Saturday, April 01, 2006

Marvel 1602

Neil Gaiman often turns to myth as a source of inspiration for his writing, and "Marvel 1602" is no exception. There is something peculiar about the United States and its comic book heroes. It seems unlikely, for example, that a character named Captain Belgium could have found a publisher in Europe. Yet in America, costumed heroes have worked their way into our national story.

Gaiman capitalizes on this, and treats it as a peculiar mythology. Taking characters from the pages of Marvel comics, Gaiman weaves together an American national creation myth that is thought-provoking and often touching. Popular characters such as Captain America, Daredevil and Dr. Strange are portrayed in the year 1602, when the New World was still mysterious and harbored as much threat as hope to those in Europe. It’s a fun story, and interesting to see how Gaiman interprets each character’s particular avatar.


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