Sunday, April 13, 2008

1st part

Ink and Thunder
Transforming Thor through Comic Format

To those that inhabited pre-modern Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland Thor represented a figure that was literally larger than life. A god with the power of the weather at his control, the great defender of Asgard, and the slayer of frost giants—this is how Thor was depicted in all of his glory. Today’s image of Thor remains the same, his exploits seeming not of this world and yet we have changed the mighty Norse god into something that the 20th century can more relate to and understand, humanizing him for readers that no longer view him as a “god” but in more of a legendary sense. Stan Lee’s character The Mighty Thor as a popular figure in the world of graphic novels has waxed and waned as the decades have gone on, yet he has never fully disappeared from the public eye. Most of Thor’s staying power has to do with a fascination about a character so different from his other superhero counterparts and yet still embodies their core attributes of “truth and justice” and their abilities to be more than human and yet still tragically so. However, placing a Norse God in a fictional universe and packaging him for American audiences has not fundamentally changed who Thor is supposed to be. While Stan Lee’s Thor has embraced the twentieth century I intend to examine the character’s development in the 1960s to show how comic books represent the relationship and tension between the contemporary works and the literary tradition the precedes them.

Thor in History

It is unclear when Thor was born since time is seen as arbitrary thing in mythology. Thor is the son of the All-Father Odin and the giantess Jord, his mother’s name translating to “Earth” in ancient Swedish (Lindow 287). Snorri Sturluson said Thor should be referred to in the following terms:

“Call him the son of Odin and lord, father of Magni and Modi and Thrud, husband to Sif, stepfather to Ull, ruler and owner of Miollnir and the girdle of might, ruler of Bilskirnir, defender of Asgard, Midgard, enemy and slayer of giants and troll-wives, killer of Hrungnir, Geirrod, Thrivaldi, lord of Thialfi and Roskva, enemy of the Midgard serpent, foster-son of Vingnir and Hlora” (Sturluson 72).

Even with as many titles as Thor has, he is considered the “god of the people” (Fitzhugh & Ward, 59), unlike Odin who is more of a god of the nobility, kings, and poets. He is the wielder of thunder and lightning, caused by his hammer. In some regions of Germany, Sweden, and Finland, all weather is also considered a part of Thor’s greater powers as well (Sturluson 22). This gave him a greater importance than Frey, the fertility god and Odin, the sky god, even though in most temples, the statues of the three sat side by side—equal in size and composition, however Thor usually occupy the central seat because he was seen as more influential in their everyday lives (Fitzhugh & Ward 57). Usually shown crossing rivers or water, it is a constant reminder to the readers of the stories presented that Thor must do his business and conduct his life outside of Asgard rather than inside a majority of the time and gives a hint to his greatest enemy, the Midgard Serpent Jörmungandr.
Thor may be revered highly among Scandinavians but he has his negative aspects like any human being. Most of the time he is described as standing “far larger than the average human” (Lindow 287) or as “an equal to the giants” (Lindow 287) in size but we do know that he was large enough to have Loki ride on his belt in some stories as he flew through the air (Crossley-Holland 137). This large size gives him an even larger appetite and Thor has been known to eat mere mortals out of house and home before he actually realized it (Hymiskviða) and drink so much that he affected the tides (Crossley-Holland 93). He is quick to anger and even quicker to violence, adopting the policy of destroy first and ask questions later in dealing with giants and dwarves alike. For instance when attempting to reach the giant Gerriod, Thor throws a rock to slow a river filled with blood and in doing so, killing a young giantess and at Balder’s funeral, unable to take his anger out on the giants present, Thor punts the dwarf Lit into a fire with little, if any remorse (Lindow 288). Thor is not a particularly bright god—his job is to defend and not be crafty—however there are times he will surprise the reader and be crafty as with his defeat of the dwarf in the Alvissmal saga who is attempting to marry his daughter. Rather than kill the dwarf outright, he asks the dwarf questions on poetic vocabulary, something we are pretty sure Thor had little interest in, until morning, the sun’s rays killing the dwarf by turning him into stone where he stood (Lindow 287).
In relating to other gods, Thor was a “family god” (Nordén 1) and faithful to a fault to his blonde haired wife Sif even if we can only guess who is the mother of his daughter Thrud and eldest son Magni. Most scholarly research however does attribute Magni to the giantess Jarnsaxa while giving Thrud to Sif with the idea that Magni is the oldest of the three and therefore before Thor actually was married (Nordén 3). He deferred to his father Odin even if he did not agree entirely with his commands and listened to his orders with out fault, stating “he is the All-Father and his word is law” (Sturluson 9). Loki, while a trickster god by nature, was actually one of Thor’s closest friends. Loki accompanied Thor on many giant killing adventures that were documented in the poetic and prose Eddas of the day, most famously in Thorsdrapa or “The Lay of Thor” in which he stormed into Jotunheim and laid waste to a giant’s hall (Crossley-Holland 80) and in Thrymskvida when Loki acted as Thor’s “bridesmaid” (Crossley-Holland 127). It would only be after the slaying of Balder that Thor and Loki would be at odds with the revelation that Loki purposefully caused the death of the god of light. Spotting Loki as a fish in the river, Thor would use the trickster’s own invention, the fishing net, against him and haul him in to be fettered beneath the earth until Ragnarok (Guerber 227-8). Tyr, the war god and leader of the armies of Asgard, was also Thor’s companion for a few Eddas as well, although some scholars argue that Tyr ends up having his principal powers absorbed by both Odin and Thor when the Norse religion reaches Iceland until Tyr simply remains a general god (Fitzhugh & Ward 58). When the Nordic version of the Apocalypse, Ragnarok finally comes to the world, Thor’s fate is to be decided by the Jörmungandr, the world serpent and his long time enemy; they fight a titanic battle that ends in the serpent’s death blow from Mjollnir only to have the Thunder god take nine steps back to die from the poison that Loki’s child landed on his skin (Bullfinch 320). Though seen by many as Thor’s ‘defeat’, in the sense of Norse and Viking ideals, Thor is truly the winner in that he killed his long time enemy before he himself succumbed—a Pyrrhic victory but one that was important to the ideal and worship of Thor (Lindow 288).
The character of Thor has run into many inconsistencies throughout the centuries. The thunder god is called “red beard” in some poetic Eddas (Nordén 2) but he has been depicted clean shaven and blonde, the classical Norse warrior, to having a moustache and short black hair in modern interpretations (Lindow 288). His standard mode of transportation was a chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr [translated as Tooth Sharpener and Tooth Grinder respectively] that he can kill, eat, and resurrect repeatedly to their normal form assuming the bones have not been broken (Crossley-Holland 81). Rather than a horned helmet, Thor wore a simple pointed helmet forged to fit only his head Thor can be easily pointed out in tapestries or drawings from that period depected wearing a loin cloth and sandels (Lindow 289). Thor’s hammer, Mjollnir can only be lifted by Thor himself and even then only with the help of special gloves [Jarn Greiper] and a girdle of strength [Megingjord]. The two seemed to exist symbiotically—Mjollnir could not be lifted by any one but Thor and Thor’s main abilities, controlling the weather, lightning and thunder, could only be done with Mjollnir in hand. Snorri Sturluson said of the iconic weapon: “He [Thor] would be able to strike as firmly as he wanted, whatever his aim, and the hammer would never fail, and if he threw it at something, it would never miss and never fly so far from his hand that it would not find its way back, and when he wanted, it would be so small that it could be carried inside his tunic” (Sturluson 22) showing the hammer and, in turn, its wielder’s power and versatility.
Thor has been the source of confusion and interest for researchers of Norse mythology and life in different ways. While he is the son of the chief god of Norse mythology, Odin, in certain parts of the world where the religion flourished, Thor takes on a larger and more important role than his father. Thor’s hammer, Mjollnir appears on sign posts and in burial mounds along side Odin’s spear Grungnir and Frey’s sickle (Fitzhugh & Ward 58) His exploits are some of the most well documented through oral tradition and after the year 1000BCE, written practices as well. Though there is no Old Norse word for religion—the closest we can come is ‘sidur’ which means ‘customs’—the Temple at Uppsala, Sweden was considered the principal shrine of all of the gods. With Thor in the center seat, people would come from far and wide to sacrifice to him when disease and famine would threaten their villages (Fitzhugh & Ward 56). The missionary Adam of Bremen described Thor wrongly as “the most powerful of the heathen gods” because of his central seat and aligned him with Jupiter in his writings in 1070. (57) Thor’s most famous temple was called Thor’s Oak, a tree in Germany worshiped by the Hessians because they felt Thor himself [Donar in German] planted this particular tree. In 723 when St. Boniface arrived to convert the Hessians, he chopped the tree down to prove the superiority of the Christian god over the Norse Pantheon and used the wood to build a chapel in Fritzlar, Germany. This action would spell the beginning of the end for the widespread worship of Thor in Teutonic areas (Lindow 289). Even as the idea of the Norse gods began to be usurped by the work of Christian missionaries, places in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland still wore Mjollnir as a pendant much like the Christian cross as an act of defiance to this new and foreign religion as late as 1050 CE (Lindow 289).

The Golden Age Transcends into the “Silver Sixties”

Martin Goodman in the 1920s and 1930s was the name in pulp magazines—magazines that provided “inexpensive entertainment for the masses who couldn’t afford to buy pricey clothbound books” (Lee 23). With titles like Mystery Tales, Star Detective, and Uncanny Stories, he was at the front of the comic book trend while also being on the lookout for what was up and coming. When movies and comic books came onto the scene and were more popular, not to mention cheaper in the 1930’s, Goodman switched gears and bought some of Funnies, Inc. who was facing stiff competition from National Periodicals and All-American Comics [what would later become DC Comics] and changed the name to Timely, Inc. (Lee 23). With the publication of Marvel Comics #1 by Timely, Inc. in October of 1939 which featured the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, the modern comic book was born. (Lee 24).
Comic books were looked upon fondly during World War II in that they provided an escape from harsh reality; less than a month before, Germany had invaded Poland and the Depression still had not been fully dispelled. Costing only eight cents per issue, comics were gateways to other places where heroes never died and the common worries of the day were replaced by villains who always were defeated and acted as stress relief. Comics were easily attainable, read at the time by a wider range of people then read them today, and they acted act as a new mythology of sorts as well as propaganda. By the second issue, the series’ title changed to Marvel Mystery Comics and put out Captain America in March of 1941, reaching sales of nearly one million and ironically only a few months before America itself would enter the war. Those three would be the best known of the original characters to survive out of the 1940’s while some do appear during flashbacks in modern Marvel stories (Civil War #4).
Business was going well, well enough for Goodman to hire a full time staff that included Jacob Kurtzberg [who would later be known as Jack Kirby] as illustrator and a young guy by the name of Stanley Lieber as a general gofer. When work piled up in 1941, and because Stanley, “knew the difference between a declarative sentence and a baseball bat” he was able to write for Captain America #5 at the age of seventeen with little difficulty (Lee 32). By the middle of the war, comic books were selling 25 million copies a month and the titles were ever expanding however the amount of them had to go down as a result—with America’s entry into World War II, paper shortages meant that only a low number of each issue could be printed and only with a dual use of having government advertisement in them to buy war bonds or salvage scrap paper. To cut down, the average comic book was made smaller: the standard newspaper page was folded in half twice to produce sixteen comic book pages that measured approximately eight by eleven inches, slightly larger than today’s comic book (Flynn 1).
With the sale of comic books dropping after the end of World War II due to changes in the ideals of the ‘superman’ (Flynn 2) and the diminishing opinion of comic books in general, Timely became known as Atlas Comics in the 1950’s with the hope of energizing the comic arena. This change in attitude towards comics happened simply because the war was over—it was now time to focus on “real world issues” rather than something “most of the adult world didn’t buy or care about anymore…our heroes weren’t needed now that the real ones were home” (Lee 57). Atlas tried a variety of different comic styles and subjects to grab people’s attention; westerns, horror, humor, even a dabble in fantasy, and ironically war stories was tried with little success and the rehashing of the Human Torch, Captain America, and The Sub-Mariner lasted only from 1953 until the summer of 1954. Stan Lee himself would remark that they were only “following trends, not setting them. It got to be tiresome” (Lee 70).
Goodman would try a different angle with his now smaller operation in 1957, attempting to cash in on the science fiction craze of the time with the launching of Sputnik and had six titles that dealt with it, including Journey into Mystery. Most of these were being drawn by Jack Kirby and had Stan Lee twists at the end which would be the first time these two gifted artist would ever meet (Lee 80). This era itself would be known as “The Golden Age” of comics—titles from this era are highly priced in today’s market, some running over $25,000 a piece and one writer remarked, “…the 1950s were the last time they made real comic books that involved people” (orange 2).
Protest arose with the flood of comic books entering the market in the 1950’s. Dr. Frederic Wertham, a New York psychiatrist had launched a nationwide attack on comic books with his book called Seduction of the Innocent in 1954 (Lee 90). In it, he claims that comic books inspired delinquency, homosexuality, and the ever dreaded Communism. People started burning comic books in piles and the congressional hearings on if television should be regulated only added fuel to the fire. Horror titles fell away, war stories were virtually unheard of and titles like Nellie the Nurse and Patsy Walker became the norm. Wertham seemed to not have a problem with westerns, being the core of Americana or with science fiction, since aliens weren’t people, but he aimed his attacks at “the people that donned tights and a cape” (Lee 94) because they were virtually painted targets in Wertham’s eyes. DC’s Batman and Robin’s partnership was not one of friendship but one of homosexuality (Wertham 88), Wonder Woman’s strength and independence was not because she was of Amazon blood but because she was “the worst kind of woman…one who does not need men for her sexual pleasure” (Wertham 80). Wertham’s work with Sigmund Freud early in his career made it fairly easy to see where he deduced that these comic images and stories were literally changing the youth for the worst and encouraging “unhealthy behavior” (Wetham 15).
The fall out from all of this ended up with the creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America and the Comic Code Authority that became the morality police of the comic book industry from the 1950’s all the way up until the late 1970’s. Despite the unpopularity of superheroes, the CCA allowed them to be published with restraints that seemed to allow no creative freedom. The rules provided by the CCA included:
· Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gun play, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
· Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly nor as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
· All characters shall be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.
With these and other restrictions on violence, sexuality and overall content it’s not surprising that for three to four years at the end of the 1950’s, the superhero’s cape hung unused. Martin Goodman’s company, however had less of a problem than others did about the issues of what was in the comics themselves and more of an issue of selling them.
In an attempt to save money from the fall of comic sales, Goodman gave up his own publishing company and contracted with American News Company in 1957. Two weeks later, ANC went bankrupt and Goodman was forced to go to National Comics who would only agree to distribute about a dozen out of the eighty titles that Atlas had.
By the 1960s, DC Comics were seeing success in publishing the Justice League of America and Goodman wanted to emulate them again. Goodman pushed the idea to Stan Lee to create new superheroes, even though Lee was thinking privately of quitting the comic industry for good. With the support and encouragement of his wife, Lee decided to stay and write “real stories” (Lee 113). The result would be the first out the gate for Marvel in the “Silver Sixties”—The Fantastic Four in November 1961. Followed by the Incredible Hulk and the hugely successful Spider-Man, Lee was at a lost and admittedly so:

“I had already given birth to the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and Spider-Man. Next, I wanted to come up with something totally different. I thought it would be fun to invent someone as powerful as, or perhaps even more powerful than, the Incredible Hulk. But how do you make someone stronger than the strongest human? It finally came to me; don’t make him human—make him a god.” (Lee 157)

Though Lee had wide varieties of pantheons to choose from, he picked the Norse one and placed the God of Thunder, Thor into Journey into Mystery #83 in 1962. But ironically, he didn’t write the story for Thor—due to lack of time, Stan Lee’s brother Larry Lieber was tasked with taking Lee’s vague plots and turning them into stories while Jack Kirby did the penciling. After Thor left Journey into Mystery and received his own title becoming The Mighty Thor in 1964, Lee took on the job of writing his adventures. The five page feature Tales of Asgard was added in 1963 and survived the move briefly when Thor received his own title, chronicling Thor in ancient times rather than his “current” status in the 1960s. The mini-comic was present in the back of the issue of The Mighty Thor and has the same Thor as the main comic, just simply younger and not assuming a duel personality as “current” Thor. The Thor of Scandinavian lore portrays however undergoes a face lift when he is placed in panels and opposite a new and sometimes familiar cast of characters.

Thor Dipped In Ink

The Marvel version of Thor appears first as the very human Dr. Donald Blake long before he makes an appearance in the Tales of Asgard. Far from being the flowing blond haired god he will later become, he is a young doctor, mild mannered to the point of being shy with the physical handicap of a lame leg. At the start of the series when he is attempting to elude the Stone Men from Saturn, he stumbles into a cave and finds a cane and with a touch to the earth, he is transformed into the mighty Thor and the cane into Mjollnir, Thor’s trusty weapon.
Dr. Blake, in his transformed state, also reminds us that “Thor’s hammer had other characteristics! One that it was so heave none but the mighty Thor could lift it! The legends also say that the hammer is enchanted! Whenever Thor hurls it from him…it must return!” He also tests out his powers on the weather, creating rain, snow, and even tornadoes with his hammer (Lee & Kirby #104). The power Thor demostrated hold true to normal mythology although the metal that the weapon is said to be made out of, uru, is not present in any of the ancient mythos. And Thor’s power of flight was an invention of Lee’s own imagination:

“I wanted a credible means of propulsion for his [Thor’s] ability to soar through the heavens. I like things that appear to be grounded in science, such as the Fantastic Four have their powers from cosmic rays or the Hulk being whumped by gamma rays….I had Thor keep his magic hammer attached to his wrist by a leather thong. When he wanted to fly, he’d whirl the hammer over his head faster than a propeller and then, when he released his grip on it, it would go flying off into the heavens---and since his wrist was attached by the thong, the hammer would carry our hero off with it.” (Lee 159)

While it makes for great reading, the Thor of myth could not fly and instead traveled around in a chariot pulled by two goats as previously mentioned.
Usually illustrated as being taller than the rest of the human population was an accurate depiction in what Thor was supposed to be—a giant in some stories and simply just larger than a human in others. His clean shaven appearance, blonde hair, and costume was the work of the illustrator, Jack Kirby’s imagination. Costumed to appear different than the other heroes of the time, Thor wears not just a spandex-like suit, the appearance of armor like shields dot his chest as a nod to the armored Vikings that worshiped him. Thor to the people of ancient Scandinavia was red haired and full bearded since a clean face was a sign of youth and not manhood and wore a simple pointed helmet, not one adorned with bird’s wings (d-black).
Since the backlash of extra violence in the Marvel universe from the 1950’s, the Thor presented by Lee prefers to do less damage than the original. Rather than haphazard giant skull crushing we have Communists of small Latin countries rounded up and taken to the authorities (Lee & Kirby Thor! “Prisoner of the Reds!”) and shows a true affection for humanity, even falling into a forbidden love with Dr. Blake’s nurse Jane Foster rather than either ignoring or enslaving them as in Hymiskviða. We find out later that his arrogance is what led to him being placed into the body of Donald Blake; they are one of the same but Thor was sent to Earth in the form of a human and stripped of his powers by his father Odin because of his lack of “humility” (gray 2). Speaking sometimes in Stan Lee’s admitted Shakespearian tone, Thor appears almost faultless except for the love of his life and sometime over-emotional nature.
Far from being his best friend, Loki, the trickster god, starts out as comic Thor’s mortal enemy and remains so through the rest of the series. Rather than fight his adopted brother himself, Loki engineers up various plans and enemies for Thor to fall prey to—everything from cosmic entities like the Galactus to ancient ones like Surtur, the fire giant from Norse myth, to enemies he creates from humans like the Absorbing Man. Loki’s motives stem from jealousy and anger, jealousy that Thor is Odin’s favored son and anger at the Norse gods believing that Loki will be the one to bring about Ragnorok. Throw in a desire to rule Asgard and Loki and Thor often come to clash in the series even if it is indirectly. Marvel’s Thor, however, does not notice Loki’s evil behavior in his youth and in adulthood only unleashes his full wrath upon his brother when the love of his life Jane Foster is in grave danger.
Though there seems to be enough contrast between Marvel Comic’s The Mighty Thor and mythological Thor, the real heart of the contrast lies with the body he inhabits. Dr. Donald Blake is everything Thor is not, at least at first. Where Thor goes charging headlong into danger, Dr. Blake has a tendency to despair when all hope seems lost. The good doctor uses his critical thinking skills to get out of most situations when Thor’s solution, much like the god he’s based off, is to attack first, but not without a grand speech. The two seem to come to a reconciliation of sorts by the time Thor has to battle the character he was essentially made to fight—the Hulk. In The Mighty Thor Battles the Incredible Hulk!, the protector of Asgard goes toe to toe with ‘Ol’ Green Skin’ and utters a speech in the midst of fighting that combines both Dr. Blake’s intelligence and Thor’s fighting spirit:

“I know who you are!! I’ve known many like you throughout the ages!! Though the names may change… the power and the fury are always present!! … The blind, senseless rage… the need to lash out… to strike and destroy… the belief that your raw power can smash any obstacle… I know you Hulk! I’ve always known your breed!”

With the addition of one doctor, the love of a slightly helpless nurse and Lee’s pen, Thor is taken from being violent, crude, and un-publishable to beloved; a superhero spanning three decades in the realm of comic. Thor would join the Avengers, Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League, fighting villains alongside the Avengers’ Iron Man and Captain America. Thor is one of the core four heroes that made up the Avengers [Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp]. Thor’s animated TV show had a short but popular run in 1966 and action figures were being made by the hundreds of thousands.
But by 1968, Thor had faded into the background, a bit character at best, a place holder at worst. So what exactly did silence the god of thunder on the pages of comic books?

The Silver Sixties Faces Ragnarok

By 1965 it seemed that Marvel was on top of the world—the success of Stan Lee’s stories was turning the company and Lee into multi-millionaires. However there were tensions under the surface that would throw the staff and ultimately the comics into different directions. Lee was not only “Marvel’s editor-in-chief and art director, he was still writing the dialogue and captions for a majority of the stories” (Lee 171) and the workload began to show itself. Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, left Marvel in 1966, feeling that Stan Lee had taken over the entire process. Jack Kirby, the principal artist for The Mighty Thor and many other Marvel comics, left in 1970 but far before that he felt he was “living in the shadow” of Lee’s stardom and the lack of credit given to him by Martin Goodman and the rest of Marvel (Lee, 172). Kirby and Lee’s relationship fell apart and, while civil, they never had a similar working relationship for the rest of their careers. When asked if he could have saved his relationship with either, Stan Lee says, “I think it would have been if either of them were less laconic. There was never a time when Jack Kirby just sat down and told me what, if anything, was bothering him. The same held true for Steve Ditko. It’s hard to correct a misunderstanding if you don’t know what it is that’s misunderstood.” (Lee 173)
In the autumn of 1968 Martin Goodman decided that it was time to sell Marvel to the highest bidder which turned out to be Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation, a company that, once it had gotten involved in the comic juggernaut, was quickly overwhelmed. Goodman was to stay on as president and the publisher of Magazine Management, the holding company’s new publishing wing, but not as the director of Marvel. From a financial standpoint, Goodman’s sale had fantastic timing in that the next year the comic industry took a dip as all comic publishers raised prices from twelve cents to fifteen cents a copy. However some key artist and writers for comics like the Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk were switched to ‘freelance’ writers rather than salaried writers, meaning they were paid for output rather than a flat rate. Criticism began to fly at Marvel that their stories were seeming less inspired and “more formulaic in their execution…which was something I [Lee] couldn’t help” (Lee 172).
Why Lee couldn’t help was that he was now promoting Marvel on the road at conventions across the United States and even at a few conventions in Mexico and Europe. While his own fame was coming into its own, the stories comics were being written by others while Lee added small revisions while he was on the road, virtually taking the original creator out of the creative process (Lee 183). Despite the dip in sales, his promotion of Marvel and the comic book brought positive attention to comics and graphic novels as a whole and Lee was being seen as a serious writer rather than just “someone filling in speech bubbles, which wasn’t even my job anyway!” (Lee 184).
As for Thor himself, Tales of Asgard was dropped in 1967 to “try something different since ToA seemed redundant by this point” (171). The Inhumans replaced it for six months before the idea of a short in the rear of the comics disappeared all together and became simply Marvel’s standard twenty page monthly issue. When Kirby left, Lee stopped scripting The Mighty Thor and it fell to Gerry Conway, Len Wein or Roy Tomas for the rest of the 1970’s and early 1980’s to write for the hammer wielding hero (*). Though he continued to have his own comic, he never attained the popularity he enjoyed after the 1960s were over and in some instances and crossovers, reduced to playing a bit part in the Avengers, the very team he helped create. Out of a three month story arc featuring the crime fighting team, Thor was only present in a total of seven pages, not even a quarter of the issues and spoke only briefly(*). The tide would change in 1982 when the idea of Thor was taken and redone, unleashed in a new format that harkened back to his 1962 debut due to a desire to recapture the 1960’s style of hero and the “burn out” of graphic noir comics on the general audience (*). Therefore, Thor’s “history” is divided into a figurative three: his height in the 1960’s, his decline in the 1970’s and rebirth in the 1980’s when his entire character was redone.
The end of the Silver Sixties isn’t a definite thing but for Marvel three things occurred that would change the direction comics in general had been heading. The first was Kirby’s leaving Marvel as we previously discussed but it was who he left to—Marvel’s rival DC comics and went on to produce for them until the 1980s—that really shook the foundations of comic circles (*) The second was Stan Lee stepping down as editor-in-chief in 1972 to handle the new Marvel Animation team in Hollywood (Lee 189), turning the writing completely over to other teams, no longer telling the stories or even making revisions to the stories depicting characters he created. Finally the changes in the Comics Code of Authority allowed for more controversial topics such as drug use, more violence, and the undead. This change in attitudes would lead to Batman returning to his dark vigilante ways under the writing of Frank Miller, the rise of urban themed and African American focused comics such as The Green Lantern, and horror comics featuring even Satan himself like Ghost Rider. These revised and modern comics started to push “traditional” superheroes into the background as they came to dominate the news-stands and comic book stores.

The True Tales of Asgard?

In the interest of discussion, I will take a look specifically at Tales of Asgard primarily because I feel they are unique in their character and composition, more so than the rest of Thor’s appearances in The Mighty Thor. As already mentioned, Tales of Asgard focused on a younger Thor, his journeys, and adventures in the ancient world rather than in The Mighty Thor where Thor resides in the “present” of the 1960s. The Tales of Asgard originally were only five pages long, had no continuity between them from one issue to the next and were additions to the back of the main story. But over the run of The Mighty Thor they became larger, ballooning in some instances to twice their size and continuing story arcs that went on for months. The initial stories however seem to be stories taken directly from what written mythology was available at the time.
The first issues of Tales of Asgard deals with creation, just like the written accounts. Take for instance Stan Lee’s account of the creation according to Norse Mythology:

“Finally after countless centuries, a strange form of life magically appeared! Tons of ice which had been forming above the Well of Life changed their shape, and turned into Ymir, greatest of all the evil froth giants! Seconds later, another form of life appeared—this was a gigantic magic cow, who milk provided nourishment for the monstrous Ymir! And for ages Ymir and the magic cow roamed the frozen wastes.” (Lee & Kirby Tales of Asgard #1)

Compared to Guerber’s description:

“By the continual action of cold and heat, and also probably by the will of the uncreated and unseen, a gigantic creature called Ymir or Orgelmir (seething clay), the personification of the frozen ocean and evil, came to life amid the ice-block in the abyss, and as he was born of rime he was called a Hrim-thurs, or ice-giant. Groping about in the gloom in search of something to eat, Ymir perceived a gigantic cow called Audhumla…Hastening towards her, Ymir noticed with pleasure that from her udder flowed four great streams of milk which would supply ample nourishment” (Guerber, 3).

Bullfinch’s account runs along the same theme: “The vapours rose in the air and formed clouds, from which sprang Ymir, the Frost giant and his progeny, and the cow Audhumbla, who’s milk afforded nourishment and food to the giant” (Bullfinch 302-3) and Edith Hamilton’s is a replay of much the same:

“Life quickened from those drops and they took the form of a giant. He was called Ymir. Ymir was a frost giant; he was evil from the first. … As more of Ginnungagap melted, the fluid took the form of a cow. She was called Audumla. Yimir fed off the four rivers of milk that coursed from her teats and Audumla fed off of the ice itself” (Hamilton 312).

As one can see, Lee was telling the mythology in a similar fashion to the three writers above, the differences being in syntax and the space that the words were given in that Lee’s story had to be told in concert with images. What is even more telling here is that these three, Guerber, Bullfinch, and Hamilton, were the only three definitive sources of Norse mythos published at the time Thor was being created for Marvel [Bullfinch in 1855, Guerber was 1909, and Hamilton in 1945] so Stan Lee must have used one of the above or all of them in their creation of Tales of Asgard. The similarities are too striking to ignore or for the creator to have come up with on his own and the same lines are present through the rest of “Tales of Asgard”. The characters present as “Tales of Asgard” continue stay true to the actual mythology; Surtur, an anglicized version of Surtr, is defeated by Odin, Heimdall stands guard and fights off storm giants, and Norns occasionally try to breach the walls of Asgard only to be pushed back by Thor and the sometimes unwitting, always evil Loki while still seeming at home in traditional comic book format.
What was changed is even more striking. The Comic Code of Authority declared in their General Standards Part A that, “In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds” ( For instance, in“Tales of Asgard: Balder Must Die!” Balder is seen cavorting with the wildlife peacefully while Loki plots in the background for his demise. Loki, through verbal bullying and mild physical violence, extracts from the Norn Queen that only the plant Mistletoe has not sworn a pledge not to hurt Balder. Upon picking the plant, Loki orders his slave trolls to make a blowgun that could pierce the heart of the unsuspecting god and attempts to blow it at Balder while he is sparring. At the very last second however, it is the Norn Queen herself who thwarts the Trickster God and incarnates the blow gun declaring, “It is I who am responsible, evil one! You made one careless mistake—you forgot that Odin had pledged all who live to guard Balder’s life—and I, too took that solemn pledge!” (Lee & Kirby, “Tales of Asgard: Balder Must Die!”, 5).
Contrast that to the original story as presented by Bullfinch where the story turns out far more violently. Loki found out only by “assuming the form of an old woman” (Bullfinch 316) and getting Frigg to reveal the one thing that would kill Balder, the small plant that Frigg assumed was too young to swear an oath, mistletoe. The other gods, meanwhile, find it sport to hurl things at Balder and watching them bounce off, leaving him unharmed. Rather than the last second save like presented in the comic, Loki convinces the blind god Hodur to throw the mistletoe which “…pierced through and through and [Balder] fell down lifeless” (Bullfinch 316). The story does not end here as the gods of Asgard try to get everything in the world to weep for Balder so that he may be restored to life, however Loki again disguises himself as a female giantess and refuses to cry, thus sentencing Balder to remain in the land of the dead until Ragnarok comes (318).
Obviously according to the CCA, Loki had to lose in the end rather than Balder meet the death he was destined to have in the traditional mythos, but the sex-change would have been deemed a bit much since “sexual abnormalities” are unacceptable in the Code regardless of god-like powers. Balder’s death too was deleted, more than likely for its violent nature rather than what continuity issues would have arisen. In all of the issues of Tales of Asgard, none of the characters draw or shed blood in the forty seven issues and no one dies—the “bad guys” are taken in for their crimes to face punishment or cast back from which they came, not killed or executed as one would expect for threatening the entirety of Asgard itself.
As the Tales… continue, Lee began to add his own ideas into the traditional mythology. With the issue “Tales of Asgard: The Sword in the Scabbard!”, the one-shot idea of “ToA” was broken and here began an eleven issue saga that took Thor and his compatriots through some astonishing adventures. Ragnarok, the Norse end of the world, is well documented, the foreshadowing of such being the birth of Loki’s children Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr, the binding of Loki, and the on-set of a “winter that would rage for three years, during which all cheer departed from the earth” (Guerber, 330). Lee adds to this story by including something called the “Odinsword” or the “over-sword” that “according to legend, if ever it leaves its sheath, the end of the universe with be at hand!” (Lee & Kirby, “Tales of Asgard: The Sword in the Scabbard!”, 4). Nowhere in the writings of classical Norse mythology present at the time and those written hence have the Odinsword in it and it is clear that Lee created it for dramatic effect rather than adhering to the constraints of myth.
The next issues feature an almost Jason and the Argonaut like story arc of Thor gathering warriors to find what evil it is that is threatening the Odinsword aboard a ship to sale across the known world. Once on board they face the “Pillars of Utgard” which bear a striking similarity to the clashing rocks, also known as the Symplegades in Jason’s story (, a mutiny, and finally the Queen of the Flying Trolls Ula (“Tales of Asgard: Closer Comes the Swarm!”) before returning home. Ironically, as Thor is doing all of these things in Tales of Asgard, some of the Odinsword saga accompanies issues in which Thor fights Hercules in The Mighty Thor. This might have been done on purpose, but no mention of Thor’s past adventures was mentioned during his confrontation with Hercules however, the parallel is easy to draw in that Hercules accompanied Jason on his Argonauts’ adventure and here was the marriage of Greek and Norse Mythology for the second time in the same issues. Lee goes even farther to change the events of Ragnarok during an oracle telling towards the end of the saga:

“It is then that the two sons of Odin—the God of Thunder and the Prince of Evil—meet in a deadly combat—for the last time—as the world about them is consumed by battle--! For there can be no victory—there can be no survivors—there can be but a dissolution of the land where the immortals have dwelled! Until at last, all Asgard trembles under the greatest upheaval ever known—as the seething and swelling of the mighty oceans signal the coming of the final enemy—the ultimate destroyer—as lo, there shall appear the Midgard serpent—proclaiming the day of Ragnarok!!” (Lee & Kirby, “ToA: The Meaning of Ragnarok!” 5)

The account presented by Bullfinch, however tells how it was “supposed” to have happened:

“Thor gains great renown by killing the Midgard serpent, but recoils and falls dead, suffocated with the venom which the dying monster vomits over him. Loki and Heimdall meet and fight until they are both dead. The gods and their enemies having fallen in battle, Surtur, who has killed Freyer, darts fire and flames over the world and the whole universe is burned up (Bullfinch 320).”

Lee makes no overt statement in his biography or any other published material as a reason why for the change but there are a few that come to mind. Loki, not the Midgard Serpent, had been presented as Thor’s principal enemy through out both The Mighty Thor and Tales of Asgard while in classical Norse style, The Serpent is who his enemy is and who he will fight to the death. The idea of dying only after killing your sworn enemy is a Norse ideal and one that Stan Lee held true to since the enemy has now changed—it was Loki, brother or no, that had be Thor’s adversary this entire time, not Jörmungandr. However the choice to make Loki the principal villain over the Midgard Serpent was one that would have been needed to make the comic viable. Loki’s character and nature lends for him to be a villain and indeed by the final tales of Norse Mythology he becomes as such, however it is hard to write for a large snake that has simply decided that Thor was to die. Other than being fated to, Jörmungandr and Thor clash in Norse epics only because Jörmungandr is evil without reason since he is a child of Loki. With Loki being the main adversary to Thor, there is room for plot development with a character that at the very least, appears human and has human motives. In addition to that, perhaps the flames were too graphic to show and Surtr had been bested in the second issue of Tales of Asgard, imprisoned inside of a planet for all eternity so a new cleanser had to be named. Loki’s binding to prevent Ragnarok place him in a futuristic state of “suspended animation” (Lee & Kirby, “Tales of Asgard: The Hordes of Harokin!”, 2) rather than him being bound in the gruesome way Crossley-Holland describes:

“Loki was thrown to the ground … Then the gods took three slabs of rock, stood them on end and bored a hole through each of them. They stretched Loki over them, unwound Narvi’s [Loki’s son who is disemboweled before this] entrails and bound him with the gut of his own son and no one had ever been bound before. … And no sooner was Loki bound than entrails of his son became hard as iron. Then Skadi carried a vile snake into the cave. She fastened it to a stalactite high up in the darkness so the venom would drip straight into Loki’s face. … It’s venom splashes into Loki’s face and in torment he shudders and writes.” (Crossley-Holland, 171-172).

The gods following this are just as depressed as they are in the traditional myths, with Lee allowing the new versions of these old gods to maintain the human like nature that set them apart from other pantheons. Kirby’s drawing of Odin seated upon his throne with his hand covering his face, shoulders hunched, and the solemn look on the other gods’ faces show the seriousness of the matter at hand. It is never explained exactly how Loki gained his freedom to terrorize his older adoptive brother in the twentieth century however it is clear that the Norse Pantheon by way of the Comic Code of Authority will never kill or severely harm Loki, even though they know his intent and evil nature.
This presents the principal problem of Norse mythology bound by regulation and ideals—the idea of the Norse and of their stories have is that everything has a cycle. Death will come as surely as the next winter and the entire pantheon knows this. Much of their time is spent therefore fighting battles that they know will end a certain way, making Norse gods and goddess have a degree of fatalism that is not seen in other types of mythology found in Greece and Rome. By taking and removing the entire idea of death as the Comic Code of Authority has done, the gods that inhabit Lee’s world no longer have to worry about facing the end of this cycle of creation and instead focus on fighting monsters that come to Asgard but never seriously threaten it any longer. In essence, while they go by the same names, the almost franticness they existed no longer has any meaning since literal impending doom no longer lurks in the distance. Lee has stopped Ragnarok and therefore has stopped any of the Asgardians from being the true mythological gods that they were since death for them was their whole reason for living.
With the defeat of Fafnir the dragon in “Tales of Asgard: There Shall Come a Miracle!”, the series goes into its final stretch and takes a turn from the semi-based in mythology to the fantastical. Thor and the Warriors Three, three warriors that show up for more comic relief than actual plot development, journey to battle the Mystical Man of the Mountain, Mogul and the Forty Horsemen of Satan to liberate the Middle-Eastern-like culture that Hogun of the Warrior’s Three is a part of and thought to be lost. No basis of this story can be found anywhere in written Norse accounts and seems to be a creation purely from and of the mind of Stan Lee. As to why the change from the discussion of traditional re-imagined Norse Mythology into something that was complete fiction I present two ideas.
Firstly, all of the tales that could be safely told under the Comic Code of Authority had been told. Thor donning women’s clothing to get his hammer back from a giant or any of his other giant killing expeditions could be told because the central theme of them is, although righteous and noble in Norse eyes, violence. There is no way, even with Stan Lee’s story telling skills and Jack Kirby’s artistic work that these could be presentable.
Also in comparison to what was going on in The Mighty Thor, some of themes were beginning to be absorbed into the mainstream comic. Gone was Jane Foster and to replace her was Thor’s traditional wife in mythology, the raven haired Sif as his principal love interest. Thor suddenly has to combat Trolls (Lee & Kirby, “The Mighty Thor: To Die Like a God!”) and defending Asgard from being overrun (Lee & Kirby, “The Mighty Thor: The Flames of Battle!”) rather than the host of super villains that he usually has to combat and they’re being told and drawn in the same way that Tales of Asgard was. In short, with the change of focus in the series [with Jane Foster eliminated and Thor’s character and origin firmly established], Tales of Asgard became a redundant part of the Thor franchise and was discontinued.
Whatever the reason, with that last nine issue saga, Tales of Asgard ends with a traditional Stan Lee flare for the dramatic and in line with the CCA’s decree of good triumphing over evil: “Thus our saga ends—as all such quests must end—with tyranny destroyed—with freedom triumphant—forever more!” (Lee & Kirby, “Tales of Asgard: The End!” 5)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Deadlines, Deadlines

Ok so the outline thing was a success, hutzza! And the 1st chunk is due...::looks at clock:: today. I finished it but (g)od I need sleep. 28hrs and no sleep is a bad idea.

The only other capstone is this gal named Allison who's really nice and her topic is kind of interesting. A bit like 'well that sounds like a history capstone' but it's on women in the military during WWII and she's in Army ROTC so it has more meaning for her than it does for me, Marine JROTC aside. There's another kid who's preparing for his now to present during the summer about missionaries in S. Africa and I'm kinda feeling like the white elephant in the room when it comes to this whole 'comic book-Norse mythos' idea.

The capstone meeting was more of "You're doing WHAT?!" by Dr. Taylor and Patterson and while they didn't shoot down the idea, they were kinda hesitant of the idea that I'm doing an undergrad research project on comic books. 'scuse, 'graphic novels'. But Ruane is being all supportive and such and telling my to write my pa-tootie off so...yeah.

Febuary 20th is the next capstone meeting. The 13th is when the next chunk of my capstone work is due. Throw in a football trip to Key West and well...


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Real Work Starts

Coniption is, what the hell is real work? I figure I've done the hard stuff (the reading, the gathering) and now all there's left to do is to sit down and write it. Problem is that I'm *horrible* at organizational flow on papers--every. Last. Professor. Tells me so. I mean, I make my point, my content's fine, it's just it's not beautiful *looking* like it should be. Aie.

So while I read the Study of Comics over break ( that horribly dry book, jeez) and Post-it note tabed Vol. 3 of Thor, I flowed wrote about 2 pages before saying, "This sucks!" and putting together an outline to see if this works.

Said outline is here.

Yeah, this is going to be one of those, "You did squat over break" capstone meetings. /headdesk

Friday, November 16, 2007

Proposal Cram

Proposal before Ruane removes the suck and fail

Marvel Time Line

Annotated Bibliography redone

Yeah. /dies. Well, I hope it doesn't suck as bad as I think it does although I am pretty sure it does. -_-; I had kind of forgotten about it until yesterday and Ruane was like, "Oh yea, I need that tomorrow" and I'm sure I turned as white as a sheet...which is pretty hard considering. =P But Moutain Dew is the college crack so it and a few Kevin Smith movies worked to keep me awake.

Rosiene just said that what I was doing in the proposal was ok, Ruane and him are behind me talking about it. Taylor did give me a funny look though--he's a historian after all for like, Civil War stuff but I'm hoping the 60's of it wins him over.

Well now for Dr. Ruane to fix it. And not kill me. x_x

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thor vs. Communism, FIGHT!

Actually, that's what Dr. Don Blake aka Thor seems to do w/ most of his time. That and fight aliens that look vaguely Asian. Comic books reflecting the times much? I read half of Volume 1 and kind of stalled, mostly because I have weekly meeting w/ Dr. Patterson. It's like he kinda wants a thesis statment *now* and I'm looking like a deer in head lights going, "We just came up with this idea, halp me plz!" It's the 10th week of classes and by the 15th week I have to submit a proposal...

Yeah, you could hear the "Gurk!" coming from my mind. So I have 4 weeks to write this in between my Britain, Philosophy, Art History, and Space Exploration papers. Oh and read the books for those too.

Sometimes I hate myself.

So the comic book slant is awesome, really cool and further proof that I hope I am as smart as Dr. Ruane when I get older. As for a Thesis statement...I'll grab a white board and toss some stuff around. Hrm. Like I need to find out *exactly* what I need to write. Dr. Taylor wants me to do like Norse mythos in the 60's which would include westerns [as if my grandmother didn't watch enough "Gunsmoke" and "The Rifleman" in my child hood] but I don't know. I asked Dr. Perdigao to be my second reader and she said yes so I have like the 2 coolest professors in my department on this, giggity-giggity. /dance

That and I need to register for classes next semester, make wedding plans, and oh yeah, find a job. Yar.

But first, Thor has to stop a Communist revolution in some small latin country.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

An actual coherent post

Stream of conscious writing equals bad. Alright.

So after tossing a few ideas back and forward, Dr. Ruane came up w/ the idea of "Representation of Viking Mythology in Modern Culture". That totally works with what I've been reading so I am, to say the least, happy about that. Now since I know where I'm going, I can sit down and... movies, read comic books, and play video games. ::cackles maniacally:: God, there are days where I love my major and this is one of them. Oh there will be more work I'm sure of it, work that I really don't want to do but I'm in my happy place so leave me be. =P There's a list of stuff he wrote down so now it's all about going to hunt it down and reading it/watching it. I'm just excited that I can include Neil Gaiman in this--he's one of my favorite if not my absolute favorite author. Woo!

I promise if "The Pathfinder" is anywhere close to being as bad as "Alexander" I'm going to cry.

I read Vest Dan's capstone (during Art History class...not like I was missing anything) and it was like a Jet Li kick to the forehead as in, "So THAT'S what I need to do!". Not like copy, oh no, but as in format and how it was done and such. It's more, I guess the word I'm looking for is 'freeform' than the research papers I've done in the past.

Tomorrow I have a meeting w/ Dr. Patterson about all of this. I don't know exactly what to say but eh, I'll flow with it, tell him what I'm doing and it all should be like pigs in a blanket. Or something like that.

Friday, September 21, 2007

October 4th is D-Day

No, I know Operation Overlord was on June 6th. But my D-Day, huzza. That's when like I have to start doing serious work on the capstone like thing. ::scratches head:: Like I wasn't working already. Anyways, I'm glad it's after the round of tests but before Swamp Bowl (Football in Gainsville and nay, football against the mo'effin Georgia Tech Lady Bulldogs is full of win) so I'm dancing about that. And I'm looking forward to tossing ideas around with someone far smarter than me on the subject--I can't just toss around mythology w/ the boys in the apartment.

I'm ordering books and I r teh poor, yar. So I guess interlibrary loans ::shudder:: will have to do. FIT library. Bad touch. No mommy don't make me. ::sigh:: oh well. I'll go do some of that eh, tomorrow/Monday. I have a test tomorrow and work and gym conditioning and 2 football games the weekend so that means Monday it is.

Note to self: Reading Norse mythology while listening to German speed metal is highly condusive. Must find more. And stay away from WoW while I do it ><.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Maybe. Ok.

So, after playing with Google maps for a bit (if you *don't* like playing w/ Google maps, there's something wrong with you lol) Dr. Ruane told me that I was, to my shock, doing alright. Well that my bibliography is alright at the very least so I'll take it and run like hell.

So what does that mean? More reading. So I need to check on my books from Amazon and such...for more homework.

I'm totally going to attack the, "Mythology in modernism thingy" thingy. I think that'll be fun--alittle pop culture never hurt nobody.

So this weekend is Space Class and British class. w00t!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Me and Microsoft Word...

...are going to fight one day. Grr. Stupid spacing and crap.

Anyway, um finished Bibliography. I'm missing the Edda book, I just realized that. -_-; I guess that's what slipping into the shower will do to ya. I'll add it later.

I'm wondering if I can quite possibly hold off that Capstone meeting tomorrow--the Belletrist and I along with the secondary funding committee need to get down with the get down. This time, I'll do it all *myself* so I know it gets done. People sometimes are lame.

Off to read the rest of the 2nd saga.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cue lightbulb

So today I got alittle closer as to what I want to do in my capstone. Besides having books again thrown at me (If I wasn't used to it by now, that's kinda retarded), I kinda figure I'd like to do something with the modern interpretations of Norse mythology. Now if that'll include just the gods or the trolls and other stuff or what, I don't know. But it seems like an adventure and that's what I'm looking for--after all, I may or may not go back to school after this (loans, GPA explosion, custody of my brother, blah) so it's gotta be something that I want to do so bad I'm going to frame it when I'm done next to my diplomas and the signed pictures of Leonard Nimoy and Dan Marino.

Luckily, I don't have to decide until October-ish but it's nice to be going in the general/right direction or atleast *have* a direction. I'm alittle petrified of falling behind but I can't *not* fail so I'll postpone any mental breakdowns for after May, thank you very much. I'm not like spazzing out about the capstone itself but about where I need to fit it in in the two semesters I have w/ all the other stuff going on...ok, I'm spazzing alittle but not as bad as I thought I would. As the Vikings said, "Every hour wounds, the last one kills." And wounded animals are the worst kind.

I'll probably slap the rest of my annotated biblography on here later on when I acutally get home from conditioning, practice, and the Belletrist meeting. Or tomorrow. Tomorrow looks better.

So what did we learn today?

Modern interpertation of mythology is the bomb diggity.
I need sleep.
I meet Tues. or Thurs. depending on the stars and Dr. Ruane being cranky @ me or everyone else :D
I'm going to need *a lot* more books.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First Assignment: Complete

Two orders of Chinese take out, a marathon of Top Chef, and a six pack of Smirinoff Ice later...

Notes from Gylfaginning are DONE. Wooo! ::hurricane dance::

Now to do my UK homework because I'm not a brown noser, I just need to get *that* done so I can focus on reading for Space Exploration class. =P

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ok, I feel better

Apparently I'm doing ok...erm so far. Atleast according to Dr. Ruane and that's really all that matters hah.

I have an Eddas assignment to do, which I'm wondering where to fit it all in but I'll get it done. It's the bibliography thing I'm worried about because I don't have access to the lot of the books that I have written down. Er, problem? Yup. If anything though, it helped relax me about the up coming part of this alittle. It's just alocating my time right. 30 pages is going to be full of suck though by December.

Off to go read that. Yeah. (So tired)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

In the starting blocks

So I'm back in Melbourne after the loan process from hell. It looked like that all of my capstone work over the summer would be for naught but no, people came through for me and helped by the grace if the gods and a few Marines. So now come Monday I can start focusing.

The only things this senior year that are bothering me is work and The Belletrist--I need to start delegating authority when it comes to the crazy thing and just be the Editor in Chief not everything else. Last semester I *had* no one else but this one I intend to lassoing some freshmen to help. And work? Dr. Matar isn't there anymore so I'm just wondering how the atmosphere of the office is. We can sense changes like that, contrary to being just workstudies :)

Book wise, one of the books Dr. Ruane gave me is one I needed for mythology class, huzza! So I didn't have to buy it but it still leaves the massive mythology book, my art history text book, and my Sputnik book for history and space exploration that I need to get. I think all of these Proffs. have bumped their heads; if it's not 8 million books for one class, its a really expensive one, like 100 buck plus. We're not made of money here!

Mythology and Space Exploration are the two I'm looking the most forward to (no duh) since my capstone and being a former astro major. I think it will also help w/ my capstone to hear someone else talk about this stuff--I've been sitting in my room hearing myself that I think I'm going insane...more insane. Anyway. I know it'll help.

Also tomorrow I'll set up capstone meeting times w/ Dr. Ruane...I guess. I'm not exactly sure what I was *supposed* to be doing this summer and I'm worried that I didn't do enough. o.o Or I did the wrong thing. ::rubs face:: Ughhhhhhhhhh please don't be mad at me ::prays::.

So it's off to Barnes and Nobles to get the books that I don't want to pay for at the bookstore.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Of gods and goddesses

And a few others: Populated list and ongoing for referrence.

Baldr - God of radiance, peace, and rebirth. Consort: Nanna
Borr - Father of Óðinn, Vili and Ve. Consort: Bestla
Bragi - God of poetry. Consort: Iðunn
Búri - The first god and father of Borr.
Dagr - God of the daytime, son of Delling and Nótt.
Delling - God of dawn and father of Dagr by Nótt.
Eir - Goddess of healing.
Forseti - God of justice, peace and truth. Son of Baldr and Nanna.
Freya - Goddess of fertility, wealth, love, beauty, magic, prophecy, war, battle, and death. Consort: Óðr
Freyr - God of prosperity and wealth. Consort: Gerð
Frigg - Goddess of marriage and motherhood. Consort: Óðinn
Fulla - Frigg´s handmaid.
Gefjun - Goddess of fertility and plough.
Hel - Queen of Hel, the Norse underworld.
Heimdallr (Rígr) - One of the Æsir and guardian of Ásgarð, their realm.
Hermóðr - Óðinn's son.
Hlín - Goddess of consolation.
Höðr - God of winter.
Hœnir - The silent god.
Iðunn - Goddess of youth. Consort: Bragi.
Jörð - Goddess of the Earth. Mother of Þórr by Óðinn.
Kvasir - God of inspiration.
Lofn - Goddess of love.
Loki - Trickster and god of mischief, strife and fire. Consort: Sigyn (also called Saeter)
Máni - God of Moon.
Mímir - Óðinn´s uncle.
Nanna - An Ásynja married with Baldr and mother to Forseti.
Nerþus - A goddess mentioned by Tacitus. Her name is connected to that of Njörðr.
Njörðr - God of sea, wind, fish, and wealth.
Nótt - Goddess of night, daughter of Narvi and mother of Auð, Jörð and Dagr by Naglfari, Annar and Delling, respectively.
Óðinn (Wodan) - Lord of the Æsir. God of both wisdom and war. Consort: Frigg.
Sága - An obscure goddess, possibly another name for Frigg.
Sif - Wife of Thor.
Sjöfn - Goddess of love.
Skaði - Goddess of winter Njörðr's wife.
Snotra - Goddess of prudence.
Sol (Sunna) - Goddess of Sun.
Thor (Donar) - God of thunder and battle. Consort: Sif.
Týr (Ziu, Saxnot) - God of war and justice.
Ullr - God of skill, hunt, and duel. Son of Sif.
Váli - God of revenge.
Vár - Goddess of contract.
Vé - One of the three gods of creation. Brother of Óðinn and Vili.
Víðarr- Son of Odin and the giantess Gríðr.
Vili - One of the three gods of creation. Brother of Óðinn and Vé.
Vör - Goddess of wisdom.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

|Books that have to go back soon|

  • "The Fury of the Northmen" John Marsden. ISBN 0-312-130805 1993. St. Martin's Press, New York, NY.
  • "The Daily Life of The Vikings" Kristen Wolf. Greenwod Press. Westport, Conn. ISBN 0-313-32269-4
  • "A History of the Vikings" Gwyn Jones. ISBN 0-19-280134-1. Oxford University Press. 1968. New York, NY
  • "Viking Age Iceland" Jesse Byock. ISBN Unknown. Penguin Goup. London, England. 2001
    "The Viking Achievment" Foote and Wilson. ISBN Unknown. Praeger Publishers Inc. New York, NY. 1970.
  • "The Vikings: Rise and Fall of the Norse Sea Kings" Rudolf Poertner. St. James Press, London, England. 1971.
  • "The Viking World" Jacqueline Simpson. ISBN 0-312-846592. 1980. St. Martin Press, New York, NY.
  • "From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe 900-1200" General Editors: Else Roesdahl and David M. Wilson. Rozzoli International Publication, Inc. New York, NY. ISBN 0-8478-1625-7. 1992
  • "Myth and Religion of hte North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia" E.O.G. Rurville-Petre. Holt, Rineheart and Winston. 1964. Printed in Great Britain.

More to be done in Ohio. Aie. A wee one's work is never done.