Tag Archives: Avengers

Ancient To Modern: Borrowed Gods (3)


He is the god of thunder, lightning, and strength, etc. Odin and Freya are his parents. His attributes make for some impressive imagery. As examples, consider the following paintings.

Thor's Battle Against the Jotnar (1872) by Marten Eskil Winge
Thor’s Battle Against the Jotnar (1872) by Marten Eskil Winge
Thor and the Midgard Serpent (1905) by Emil Doepler
Thor and the Midgard Serpent (1905) by Emil Doepler

Thor is only one of the Norse gods which Marvel Comics has borrowed. He first landed in August of 1962.


As is often the case, the artwork grew more sophisticated over the years. I must confess, however, that I have developed a real appreciation and enjoyment of the artwork of the Silver Age of Comics. It is the style I grew up with.

Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

How can I resist showing this representation by Alex Ross?


The Disney Marvel franchise has produced some interesting refinements for application to the big screen. In so doing, they have produced some truly iconic imagery for their characters, including Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth). Some fans have complained that the movies have changed the way that these characters are drawn and described in the comics. One additional thing that I like about the Thor movies I have seen is how they mix Norse mythology with science fiction.

Picture credit: Disney Marvel
Picture credit: Disney Marvel

One of my favorite visual sequences was of Thor summoning lightning from atop the Chrysler Building in New York during the great battle with alien invaders in the first Avengers movie. That’s all for now. Next time, another week, another god.

The Modern Pantheon: The Vision

the vision

The summer of 2015 was a good one for my little boy heart. Jurassic World and Ant Man actually exceeded my rather low expectations, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. Between these two, Avengers: Age Of Ultron (directed by Joss Whedon) was released, and this movie introduced a character with which I became fascinated: The Vision as played by the excellent Paul Bettany, whom I have enjoyed in other roles. The imagery associated with this superhero was compelling in a different way.  His observant, newborn quality, his frank sincerity, and his emotional detachment give him an unusual aura of resolve and undefined purpose.

The concepts behind who and what The Vision is, as well as the circumstances of his creation, are intriguing as is shown in the clip below:

Born of artificial intelligence programs (Ultron and ultimately Jarvis), synthetic biology, the efforts of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, and the electrical energy of Thor’s hammer acting on an Infinity Stone, he springs into being in an initially ominous way and then reveals himself as benign. Explaining himself to be neither Ultron nor Jarvis, he proclaims simply, “I am.” This and other cryptic quotations of scripture throughout the movie left me guessing at what the writers (Joss Whedon and Stan Lee) were trying to accomplish.

The Vision exudes purity and is more than the sum of his parts. Energized with unearthly, god-like power and incorporating scientific ingenuity as well, he is a hybrid being, a type of material and divine amphibian. It is within his nature to wield Thor’s hammer, something which only the worthy can do, and this puts him in the select company of Thor and Odin. The Mind Stone, a relic from the creation of the universe, is in his forehead, and this makes him a paradox, both new and ancient. Since the movies of the Disney Marvel franchise have already gone beyond the ideas of the original comics, we don’t fully understand who The Vision is and who he will become. I look forward to his further unveiling.