Publisher: Marvel Comics
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery #102 (1964)
Created By: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Sif was born in Asgard, a land of immortality and adventure. While her brother Heimdall became the keeper of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge linking Asgard to Earth, Sif distinguished herself as an incredible warrior, even by Asgardian standards; in fact, she was the best female warrior in the whole land. Also notable was her status as the lover of Odin’s son, Thor. In other words, life was pretty awesome.
Once Thor was banished from Asgard, though, things got more complicated. While her feelings for him never wavered (in fact, she only seemed to become attracted to men who wielded his hammer, Mjolnir, such as Eric Masterson and Beta Ray Bill), Thor became intrigued with a number of women. Sif was especially befuddled by his romance with Jane Foster, a mortal woman, but even still, she did everything she could to save Jane on several occasions, even merging life forces for a brief time.
Upon Odin’s death, Thor took the Asgardian throne and decided it would be a major time saver if he settled Asgard on Earth, so he could mortals out of harm’s way. In doing so, he reshaped the world as he saw fit and became a tyrant. Despite her love for him, Sif protested his reign and ended up exiled. Later, she encouraged Thor’s son Magni to revolt against his father, and eventually Thor realized he was being a douche and turned back time.
Unfortunately, this was just in time for Ragnarok, aka the end of the Norse world. Sif fought bravely with the other warriors, even continuing to battle after losing an arm, but she fell with the rest of the Asgardians. But luckily, being gods, they were resurrected before too long. Not so luckily, Loki ended up possessing Sif’s body at first, while she was stuck inhabiting an elderly terminal cancer patient. Once she was back in her true form, she was more than ready to get back to kicking ass.
So What’s So Great About Her?
It’s probably not surprising that I was recently reintroduced to Sif via the Thor movie. As a strong supporting character, she was portrayed as an incredible warrior, trusted friend, loyal subject, and all-around gorgeous person. Pretty much as awesome as canon Sif, except more so. Because, you know, there’s less fixation on how much she loves Thor but he doesn’t want her anymore. Ugh.
But you know, it’s interesting how wildly comic book movies can differ in terms of how their female characters are portrayed. Thor was kind of wonderful in that the filmmakers were able to take the major women—Sif and Jane Foster—and extract the very best from their characters and build on that. So instead of Sif mooning over Thor all the time, we get a few moments where she looks a little wistfully at him, then she moves on to battling frost giants with the best of them. Then we have movies like Green Lantern and how Carol Ferris was treated and…well. The less said about that, the better.
Like a lot of comics women, particularly women imagined by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Sif’s stayed mired in her original characterization for far too long. Yeah, okay, she loves Thor. We get it. But with any luck, the movie will end up influencing what we see in the comics. Will it hold? Who knows. I mean, it’s not like the X-Men are wearing their post-movie trilogy leather costumes anymore.
Journey into Mystery #102
Thor (vol. 1) #136-150; 154-157; 163-164; 176-177; 201-221; 231; 236; 249; 274-276; 313; 334-335; 349-359; 442; 450-455
Thor (vol. 2) #41-75; 79-85
Thor: Son of Asgard #1-12
Thor (vol. 3) #1-5; 8