Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

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Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by ChastMastr » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:31 pm

This may be an odd question, but it occurred to me that this would be the best place for such questions...

I know the Thor entry has a list of when various Asgardian stories with him take place in position with other stories involving him... but has it ever been established when, in relation to Earth and the rest of the MU, those stories from the past take place? For example, would the old Tales of Asgard be taking place during the time the Vikings were worshipping the Norse gods, say around 900 AD, or would it be centuries before, or possibly in some cases long after (maybe the 1500s or even the 20th century, just before Odin made Thor into Donald Blake), or even somehow before the dawn of humanity in some primordial, mythic age, or... ? And how do multiple Ragnaroks fit into all of this?

Help?

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Enda80 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:41 pm

"I know the Thor entry has a list of when various Asgardian stories with him take place in position with other stories involving him... but has it ever been established when, in relation to Earth and the rest of the MU, those stories from the past take place? For example, would the old Tales of Asgard be taking place during the time the Vikings were worshipping the Norse gods, say around 900 AD, or would it be centuries before, or possibly in some cases long after (maybe the 1500s or even the 20th century, just before Odin made Thor into Donald Blake), or even somehow before the dawn of humanity in some primordial, mythic age, or... ? And how do multiple Ragnaroks fit into all of this?"

Interesting question. Well, the earliest references to Thor, Baldur, Woden, etc. occur in the Conan stories, which the Handbook reaffirm as part of Earth-616's history. Also, the Council of Sky-Fathers entry acknowledges that these references were to previous incarnations of the Asgardians. The people of Nordheim, Cimmeria's neighbors to the north, worshipped and invoked these deities, and they also worshipped Ymir and his supposed first-born, his daugther Atali. SSOC#141 reveals legends of Ymir defeating vampiric entities. Conan lived at 10,000 BCE. An issue of Conan the Adventurer noted that when the Atlanteans lived the descendants of the Nordheimr "lived far away", and an article in Savage Sword of Conan speculates that the people of Thule of Kull's time were the ancestors of the Nordheimr. Conan lived around 10,000 BCE.

The history of the Nordheimr continued as Ulysses Bloodstone and the Maha Yogi were Nordheimr from around 8,000 BCE. Later, Nordheimr and Cimmerians immigrated to the area around the Vilayet Sea, later the Caspian Sea, to found the Aryan civilization. The story in Supernatural Thrillers#1 suggests that Ymir worship continued into the post-Conan but pre-Aryan era since the protagonist Niord Worm's Bane invokes Ymir several times. However, the letters page to Supernatural Thrillers#3 or #5 as I recall suggests that Niord Worm's Bane may even have taken place before the time of Kull. The worship of the Asgardians by human beings began at some point after 18,500 BCE. (The first vampire, Varnae, immune to post-Thurian era gods, once stated that he saw the Asgardians emergence "gnaw its way up upon the bones of the old gods' civilization" in MCP I#63.) The cosmic entity the Unbeing while impersonating the other cosmic entity Origin claimed that Origin had directed the Asgardians to seek out Earth in Quasar#18 or so.

The periodic cycle of Ragnaroks continued. One such cycle happened around 7 BCE to a version of Asgard with a red-haired Thor per Thor I#293. Their counterpart of Odin was also known as Wode, and was worshipped by the Franks in the area that later became Bavaria per Doctor Strange III#37. The Franks held sacrificial jousts in which those warriors slain would gain the honor of joining Wode on the Wild Hunt in the sky. This Asgard went down in flames; evidently, it served as part of the phenomenon later called the Star of Bethlehem which attended the birth of the Christian/Muslim prophet Jesus of Nazareth. Vidar, Balder, Hoenir, Vali, Villi, Ve, Modi and Magni (Thor's sons), and a few other gods of this iteration of Asgard who survived this Ragnarok emerged to find the spear of the prior Odin. Grasping it, they were transformed/merged into a new Odin, who created a new Asgard. Accounts differ as to whether the new Asgardians actually had childhoods (Thor: Son of Asgard) or Odin implanted them with false memories of pasts and childhoods that never happened (Thor I#294). At some point before the birth of Thor, Odin thwarted the rebellion of Rimthursar (Thor I#323 or so). Evidently, memories of the past Asgard remained among men, as a man around 200 CE in pre-Arthurian Britain invoked Woden and Thor (Savage Sword of Conan#106/2, "Men of the Shadows).

Odin mated with Gaea to produce the new pantheon's Thor, who has blond hair (Thor I#294 [Gaea in shadows], Thor I#301, Thor Annual#11).

Most of Thor's chronologically early adventures take place around 1000 CE such as his battles against Marduk, Grylak, Varnae, Dromedan, and Atlantean mummies animated by Loki. Thor's battle with Hercules in Thor Annual#5 presented a problem, as since Hercules was leading Greek soldiers who worshiped the Olympian gods, while the Codex Theodosius had banned the worship of the Olympian gods centuries before 1000 CE, that seemed to indicate this adventure took before the Codex Theodosius was passed around 400 CE. However, Thor I#300 and the Handbook entries for Zeus and perhaps Hercules indicate that these Greek soldiers were actually brought forward into the future by Hercules. Also, Thor I#300 establishes that his battle happened around 1000 CE, when Odin joined with Zeus and Vishnu to oppose the Celestials. Dwarfed by their power, Odin resolved to oppose the Celestials for their next host. Odin thus created the magical robot the Destroyer. Odin later had the Valkyrie and Thor live on Earth as mortals in a series of events that he later wiped from their minds, though he would admit to this brainwashing centuries later to the Valkyrie in Defenders I#109. During this time, Thor slew the giant Fafnir, who had transformed into a dragon. (A man named James Allison once incorrectly believed that the story of Fafnir slaying the dragon was only a "racial memory" of a conflict that he had had in his past life as Niord Worm's Bane.)

Thor Annual#8 presented a problem, too, since the blond Thor was accidentally sent to the time of the Trojan war and encountered Zeus, who recognized him-even though Thor I#293 would indicate that if any Thor existed then, it would have been the red-haired Thor, as the Trojan War happened long before 7 BCE. The letters page to Thor I#298 and Zeus' Deluxe Edition Handbook entry indicate that Zeus knew about Thor thanks to his oracles and their power of prophecy.
Last edited by Enda80 on Sat May 31, 2008 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Somebody » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:49 pm

Given Thor v3 #8, any references to non-blond Thors interacting with humanity should be taken with gallons of salt.

Plus, the eye's version of events was retconned by Simonson & you know it Enda.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by dimadick » Thu May 01, 2008 1:14 am

Enda80 wrote:Interesting question. Well, the earliest references to Thor, Baldur, Woden, etc. occur in the Conan stories, which the Handbook reaffirm as part of Earth-616's history. Also, the Council of Sky-Fathers entry acknowledges that these references were to previous incarnations of the Asgardians. The people of Nordheim, Cimmeria's neighbors to the north, worshipped and invoked these deities, and they also worshipped Ymir and his supposed first-born, his daugther Atali.
You seem to forget about Borri, the Grim Grey God and his Choosers of the Slain (Hyborian-era Valkyries). They turn up orchestrating their own demises and those of their last worshippers in "Conan the Barbarian" #3 ("Even the Gods must die"). Based on interpretation Borri can either be identified with either Búri or Borr, respectively the grandfather and father of Odin.
Enda80 wrote:Conan lived at 10,000 BCE. An issue of Conan the Adventurer noted that when the Atlanteans lived the descendants of the Nordheimr "lived far away", and an article in Savage Sword of Conan speculates that the people of Thule of Kull's time were the ancestors of the Nordheimr. Conan lived around 10,000 BCE.
You mean ancestors of the Nordheimr, contemporary to the Atlanteans. According to the "Hyborian Age" essay by Robert E. Howard the Nordheimr evolved from "apemen" of the Arctic Circle:

*"According to the essay, at the time of this cataclysm a group of primitive humans were at a technological level hardly above the Neanderthal. They fled to the Northern areas of what was left of the Thurian continent to escape the destruction. They discovered the areas to be safe but covered with snow and already inhabited by a race of carnivorous apes. The apes were large with white fur and apparently native to their land. The stone age invaders engaged in a territorial war with them and eventually managed to drive them off, past the Arctic Circle. Believing their enemies fated to perish and no longer interested in them, the recently arrived group adapted to their new, harsh environment and its population started to increase."
*"The only exception to their [early Hyborian tribes] long isolation from other cultural groups came due to the actions of a lone adventurer, unnamed in the essay. He had traveled past the Arctic Circle and returned with news that their old adversaries, the apes were not in fact annihilated. They had instead evolved into apemen and according to his description were by then numerous. He believed they were quickly evolving to human status and would pose a threat to the Hyborians in the future. He attempted to recruit a significant military force to campaign against them. But most Hyborians were not convinced by his tales and at last only a small group of foolhardy youths followed his campaign. None of them returned."
*"Meanwhile the "apemen" of the Arctic Circle emerged as a new race of light-haired and tall humans. They started their own migration to the south, displacing the northernmost of the Hyborian tribes." "At the north of the continent, the fair haired invaders from the Arctic Circle had grown in numbers and power. They continued their expansion south while in turn displacing defeated Hyborians to the south. Even Hyperborea was conquered by one of these barbarian tribes. But the conquerors here decided to maintain the kingdom with its old name, merged with the defeated Hyperboreans and adopted elements of Hyborian culture."
*The Hyborian era ended in a new ice age. "Vanaheim and Asgard were freezing and the Vanir and Aesir tribes started their migrations to the south. Gunderland fell to marching Aesir on their way to the former lands of Aquilonia. The Picts were slaughtered while wave after wave of the Northern invaders marched towards the south and into the Pictish Empire. The Hyrkanians did not fare much better. When the migration waves ceased, the Vanir, Aesir and the Cimmerians were spread from the former areas of Hyperborea to Stygia and from the Western Sea to the areas of old Turan. The Picts retained remnants of their old Empire which included Aquilonia, part of Zingara and most of the western coast of the nameless continent. But only Stygia and Shem still contained cities. In all other areas the cities failed to survive the constant wars and the people had returned to nomadic life."

"The Æsir who dominated Nemedia were called Nemedians, and later figured in Irish history, and the Nordics who settled in Brythunia were known as Brythunians, Brythons or Britons." ... "Another terrific convulsion of the earth, carving out the lands as they are known to moderns, hurled all into chaos again." ... "Great strips of the western coast sank; Vanaheim and western Asgard — uninhabited and glacier-haunted wastes for a hundred years — vanished beneath the waves." ... "In the north the Baltic Sea was formed, cutting Asgard into the peninsulas later known as Norway, Sweden and Denmark". "Whole Nordic tribes were blotted out, and the rest retreated eastward. The territory about the slowly drying inland sea was not affected, and there, on the western shores, the Nordic tribes began a pastoral existence, living in more or less peace with the Cimmerians, and gradually mixing with them."... "They [post cataclusmic remnants of the Picts] were overthrown by the westward drift of the Cimmerians and Nordics. This was so long after the breaking-up of the continent that only meaningless legends told of former empires."

"This drift comes within the reach of modern history and need not be repeated. It resulted from a growing population which thronged the steppes west of the inland sea — which still later, much reduced in size, was known as the Caspian — to such an extent that migration became an economic necessity. The tribes moved southward, northward and westward, into those lands now known as India, Asia Minor and central and western Europe.They came into these countries as Aryans. But there were variations among these primitive Aryans, some of which are still recognized today, others which have long been forgotten.":

*The blond Achaians, Gauls and Britons, for instance, were descendants of pure-blooded Æsir.
*The Nemedians of Irish legendry were the Nemedian Æsir.
*The Danes were descendants of pure-blooded Vanir.
*The Goths — ancestors of the other Scandinavian and Germanic tribes, including the Anglo-Saxons — were descendants of a mixed race whose elements contained Vanir, AEsir and Cimmerian strains.
*The Cymric tribes of Britain were a mixed Nordic-Cimmerian race which preceded the purely Nordic Britons into the isles, and thus gave rise to a legend of Gaelic priority. The Cimbri who fought Rome were of the same blood, as well as the Gimmerai of the Assyrians and Grecians, and Gomer of the Hebrews.
*The Gaels, ancestors of the Irish and Highland Scotch, descended from pure-blooded Cimmerian clans. The original ancestors of the Gaels gave their name to modern Crimea.
*Other clans of the Cimmerians adventured east of the drying inland sea, and a few centuries later mixed with Hyrkanian blood, returned westward as Scythians.
*"From pure-blooded Shemites, or Shemites mixed with Hyborian or Nordic blood, were descended the Arabs, Israelites, and other straighter-featured Semites."

Thus, according to Howard the Marvel Universe would contain numerous descendants of the Nordics, few of them actually worshiping the Asgardians.
Enda80 wrote:Thor's battle with Hercules in Thor Annual#5 presented a problem, as since Hercules was leading Greek soldiers who worshiped the Olympian gods, while the Codex Theodosius had banned the worship of the Olympian gods centuries before 1000 CE, that seemed to indicate this adventure took before the Codex Theodosius was passed around 400 CE. However, Thor I#300 and the Handbook entries for Zeus and perhaps Hercules indicate that these Greek soldiers were actually brought forward into the future by Hercules.
Which seems to forget that historically Olympian worship survived imperial persecution for centuries.
Enda80 wrote:(A man named James Allison once incorrectly believed that the story of Fafnir slaying the dragon was only a "racial memory" of a conflict that he had had in his past life as Niord Worm's Bane.)
If I remember correctly the same story also considers Perseus a racial memory of Niord. However several descendants of Perseus from Greek mythology have appeared in the Marvel Universe, most prominently Hercules.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Enda80 » Thu May 01, 2008 3:31 am

Simonson attempted to muddy the waters regarding the recurring Ragnarok, but Gaea herself in Thor I#301 and Thor Annual#11 had confirmed the idea as true.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Somebody » Thu May 01, 2008 10:51 am

The only specific in the eye's story that is true is that Thor is Gaia/Jord's kid, and the only other thing that has any truth to it is that there were previous Asgardian cycles. And, hell, even Garak from DS9 mixed a touch of truth into his habitual lies.

NONE of the other specifics - Odin being fused from gods of the previous cycle and most of the other Asgardians being born as adults from action figures to pick the two most important, although other things such as the timings are also out - are true.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Enda80 » Thu May 01, 2008 4:53 pm

"The only specific in the eye's story that is true is that Thor is Gaia/Jord's kid, and the only other thing that has any truth to it is that there were previous Asgardian cycles. And, hell, even Garak from DS9 mixed a touch of truth into his habitual lies.

NONE of the other specifics - Odin being fused from gods of the previous cycle and most of the other Asgardians being born as adults from action figures to pick the two most important, although other things such as the timings are also out - are true."

For the record, Gaea did affirm that previous cycles of Asgardians existed in Thor I#301 in dialogue.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Somebody » Thu May 01, 2008 5:20 pm

I didn't dispute that - indeed, I specifically affirmed it in the post you quote. Thor v2 #80-85 makes it inescapable.

Two things from Elim, Eye of Odin's story are true:
(1) Gaia/Jord is Thor's mother [reaffirmed as recently as T3 3 and Hulk/Herc: When Titans Collide] and
(2) there were previous Asgardian cycles before the "Kirby Cycle" [T2 80-85]

And those two things both have corroboration independent of the eye's story.

Everything else that HASN'T been independently corroborated is absolute bunk, including the depiction of the end of the previous cycle and the start of the Kirby Cycle, the timing of the start of the Kirby Cycle to 7BC, etc. And you shouldn't peddle it.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Enda80 » Thu May 01, 2008 6:09 pm

In Defenders I#109, Odin affirms to Brunnhilde that the Ring of the Niebelung adventure from Thor I#295-300 happened.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by ChastMastr » Thu May 01, 2008 7:46 pm

Oh Lord. I hadn't even thought about how later retcons (of other retcons, possibly of yet other retcons) might have affected the mix. I assume that (for example) when the Eye of Odin story (not yet read it, I think...) was written, that was the official word on Asgardian history, and was only later decanonized (as it were) as being false. :shock:

So really what I want to know (which may be beyond the scope of the chronology project :( , since that deals with whatever current canon is, rather than canon circa 1977, or circa 1985, or circa 1968, right?) is probably not only what current canon says, but what it said back when at different stages before it was retconned out in favor of whatever became the new canon. Which may be a hideous tangled mess as different writers progressively undid each other's work over the years, I suspect... *doh*

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Enda80 » Fri May 02, 2008 7:59 pm

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/tiwazthor.htm

Responding to some points
Doctor Strange referred to Buri or as Bori once, as I mention in the above page.

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/bloodstoneulysses.htm

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/bloodstoneulysses.htm

I submitted comments about ancient Vanaheim at the second link.

In Conan the Adventurer#2, a priest mentions (on page 20) that in the days of Atlantis "the Vanir dwelled in a distant land". The Hyborian Age essay mentions that the Vanir reached Vanaheim during the period from about 14,000 to 10,000 BC. Savage Sword of Conan#141 reveals that at some point a group of vampires attacked the Nordheimr.

An article in Savage Sword of Conan#40 speculated that the Hyborian Age people, the Vanir and Aesir of Nordheim may descended from the people of Thule.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Enda80 » Fri May 02, 2008 8:06 pm

"Enda80 wrote:
Thor's battle with Hercules in Thor Annual#5 presented a problem, as since Hercules was leading Greek soldiers who worshiped the Olympian gods, while the Codex Theodosius had banned the worship of the Olympian gods centuries before 1000 CE, that seemed to indicate this adventure took before the Codex Theodosius was passed around 400 CE. However, Thor I#300 and the Handbook entries for Zeus and perhaps Hercules indicate that these Greek soldiers were actually brought forward into the future by Hercules.


Which seems to forget that historically Olympian worship survived imperial persecution for centuries"

Hmmm....Well, there have appeared a few isolated societies of classical culture such as Nova Roma, the Romans the Challenger encountered, as well as the Minoans that Shanna encountered.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by ChastMastr » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:24 pm

Okay, now I'm confused again but this is more of a general question connected with the issue on this thread...

So... not only have there been multiple Ragnaroks... they also, when they happen, "reset" Midgard as well? (Someone suggested this in another thread.) I.e., if you were in the 616 MU we have right now, and travelled back in time, and then went to Asgard, you would still be in the current cycle, and all the previous Ragnarok eras of Thor (as we're seeing in the current batch of miniseries) would be sort of "before" all of that? (Hmmm, would that mean that Galen, the being who became Galactus from the universe before 616's Big Bang, would be in the era of the previous Ragnarok?) I thought perhaps if you went back, say, a thousand years, or ten thousand, you'd be in a different Ragnarok cycle, with a slightly different Thor, Odin, Asgardian history, etc. (my God, it's like Crisis and Zero Hour -- you can have any interpretation of Thor you want, it's just in a different Ragnarok cycle) But the thing is, I thought we always saw Thor and the Norse gods (up till, oh, Thor Disassembled basically) being the same people going back thousands and thousands of years, so at any point in Marvel 616 history, it'd be the same Thor, Odin, Loki, etc. rather than a previous incarnation of them. I mean, it's probably a retcon anyway, but I guess I'm asking, if you were around 800 AD, Marvel 616 time, which Thor would be hanging around, the same guy who 1200 years later joined the Avengers, or a previous incarnation of Thor? Or if Midgard "reboots" along with Asgard, would the previous Ragnarok be from some universe prior to 616? And if everything in the entire cosmology -- which would mean not only the Earth dimension but, say, Olympus, etc. and all the other pantheons who don't do the cyclical Ragnarok thing -- reboots over and over again, this kind of makes Asgard more central to Marvel's entire cosmology than, well, absolutely everything else, which doesn't really seem to fit Marvel's whole setup.

I'm really confused. Help?

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by Somebody » Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:48 pm

LOL :) If you went back 1200 years, you'd find the Kirby Cycle Asgardians, yes.

The basic problem comes from Marvel's "all creation myths are valid" thing (along with the Big Bang theory), restated on the Norse side as recently as T3 8, where Odin ["our" Odin, that is] created humanity and ticked his dad off royally in the process. Whereas previous cycles (as seen in Thor: Ages of Thunder & Thor: Reign of Blood just recently) were interacting with humans too. And Norse artifacts are quite capable of destroying/remaking the universe (see A3 1-3, for instance).

Now, Thor smashed the Norns' weave in T2 85 so that nothing reset, and the gods' and suchlike's spirits - having nowhere to go, since Valhalla/Hel/etc were destroyed too - ended up in humans.

What happens in a "normal" Ragnarok isn't entirely clear - but it's clear that the Norse gods get a new Earth to play with. Maybe Midgard doesn't get reset, but the rebooted Asgard twists and gets a new (alternate) Earth to play with. Maybe it rewinds, but not all the way. Or maybe the whole shebang does reboot.

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Re: Time of Tales of Asgard, Raven Banner, etc.

Post by DonCampbell » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:59 pm

Somebody wrote:I didn't dispute that - indeed, I specifically affirmed it in the post you quote. Thor v2 #80-85 makes it inescapable.

Two things from Elim, Eye of Odin's story are true:
(1) Gaia/Jord is Thor's mother [reaffirmed as recently as T3 3 and Hulk/Herc: When Titans Collide] and
(2) there were previous Asgardian cycles before the "Kirby Cycle" [T2 80-85]

And those two things both have corroboration independent of the eye's story.

Everything else that HASN'T been independently corroborated is absolute bunk, including the depiction of the end of the previous cycle and the start of the Kirby Cycle, the timing of the start of the Kirby Cycle to 7BC, etc. And you shouldn't peddle it.
I think it is a DRASTIC overstatement to claim that most of what the Eye of Odin told Thor is "absolute bunk." Personally, I rather liked the Eye's account of how the previous Asgard ended and how the current Asgard was born. Also, as far as I know, no alternate explanation for how the Ragnarok cycle works has yet been put forward so we might as well accept the Eye's story (albeit with a notation that it MIGHT not be accurate).

Also, I think it would really be a good idea to take a close look at what "Tiwaz" actually told Thor in THOR #355. Quoting from page 15, Tiwaz says, "Oh, I know you have heard different versions of Odin's beginnings. Did not a great eyeball with a grudge once tell you that your father was the fusion of four earlier gods? And did not Odin himself tell you of his younger days with his two brothers? In truth, were I told conflicting stories by my father and a floating eyeball, I know which I should believe." And that's ALL he says. While it seems to me that "Tiwaz" was strongly implying that the Eye of Odin was lying, it falls short of being an absolute declaration. And let's not forget that "Tiwaz" himself was lying to Thor the whole time they were together since he was, in actuality, Thor's own great-grandfather, BURI. So I would take anything that "Tiwaz" said with a grain of salt.

There's one other factor to be considered. On the letters page (remember those?) of THOR #421 (August, 1990), a reader had written in to ask which of the two origins of Odin was the true origin. The editorial staff chose to duck the question by throwing it out to Marveldom Assembled and offering a "genuine, rust-resistant No-Prize to the readers who come up with the best explanations for this apparent contrtadiction!" A few months later, in the letters page of THOR #428, they printed a sampling of eight of the letters that had been received, preceded by the following statement:

"On the letters page of THOR #421, Michael Gregg asked about the true origin of Odin. Rather than look up the official response in THE HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, we thought it would be fun to throw it out to Marveldom Assembled, promising one of our world famous No-Prizes to the reader with the best explanation."

"Unfortunately, we never anticipated the tremendous response we'd get to such an offer. Thousands upon thousands of letters started pouring in. Almost enough for us to be granted our very own, private zip code! With the exception of one really weird one (and you know who you are), most of the explanations were terrific! Each and every letter contained a fresh, new idea or a startlingly subtle insight!"

"We were overwhelmed and instantly realized that there was no way to objectively decide which was the single best explanation. So, in the interests of fairness, we randomly selected a few different letters, and we are awarding them all No-Prizes!"

What does this mean? As Somebody is sure to point out, statements made in letterspages are not considered "canon." However, they can be useful in establishing what the opinions of the writers and/or editors are. In this case, it seems that nobody had a clear idea of what Odin's "true origin" was. In other words, despite what the OFFICIAL HANDBOOK may (or may not) have said, the people who were writing THOR weren't sure of what was "canon" and what wasn't. In fact, if you look at the then-current edition of the Marvel Handbook, the entry for Odin does NOT specifically state that "everything the Eye said is lies." Instead, the entry is rather diplomatic about it, stating that the Eye's account "may well be no more than a fiction created by the Eye for unknown reasons" or "It is unclear how much truth, if any, there is to this story told by the Eye."

Now, I'm not trying to say that EVERYthing the Eye told Thor was the absolute truth/canon and anyone who disagrees is a damned heretic. However, I'm also not willing to completely dismiss the Eye's account simply because Walt Simonson wrote a story in which ONE character IMPLIED that the Eye was lying about Odin's origin. And I'm also not willing to blindly accept everything in any of the retcons that subsequent writers have seen fit to force upon us (anymore than some posters on this board are willing to accept the events depicted in SPIDER-WOMAN: ORIGIN as the new "canon" about Jessica Drew's origin).

As I said before, I liked the Eye of Odin's account of the earlier Asgard's Ragnorok and, until someone comes along to provide another explanation of what actually happens between the Ragnarok cycles, I'm perfectly willing to accept it as something that MIGHT have happened. I just don't consider it to have been disproven...yet.

Finally, for the record, I am extremely disappointed with what Matt Fraction and J.M. Straczynski have been doing recently. Fraction completely GUTTED the entire back-story of K'un-Lun (as presented in over thiry years worth of stories) during his run on IMMORTAL IRON FIST, and what jms has been doing on THOR (like stating that Odin created humanity) is REALLY irritating to me continuity-wise.

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