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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  802 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What if superhero stories all take place in purgatory?

If someone were to make a world based on this concept, there are so many metaphysical and philosophical concepts they could touch on and they could work off each other in such compelling ways. It'd probably make for one hell of a read




jadedog  ·  800 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This idea is fun and creative.

My original comment was a bit flippant. However, I do feel like it did bring up an issue in combining comic book characters with belief systems of people in real life that has impact on their actions.

Separating the world into good and evil characters doesn't reflect real life and real people. The characters in the comics are personifications of concepts. No person is just good or just evil.

I'm sure no one here is trying to pretend that this reflects real life and that this is just a fun thought experiment. However, having the purgatory concept itself is one of the ways that people over the years have justified villifying people. They can pretend that there are good and bad people.

In order for there to be pure villains, you'd have to assume perfect knowledge, perfect experience, perfect ability and perfect free will. No one has that.

When comics turn into movies, sometimes the villains get more fleshed out and people can relate to them better. That's sometimes when it's less fun to villify them.

Mixing caricatures of good and evil with the real life belief of some people in the concept of purgatory has me a little uneasy that people might actually think that it might be an accurate reflection of real life. It is not.

user-inactivated  ·  795 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't think you have too much to worry about. For one, superhero comics tend to be a little lacking in subtlety and I think that gives them some of their charm. It might even be a trope (though the term is a bit nebulous to me). So when you have a very binary heroes=good and villians=bad style of storytelling, it works based on that alone. Because they're hero stories and because they're simplistic, chances are they won't be taken to seriously by their readers.

    However, having the purgatory concept itself is one of the ways that people over the years have justified villifying people. They can pretend that there are good and bad people.

    In order for there to be pure villains, you'd have to assume perfect knowledge, perfect experience, perfect ability and perfect free will. No one has that.

There are a few different ways to approach this, theologically, but I think in its most simple form, purgatory is a place where souls are awaiting to ascend into heaven and any suffering that takes place (if there is suffering in purgatory) is temporary. Therefore any person who is in purgatory cannot be at their core evil, because if they were they wouldn't be there in the first place. Personally, I kind of like that metaphor because that would mean even the worse of the villians in superhero comics will eventually be spiritually cleansed and will eventually go to heaven. It creates another layer to the story where anyone can redeem themselves, no matter how serious or how numerous their past mistakes.

user-inactivated  ·  799 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Don't worry bro. I haven't forgotten this comment. I just gotta get into the mindset to revisit this conversation. It's too cool to talk about half heartedly.

Devac  ·  802 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Actually… I think that Norse mythology is even more interesting. Obvious caveat for this being me recalling most of it and checking only here and there if I'm truly correct, but at the worst case I'm not far from the mark.

Turns out that in Valhalla, even the gods can die. As in truly die. They don't return. And this is the story of why Loki is such a bastard. The story of Höðr and Baldr, two sons of Odin and Frigg.

Frigg had a vision one day. One where Baldr will die forever. It was ludicrous, as Baldr (god peace, love, forgiveness and justice) was loved and admired by everyone. He was invulnerable to almost everything to boot. Just to be sure, she walked to every man, god, creature or spirit in the realm and asked them if they would ever strike her son. To be even more certain, she put a strong magical protection over almost everything in the land that it will not hurt her son. Surely no-one would willingly strike him down! Everyone she asked denied to ever have such idea. Admired and loved he enjoyed the life among gods and men, feasting, battling and being badass Vikings.

But his brother, Höðr, could not join others in their doings and was left out. He was the blind god, and for this reason he could not participate in most aspects of his expected life. It's important to note that he did not resent others, but felt only sadness and melancholy for not being able to spar, hunt or similar activities.

Until one day! Höðr was sitting somewhere alone, others were sparring or doing whatever gods do. Loki came to him and asked why Höðr is always alone, and to that he replied that due to his blindness it will never be possible for him to join in on any games. Loki offered him to be his eyes and handed him a bow. Some said he guided the arrow itself, others say that Loki simply guided Höðr's bow in a way that it would hit Baldr. It did not matter, for like that he was slain. What matters is the fact that Baldr was invulnerable to nearly anything. And Loki gave Höðr the bow with mistletoe arrow.

What's so important about that? Easy. Remember how Frigg was asking everyone who came to her mind. And she forgot to ask mistletoe. She did not remember about it during the magical protection being put into the effect.

After hearing what has happened to Baldr, Odin and Rindr (a giantess) made a new god Vál;, his sole purpose of killing Höðr. Váli grew to adulthood within a day and murdered his half-brother. It was justice served for killing its embodiment.

Frigg however, was devastated and she wanted Baldr back. She went to the underworld to ask Hel (Loki's daughter no less!) for her son. Hel replied "If you will ask every being alive or dead that exists in the world and they will weep for him, I will return Baldr to you". Loki too guise of another giant, Þökk, and told Frigg that he will not weep for Baldr. Thus, he had to return in Hel's realm until the Ragnarok.

Anyway, gods got pretty pissed off at giants for that one. Baldr would be back, if not for one of them.

This is how the Ragnarok began.