Greetings everyone!. Today I have a guest post from by my friend
First off, am not card-carrying Heathen or Asatru, which am told by very PO'ed people means I have no opinion and should STFU before someone loads me into a large, conveniently handy piece of random siege equipment.
That said, I offer a thought anyway that some of same PO'ed people have not included in various ranty-type things about Idris Elba being cast as Heimdall in the upcoming Marvel Comics movie Thor:
It's a MARVEL COMICS movie. Based on the Marvel universe. Where the Norse gods (or any other characters influenced by classic literature) have never adhered to what historical accuracy is possible in the real world, to the point of having been revealed as an alien race, and not gods at all.
Stan Lee was a guest at HeroesCon back in the 80's when all the Satanic Panic crap was in full swing. A question got asked about whether Marvel was "encouraging devil worship" by having characters like Dr. Strange, etc. Stan's answer (paraphrased by 20+ years of time lapse) was no, because the Marvel universe is a fantasy universe, and the books are about telling stories, not about religion.
He said that when he started out, he looked at DC comics' "Metropolis" and "Gotham City", and one thing he wanted for Marvel was to be more like the world outside his readers' doors. Nobody lived in Metropolis, but anyone who lived in New York could look out the window and imagine seeing Spiderman swinging by.
Does that mean they drew NYC accurately in the background? No, but they didn't need to because it's still a fictional New York. As far as Marvel is concerned, all it's characters are fictional beings, and I think that's actually not only smart but prudent. If they tried to claim all the figures from myth, folklore, legend, and classic literature they borrow were 100% authentic, then they'd have the arguments between this or that interpretation by various faith communities. By not representing anyone accurately, they aren't trying to be a source of education, religious or totherwise. They're trying to tell stories.
Many of the people I see getting cheesed off about this are my age; I grew up with Marvel comics. If all the other inaccuracies over the decades haven't been enough to make them raise this much dust, this one shouldn't either. I said as much to one, and the response was "I've never read the books and didn't know about them till now". If the reasoning goes both ways, I may not have a right to an opinion about Heathen gods, but I have more rights than that goober to have an opinion on comics. So sayeth my mint condition, bought on the original release date, X-Men issue #137.