Loki Laufeyson, aka the Trickster God of Asgard, aka troublesome half-brother of The Mighty Thor: God of Thunder, has plagued the Marvel Universe for a lot longer than most people would think. Throughout the years, he’s been a villain, a hero, young, old, male, female but never short of fascinating. Much like a lot of the the Asgardian corner of Marvel Comics, Loki originates in Norse Mythology, and it's there that he acquired a lot of his mischievous character traits.
Thanks to decades of Marvel continuity -- not to mention a fantastic rendition by Tom Hiddleston in the Thor and Avengers movies -- the character of Loki has evolved beyond the myths and taken on a deeply nuanced role within the comics and on the big screen. As well as being a frequent adversary to his half brother Thor, he’s starred in comics from Avengers to X-Men. With all of this character development, it would be near impossible to know absolutely everything you need to know about the God of Mischief. Thanks to CBR, however, you can get a lot closer! We’ve dived into the history of the god, the myth, the legend, and uncovered 16 facts that you never knew about Loki!
16 HE “FOUNDED” THE AVENGERS
Comics fans may be familiar with this, but the decision to use Loki as the main antagonist in 2012’s Avengers movie wasn’t just because of Tom Hiddleston’s skillful portrayal of the God of Mischief (although that had to have been a factor). Using Loki as a threat so large that only Earth’s Mightiest Team-up could defeat it is lifted straight from the comics.
Avengers #1 was released in 1963 and was the first time a Marvel comic book teamed up its characters in this way, and when Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man and Wasp first joined forces to fight a foe so great they couldn’t do it alone, Loki was that overwhelming menace. Of course, our heroes won the day, as they did in the movie, but it proved that this teaming-up business was a great idea, and a super-team was born!
15 HE CAUSED RAGNAROK
What his actual role in the upcoming movie Thor: Ragnarok will be remains to be seen, but back when Loki, Thor and the entire Asgardian Realm underwent the Norse cycle of death known as Ragnarok, the Trickster God held more than his fair share of responsibility.
Loki was prophesied to bring about the end times and the death of the “Eternal Realm,” and his actions against his fellow Asgardians brought about the fabled Ragnarok in the 2004 storyline now known as “Thor: Disassembled.” It was released to tie in with “Avengers: Disassembled,” which ended Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as we know them. The massive battle was one of the biggest in the history of Asgard, and claimed the lives of many of the Gods. The event led to the death of Thor and his disappearance from Marvel comics for roughly three years.
14 HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT
If our current political climate can teach us anything, it’s that anyone can be president; so why not Loki? That was the concept behind the 2016 four-part miniseries Vote Loki from Christopher Hastings, which follows the Laufeyson’s short-lived attempt at a political career. Using the campaign slogan “BeLIEve,” Loki’s message was one of change for the nation. That change, however, meant lying directly to the American public, rather than behind closed doors.
Unlike the majority of comic books with Loki in, this was much more of a tongue-in-cheek depiction of the Trickster God, as well as a satirical commentary on the real presidential race that was happening at the same time. It’s an underrated miniseries, and Hastings -- author of Gwenpool and creator of Dr. McNinja -- is on top form.
13 HE’S OLDER THAN YOU THINK
While Loki’s first appearance in proper Marvel comics continuity was shortly after his brother Thor (only two issues later, in fact) in Journey Into Mystery #85 from 1962, his origins go back a lot further. Obviously he’s a major part of Norse Mythology, but what you may not know is that his comic book origins begin earlier than his appearance in Journey Into Mystery.
Predating even Marvel comics itself, Loki’s actual first appearance was in Venus #6, dating back to 1949. Then published under the name of Timely Comics, Venus #6 depicted a very different Loki than we’re used to. Looking more like the Devil than the God of Mischief, Loki was depicted as a member of the Olympian Pantheon rather than his usual place among the Asgardians, but he was still the Trickster we’ve come to know. That early appearance is a fun throwback, but not considered canonical.
12 HE’S BEEN A WOMAN (AND A KID)
Throughout his time as the God of Mischief, Loki has utilized every power at his disposal to ensure mastery of any situation unfolding around him, and on numerous occasions, this involved changing his age or even his gender. In his time he’s been both male and female, as well as a kid and a young man.
After the death of Asgard brought about by Ragnarok, Loki returned to life in his female form, the body of which he had stolen from Thor’s friend and lover Sif. He also used this disguise to manipulate the Avengers, with them believing he was the Scarlet Witch. He’s also been a young boy, and as Kid Loki he even tried his hand at being a hero. When we last saw Loki, he was a teenager, fighting against the older, more traditional version of himself.
11 HE’S BISEXUAL
This feels like sort of a no-brainer for a God who is as gender-fluid as Loki, but it wasn’t until 2014 and the series Loki: Agent of Asgard that this concept was explored. Thanks to writer Al Ewing, Loki -- a young man during the run -- flirts with men and women, mortals and gods alike. Verity Wills, a human with the ability to see through lies, proves more than a match for him, but the handsome Sigurd also gives him a run for his money.
Things like this don’t tend to get explicitly supported by Marvel, who has left Loki’s sexual preference implied rather than outright stated. It’s a shame that this isn’t explored more openly on the page, but for now, fans can take comfort in the fact that the writer himself wrote Loki as a bisexual being.
10 HE’S BEEN AN AVENGER
We’ll admit that by this point in Marvel Comics, almost everyone has been an Avenger. That said, it’s still fascinating to think that Loki -- the villain that caused the formation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the first place -- counted himself among one of the most popular Avengers teams in modern memory.
When Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie -- the superstar creative team behind Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine -- joined forces for 2013’s Young Avengers, they chose to include Kid Loki in the line-up alongside Marvel Boy, Hawkeye, Hulkling, Wiccan and America Chavez. This younger team with a stylish, modern take on the franchise went over well with fans, and Kid Loki was a highlight of a stellar cast of characters.
9 HE’S CREATED OTHER MARVEL VILLAINS
In his time as one of Marvel Comics’ biggest villains, Loki has tried everything to bring about the downfall of his brother Thor and his precious Midgard, aka Earth. One of those tricks is creating his own Marvel villains, something he’s done on multiple occasions. Hey, if you can’t get good help, why not make your own? (That’s how the saying goes, right?)
His manipulation of Hulk led to the Green Goliath being a temporary foe for the Avengers in their first collaboration, but beyond that, Loki imbued superhuman powers in criminal Carl “Crusher” Creel, turning him into the Absorbing Man. He’d go on to form the Wrecking Crew, one of the more formidable supervillain teams to face off against the Avengers. He also increased the powers of Carnival worker Sandu, and released the lava man Molto for Thor to Battle.
8 HE ONCE TURNED THOR INTO A FROG
As sibling pranks go, this one’s great. During Walt Simonson’s seminal run on Thor in the ‘80s, the God of Thunder was sent on some pretty crazy adventures -- not least of which was an adventure in Central Park, which Thor was subjected to after he was turned into a frog. Yep, you read that right -- Loki turned his brother into a frog.
With storyline titles like “Thor Croaks” and “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” you can tell that this wasn’t an overly serious adventure for the God of Thunder, yet it was still a fun and exciting story, one that’s resonated with fans ever since. It’s for partly that reason that a Frog of Thunder was created especially for the Pet Avengers in 2009! This version wasn’t Thor, but he acquired his powers from a sliver of Mjolnir chipped off the hammer.
7 HE OWES SPIDER-MAN A LIFE DEBT
When you think of cosmic, godly beings such as Loki and his Asgardian brethren, you may not consider a street level hero like the Amazing Spider-Man in the same league. Sure, heroes like Thor and Hercules may consider themselves Avengers, but what could possibly cause a Trickster God like Loki to team-up with the Friendly Neighborhood Wall-Crawler?
That’s exactly what happened, however, in a story called “The Coming of Chaos” when -- following a dimensional rift caused by a previous Spidey adventure -- an ancient sorceress is released and takes over the body of a mortal daughter of Loki, named Tessa Black. Spider-Man, taking responsibility, attacks Morwen, giving Loki the chance to reach out and rescue his daughter’s soul, banishing the witch. As a result of this, the God of Mischief is forever in his debt.
6 HIS PARENTS SWITCHED GENDERS
If Loki himself is prone to changing between being male to being female, why not his parents? We’re not talking about Odin and Frigga here either: his adoptive Asgardian parents may have raised him as their own, but Loki’s heritage stems back to Jotunheim and Laufey, king of the Frost Giants.
While Loki’s mother has only been seen once in the comics (and that was a parasitic imitator from Gillen and McKelvie’s Young Avengers run), his father is a prominent figure on the page as well as on the big screen, as seen in the first Thor movie. If you ventured back to the original myths and legends, however, you’d find that Laufey was actually his mother, and his father was a being called Farbaut. Interestingly, the one mention of Loki’s mother in Marvel comics names her Farbauti.
5 THOR ONCE BEHEADED HIM
While the animosity between Thor and his wayward brother peaks and troughs throughout their centuries-old relationship, it perhaps never took a darker turn than near the end of the "Thor: Disassembled" storyline "Ragnarok," from 2004. In the mini-event, Loki worked to bring about the fabled end of the Asgardian Realm causing his brother to battle against him.
The journey to end the cycle of life and death that causes the fabled Ragnarok, leads Thor to confront the fates, severing the tapestry of Asgard’s existence and becoming the Rune King. In this form, he doles out punishment to Loki by making him “less than a man” and plucks his screaming head clean from his shoulders. Being a God, it takes a little more than that to defeat Loki, but Thor affixes the Trickster God's head to his belt so he can witness the final battle.
4 HE CHANGED HIS PAST
Loki’s origins should be known to many, as not only are they explained in the comics, but we discover his origins in the original Thor movie: born to the Frost Giants, the baby Loki is adopted by Odin and Frigga following a particularly vicious battle. He is raised as the half brother of the Mighty Thor Odinson, and the rest is history.
Or is it? Ever the trickster, Loki is unafraid to go to any lengths to achieve whatever plan he’s currently enacting, and this was no less the case when he enlisted the help of Hela in order to eliminate his newly resurrected Grandfather, Bor. Part of this plan involved travelling back in time to his own birth, putting events into motion which ultimately led to Odin adopting him in the first place, causing a paradox that only Loki could find himself caught in.
3 HE KILLED HIMSELF TO SAVE THE WORLD
“Dark Reign” was a strange time for Marvel Comics. Following the global Skrull invasion that happened in the summer event book Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn -- having killed the Skrull Queen and ending the assault -- became the new leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. Renaming it H.A.M.M.E.R, Osborn formed a new team of Dark Avengers and very soon set his sights on Asgard.
At that time, Asgard was floating above the town of Broxton, Oklahoma, having been cast out of its own realm. Osborn, his Dark Avengers and a secret cabal of villains -- which included Loki -- led an assault on Asgard, but the God of Mischief, seeing the destruction that was being wrought on his people, switched sides, and sacrificed his own life in order to save Asgard, in perhaps the most selfless act Loki has ever committed.
2 HE DESTROYED HIS YOUNGER (AND OLDER) SELF
Loki had never been so manipulative, so scheming, so far ahead of anyone else playing the game than he was during Kieron Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery. During this run, Loki was reincarnated as a kid following his death during Norman Osborn’s Siege. It transpires that his death was merely part of a master plan to restore his personality to the body of this new "Kid" Loki -- a plan that succeeded, wiping out the new Kid Loki entirely.
Later, a future version of the Trickster God comes back in time to eliminate his brother Thor. King Loki, sick of how his life turned out, is confronted by his younger self, who is compelled to act in order to make up for his past deeds. He manages to overcome this King Loki, and places his essence in a sceptre, to remind himself that he has the potential for evil.
1 HE SURVIVED THE DEATH OF THE MULTIVERSE
The Marvel Universe as we knew it ceased to exist for a short time in 2015, due to the major, multiversal event known as Secret Wars. Despite the “Final Incursion” -- the collision of Earth 616 and Earth 1610 (aka the Ultimate Universe) -- wiping out all life in the Multiverse, a small number of heroes and villains survived on a cosmic life-raft. Not to be outdone, it transpires that the small matter of the ultimate death of all things isn’t enough to keep the Asgardian God of Mischief down!
In his own series Loki: Agent of Asgard, the Trickster God was plagued by the evil future version of himself: King Loki. Working with Asgard and Odin, King Loki was defeated, his present self -- protecting the soul of friend Verity Wills -- stepped outside of reality, surviving the multiversal collapse and heading off to whatever came next.
What else do you know about Loki the trickster? Let us know in the comments!