Category Archives: Academic

Does Odin really love Loki of Asgard? Or is there something more going on there?

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This is tough question: is Loki of Asgard really being loved by his adoptive father Odin? Or is Odin loving him in a very particular way? Is Odin following a cultural set of rules that their children might be challenging somehow? We’ll discover it thanks to a masterpiece. In Original Sin: Thor & Loki #5 we can find a page that speaks volumes about the relationship of father and sons, and a clash of generations and cultural values that are changing, specially related to gender.

It is a compelling page, which has lots of visual information. It gives us different points of view, several ways of interpretation, and some clues about the drama that encloses. If we divide the page in three columns and three tiers (rows) we’ll find out that the page conveys far more information than it seems to state. Let’s go first with the tiers, and then we’ll move to the columns. (Note: I have divided the page in equal columns and tiers, someone else would have left the tiers on the edges where characters appear, but I’ve decided to do it in equal parts, maintaining a traditional cut. You can, however, decide to divide this page in unequal tiers, where the first one is composed by Odin’s panel, the second by the scene in the center, and the third by Old Loki’s panel.)

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Stereotyping Loki’s female fans

Found in Pininterest.

Stereotypes can be a good way to portray a fictional character in a comic, but they can also be negative in the real life. While stereotyping is a widely used technique in comics and movies to quickly introduce a character so that the audience can quickly grasp his/her personality, reality is that stereotypes in real life can end up with negative effects on a certain community.

There is a hidden stereotype in the Loki Meme above. According to it, when a woman says that she likes the Avengers, she is actually stating that she likes the villain (that’s Loki, hence, Tom Hiddleston). But this is a negative stereotyped vision of fangirls who like Tom Hiddleston portraying Loki. It assumes that girls cannot like the Avengers as men do. It also assumes that Loki’s fangirls are only so because of the celebrity and not because of other reasons like Marvel movies, or the comics. This stereotype is misleading and clearly misogynistic.

Have you ever encountered this test?

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Loki is a Geek and Thor is a Jock

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Time ago I wrote an article arguing that Loki and Thor represented the Geek and the Jock in the movies. Recently Marvel Comics has confirmed that theory in a very direct and visual way. In Loki Agent of Asgard we can see Loki presented with geek traits:

  • He can hack computers easily. This means that he can code.
  • We can see him playing video games while talking with the All-Mother. We can assume that he was playing games when the All-Mother entered the system to talk to him.
  • His earthly fashion resembles that of a geek. Double sleeves is what we usually see in other geeky TV characters, like Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory. He usually wears double sleeves, a T-shirt, or shirt, what seems to be jeans, socks with stripes or black socks. This is the image of the cool geek.
  • We can spot a shelf plenty of books in his appartment. These can be simple books, computer ones, or even comics. Geeks are highly educated, so it is no surprise to find also books in Loki’s apartment.
  • We can also find a poster of the comics Thor in his apartment. From here we could deduce that he likes to read comics.

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OHMY! Babysitting! Memes and objectivation of celebs.

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(Artwork by Darleine.)

And so we posted the *polemic pic* in our page in Facebook, and it happened: it started to get weird. Internet is such a weird place, really: you find all types of memes. And memes are a way to “consume democratized images”, that is: images of people who have been “objectivized”. In other words, images of people who have been transformed into a thing by the internet public.

The word meme comes from the Greek word “mimema” (μίμημα), which means “that which is imitated,” or just “to imitate”. This word originated from the hands of Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Meme was a word used to describe the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena in many areas.

We can think of a meme as a way that popular culture has to express itself. Memes carry cultural ideas, and are themselves, symbols that can be easily transmitted through the internet. Memes can contain writing, gestures, refer to rituals, or just imitations. Memes are elastic: they mutate, they change according to their public. In fact, memes are copied information, imitations, that we create. When we do so, we transform ourselves in “replicators,” “imitators,” or “replicants” (if you prefer Blade Runner).

In this light, the *polemic pic* is an example of popular culture, a meme. A famous German cosplayer called Fahrlight took a picture that was funny and awesome (very well done cosplay). It went viral on the web. Then, someone photoshoped Loki’s face on the body of the cosplayer. Some other people might even find adding some text to this second variation of the picture a *must*. (And you can go on like this forever.) The cosplayer “imitated” the real Loki, thus transmitting information, a selected information, which had varied (the image itself of a cosplayer, “a meme”). This information was then copied by others. It mutated on the way, and this copy was transmitted as well.

Pictures, once in the stream of the net, are potential targets to become “memes”. It does not only happen with screenshots from films, it also happens with any pic that is catalogued as “funny” by someone. You really don’t need to be famous to become a meme, nor be a cosplayer. What’s more: you don’t even need to be human to become a meme. Cats are purrfect for that. Plus, if an image is copied with variation and it’s selected, then you must have a designer appearing out of nowhere. You can’t stop it! (Susan Blackmore). Ta-da! The Internet Evolution is here! (Darwin applied to the memes!!)

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The psychology of Loki

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We’ll start analyzing a little bit the psychology of Loki. He is a very complex character, and he does look like he is crazy. However, he is more complex than that. What if he got that way just by his environment and just using his survival skills? What if he was too sensitive and the Asgardian environment was the soup to make him that way?

Let’s theorize.

We’ll start with the first Thor movie where we can see Loki as a baby, kid, and youngster. Let’s take a look to the baby Loki.

baby loki, loki

Loki was a tiny baby, for being a giant, and was left to freeze till death. However, Odin found him. The baby reacted to Odin, appealing, not to be thrown away. This “appeal” is inherent to all babies. They cry out in distress (and their cries make you mad, really, so mad that you have to do something to please them). Odin, brought the baby back to Asgard from Jotunheim, and decided to adopt it. So, him and his wife, Frigga, would be Loki’s new parents.

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