odds and ends: morrison’s JLA and the Greek pantheon
In our ramp up to The Odyssey, I do a lesson based around Grant Morrison’s run on JLA. Morrison famously drew on Greek archetypes to craft his ultimate version of the Justice League of America. After a quick discussion about the Greek pantheon, I pair students up, give each pairing a copy of JLA and ask them to flip through the comics and find as many parallels between superheroes and Greek gods as they can. After 15 minutes, they present their findings to the class on the document camera.
Some of the pairings are quite obvious - Superman as a stand-in for Zeus orWonder Woman as Hera, for example. Some are a bit more sophisticated. As you can see above, Morrison used second-string superheroes like Plastic Man
to great effect as proxys for and Dionysus and Hephaestus.
The best part about this lesson is when students go off book and bring up other examples of superheroes who display Greek ideals… or talk about how American superheroes embody American ideals. More on that tomorrow.