In my last article I discussed the mythological structure of the Marvel Universe via the origins of The Human Torch, Iron Fist, Ben Reilly, and Kaine. This time I would like to look at the flip side of that coin and post about three heroes from DC Comics because this notion is equally as prevalent in the DC Universe as it is in the Marvel Universe, if not more so. Also in part one, I chose three somewhat obscure entries, this was a side-effect of my more in depth experience with Marvel Comics, in this entry I am selecting three of the heavier hitters from the DC Comics catalog.
Mythology can be described as collections of characters, monsters, and stories used by various civilizations throughout history as a means to explain the world around them, provide examples of heroism and villainy, or use as examples to teach the populous important lessons. In previous entries Dave has provided examples of a diverse sampling of mythologies originating from the distant past, which is often the case but I would argue that humanity is still creating mythoi to this day.
The best example of this is the rise of the super-hero beginning in the 1930’s with the likes of The Shadow, and Mandrake the Magician; which ultimately coalesced into the MarvelComics and DC Comics universes that formed out of the popularity of the original Human Torch from Marvel Comics #1 and Superman from Action Comics #1 respectively. In this article I will pluck a few examples of interesting super-heroes from the Marvel Universe and explain their origins with an eye on mythical influences, I hope to follow this up with an article about three heroes from the DC Universe.
Wow that was awfully formal huh? I apologize I’m more used to writing report papers than I am blog posts, I will try to be a little more personable from here on out.
In the last episode of Mythology 101 we took a deeper look into the Norse mythology of Thor and Loki in particular. So far we have covered most of the major continents from Europe to Scandinavia, so it’s probably time to dig a little deeper into some of the mythology of Africa. This time let’s focus on the Dark Side of the Dark Continent’s mythology, the dangers and the demons, the nightmares and the stories of warning.
Before we get started, we should look at the mythology of how things got started…
According to the people of Zaire, there was a god named Bumba (aka Mbombo). One day Bumba became very ill with a very sore stomach, it kept getting worse until finally he vomited, he vomited the sun, then the moon and finally the earth. He felt a little better, then he got sick again, this time vomiting nine animals; a leopard, an eagle, a crocodile, a fish, a tortoise, another leopard (this time black), a white heron, a scarab beetle, and a goat. The newly formed animals then also got sick, and they vomited up the rest of the world’s creatures. The Heron threw-up all the flying birds, the crocodile threw-up all the snakes and iguanas, the goat threw-up all the horned animals, the fish threw-up all the other fish, and the scarab threw-up all the insects. Just when things seemed to be looking up, Bumba got sick again, and threw up mankind. Just seems really gross to me.
Last time we ran through an overview of the previous episodes of Mythology 101, and after a couple week break, I am back. So this time we better bring in the big boys and focus on one of the cultures that is very deep with Mythology. The Northern lands of Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Norway are known as Scandinavia, home to Norse Mythology. Norse Mythology is full of gods, giants and dwarves… truly though, there is one god that stands above them all, Thor.
No, not the Marvel Comics based Thor… the Norse God Thor, son of Odin. Let’s take a deeper look into the myths behind Thor and Loki, and I must warn you, unintentionally, I may be disclosing SPOILERS for future Thor movies without ever knowing.
Odin (Wodan) was the main god in Norse mythology, a god of war and death, with a softer side too, a god of poetry and wisdom. Odin has only one eye, because he traded the other eye for a drink from the well of wisdom to gain great knowledge. He was worshipped throughout Scandinavia and parts of Germany, there were temples throughout the lands for prayer, but the prayer did require human sacrifices. Odin and the goddess Jord bore a son whom they named Thor.
DID YOU KNOW: When the English calendar was created, Wednesday was named after Odin (Wodan).