Comics & TV Grab Bag

I will probably do another post in a few days or even later on tonight, my work schedule this week is weird. But right now, just a few smaller fun/silly things on my mind that don’t currently warrant full posts on their own.

Gods and Heroes
I’m taking a great course through this site: “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture.” It’s only the first week and I just started today, but so far it’s going great. It neatly coincides with this observation I had recently that while Marvel superheroes tend to form teams and each individual within the team has their own identity to match powers/personality, DC superheroes tend to be individuals under a single symbol to match their region/role/whatever. There are definitely exceptions, but it seems to me that DC heroes tend to be more iconic and represent an inspiring idea, whereas Marvel heroes tend to be more about ordinary people dealing with power. (Please note that is based on my very limited experience with DC, as I mentioned last time.) Not that DC doesn’t also deal with individuals and relationships, but it seems that the superhero identity is not so much based on their personality, rather that’s the symbol/spirit of the place they live or the job they do, and what changes is the way an individual relates to that symbol.

The course made a connection I hadn’t before, raising the idea that Flash is Hermes/Mercury and many of the superheroes we know are inspired by particular gods. I’d seen comics referred to as modern myths and therefore superheroes as modern gods before, but hadn’t thought of them being directly related to specific deities from ancient cultures. (At least not in most cases. I have kind of a thing about collecting Pandora retellings and saw Wonder Woman as one of those, but that’s about as far as I got.) One of the few things I enjoy as much as comics is mythology, so now I’ve been having fun trying to decide which gods parallel which superheroes. This is what I have so far.

Gotham represents the Underworld, and therefore:
Batman: Hades. Rich guy, surrounded by death, spends a lot of time underground.
Batgirl (Barbara Gordon’s version at least, not so familiar with the others): Persephone, especially more recently. Being shot and paralyzed could represent being taken to the Underworld, becoming Oracle represents finding her way back out, and now as Batgirl again she has to keep revisiting that time so she can come to terms with it and then come back into the light.
Batwoman: Nyx? I’m thinking Nyx. Mostly because I couldn’t find anyone who fit better, but I think it works for her. Also interesting that Nyx (Night) and Hemera (Day) are sometimes considered sisters (though sometimes Day is Nyx’s daughter), and Batwoman has a twin sister who dresses all in white.
Black Canary: Hekate (mostly because of her importance to Barbara in Birds of Prey, but I really need to know more about this character)

Not quite sure why (although connection to the sun might have something to do with it), but my husband and I both said
Superman: Apollo. Sun, connection to cities, concerned with justice, bright and inspiring.
Supergirl: Artemis. (I think. It’s another character I don’t know well.) Mostly because Artemis and Apollo go together, but when doing a little reading about Supergirl I found something really cool that makes me want to find some older comics of her ASAP. Artemis is connected with animals. Supergirl had a magical cat and a magical horse! A flying, telepathic horse called Comet. WHY WAS I NOT READING THIS AS A CHILD? WHY WAS EVERYONE NOT READING THIS AS A CHILD!?

Wonder Woman: Pandora but also sort of Ariadne? Her overall background story definitely feels like a Pandora retelling, but the lasso of truth reminds me of Ariadne’s thread that let Theseus escape the labyrinth…and the thread is sometimes a crown/tiara that lights the way instead. Also, the role Ariadne takes in ending the years of oppression represented by the labyrinth and yearly human sacrifice could easily be seen as paralleled in Wonder Woman’s decision to leave her island and fight patriarchy.

I’ve only done DC heroes so far. Along with my theory mentioned above, they just seem better suited to this sort of comparison. But I’m interested to see if anyone else has any thoughts on this.

Drama Drama Drama
In the past week I’ve watched the first few episodes of Girl Meets World’s new season and the whole season of Grace and Frankie. Spoilers ahead. They’re both great, I enjoyed them a lot. But I have this one little gripe with both of them. WHY THE DRAMA!? I mean, I know why. I get the need to keep things just a little unstable so things can keep happening and you never reach a point where there’s no more story to tell and therefore no more money to be made. But I just do not like it. My favorite stories are low-key slice-of-life things that explore relationships, so I like to see those relationships build and would rather keep watching a “boring” story than have needless drama keep screwing up good things.

Grace and Frankie was doing great right up to the last episode. I love the two main characters and the way they keep moving forward. There hasn’t been a lot of the “one step forward, two steps back” with them that I see a lot of stories take these days (ugghhhh, Glee, why?), so it’s been nice just to see them get closer and better. Their exes…meh. No chemistry until almost the end of the season, in my opinion, so I found them pretty boring and could have used less of that, but they’re fine. I’ve seen some criticism that the kids are boring and shouldn’t be there much, but I disagree. I like the kids, and I like the setup for future plotlines featuring them. I think the show had lots of room to grow and explore there so they didn’t need to add any drama to the main plots.

But they did it! Of course there has to be some sort of “wait what do I really want” random hookup right before the wedding that makes no sense at all! What kind of people just get married to the person they’ve been with for 20 years? It was very reminiscent of the worst parts of Friends. (Marta Kauffman is a creator for both.) I’m being a little unkind. It does make some amount of sense, leaving one relationship for another is hard and there are going to be feelings there. It just felt to me more like it was there for the drama than as a natural move for the characters, especially with the cliffhanger ending. I’m probably weird here. I know cliffhangers are supposed to draw people in and make them really want to see the next season, and it must work because writers keep doing it. But they mostly just annoy me and make me not care at all what happens next because it doesn’t feel real anymore, it’s too contrived.

Girl Meets World also seems to be trying to shake things up with its new season. There’s a new character, Zay, who reveals goody-two-shoes Lucas was maybe not such a good guy at his old school, where he got expelled. OH NOES. Zay is 100% only here for drama, he doesn’t even show up in the next episode and when he is on screen again he just makes goofy comments. Not really sure what they’re going for there, it seems to just be making things messy. Like they needed him here to change the show a bit (maybe in response to criticism from season one?) but then didn’t really know what to do with him once that was over. I’d like to see him more included with the primary group and have a personality beyond class clown/troublemaker. We’ve already got Maya for that.

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