Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Gods or Heroes? What are we entertained by?

Humans for millennia uncounted told stories of action, heroism, love, death, fear, hope and other emotions and labels.  They often included the gods of their faith interacting with humans and blessing or cursing them.

We still do this.  Whatever our faith, or lack of, humans still tell stories and utilize the same myth making stories, with different costumes, different motives, and found in different places.    Also, most people don't have a clue where their myth traditions come from.

Some stories are the origins, the death of, or the affairs of humans, who are rather different.  Some of the heroes, such as Miracleman are found sitting on the top of Mount Olympus, pondering the power, nearly endless he has, and what he might next do.  Or take the stories of Son of Vulcan, who, despite some trappings of super heroics, is actually the child of a God.  He has no different goals than most children of epic ancient gods.

Adam Warlock has been considered by numerous commentaries to be the Marvel Universe interpretation of Jesus Christ.  Silver Surfer is John the Baptist to his rapidly approaching God Galactus.

Heracles or as we call him now Hercules, is a Greek demi God.  His tales still linger.  He is so popular his adventures have been written and drawn from numerous different publishers.  Often in the same era, perhaps found on the same comic store shelf.

Thor is the template of the God Thor from the Norse myths in the flesh of a human.  He is the son of Odin, and has mythic and heroic adventures, saving mankind, thanks Thor, so many times.  The character Thor has an odd disadvantage, he speaks in old English yet, is Norse.

“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” 


Sandman and his kin the Endless are not Gods, but are truly god like.  They represent the common experiences throughout the family of mankind.  They have existed forever, they have immense power, but are holders of god like power, not gods themselves.  They are Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium.

 “We of the Endless are the servants of the living — We are NOT their masters. WE exist because they know, deep in their hearts, that we exist.”

Having said all that, Jack Kirby created two pantheons of gods, not connected, directly, with analogues in human myth.  And, he created the enemy of all good, Darkseid.  Upon the planets New Genesis and Apokolips, are the New Gods.  Darkseid rules Apokolips with an iron fist.  The residents of Apokolips believe in fear, in pain, and the eventual death they "deserve"  Upon New Genesis Highfather uses love, trust, and hope to allow his people beauty and joy.  To prevent future wars, Darkseid allowed HighFather to raise his first born, Orion on New Genesis.  Upon Apokolips Darkseid raises HighFather's son, Mister Miracle.

The Eternals were created by Jack Kirby at the height of the first wave of ancient astronauts and alien visitation hysteria.  His story finds that the aliens have not created gods but super humans who have reached the final and highest stage of human evolution.  They are called to protect mankind from the fallen, the failed evolutionaries, The Deviants.  Kirby did this with a great deal of energy.  His work was filled with brilliance and concepts that often were deeper than the reader might have noticed. 

The First similarly showed the powerful beings, as a family of gods, who help mankind, but usually screw, argue, envy and more the other gods.  If it fails as a straight forward super hero story, it isn't because it is bad, but the expectations of their being heroes is here not evident.  That is, the Greek gods bickered and had sex, fought, and plotted against each other.  The First is no different.  While it isn't a direct translation, it is clever and often ignored for the things in it that are true to form.

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