Electricity in Myth & Comics
Electrical Universerse Part II
Pow! Bam! Bang! And don’t forget, Zap!
Our electrical universe has mesmerized us since the birth of mankind. How could we explain lightning and buzzing before we had science? Naturally, our inquisitive minds found a way to give the world around us meaning. In gods, legends, folklore and myth, we created great stories to help us cope with what we didn’t understand.
Today, we might know a but more than in those days of yore, but we haven’t given up our imaginations. Our heroes of a thousand faces keep us entertained on both the big and small screens, as well as in literature, comics & art. Some of these heroes seem very real to us, and some are even electric!
Pikachu & Electric Pokémon
He’s yellow, he’s cute & he’s got one hell of a quick attack. It’s Pikachu, the most famous of all Pokémon. When he’s not busy in battle, he’s the friend & companion of Ash Ketchum, from Palette Town. Appearing in numerous films, series & video games from Game Freak & Nintendo in Japan, Pikachu has captured the hearts of millions around the globe. Pika! Pika!
Pokémon love to battle against each other and are usually given direction by their trainers on which moves to use and when. A battle involves lots of strategy, as different Pokémon have different move sets and not everyone has equal combat power, moves or abilities.
Pikachu is not the only electric Pokémon. Overall, there are 72 electric-types. This includes other favorites like Rotom, Voltorb, Shinx and legendary Raikou & Zapdos. They’re very good defensively in battle and are only weak to ground moves. Every good Pokédex needs a good amount of electric Pokémon to be well rounded. And we love to see them zap and attack in battle.
“He who is close to Zeus, is close to thunder”, Aesop, 620-560 B.C., Greek fabulist
“By the beard of Zeus!”, Ron Burgundy, Anchorman, 2004
God of the skies, straight outta Greek mythology, only child of Cronus not to be eaten alive at birth, chief of the gods, ladies’ man, father of at least 15 known children & most importantly, the big guy with the thunderbolt in his hand. Yes, we’re talking about Zeus.
He wasn’t born electric, but it’s still a family affair. His uncles, the Cyclopes, gave him power of lightning when he freed them from their dungeon prison. Zeus put these powers to good use, after his brothers took over the realms of water and the underworld.
What ever happened to Zeus? Well, he never liked humans too much & he flooded the world, leaving only two people left to repopulate. And then he appeared a lot in Homer’s Illiad, a long poem about the last weeks of the Trojan War. After that, we’re not sure what happened to Zeus. But legend claims that if you got hit by lightning, well, it might not be an accident.
He’s not only the fastest man alive, he can also control time. A terrible lab incident led the first Flash, college student Jay Garrick, to become super fast. After that, the world of DC Comics has brought us the Flash in a few other incarnations, with different names.
Is he electric? Well, not in and of himself, but it seems that all that fast movement brings about a lot of friction. There are a number of fan forum articles about electricity and the Flash. Which is the most likely? First, you have to pick your favorite Flash & take it from there. Here, we're looking at electric phenomena & the Flash in terms of the Justice League movie.
My favorite Flash? It’s definitely Kid Flash from Teen Titans Go. He’s fun, fast & friendly, but he can’t beat Robin in a foot race.
“I have dire plans for destiny”, Thor, Thor: Ragnarok, 2017
“By the Hammer of Thor!”, Ron Burgundy, 2004
While Thor is certainly a Norse god of legend, we’re switching to the world of Marvel Comics for a more modern approach to the character.
He has family troubles, but mostly with his brother, Loki, who gets him banished from his home in Asgard & sent down to Earth. But it’s not all bad, because he makes some friends and falls in love with Jane Foster. Well, that’s all nice, but what about his electric powers? For that, Thor has tools.
He’s got his hammer, called Mjolnir, which was forged by his father Odin & has been with him for a thousand years. But the hammer unfortunately gets destroyed by his half-sister Hela, so he creates Stormbreaker, which is a huge axe. Thor uses these tools to help command the elements of lightning and thunder.
With these tools in his proverbial belt, he’s sets out on a course for justice – both back home in Asgard as well as here on Earth. It’s a good thing that he’s so mobile, because he works well with others and has lots of friends & comrades in battle. He’s a part of the Avengers and don’t even get us started on Ragnarok
Raiju & Raijin
Legendary thunder & lightning creatures & precursors to some modern Pokémon, Raiju & Raijin are part of Japanese mythology. Raiju is also known as a thunder beast with a body composed lightning, but in the shape of a wolf. He likes to jump around during thunder storms, which just makes a racket!
Raijin is the Shinto god of lightning, and pals with Raiju. He has drums that he uses to make thunder, has a mean grimace and has hair standing on end, kind of like someone touching a Van de Graaf generator.
The strange thing that this pair does? Raiju likes to sleep in your belly button and Raijin tries to wake you up by shooting lightning at you, which does more damage than good. We are only human, after all. Those who are superstitious say that you should sleep on your belly during a thunderstorm. Not good for us side sleepers.
And Not Forgotten Are:
Honorable mentions go out to other characters with awesome powers, including: Shazam & Black Adam, Storm, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Magneto, Sonic the Hedgehog, Electro, Baron von Blitzschlag & many, many others.