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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in comics

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why You Should Read LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD

Yesterday, the first issue of Marvel's LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD arrived in your local Comics and Games Emporium. I haven't yet acquired my copy, because a frost giants are currently attacking my neighborhood and my roommate is too busy binging on Star Trek: Enterprise to dig his car out so we can exit the driveway, but I want to encourage you to pick up this comic.* If you have any interest in Marvel comics, or the Marvel movies – or, to tread into dangerous waters, in the ongoing folkloric evolution of Norse mythology through popular culture – you should give it a read.

The first two categories should be obvious: Loki is a major character in the Marvel Universe, and arguably the second most popular character in the movies after Tony Stark. AGENT OF ASGARD appears to be the culmination of several years of intense character development for Loki as well as a re-alignment of the character to better match Tom Hiddleston's portrayal in the films. But my third reason may require more explanation.

In short: if you think Marvel's treatment of Thor, Loki, and the entire Norse pantheon doesn't have an impact on the way people approach those beings in religious practice, I think you're willfully ignoring reality. How could it not? The number of people who know of Thor through Chris Hemsworth dwarfs those who have read the myth of Thor and Loki's visit to Útgarð. Some of those people will come into Heathen religions because of that first contact. The conservative nature of Heathenry ensures that anyone who first discovers the Norse gods through pop culture will immediately learn the differences between modern media and ancient sources, but it can't help but have an impact.

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  • C.S. MacCath
    C.S. MacCath says #
    I was holding out on this one; my pull list is already a mile long. But you've talked me into it. Time to write my comic book pu
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    This is an excellent example of how pop culture benefits more traditional belief systems, because as you write it can be a gateway
  • Peter Beckley
    Peter Beckley says #
    I sometimes fear the power of pop culture; unchecked it invariably waters down the message for the sake of making it palatable to

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
GOD IS DEAD - and beyond offensive

At nearly the same time that Marvel Comics canceled JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY - a title that spent the entirety of its most recent run exploring the unique and wonderful creation that is Marvel's Asgard - one of Marvel's most prominent writers launched a comic through Avatar Press that I, perhaps naively, hoped might fill the void left by JIM in my monthly comics stack. Like JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, this comic would seem to deal with the storytelling trope of ancient gods in the modern world, a premise full of culture clashes and opportunities for introspection into the role of mythology, both in the past and in the now. At best, this could have been an AMERICAN GODS-like myth trip. And even if it were just average, the premise alone would seem to guarantee some fun stories, right?

So I bought it.

The book, GOD IS DEAD, by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa, and Di Amorim, is one of the most profoundly awful things I've read in my life.

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  • Juliet
    Juliet says #
    Apparently, they couldn't even bother to get the background of the gods right. I would've been demanding a refund as soon as Zeus
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    I considered picking that title up when it came out, but didn't. I'm glad I didn't! I did get some excellent new Vertigo releases
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Scott, I don't read comic books, but I cringed when I read your review. I'm so tired of 'creative class' atheists and agnos

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Me and That Thor (Part 1)

Ten days ago, I finished a long and occasionally arduous journey deep into the heart of nerdom: I finally read every issue of Marvel's THOR and its sister comic, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, published since the character came back in 2007.* 

Between here and there, there have been about 60 issues of the main Thor book, plus 37 issues of Journey into Mystery, plus assorted one-shorts and miniseries. (I'll confess, I haven't read every single one of the one-shots, mainly because Marvel released a ton of them around the time the movie came out and I'm sorting out what's what. If I stumble onto any gems, I'll let you know.) That's a lot of comics - Gods bless the iPad, without which I doubt I ever would have taken up the project.

If you like superhero comics... Well, it's actually hard to tell, exactly, how well you will enjoy this particular era of the character. The 2007 Thor relaunch emphasized the fantasy side of the series as opposed to the super-heroing; most of the time, when the series goes towards superheroics, it falls a little flat. The best parts, for me, evoke a wonderful feeling of magical realism, the mixing of the mundane and the fantastic, the holy and the comedic.

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  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    Mr Scott, I wholeheartedly agree that Marvel doesn't give a hoot about the worshipers of the Norse gods, and therein lies proof of
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Ward, Speaking of Xena: Warrior Princess, I must say that both it and its companion show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, ha

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
"How was Asgard?" "It was Asgard."

You can blame my girlfriend for this post.

Although I was an early adopter of Facebook - way back in the days of legend, when one needed to be a student at an approved college and we spelled Facebook with a The - I had managed to avoid the time sucking vortex of Facebook games for many years. They were, after all, Skinner boxes, one and all, designed to slowly but persistently separate dollars and time from those gullible enough to fall into their traps. In terms of sophistication, Facebook games are little better than the puzzle in the polar bear cage on LOST, except Facebook games don't even have the courtesy to reward you with a fish biscuit.

...and then my girlfriend started playing Marvel Avengers Alliance, which is a Skinner box abomination like all the rest, except clad in the bright spandex of my beloved superheroes.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Eric, I could just *hug* you for this post. A deep philosophical question nestled inside a post on the Marvel-verse! It's like fin

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Warning: blatant self-promotion ahead! But, there is a really good reason for said self-promotion, so please bear with me.

Science fiction as a genre is both extremely popular and notoriously difficult to define. It is often a case of "I'll know it when I see it." Stars Wars? Yes. Star Trek? Yes. McCaffrey's Pern books? Yes. KA Laity's Owl Stretching? Considering the people-eating aliens and near-future setting, yes. Devon Monk's The Age of Steam series? Um ... it's set in the Wild West, but it's steampunk, which is often considered a subgenre of science fiction, but it's got faeries and magic, too, so ... maybe? Lucian of Samosata's True History? Um ... second century fable-ish proto-science fiction? 

Throwing "Pagan" into the mix makes things even more difficult. How does one define "Pagan" in this context? Does the author of a work have to identity as some flavor of Pagan? Or does only the work itself have to deal with Pagan Deities, philosophies, and myths?

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  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub
    Eli Effinger-Weintraub says #
    Hey, Rebecca. I wanted to mention The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction, a co-effort of Llewellyn and our own Witches&Pagans. Sever
  • Ryan Musgrave-Evans
    Ryan Musgrave-Evans says #
    Hey guys. If there's a free-for-all on self promotion going at the moment, I'll mention my own works. "Dead Stars" is a 110,000 wo
  • Sophie Gale
    Sophie Gale says #
    Now you've got me hunting for Pagan authors! SF is a labor of love for JMG, not necessarily a paying gig. Patricia Kennealy-Morr

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Review: NORTHLANDERS, v. 1

 

Comics are my first love. I taught myself to read with Spiderman; my first after-school job primarily financed my $100 a month comics habit. And even today, comics may be my favorite medium, even if I have left the month-to-month antics of superheroes behind me. (Not for outgrowing superheroes, mind you, but because I was fed up with the companies behind them. I'm sure I'll end up ranting about this at some point.)

One of the series I have been reading through recently is NORTHLANDERS, published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics, written by Brian Wood, who is more famous for his book DMZ. NORTHLANDERS is an anthology series -- each volume, coincidentally about as long as a trade paperback, is a self-contained story. (The artist also changes with each volume.) The only thing the stories share in common is that they are set in the Viking Age, and the main characters are, as the title implies, people from the Northland. Unusually for a "Viking" story, however, that does not always mean Norsemen or Icelanders; Wood takes the entirety of the Viking world for his setting, and only a few stories have anything to do with Scandinavia proper.

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  • Lauren
    Lauren says #
    You've really piqued my interest. I'm not big on gore, but I'm a sucker for evocative artwork and compelling storylines. Excellent

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