather all six Infinity Gems, and defeat Thanos. The team, dubbed the Pet Avengers, agree only to assemble if ever they were needed again. Lockjaw returns to Attilan and presents the Gems to Reed Richards.
Throg eventually finds his place amongst a community of mythical creatures in subsequent issues of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers.
The Pet Avengers then have to respond to a distress call from the actual Avengers. When they arrive, they find Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man are turned into frogs. During this adventure, the pets get swallowed by dragons, and have to fight their way out from consumption.
Eventually the animal group finds out the dragons are looking to find and protect their eggs. It actually comes down to the Pet Avengers fighting against the actual Avengers, holding them off so the dragons could carry their eggs off to a place where they could hatch.
Throg’s Overall Contribution
Throg has been somewhat of a mainstay in comics over the past few years. His arc ties-in with a classic Thor story line. And we’ve seen that storyline covered in other mediums. We’ve seen the frog Thor at least in the cartoon television shows. There was also mention of it in Thor: Ragnarok. However, we have not seen a Simon Walterson in the limelight of television or film yet. And Throg the frog is long overdue for a solo comic.
We have seen Throg in the Thor Corps, as part of the Thor group/police force for God Emperor Doom. However, there is a lot to this character that not even comics have explored fully. This guy has dealt with tragedy and found ways of dealing with it that might sound bizarre to traditional storytelling. But it sounds like something we would do.
Walterson gives up on football after sustaining an injury. He loses his wife and does whatever it takes to contact her again. Simon becomes cursed and turns into a frog. He accepts his new life as an amphibian, and deals with the rats of Central Park. Puddlegulp meets Thor and wants to help his new friend out, only to find himself cornered. But then a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity happens where he finds himself worthy. He lifts the smallest sliver of Mjolnir to become a frog version of Thor, and protects his frog friends.
For me, it feels like the lesson we learn from Throg is that we need to deal with the tragedies of lie and make the most of our situation. At some point, Walterson doesn’t seek revenge or a way back to the his old life. He just accepts his consequences. And this might not make a very heroic character- but it does make him more of a relatable one to the average joe out there.
But I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Frog of Thunder, Simon Walterson. Leave a comment below or let’s talk about it on social media!