Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 12, originally released August 28th, 2013.
Ethan: Religion is a funny thing. The effort and complexity inherent to trying to establish a useful way of thinking about where stuff comes from and how we should keep it going forward is difficult to wrap your head around. We humans are bundles of passion and logic, of guilt and pride, of doubt and certainty. Whether you think that’s thanks to some awkward midpoint of evolution, or intrinsic tension between physical and spiritual existence, it’s a heckuva weight to walk around with, and religions (or opposition to them — a kind of religion in itself) is seemingly one of the only ways we’ve got that get our species through each day and each millenium. Rather than a denial of the tension between our daily life and the unthinkable bigness of space and time, religions find ways to incorporate the vast distances that are out there into our miniscule doings. In the issues of Thor, God of Thunder leading up to #12, we’ve mostly focused on the Big, Godly Conflict; this issue takes its time to let us steep in the Small, Human Cares and to explore how those two scales are linked.
Today, Shelby and (guest writer) Christopher are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 11, originally released August 14th, 2013.
Shelby: Despite what Neverending Story would have you believe, all stories do, in fact come to some sort of conclusion. Comic book conclusions tend to be more vague than most, since the end of one arc merely marks the beginning of the next. Conclusions are especially fluid when the story features a bomb made of time, with the ability to rip through all of time, and your heroes are three versions of one character at different points in his life. This is where Jason Aaron leaves us with his conclusion to the Godbomb arc: if Young Thor will grow to be Thor the Avenger who will eventually become King Thor, is this story every really over?
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) The Freakin’ Animal Man are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 10, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Patrick: Oh, I got this one: there are three Thors. They represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Together, they are the christian God, separate, but still one, and they’re in danger of being wiped out by someone who hates God(s). No, wait, maybe it’s a joke: “three Thors walk into a bar. They all order mead.” No, wait – it’s a Shakespearean tragedy, and Gorr is like Othello, driven to murdering those he cares about because he’s too wrapped up in a single thought. Shit, there’s something archetypal about this narrative, but it’s hard to nail down what that is, exactly.
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 9, originally released June 12th, 2013.
Shelby: Religion, mythology, and fantasy: all three have slightly different connotations. Religion refers to a set of beliefs about where we came from and where we’ll end up, generally involving some sort of god(s) and a moral code. My rural Wisconsin, Lutheran upbringing means I tend to default to the Christian God, Three in One, etc., etc. Mythology is more folkloric, a collection stories about heroes and gods: the stories that fuel all religions, but a term often ascribed to the religion of the other. As in, “my beliefs are religion, yours are merely myths.” Fantasy is the imagination that fuels the myths, the crazy daydream that dreamed up the stories in the first place. Personally, I believe it’s the myth, the story, that ties these three together: the imagination creates the story, and the story fosters belief. No where is the connections between religion, mythology, and fantasy more apparent than in Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 8, originally released May 8th, 2013.
Patrick: I’ve got a story I like to tell about the end of my tequilla renaissance. Shelby and Taylor were there, they can tell you that I made some bad decisions that evening where booze was concerned. I’ll spare you all the theatricality of it, but highlights include: leading my friends in an incoherent late-night jam of Mario Bros. music in our apartment building; crying naked in the bathroom; and vomiting in the bed. What can I say – I’m a classy guy. If only I’d been accompanied by two more-experienced versions of myself-from-the-future, maybe I could have made less impulsive decisions that night. Maybe. Let’s see how that same line of thinking applies to Thor. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Lorenzo are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 7, originally released April 10th, 2013.
Patrick: We like our superheroes powerful. Even someone like Batman, who we like to think of as human — and therefore vulnerable — but even Bruce Wayne has a secret power: he always wins. So, like, what can any writer possibly throw at these characters to actually challenge them? End of the world? Piece of cake! Thor: God of Thunder has constructed a villain whose sole purpose is to Kill All The Gods. Even that’s not enough, so the God Butcher also has the ability to travel indiscriminately throughout time, simultaneously purposing resources from the past and attacking heroes while they were vulnerable. Fortunately, the deck is also stacked in the opposite direction as Thor teams up with himself for some hilariously grandiose heroics.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Thor: God of Thunder 6, originally released March 13th, 2013.
Drew: As a child, it seemed impossibly unfair to me that we’re more or less born into our religious beliefs — if there was one right way, how could so many people be consigned to hell simply by luck of birth? As a precocious skeptic, this just confirmed that religion was nothing more than an arbitrary (but comforting) tradition, practiced differently by everyone — like the way your family prepares stuffing on Thanksgiving, or the particular Monopoly house rules you grew up with. Of course, the wrinkle in that attitude comes when somebody does reject their parents’ religious beliefs (or stuffing recipes, house rules, political practices, etc), actively replacing them with something they deem superior. That wrinkle gets even wrinklier when that generation has their own kids — do the parents teach their beliefs as gospel, or foster the sense of skepticism that led to them changing their beliefs in the first place? It’s a daunting, complex subject, but it’s exactly where Jason Aaron sets his sights as he explores Gorr’s origin in Thor 6. Continue reading →