Oh, My Pop Culture Trickster: Loki in Pop Culture

Are you humming the Avengers theme music now? Because I am.

I’m pretty sure the Avengers is still in theaters, and if you haven’t seen it already get your ass there or we can’t be friends anymore.

…You’re back. Did you enjoy it? Damn straight you did. Now you may have noticed the guy in the silly hat and the green and gold armor that did all that bad stuff.  Loki has gone from a figure in Norse mythology to a full-on badass villain in the Marvelverse, but you can see him or variations of his trickter god character elsewhere too. Spoilers for both American Gods and Supernatural below.

American Gods:

The Loki of this story bears little resemblance to the Marvel villain, at least as far as daddy issues are concerned. In this book by Neil Gaiman, the characters Low-Key Lyesmith and Mr. Wednesday (secretly Loki Liesmith and Odin) cook up an elaborate, decades-spanning scheme to sacrifice the gods of the new world (media, the Internet, etc.) and the gods of the old world (Anansi, Bast, Ganesh) at once to restore themselves to the power they once knew.

Supernatural:

When does Supernatural not feature in an OMPCJ discussion? It’s just so rife with unpackable religious imagery! Anyway, the main trickster in Supernatural turns out to be not Loki, but (spoilers for S5) Gabriel, but he plays the trickster game up until (and a little bit after) the big reveal; even the other non-Judeo-Christian gods who appear in season five’s “Hammer of the Gods” believe him to be Loki, inviting him to their anti-Apocalypse pow-wow and referring to him with the Norse god’s name.

Where else do the trickster gods lurk? I was tempted to include the kooky-sounding anime Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok but having not actually watched it I feared doing it injustice. Let me know in the comments, and as always, tune in next time to get some religion!

4 thoughts on “Oh, My Pop Culture Trickster: Loki in Pop Culture

  1. I remember the first time I heard of Loki was a mention in the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” TV series. I don’t remember the finer points, I just remember that he was a similar character to Dick Roman and only one person knew he was really Loki. When he tried to break the news on television in an interview the reporter responded “He’s ‘low-key’? Well I’ve never heard him sing but I’m sure he sounds lovely!” or something like that.

  2. I recall in the Jim Carrey film “The Mask” the wooden mask was an ancient, magical one depicting Loki- hence all the mischief caused when the character is “possessed” by the mask.

  3. May I recommend the New Zealand TV series “The Almighty Johnsons”? The Norse gods and goddesses are incarnated in local families. Loki is a smarmy lawyer in a red suit, and of course gets the best lines. SYFY has shown it in the US.

    Also Dianne Wynne Jones’ YA book “Eight Days of Luke.”

    “Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok” has the Norse gods as local characters around a Japanese schoolgirl. Loki is a child detective (until he isn’t), Jorm is his manservant, Fen is a very cute black dog; and Heimdall and Balder are out to get Loki. Thor is fun, too–always hungry–and Loki solves mysteries.

    And of course someone on Tumblr much wiser than I has noted that Snorr Snurlson’s “Lay of Thrym” in the Younger Eddas is fan-fiction about cross-dressing.

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