In his essay for the SANE Journal, titled “This is Not Your Forefather’s Thor: Using Comics to Make Mythology Meaningful”, Nick Kremer wrestles with big questions. Why do we read mythology? Are the myths of archaic societies relevant to the students of today? How can we help students engage in these type of stories?
To answer the latter question, Kremer turned to comics. Super hero comics in particular are analogous to mythology. Kremer writes:
“…Superman, or Spider-Man, or any of the other colorful cast of characters in American comic book history have transcended recorded literature: they are not owned by any one author, their stories not confined to any one publication. They are constantly re-told and re-imagined, year after year, generation after generation, a living manifestation of the culture that gives them value. They have become genuine mythology, once again trumping the confines of a skeptical modernity that suggests the impossibility of that achievement in such an era.”
Kremer also found that comics adaptations of myths, including our own Graphic Myths and Legends, were valuable learning tools.
“Jeff Limke and Graphic Universe offer a large and diverse line of myths-in-comics, and there are many critically-acclaimed stand-alone adaptations such as Garreth Hind’s Beowulf, George O’Connor’s Zeus: King of the Gods, or Erik Evensen’s Gods of Asgard. Students who used these adaptations seemed to have an easier time understanding the message of the myth, because they were afforded the additional language of visual media as a means to translate.”
Read Kremer’s complete essay to learn how he is helping young readers to appreciate old stories.