Queer Villainry – Loki

Loki is a supervillain created by writer Stan Lee for the Thor series of comics, where the personalities and abilities of many if the individuals are based off a counterpart from norse mythology. Loki is no exception; he echoes many of the traits of the deceitful, shapeshifting norse god, Loki.

Crossdressing and gender ambiguity are both themes present in many nordic poems involving Thor and Loki, such as Þrymskviða (Larrington 101), where Loki convinces Thor to crossdress as his mother in a bridal gown in order to retrieve his legendary hammer, Mjöllnir. Loki himself is concealed as a handmaiden during the ordeal.

Elmer Boyd Smith’s 1902 illustration “Ah! What a Lovely Maid it Is” depicting Thor in his mothers garb.

In another nordic piece, Gylfaginning, Loki actually gives birth to the legendary 8 legged horse Sleipnir after being impregnated by a stallion (Faulkes 36). Although the Loki of the Marvel comics does not engage in any interspecies intercourse, his shapeshifting and gender bending powers are reminiscent of his mythological counterpart. Yet at the same time, the power that Loki has changes the perspective on conventional sexuality; Is it beastiality if you have sex with a horse when you are a horse? Loki’s creators have mentioned he is indeed, bisexual (Ewing), but as of yet his sexuality has not been explored explicitly in the comics. Yet we can still investigate how Loki interacts with heroes and villains and see how his sexuality manifests itself.

Whether Loki uses his power to cause mass turmoil or assist his adoptive brother Thor is dependent on the situation (most of the time, it’s the former). Loki does not have any sort of romantic counterpart (possibly because a villain capable of romance would diminish the legitimacy of the hero), so his most developed relationship is between him and Thor. Here, Thor reminisces about the death of Loki, even after he was a source of calamity within their homeland, Asgard.

Loki was raised with Thor as brothers, and often he pulls at Thor’s emotions to further his plans; In one such instance, Loki disguises himself as Thor’s lover, Sif. Here he is, speaking to Thor.

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Note her half-lidded, tempting gaze. Here Loki is again, speaking with some companions in their homeland of Asgard.

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A finger rests on her painted lips as she asks the men about their plans. Eyebrows raised, a slight smile… Loki seems seductive, almost flirty. Watch how she changes once her desires are made clear.

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Her face becomes completely different from the first pane; Dark circles beneath her eyes and a lack of eyebrows almost give her a skeletal appearance. What Loki’s interactions reveal is that he will abuse the desires of those around him to fulfill his own needs at practically any cost. Gender bending is less about being a woman, or a desire to be a woman for Loki; It’s that appearing as Thor’s lover will influence those around him. Loki’s compulsion is to cause mischief and mayhem, and occasionally we see hints that his need to instigate chaos is a part of him that he cannot control.


 

Ewing, Al. Web log comment. SCREAM, ROBOT, SCREAM! N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2014. <http://alewing.tumblr.com/post/64893876355/hello-mr-ewing-we-will-see-lokis-dad-odin-your-comic&gt;.

Faulkes, Anthony, and Snorri Struluson. Edda. Everyman Paperback. 1995. Print.

Gillen, DeConnick, Lee et al. “Thor: Latverian Prometheus.” Thor #604-606 (June 1961). Marvel.

Gillen, Tan, McKelvie et al. “Thor: Seige” (January 2011). Marvel.

Larrington, Carolyne. The Poetic Edda. Oxford University Press. 1998. Print.

Straczynski, Coipel, Morales et al. Thor #5 Vol 3 (December 2007). Marvel.

Straczynski, Coipel, Morales et al. Thor #9 Vol 3 (May 2008). Marvel.

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