I love mythology. I love stories in general, but that’s about as unique as saying “I like food”, or “cat posters are cute”. It’s something so universal among people that it hardly even bears mentioning. Why bother writing about it then? Because “screw you!” that’s why. It’s a fun subject and I want to write about it. This should also count as a “heads up” of sorts, cuz I tend to relate things to myths a lot.
So Myths – stories about larger than life characters doing larger than life things, filled with symbolism about life in general and being human. While I’m certainly not the first to point out that ancient myths were the comic books of their day, I am the first person to point it out here, in this blog. So that’s something.
Comic book writer Grant Morrison describes gods as “Big Ideas” personified, which as far as definitions go is pretty much my favorite. For one thing, it applies not just to gods, but to just about any character. In comic book superheroes it’s especially obvious. What is Superman if not justice and restraint personified? What is Frank Castle (The Punisher) if not righteous bloody vengeance given form? It’s so quintessentially human. We explore big ideas about ourselves and the world around us like justice, love, or vengeance by giving them a face and a name and talking to them.
Hell, that’s just the profound stuff. That’s not even accounting for the stuff that’s just plain awesome or delightfully bizarre, such as:
- A one eyed sorcerer older than the world itself. He watches the world through a pair of ravens waiting for the day when all his mistakes of his ancient life with rise up to destroy him and everyone he cares about.
- A folk hero who gets SUPER pissed off and and turns into a hulked out monster with backwards joints, mismatched eyes, a gigantic mouth and spiky flaming hair.
- A pitch black skinned, blood drinking, berserker woman with six arms. Terrifying, though not evil, she knows a dance that will end the world.
That’s some pretty imaginative character design right there. They also sound vaguely familiar don’t they? Mythic characters, themes, whole stories are repeated time and time again, but always a bit different depending on the time and the place they were written or told. They are a common ground connecting all humans in all cultures everywhere, that ever were.
And that’s awesome.
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