Ancient To Modern: Swift Afoot

As I get ideas, I will contribute posts to this new category that occurred to me recently. I thought it would be fun to examine images based on ancient mythology and relate them to multiple media today. This will NOT be a scholarly analysis. Instead, I will deal with surface impressions and similarities: eye candy and an intellectual break. At least that’s the plan. Since time marches swiftly on, let’s start with Hermes.

Souls on the Banks of Acheron by Adolf Hiremy-Hirschl
Souls on the Banks of Acheron by Adolf Hiremy-Hirschl

He is the Greek messenger of the gods, and he likes the fellowship of human beings. He seems to enjoy interacting with them, as he does in The Iliad by Homer  He also intervenes for Odysseus on behalf of Zeus in The Odyssey, also written by Homer.  The above painting is an interesting composition in which he is relatively easy to identify. Below, you can see a photograph of a Roman marble (sculptor unknown) from the Louvre which shows him in an interesting pose.

Hermes Fastening his Sandal
Hermes Fastening his Sandal

Of course, the Romans actually named him Mercury.

Mercury and a Sleeping Herdsman by Peter Paul Rubens
Mercury and a Sleeping Herdsman by Peter Paul Rubens

Based on the original, Golden Age appearance of this next character, it is obvious that he was inspired by traditional depictions of Mercury. As in the case of many comic book heroes, a “scientific” rather than a mythological explanation is given for how he obtained his powers. This combination of science fiction and mythology is one of the features that make good comics so much fun to read. Back to the immediate subject at hand, The Flash is a fixture from my childhood, only not in this particular form.

flash1

flash2

 It is the Silver Age Flash with whom I grew up. By then he was wearing a more streamlined and form-fitting speed suit which was strangely prescient.

flash4

For a relatively brief time, life imitated art as elite sprinters in track and field wore body suits made of Lycra.

flash

The Flash has been updated a little in more recent portrayals. You can see in this and other drawings that he is more mesomorphic and that the artists have played around a little with the uniform. As with most DC Comics updates, this character is also angrier. Of course, there have been a number of successors to the original character in the extended story arc.
flash7
I’m not making any major revelation by mentioning that The Flash has his own television show on the CW network.

flash6

flash5

My brother, Doug Jones, did a guest appearance as the villainous Deathbolt on one episode. He also played the same role in Arrow, also on the CW.

arrowdougjonesdeathbolt

Jake_Simmons_(Arrow)_001

I really like this homage by Alex Ross to the Golden Age appearance of The Flash.

flash3

But I like pretty much anything by Alex Ross. He really trips my imagination. At any rate I saved this image for last. More next week.

p. s. I almost forgot. Not to be outdone, Marvel Comics also has a superhero with similar attributes. Quicksilver was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for the X-Men series.

Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics
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12 thoughts on “Ancient To Modern: Swift Afoot”

    1. Yes. I am the oldest of four Jones boys. Doug is the youngest. I just returned home from a family vacation in Maine, but he could not be with us. He is currently filming another movie with Guillermo del Torro. If you look at the Family Mythology category on my site

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes. I am the oldest of four Jones boys. Doug is the youngest. I just returned home from a family vacation in Maine, but he could not be with us. He is currently filming another movie with Guillermo del Torro. If you look at the Family Mythology category on my site (black strip on the left), you can read more about him and follow some other links as well. Take care.

      Like

  1. One tiny to pick: Quicksilver was a villain in X-men, part of Magneto’s original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It was a big deal when he and his sister, the Scarlet Witch, switched sides and joined the Avengers.

    Unknown to all three of them, Wanda and Pietro in fact were Magneto’s children. So was Lorna Dana, a.k.a. Polaris. There’s been little on-page interaction between Lorna, Wanda and Pietro, but all of them have had some Freudian twists and turns with dear ol’ Dad.

    Liked by 1 person

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