In a chat where we were discussing our comics, Pit-Face told me that if Bones from Putrid Meat is Odysseus, then Blitzov from Epic of Blitzov is Gilgamesh. And that very solid analogy of the two characters’ function in her stories, got me thinking about how myth of all sorts, from age old mythology to urban legends can be reincarnated in a modern tale.
Usually, it also is a very audience-gripping tale that keeps the interest and taps into the age old questions, fears and hopes of humanity as a whole. It isn’t an accident that most mythologies across the ancient world have recurring common themes.
I once read a quote that every plot has been already told- what is different in every incarnation is the spin each creator puts to it. In previous newsposts about originality I’ve stood by that statement, and I suppose this discussion does too, on a tangent.
So from TV and Cinema to Webcomics, incarnations of myth seem to consistently have an extra appeal to audiences: Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Halloween, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Dr. Strange, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, the comic Dawn, Lady Death, Storm, The Tarot Café, DD’s Purgatory Tower, Putrid Meat and the Epic of Blitzov, and countless more that have managed to connect the mystical myth and legend to some manner of modernity (or the future) have an easier time establishing traction with their target audiences.
So what is it that makes it so, and how do we adapt legend to the pedestrian reality we experience?
In my opinion, what makes myth-in-reality so alluring is first off the charm of the extraordinary wrapped in the ordinary (even Matrix tapped on that)- the capacity to feel that our routine is a thin veil between us and the magnificent, whatever that may be.
It is also this contrast that ‘sells’ the story. Legendary entities hailing from ancient times need to adapt to our reality (like in Thor) or, in the more sophisticated versions, legend occurs and sprouts from that very reality (like in the movie Chronicle). Such stories draw a path for the audience on how to turn the mundane into the extraordinary, and how to feel the imprint of greatness in aspects of their own reality and their own interactions.
On the other hand, another allure is that myth’s nature is to tackle the big questions of humanity’s existence- from mortality and death and the afterlife to what it means to be human, the clash between Good and Evil, friendship and loyalty, the introduction of the new and the groundbreaking in tradition, and so on. Issues that humans always have and probably always will grapple with. A myth that is adapted to modern times and modern concepts, makes this conundrum real and visceral, and as a result, very engaging and interesting.
Do you feel the same way about stories that are based on myth (that you know of)?
I’m saying “that you know of” because often, the adaptation is such that you don’t immediately recognize the myth in it. That’s for next time, though.
Tantz_Aerine at 5:03AM, Feb. 11, 2017
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