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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in marvel

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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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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
First thoughts on THOR: THE DARK WORLD

At this point, you ought to know whether or not you like Marvel's particular approach to superhero movies. I do. If you also liked the rest of the Marvel Universe films, you'll like THOR: THE DARK WORLD - and likely rate it among the best of the films in the series.

Director Alan Taylor's THE DARK WORLD is an decided improvement on Kenneth Branagh's THOR, which was hampered by having to do too many things within its running time: the backstory of war with the frost giants, revelations about Loki's true nature, the romance with Jane Foster (and wacky Midgard hi-jinx that ensued), some business with the Destroyer, etc. All of that got in the way of presenting a convincing character arc for Thor himself, who had, all told, maybe ten minutes of time actually devoted to his transformation from glory-hungry barbarian to self-sacrificing guardian of mortals. If you're a fan of the comics, you know this is how it has to go, but cinematically, it was not particularly well-done. That's forgivable, since the noble, stoic Thor we ended up with is really the character we wanted all along, but still, it made the movie less enjoyable

In THE DARK WORLD, after a little bit of naked exposition (obviously reminiscent of the prologue to Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring), we are able to get right into it: the Nine Worlds exist, and we get to visit quite a few of them. (There's even a scene in Vanaheim, which is traditionally the most boringest plane of existence in Marvel Asgard.) There's very little apologizing for the fantastic elements in this film; there's no self-consciousness in the Asgard scenes. Design-wise, this film embraces the "science fantasy" aesthetic even more than previous installments have: I can see a lot of STAR WARS in this film. And this completely works! While easily lampooned as Vikings... in... spaaaaaaace!, I found the design of both Asgard and the Dark Elves' weaponry, armor, and space ships to be delightfully imaginative. They have flying longships, folks, complete with shields hanging off the sides. The settings are equally impressive: Svartalfheim (simply called "The Dark World" in the film because, well, Svartalfheim doesn't quite roll off the tongue) is a sepia-skied waste of black sand, Vanaheim is a rugged wilderness, and Asgard continues in its golden glory

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    I am warming to the Vikings in Space design and now, like you, find Asgard convincing and original and sort of Maxfield Parish/N,C
  • Eric O. Scott
    Eric O. Scott says #
    The last of Loki's "disguises" during his dialogue with Thor.

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

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