Subculture: Mythology In Pop Culture
Mythology can be found just about anywhere in pop culture. Music, books, comics, films, games, and TV mythology is ever present.
Whether Greek, Norse, or even Egyptian, mythology can be found in almost every media imaginable.
Marvel’s tales of Thor and Loki and Moon Knight, DC’s tales of Wonder Woman. These examples reach back to mythology to tell new stories.
Greek mythology is very present in the works of Shakespeare, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was inspired by Prometheus, and The Picture of Dorian Gray was inspired by Narcissus. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods features a cast of mythological figures from all over the world.
The reimaginings have continued with feminist retellings of Greek myths.
"Lore Olympus" took Webtoon by storm has physical copies being published and is currently in the works for an adaptation on Netflix.
Books like The Song of Achilles, Ariadne, Circe, and more have led to their own displays being set up at independent books stores as well as in stores like Barnes and Noble.
The amount of Greek myth reimaginings has readers and watchers looking for myths from other cultures.
From an article by the Evening Standard, Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler offers a new perspective on the Scottish queen who inspired Shakespeare’s anti-heroine. Our Hideous Progeny by CE McGill follows the adventures of Victor Frankenstein’s niece, and Bliss and Blunder by Victoria Gosling reworks Arthurian legend.
With that look at mythology in literature, let's look at mythology in music.
Mythology is also present in music. Beyonce’s Lemonade, Gioli and Assia’s "Eurydice", and the Deftone's "Minerva" all draw inspiration from mythology.
In mythology, Minerva, the Roman name for Athena, is the goddess of handicrafts, the arts, and later war.
Eurydice is the love of Orpheus and when Eurydice dies, Orpheus uses his music to bewitch the Gods of the Underworld to convince them to bring her back to life. They agreed on the condition that on the way back to Earth, Orpheus doesn’t look back to see if Eurydice is following. Towards the end of the journey from the Underworld, Orpheus looks back to see Eurydice and she sinks back into the Underworld.
According to a ScreenRant article about mythology in popular culture, the author proposes that Beyonce’s Lemonade album contains several allusions to Yoruba mythology. One of the orishas that look to be depicted in Beyonce’s video for “Hold Up” is Osun the goddess of love, intimacy, beauty, wealth, femineity, fertility, and diplomacy.
Now that we’ve covered mythology in music, let's look at mythology in comics and graphic novels.
Mythology in comics includes Norse mythology being represented by "Thor" and "Loki", Greek mythology represented by "Wonder Woman" and the Amazons, and Egyptian mythology represented by "Moon Knight". Figures from mythology are also represented in Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series “The Sandman”.
In TV and film outside of the adaptations of comics and graphic novels, mythology can be seen in Disney’s Aladdin and his adventures with a djinn voiced by Robin Williams.
Speaking of Disney, Mulan, the fourth or fifth-century Chinese folktale was also adapted with Ming Na Wen voicing Mulan and making a brief appearance in the live-action remake.
And we can’t leave Disney behind without mentioning Hercules. The animated tale followed the trials and tribulations of the Greek demi-god.
Speaking of Hercules, we can’t forget the 90s classics Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess.
The Cohen Brother’s O’Brother Where Art Thou is a reimagining of The Odyssey in depression-era Mississippi.
Roman mythology has been adapted into a film in The First King.
The story of Rome’s founder Romulus and Remus, who after being abandoned to die by the Tiber River they were found and taken care of by a she-wolf.
Mythology is no less represented in video games.
Assassin's Creed, God of War, and Hades all use mythology as a part of their games.
There you have it, a look at mythology in pop culture. I wasn’t able to include everything, but this is a pretty good representation of just how much mythology is interwoven throughout pop culture.