Deadpool – The New Odyssey: How Comic Book Characters Look Like Characters From Ancient Myths
Superheroes rule pop culture – and it did not start today or yesterday. The Daily Poster understands their pedigree, going straight from the gods and mythological archetypes.
Theseus finding a way out of the labyrinth of the Minotaur thanks to the golden thread; Perseus coping with Medusa Gorgon with a mirror shield; Thunderer Thor with his hammer and gloves (the texts of “Elder Edda” indicate that he himself could not have raised his weapon – Mjolnir – without the help of magic gloves, and the idea of a creature worthy of a hammer is the invention of Marvel), countless fairy tale characters, which featured a sword-treasure, an invisible hat or a carpet-plane – all these are the incarnations of the owners of artifacts. The subject, without which there would be no narrative or conflict resolution, is usually a decoration, but more often a weapon, which is not surprising: in Europe by the beginning of the Middle Ages the cult of weapons was one of the most widespread due to German influence. But in principle, anything can turn out to be an artifact.
There are a lot of examples of heroes – owners of artifacts in comics. One of the most famous is the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalatic police force. They draw their strengths (flight, telekinesis, control of various types of energy) from special rings of Strength. The magic ring is a mythologem found in the legends of almost all the peoples of the world. These are the magic rings of the Scandinavian dwarfs (including the Nibelungen rings), the ring of Solomon, with which he curbed the demons. Also, Professor Tolkien described more than one enchanted ring in his most famous work. By the way, in addition to the ring, all Green Lanterns use a special lamp as a charging device. This idea also arose with good reason. The first Lantern was to be called Alan Ladd – this is an anagram named after Aladdin, a reference to another famous owner of wonderful artifacts.
Another example is Doctor Fate (in the original Doctor Fate), who has minor superpowers, but is still not capable of much without his magical equipment. This character, who regularly appears in the Justice League since the 40s, has an enchanted helmet, amulet, cloak and belt. The first of these is the Naboo helmet, one of the most powerful items in the DC universe. And the amulet of Anubis, as you might guess, is no less than the creation of the most ancient Egyptian god of the dead.
You can still recall Doctor Occult, a noir detective who raked Gotham’s problems back in 1935 (4 years before the creation of Batman), he did this not without the help of a supernatural amulet – a symbol of the Seven.
In myths and legends
Icarus and Daedalus
If there are those who use all the artifacts, there must be those who create them. Sometimes these two functions are combined. Since ancient times, the blacksmith and demiurge have been associated with each other, and in some cultures, the blacksmith was directly perceived as the creator of the world. In Slavic and Germanic mythology, the blacksmith god was often the second most important god, and the blacksmiths in the Russians combined the role of magicians or priests (of course, before Orthodoxy became the main religion). Representatives of this profession stand out in culture as a separate archetype. Since there was no divine monopoly on craft, many heroes of legends who created something special with their own hands were of human origin. The most famous of the characters who tried to equate the gods with the help of their minds, of course, can be considered Daedalus – a student of Athena, the creator of the maze on Crete and the father of Icarus. The wings presented to the latter became one of the main symbols of the challenge to the gods. The metaphor of the invention of a slanting sail turned out to be a much more valuable subject.
Among superheroes there are many such heroes-creators. For example, Iron Man without his suit is just a playboy, millionaire and philanthropist. DC has its own hero without supernatural powers – Batman. Speaking of the dark knight of Gotham, it is often forgotten that in earlier versions of comics and cartoons he himself created equipment, very, very diverse. But, for example, in the Nolan trilogy, the technical genius was shown by the hero of Morgan Freeman Lucius Fox, sitting in the basement of the building of the Bruce Wayne Corporation.
Another DC night hero, the Night Owl from the Guardians, also boasts technical giftedness, which, however, does not end his resemblance to Batman. Among people X there is even a separate equipment master, whose name is Blacksmith.
Incarnations of the Elements
Hapi – the god of the Nile and the patron saint of the harvest
Long before the invention of the plow and the anvil, people personified what surrounded them. On the principle of humanizing nature, shamanism, totemism, and all the most ancient pagan religions are built. The desire of mankind to curb the elements was embodied first in ancient mythology, then in technological progress, later in comics about superheroes.