If you dig down deep enough, you’ll find that the root of all superheroes are in the ancient stories from mythology. While some are more direct than others, superheroes are in many ways a modern mythology. In the currently running Image miniseries Lillim, the creators are taking those mythological mainstays and putting a twist on them as they bring them into the modern day.
Lilim is a reworking of mythology, mixing Norse, Chinese and even Biblical stories into one cohesive sotry. Imagine if all of the world’s mythologies are based on one group of individuals – immortals, living through time and in various locales.
In the world of Lillim, a god known as Odin is on a warpath after the death of his mother, Lilith. Odin’s name comes from Norse mythology, but he’s far more vengeful and – well, evil – than comics fans might know from the Thor book. And likewise is his adversary, and the book’s hero, Loki. Far from the trickster god of lore, Lillim’s Loki is more heroic… and Odin’s brother to boot.
In this book, Odin and Loki are the sons of Adam and Lilith from the Bible – and after the death of Lilith, a vengeful Odin seeks redemption in the death of Eve’s children. Although Lilith was Loki’s mother as well, he sees the evil in Lilith’s ways and feels Odin is wrong in his attacks on humanity.
With Lillim #4 in stores this week, we caught up with the elusive artist known as Matrix to talk more about the book.
Newsarama: It’s good to finally talk to you, Matrix. What would you say about working on Lillim?
Matrix: Lillim is a fascinating comic story, I enjoy drawing it a lot. I think the story is very attractive. Since I have no assistant working on this with me, I’m rather rushed for time. But I will try my best to draw the pictures delicately in the last volume. Lastly, I hope Lillim is a big success.
NRAMA: Lillim has been an interesting book about gods from different pantheons such as Greek, Egyptian and Nordic and how they’re all the same people in different guises. How would you describe the book?
M: As a Chinese comic artist, I was very happy when I received this story. Because I finally got the chance to try on some subjects related to European religion and history. So I read many books about Norse and Greek mythology. Lillim has a special angle of view, for all the gods around the world are the same group of people; it is quite different with other traditional mythology comics. It is new and unique. I think it would be wonderful if I have the chance to put some Chinese fairytale stories into comics one day.
NRAMA: Usually, Loki is depicted as a villain but in Lillim he’s the resident hero. Can you tell us about him?
M: Loki is not good as pie in the Norse mythology. He is sinister and cunning. But in the story of Lillim, he is the one with sense of righteousness. I personally don’t like traditional heroes, I prefer dark heroes such as Spawn.
NRAMA: Another Image title – it looks like you’re in good company.
In Lillim, Loki’s at odds here with his older brother, Odin. Can you tell us where their hate for each other comes from?
M: First, the hate between them actually is a long story. They were born with the same father and mother (Lilith and Adam), but their father and Eve were cast out of the Eden. Odin hated Eve, Adam’s new wife, and all Eve’s children, but Loki liked Eve and falls in love with some of her children (including Bridget). Odin and Loki battled for a long time over this. This is a kind of jealous thing.
Second, Odin is quite ambitious, he wants to rule the world and be the only god to people. He must get rid of all potential threats to him. Among many of his brothers and sisters who are against him, Loki is the biggest obstacle. At the same time, Odin is jealous of Loki’s power, he wants to kill Loki to prove his power.
NRAMA: What is Odin trying to do, and what is Loki trying to stop?
M: Odin is trying to get rid of all his dissenters and discommenders and make himself the conqueror of the world, and the only god to human beings. So he first wants to kill all the other gods, his brothers and sisters and uses Loki to do it. Loki is trying to stop him and to find his destiny and fulfill a prophecy.
NRAMA: How would you describe Loki’s relationship with the human woman Bridget?
M: I think they are suitable to each other. I like Bridget; she is kind, brave and smart. This is the right girl for Loki, a man who is kind too but a bit dangerous and emotional.
NRAMA: What were your goals when designing these characters?
M: I’ve been trying to make them different from traditional Norse mythology characters in other comics. After all these characters already have many models. I just try to design them more like human; as most of the story is going on in the world of human. I don’t want them frightening to people when they show up, especially Odin.
NRAMA: Can you tell us about your art career up to this point?
M: I’m quite clear about my career, it is comics. But the comic market in China is not as developed as in America; and American style is also my style in drawing. So I expect cooperation with some great publishers in America, to publish original comics of our own.
NRAMA: And what work do you have planned next after you finish Lillim?
M: Since the work on Lillim reaches a conclusion now; I have begun to co-work with Robekka Art Studio on some original comics; I also expect cooperation with some great writers. For now, I just hope to get a good assistant, and try the best to create more good comics.