A superhero is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also : an exceptionally skillful or successful person. With this definition it is easy to see the connection of superheroes to gods of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. For this blog I will be looking into similarities between the two groups with this article on how comic book superheroes are considered the gods of modern day mythology by The Guardian as the basis for my analysis. This topic came to mind after I recently went to see Doctor Strange in theaters and topics were discussed such as multiple dimensions and otherworldly beings. This got me thinking: what other connections are there in the Marvel Universe, and comics in general, to mythology?
The first character that comes to mind is Thor, the son of Odin the king of the Norse gods. This is a direct connection to Norse mythology that is constantly mentioned in both the comic book and cinematic Marvel universe. The family lineage is the same along with him wielding a hammer such as in Norse mythology. While this is an obvious example of comics borrowing from mythology other connections can be more as well
Other popular characters such as Superman have connections that may not be as obvious. As I mentioned earlier, a superhero is a human extraordinary or superhuman powers. This is very similar to the gods of mythology that while immortal and not human they too had extraordinary or superhuman powers. Some of Superman’s abilities include: superhuman strength, speed, hearing, and the ability to fly. Zeus held domain over the heavens, the earth, and the sky making an ability such as flight probable.
Characters such as Superman and Wolverine also had a sense of immortality to them. While they both have weaknesses, such as Kryptonite and the Muramasa blade, they are practically invulnerable such as the gods of mythology who were immortal.
While I have discussed similarities between the content of both comic book superheroes and gods of mythology it is imperative to also discuss what they represent to the public. Different forms of mythology have served as religious guides to countless civilizations over the years and also show the ordinary what it is like to be extraordinary. Superheroes in the forms of comics started off inspiring those who read them to be greater than themselves while also featuring problems that even the everyday citizen encounters. Both are used to show that beings even greater than yourself may encounter hardship while also being a form of inspiration for the reader.