Jeff's recent "Venus" conversation got me to thinking about various theories regarding the nature of "gods" in the Marvel Universe that I've heard over the years. I have my own thoughts about which one I like, and I'm curious to  see what other people think, and to see what others I may have missed.

  1. The first one is that they're gods,they're what they claim to be, they're supernatural beings, and all the myths about them are true. The problem that I have with this is that numerous "pantheons" exist in the Marvel Universe. all of which have divine "backstories" that would be difficult to reconcile. An issue that I suspect that Marvel will never address is how the Abrahamic God stole the worshippers from some "pantheons," like the Aesir and the Olympians, but not others, like the Hindu and Japanese gods.
  2. They're aliens. Super-powered extraterrestrials who came to Earth in prehistory and influenced the development of primitive humans, like in the old Star Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?"  I'm not wild about this one, myself, I guess, maybe for ... aesthetic reasons, if that's the right word.
  3. They were called into existence by the  power of human belief in them. That is, humans believed so strongly in their gods that they somehow called them into existence. I'm not wild about this one, either, although  it  might work better for the Quality/DC version of Uncle Sam.
  4. They are ancient, superhuman (but not "divine" as such)  beings who existed in several groups, each of which selected a group of primitive humans to aid in  their (the humans', I mean) development.   The various creation myths may be ways that these gods explained themselves to the humans or, alternatively, they may be stories that the humans invented to explain their gods. Of course, these gods may be so old that they no longer have clear memories of their own origins.  On the other hand, it may be that the elder gods — guys like Odin and Zeus — know more about their origins than the younger gods — guys like Thor and Hercules — do.  Another idea I like (and I think that this is kind of like elements  of what Jeff described) is that the slightly-flattened sphere that most of us (except  for the few that have gone into space) spend our lives d*cking  around on and call "the Earth" (or "da Oith," if you're from Cartoon Brooklyn), is simply the part of the "The World" that we 3D men (or women*)  can perceive, and that the World extends into other dimensions, and that it is in these extradimensional "extensions" that one could  find such "mythic" realms as Asgard, Olympus, Heliopolis, Oz, Wonderland, Toontown, Bay Shore, Islip, Great River, Oakdale, Sayville, Patchogue, Bellport, Mastic-Shirley and Speonk. Change at Jamaica for trains to Oyster Bay, Hempstead, Port Jefferson and Greenport. This is the notion that I'm leaning towards currently.

Anyway, what do you folks think?

* "Why are you always going on about women, Stan?"

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  • I'm closer to #4 than the others.

  • Yes, I'm inclined to lean toward #4 as well. I have always thought Asgard (and New Genesis/Apokolips) to exist in another dimension, but I do like the idea that "The World" as we know it exists simultaneously in multiple dimensions (the "Nine Worlds") and that humans are able to perceive only a small part of it.

    Thor Annual #10 supports option #3: "Eons passed, and Earth's highest physical life form--Man--came into being. Touched with the spirit of  divinity itself, Man beheld the wonders of the sjy with awe and mystery. His nascent consciousness tapped the Godstuff bequeathed to the world by Atum and behold, new Gods were born in Man's image. And thus came to be all the Gods of Earthly legend--great pantheons of diverse divinity, given substance by the Demiurge, given form by the mind of Man."

    Jack Kirby favored option #2, I think, perhaps not for Thor and the Asgardians, but for the Kree and the Celestials (a.k.a. "Space Gods") certainly. Initially, the Inhumans were revealed to have been created by the Kree. Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and others took that idea and ran with it, developing them as a race perhaps only a few hundred years more advanced than our own. Later, after Kirby left Marvel and returned, he developed the same concept more along the lines he had originally intended in The Eternals

    • I have always thought Asgard (and New Genesis/Apokolips) to exist in another dimension, but I do like the idea that "The World" as we know it exists simultaneously in multiple dimensions (the "Nine Worlds") and that humans are able to perceive only a small part of it.

      I was thinking about this last night. All I had to do was replace "another dimension" with "another plane of existance" and BANG! I was there. The "Sea of Space" surrounding Asgard (often shown in the back ground of Mount Olympus or the rock of Eternity as well) is merely represents the interface between dimensions. Once someone fully passes through, it dissappears from sight. All of the Pantheons would presumably have a gateway somewhere in the geographical area of Earth where each is worshipped. The difference between Mt. Olympus, for example, and the Rainbow Bridge is that Mt. Olympus is a fixed point, whereas Bifrost is "moveable," allowing for entry/exit in such diverse locations as Norway and New York City. I assume the Rainbow Bridge may not be accessable on the other side of the globle, such as Australia, for example (then again, it might). The Rock of Eternity, like Asgard, seems to be free-floating in the Sea of Space, but "untethered" a bridge or other means of access, so Billy Batson would be able to access the power of Shazam from anywhere on Earth. 

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