You’d think that a comic based on an actual god figure from real-world mythology would be rife with potential for this column, but most of the time The Mighty Thor, which stars the new Jane Foster iteration of the character, doesn’t actually deal with much that could be considered theological in nature. However, the last three or so months’ worth of issues (#15-17, to be specific) have featured a very interesting conflict that gets at a meaty question. What does it mean to be a god? More specifically, does ultimate cosmic power come with a responsibility to one’s worshippers? How ought gods prove their power to their followers? This conflict is addressed through a competition that is both fascinating and horrifying.
While cruising for my next source of distraction on Netflix, I stumbled upon The Almighty Johnsons. I love urban fantasy! As a post-Wiccan, eclectic neo-pagan (over-simplified, but it’ll do in a pinch), I love when polytheism and old pantheons are primary plot focuses! To top it all off, the show is a New Zealand production, from the same country that brought the rollicking adventures of Hercules and Xena to our television screens. I was sold. The acting is surprisingly good even when the writing isn’t, and I quickly made my way through the first season. It’s quirky, it’s captivating, it’s… often uncomfortable? Join me after the jump as I discuss Season 1. Spoilers ahead, and trigger warning for rape and rape culture.
Alternate titles considered include: Five White Guys
I’ve been reading Marvel’s Thor comics since long before the movie came out. I think I was immediately captured by Thor’s and Loki’s stories since I viewed them as an opportunity to learn more about Norse mythology. After reading the comics for a few years and then finally seeing the first live-action film, I started picking up books on actual Norse mythology and even read the Edda at one point.
It was then that I realized that my original assumption—that I could learn about Norse mythology through Marvel’s Thor—was not the best assumption to make. There are still many things about the comics that are in line with actual mythology, and before studying the Edda I did know that there would be some differences between the two narratives. After all, I didn’t think it was quite a big deal that Marvel made Thor blond instead of redheaded.
However, it didn’t occur to me before reading the Edda just how vastly different they would both be. Marvel even went so far as to change Asgardian culture to reflect beauty standards today, with very little regard to actual Norse ideals, especially when it comes to gender roles.
Before we get into this, I should point out that reading about Norse mythology and the Edda by no means makes me an expert on the subject. So please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong.
A while ago, I wrote a review of Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers, which I thought was amazing. It had originally been called just Loki, which I think suited the story much better. However, the title was changed around the release of both the live-action movie andanother four-issue arc called Thor:The Trials of Loki. In part, I think Blood Brothers had been renamed because of this comic, which could also be mistaken as being called just Loki, since “Loki” is written across its cover in big, bold green letters. However, I think a more apt title for it would be Thor: Creative Bankrupcy.