Of Gods and Gods
How do gods differ from superheroes?
In DC comics:
• Gods don't wear spandex. Wear spandex = not a god. (Do you hear me, New Gods?)
• Gods exist across dimensional lines. Aphrodite on Earth-1 or whatever we call it = Aphrodite on Earth-2 and Earth-52. Same entity, though the flavor may vary slightly from dimension to dimension.
• Gods are aspects of nature and human interests and as such can change their appearance to suit the angle they're working on. Thus we can have both a helmet-wearing Athena and one who totes an iBook.
• Gods are rarely accessible. We do not have Amazons going up to Olympus every day for afternoon tea (cf Simonson arc). Gods are called by extremely high ceremony and MAY appear or not, or may only speak through an oracle.
• Usually when a god wants to make an appearance, they take on the form of a human and speak to the person they want to. Then the god leaves and the person may spot the friend elsewhere whose form the god took, then realize that they must have been talking with a god.
• Gods work behind the scenes. A sharp-eyed Amazon may see the ghostly image of Artemis when she looks at the moon, or perceive the presence of Hephaestus when working at the forge, inspiring her. Flashes of Dionysus might be seen by drunken revelers. Travel signs might be misleadingly turned askew by Hermes.
• If things are dire enough that a god has to make a personal appearance, the human greeting said god should have shoes off, knees on the ground, and eyes averted, and speak humbly if they dare speak at all.
• Though a superbeing may create big things or lift big things or destroy them, only a god can (besides do the same) embue those things with purpose. A godly weapon, for example, would be the same as any other weapon, but it has a particular purpose which thus gives it greater ability to accomplish such.
• Thus I think Wondie's godly gifts were those of purpose, giving her direction to utilize Amazon Training in more specific and targeted manner than her sisters, thus outshining them as Wondie. Which doesn't mean that some of her sisters may be just as targeted (if not more so) in some specific areas than she merely because of their basic humanity which is magic in and of itself, and possessed by all humans.
• Gods have limits. Greater gods have fewer limits than lesser gods. These should be defined.
• Comic gods are much more emo than regular comics characters. They have shorter fuses as well. They do not believe in Dr. Phil. They will strike down their enemies quickly and harshly, though they may regret things after their enemies have died. Gods do not forgive well at all. This is why ceremonies to call them have to be so complex, to show the gods that their worshippers are 100% supportive of them and their fragile egos. Gods are pretty darned inflexible. It is a small miracle that Diana has "talked down" some gods in her time.
• Gods are as immortal and as powerful as the concepts they represent. Worship also plays a percentage in powering them. Remember that gods exist across dimensional lines, so even though, say, Isis isn't widely popular on Earth-1, on Earth-17.5 she's the big kahuna, and so her power gets a good boost from that worship. Earth 46.88 doesn't have any war, so Ares doesn't get any boost from that corner. On Earth 3.14159 Ares was never worshipped but there's an awful lot of war so his presence is felt there and powered up across the multiverse.
• One thing comics gods can NEVER do is create a soul. This is reserved for some active consciousness far, far above their level. Gods can create stuff and animate it, but it won't contain true life. (That's not to say that a wandering soul couldn't possess that stuff...)
After I posted this list on the DCMBs Walter Simonson replied to my no spandex rule and "Do you hear me, New Gods?" comment with:
"They do hear you, Carol. But really, gods wear whatever they want to.
"Believe me...I know."
I believe that out of all the comics professionals in the world, he would indeed be the one to know.
(But in this instance he's wrong.) (Or at least he is on my web pages! Mine! Mine!)
And here we have a listing of all of the gods who have appeared in Wonder Woman. Alphabetical order would probably be best. Don't forget Kane!