Many people idolize actors, athletes, and musicians, or at least come closer to idol worship than God would probably like. But what if celebrities actually claimed to be gods? Not even big-G God, or the Messiah. I’m talking about Dionysus, Minerva, Persephone, Woden (Thor’s dad), the Norns of Destiny (also from Norse myths), and even Lucifer.
It’s called THE WICKED + THE DIVINE. It’s a comic book series. And it’s on my list of “stories based on popular mythology that are possibly blasphemous but Noah likes them.”
The premise is that a pantheon of deities from various mythologies come down to Earth once a century and achieve superstar status. And yes, it’s clear to many mortals as well as the reader that these are actual deities with god-like power in teenage host bodies. It’s unclear what they actually do to earn their fame (like the Kardashians), but they say they’re sharing “inspiration” with the mere mortals to keep them civilized.
Crowds gather to worship them in a format we would compare to a rock concert. The fans promptly pass out from overwhelming emotion – usually positive but sometimes depression or fear. Sometimes they have orgies.
You see, rather than embodying the virtues or heroic ideals of most myths, this pantheon embodies the vices of the time and place where they take root, like sex. As Woden says, “I’m a god, not a saint.” Woden is a pervert, by the way. Baal the storm god and Inanna the star god are gay. Dionysus might be gay, too, but his main focus is hardcore partying. The Norn of Destiny is transgender. Lucifer’s “host body” is a girl, so she goes by Luci. And there’s enough sexual content, violence, foul language, and talk of gods other than Yahweh to make a discerning Christian pause.
But as I said, none of these deities are claiming to be big-G God or the Messiah, so there’s no real blasphemy or sacrilege, and it’s clearly not set in our “real world” anyway. All the idolatry is one big thought-provoking metaphor for how people tend to worship celebrities. From a geek perspective, the art is enjoyable and the story is exciting. Just imagine these guys are superheroes and supervillains. The idolatry metaphors still work.
Verdict: PG-13, but as a nerd, I like it. As a Christian, it’s weird, but I don’t find it compromising.