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Comic books?

Post by Ottr on Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:48 pm

So here’s a question I’ve been chewing on today … and I may be opening a can of worms here, but …

How do you feel about the modern use of our Gods in everything from comic books to computer games, to fantasy novels etc.? (Thor for us Asatruar, Epona comes to mind for CR)

I admit, I have mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, raising the level of awareness of our Gods through modern means also raises curiosity, which can lead to research, and understanding.

On the other, intellectual laziness seems to be common fair in today’s world, and treating the Gods as mere comic book characters, can lead to misinformation and misunderstanding.

So anyway, I’m just curious … Any thoughts, comments?
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Re: Comic books?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:07 pm

Ottr wrote:So here’s a question I’ve been chewing on today … and I may be opening a can of worms here, but …

How do you feel about the modern use of our Gods in everything from comic books to computer games, to fantasy novels etc.? (Thor for us Asatruar, Epona comes to mind for CR)

I admit, I have mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, raising the level of awareness of our Gods through modern means also raises curiosity, which can lead to research, and understanding.

On the other, intellectual laziness seems to be common fair in today’s world, and treating the Gods as mere comic book characters, can lead to misinformation and misunderstanding.

So anyway, I’m just curious … Any thoughts, comments?
Enquiring minds want to know.

This is something which interests me a great deal, being both a mythology and comic geek. While graphic representations can be a decent means of discovering something, it is rarely the best source to use as authoritative.

For example, I've started reading the new Thor comics, and while the mythology presented is at variance with the source material, many aspects of the character and "values" of the culture he comes from is visible. I would certainly be for more accurate portrayals, especially graphic adaptations. I'd love to see someone like Frank Millar tackle the Tain Bo Cuilaigne, I'd argue that the source material lends itself more to such over the top representations than the battle of Thermopylae.

In regards to appropriation... it's a fairly untenable position. Considering that the comic book Thor has been around longer than Asatru (far as I know anyway), and considering the culture which originally revered him is long dead (folk traditions aside). Aside from being a comic geek, I'm also into Anime and Manga, and actually do a panel at Anime North on mythology in Anime/manga, and there is a bevy of picking and name dropping, or using an existing mythology to frame the background of a specific series. Ah My Goddess! for example bases itself loosely tales involving the Norns. Another seires, Fate/Stay night, involves several western mythological and historic figures (Cuchulain, Arthur Pendragon, Herecles, Medusa). So to put it succinctly, cultures seem to enjoy the stories or figures of other cultures and are willing to adopt them to suit whichever needs they want. I've no problem with it used for the sake of entertainment, when it comes to theological issues, it becomes more problematic...

As far as representations, they shouldn't be taken as historically authoritative. I always appreciate representations which are based on the source material, or understood in their cultural context, but such is the way of modern pop culture. I'd much prefer that in popular representations, where the show actually tries to represent factual information on cultural group X, and fails miserably. For example, my fiancee, who is also a nerd, is at the moment watching an episode of Lois and Clark, which features an evil Irishman, who is trying to restore the Druids to power. It pains me to see such awful information being bandied about...

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Re: Comic books?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:11 pm

Meh. Most of us first encounter the gods in stories. Does it matter, if people are creating new stories for them?

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Re: Comic books?

Post by Davelaw on Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:42 pm

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:
Ottr wrote:So here’s a question I’ve been chewing on today … and I may be opening a can of worms here, but …

How do you feel about the modern use of our Gods in everything from comic books to computer games, to fantasy novels etc.? (Thor for us Asatruar, Epona comes to mind for CR)

I admit, I have mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, raising the level of awareness of our Gods through modern means also raises curiosity, which can lead to research, and understanding.

On the other, intellectual laziness seems to be common fair in today’s world, and treating the Gods as mere comic book characters, can lead to misinformation and misunderstanding.

So anyway, I’m just curious … Any thoughts, comments?
Enquiring minds want to know.

This is something which interests me a great deal, being both a mythology and comic geek. While graphic representations can be a decent means of discovering something, it is rarely the best source to use as authoritative.

For example, I've started reading the new Thor comics, and while the mythology presented is at variance with the source material, many aspects of the character and "values" of the culture he comes from is visible. I would certainly be for more accurate portrayals, especially graphic adaptations. I'd love to see someone like Frank Millar tackle the Tain Bo Cuilaigne, I'd argue that the source material lends itself more to such over the top representations than the battle of Thermopylae.

In regards to appropriation... it's a fairly untenable position. Considering that the comic book Thor has been around longer than Asatru (far as I know anyway), and considering the culture which originally revered him is long dead (folk traditions aside). Aside from being a comic geek, I'm also into Anime and Manga, and actually do a panel at Anime North on mythology in Anime/manga, and there is a bevy of picking and name dropping, or using an existing mythology to frame the background of a specific series. Ah My Goddess! for example bases itself loosely tales involving the Norns. Another seires, Fate/Stay night, involves several western mythological and historic figures (Cuchulain, Arthur Pendragon, Herecles, Medusa). So to put it succinctly, cultures seem to enjoy the stories or figures of other cultures and are willing to adopt them to suit whichever needs they want. I've no problem with it used for the sake of entertainment, when it comes to theological issues, it becomes more problematic...

As far as representations, they shouldn't be taken as historically authoritative. I always appreciate representations which are based on the source material, or understood in their cultural context, but such is the way of modern pop culture. I'd much prefer that in popular representations, where the show actually tries to represent factual information on cultural group X, and fails miserably. For example, my fiancee, who is also a nerd, is at the moment watching an episode of Lois and Clark, which features an evil Irishman, who is trying to restore the Druids to power. It pains me to see such awful information being bandied about...

Bringing the Snakes back to Ireland?
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Re: Comic books?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:03 pm

Davelaw wrote:
Gorm_Sionnach wrote:
Ottr wrote:So here’s a question I’ve been chewing on today … and I may be opening a can of worms here, but …

How do you feel about the modern use of our Gods in everything from comic books to computer games, to fantasy novels etc.? (Thor for us Asatruar, Epona comes to mind for CR)

I admit, I have mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, raising the level of awareness of our Gods through modern means also raises curiosity, which can lead to research, and understanding.

On the other, intellectual laziness seems to be common fair in today’s world, and treating the Gods as mere comic book characters, can lead to misinformation and misunderstanding.

So anyway, I’m just curious … Any thoughts, comments?
Enquiring minds want to know.

This is something which interests me a great deal, being both a mythology and comic geek. While graphic representations can be a decent means of discovering something, it is rarely the best source to use as authoritative.

For example, I've started reading the new Thor comics, and while the mythology presented is at variance with the source material, many aspects of the character and "values" of the culture he comes from is visible. I would certainly be for more accurate portrayals, especially graphic adaptations. I'd love to see someone like Frank Millar tackle the Tain Bo Cuilaigne, I'd argue that the source material lends itself more to such over the top representations than the battle of Thermopylae.

In regards to appropriation... it's a fairly untenable position. Considering that the comic book Thor has been around longer than Asatru (far as I know anyway), and considering the culture which originally revered him is long dead (folk traditions aside). Aside from being a comic geek, I'm also into Anime and Manga, and actually do a panel at Anime North on mythology in Anime/manga, and there is a bevy of picking and name dropping, or using an existing mythology to frame the background of a specific series. Ah My Goddess! for example bases itself loosely tales involving the Norns. Another seires, Fate/Stay night, involves several western mythological and historic figures (Cuchulain, Arthur Pendragon, Herecles, Medusa). So to put it succinctly, cultures seem to enjoy the stories or figures of other cultures and are willing to adopt them to suit whichever needs they want. I've no problem with it used for the sake of entertainment, when it comes to theological issues, it becomes more problematic...

As far as representations, they shouldn't be taken as historically authoritative. I always appreciate representations which are based on the source material, or understood in their cultural context, but such is the way of modern pop culture. I'd much prefer that in popular representations, where the show actually tries to represent factual information on cultural group X, and fails miserably. For example, my fiancee, who is also a nerd, is at the moment watching an episode of Lois and Clark, which features an evil Irishman, who is trying to restore the Druids to power. It pains me to see such awful information being bandied about...

Bringing the Snakes back to Ireland?

Well, the snakes never left, their functions were subsumed by other groups. But no, it wasn't even that deep, piffle comes to mind.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:05 pm

sacrificialgoddess wrote:Meh. Most of us first encounter the gods in stories. Does it matter, if people are creating new stories for them?

Well, only if those stories are held as authoritative (I've yet to meet someone who claims that Thor's nature is better understood through the comic, rather than the Eddas)

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Re: Comic books?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:13 pm

I am not sure that authoritative matters. Maybe the comic books don't show Thor's nature. But maybe, just maybe, they aren't meant to. Maybe they are meant to encourage our own nature. To make us better people. Maybe the Eddas are there for the same reason. I view most stories as journeys that other people, sometimes fictional people are meant to go through, but that I can learn from, even if the lesson is "see? This is why you shouldn't be a dumbass."


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Re: Comic books?

Post by MaineCaptain on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:16 pm

Very nicely phrased SG

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Re: Comic books?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:21 pm

sacrificialgoddess wrote:I am not sure that authoritative matters. Maybe the comic books don't show Thor's nature. But maybe, just maybe, they aren't meant to. Maybe they are meant to encourage our own nature. To make us better people. Maybe the Eddas are there for the same reason. I view most stories as journeys that other people, sometimes fictional people are meant to go through, but that I can learn from, even if the lesson is "see? This is why you shouldn't be a dumbass."


I'm not sure that the writers of the Thor comic book are looking to do anything else other than tell a story, and sell the brand. Though it is an interesting aspect to consider.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:24 pm

Are we talking Marvel's Thor?



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Re: Comic books?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:27 pm

sacrificialgoddess wrote:Are we talking Marvel's Thor?



Verily, it is the Odinson we speak of.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:34 pm

Thor was never my favorite. I was always a Fantastic Four girl. But I think Marvel has always been the king of the difficult decision. I can't remember anything for Thor's storyline. Usually I came across him in the Avenger's books, or as a guest star in other books.

But I think, based on the other books I have read, that Thor has likely shown people the difficult decision, and the repercussions of the bad decision.


Leastwise that is what I always got out of the Marvel books.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by Gorm_Sionnach on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:44 pm

sacrificialgoddess wrote:Thor was never my favorite. I was always a Fantastic Four girl. But I think Marvel has always been the king of the difficult decision. I can't remember anything for Thor's storyline. Usually I came across him in the Avenger's books, or as a guest star in other books.

But I think, based on the other books I have read, that Thor has likely shown people the difficult decision, and the repercussions of the bad decision.


Leastwise that is what I always got out of the Marvel books.

Well Marvel has certainly covered difficult issues, and (at least originally, its become a lot more nuanced in the last few decades) characters with personal problems, which seemed a little grittier than DC, but even then there are all sorts of exceptions... Certainly comics can convey any number of values in their plots, characters and mythologies, but I believe the difference between comic book mythos and historic cultural myths (like the eddas) is the primary function; comics like Thor, and frankly any mainstream comic franchise, is selling comics and maintaining the franchise. Works like the Eddas were more about instilling the virtues and values of the culture into subsequent generations.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:48 pm

Not arguing with you. I just think there is value in both.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by Ottr on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:18 am

Wow … Now there’s some food for thought.

Mornin’ Gorm …
I hope I started this thread in the appropriate area. After I posted it here I realized it might have fit better in the area open to debate. So, my apologies if I’m messing up the halls here.

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:For example, I've started reading the new Thor comics, and while the mythology presented is at variance with the source material, many aspects of the character and "values" of the culture he comes from is visible.
This is where I too feel that there is some value to this all. While the character may only be a shadow of the God, the values, or virtues that the audience is exposed to doesn’t seem to reflect badly. In fact it may even cause young ones to want to emulate their favorite “hero”. Which isn’t a bad thing.

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:Aside from being a comic geek, I'm also into Anime and Manga, and actually do a panel at Anime North on mythology in Anime/manga, and there is a bevy of picking and name dropping, or using an existing mythology to frame the background of a specific series. Ah My Goddess! for example bases itself loosely tales involving the Norns. Another seires, Fate/Stay night, involves several western mythological and historic figures (Cuchulain, Arthur Pendragon, Herecles, Medusa).
Ahhh … Anime and Manga. Really cool. My daughter is in her senior year of High School and dual enrolled in our local collage studying illustration this year. She wants to write and illustrate Anime/Manga as a career, and if I may boast a bit, she’s *damn* good at what she does. Then again, all my kids are brilliant. It’s that Heathen upbringing, ya know.

Gorm_Sionnach wrote:So to put it succinctly, cultures seem to enjoy the stories or figures of other cultures and are willing to adopt them to suit whichever needs they want. I've no problem with it used for the sake of entertainment, when it comes to theological issues, it becomes more problematic...
And here is where I have that tugging of irritation. When entertainment is confused with historical foundation. I guess for me it’s much like the issue of someone insisting UPG belongs in the foundation of collective reconstructionist belief, rather than in ones personal practice that’s based on that same foundation. If that makes sense. More coffee is needed.

As an aside … one of my favorite quotes …
“The geeks shall inherit the earth” ~ Rachel Maddow
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Re: Comic books?

Post by Ottr on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:24 am

Hello SacrificialGoddess … Nice to meet you.

sacrificialgoddess wrote:Thor was never my favorite. I was always a Fantastic Four girl.
I have to admit, Thor as a comic book character was a bit further down the list. I was more of a Ghost Rider fan myself.
I agree that both fiction, and historical cultural myth have value. I guess what troubles me is when fiction or even UPG, ends up posing as historical cultural myth, which then can be used by such authors as Ralph Blum. I know that relates more to runes, but it’s morning, and he’s the example that came to mind.
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Re: Comic books?

Post by sacrificialgoddess on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:29 am

But you know, that is not terribly likely to happen in Comics. More likely to happen in "scholarly" literature. Merlin Stone's When God was a Woman comes to mind. Good book, yes. Mostly debunked, however.

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Re: Comic books?

Post by Ottr on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:36 am

sacrificialgoddess wrote:But you know, that is not terribly likely to happen in Comics. More likely to happen in "scholarly" literature.
I can agree with that.

sacrificialgoddess wrote: Merlin Stone's When God was a Woman comes to mind. Good book, yes. Mostly debunked, however.
LoL! I have that book on my shelf, and never did get time to read it. If I do, I’ll be sure to read with a critical eye. Thanks.
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Re: Comic books?

Post by wmdkitty on Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:36 pm

sacrificialgoddess wrote:I am not sure that authoritative matters. Maybe the comic books don't show Thor's nature. But maybe, just maybe, they aren't meant to. Maybe they are meant to encourage our own nature. To make us better people. Maybe the Eddas are there for the same reason. I view most stories as journeys that other people, sometimes fictional people are meant to go through, but that I can learn from, even if the lesson is "see? This is why you shouldn't be a dumbass."


I think ElfQuest did it right -- taking elements of mythology (elves, trolls, an EPIC quest) and sci-fi (super-advanced space-faring race*) and weaving them into something totally original. If I had to pick "gods" I'd choose the High Ones.

* Seriously, guys, just read the epic.

***EDIT****

Wait, what about the Cthulhu Mythos? That teaches that, when you find something that isn't meant for man to see/know, LEAVE IT ALONE. Especially old creepy books. (Incidentally, I do have a copy of the Simon Necronomicon.)
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Re: Comic books?

Post by Davelaw on Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:49 pm

WMDKitty wrote:
sacrificialgoddess wrote:I am not sure that authoritative matters. Maybe the comic books don't show Thor's nature. But maybe, just maybe, they aren't meant to. Maybe they are meant to encourage our own nature. To make us better people. Maybe the Eddas are there for the same reason. I view most stories as journeys that other people, sometimes fictional people are meant to go through, but that I can learn from, even if the lesson is "see? This is why you shouldn't be a dumbass."


I think ElfQuest did it right -- taking elements of mythology (elves, trolls, an EPIC quest) and sci-fi (super-advanced space-faring race*) and weaving them into something totally original. If I had to pick "gods" I'd choose the High Ones.

* Seriously, guys, just read the epic.

***EDIT****

Wait, what about the Cthulhu Mythos? That teaches that, when you find something that isn't meant for man to see/know, LEAVE IT ALONE. Especially old creepy books. (Incidentally, I do have a copy of the Simon Necronomicon.)

there is nothing wrong with ElfQuest; but I will choose Dave Sim's Opus over EQ-no matter how badly flawed some of the parts are.
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Re: Comic books?

Post by John T Mainer on Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:32 pm

Honestly anything that gets people aware of the old sagas, in whatever cheesy form, is a good thing. One day that glimmer of interest might just get someone to look deeper and learn something of the truth, or of themselves.

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