Perhaps it's because of the connection of incredibly attractive and powerful people intervening in our daily lives with saving the world. Perhaps it's because having the godlike serve to protect our lives is the closest we can get to getting the divine to be serve us. Perhaps it's what comes naturally of making a character stronger than the strongest person. Whatever the case, comic book writers (and others) have seen the obvious logic in not just making godlike superheroes, but making gods
The ancient Greek myths
(as well as those from any number of other ancient cultures) often featured the heroic (by the standards of the time) adventures of various Demi-Gods, usually people with mixed Divine and Mortal parentage since the Gods themselves were usually too busy being complete dicks and getting away with it
, because, well they are the Gods...
Note: There's a lot of overlap with Physical God
, so this trope only
refers to mythological gods or original divinities becoming superheroes.
- The Mighty Thor of Marvel Comics is one of the first (and more obvious) examples.
- The Ultimates takes an interesting look at Marvel's Thor, focusing on the fact that anybody who claimed to be a god would immediately be classified as insane. The existence of superpowers only makes it worse, of course, as his powers are not entirely inexplicable.
- As is The Incredible Hercules.
- And Ares, god of war, sometime member of the Avengers.
- Snowbird from Alpha Flight is an Inuit demigoddess. Her family would make occasional appearances in the book, and their enemies, the Great Beasts, were recurring villains.
- The New Gods, though the degree to which most of the New Gods are gods rather than Human Aliens with superpowers and advanced technology varies a lot. Jack Kirby originally conceived them as new characters to introduce into the Thor mythos—they were literally a new pantheon for modern times, hence all the technological and modern imagery, rather than ancient chariots and swords. But he jumped ship to DC and took them with him. In that sense, the name "New Gods" is something of an Artifact Title.
- The gods of Panthea Obscura actually set out to be superheroes.
- The Image comic God Complex.
- Inverted in The Savage Dragon: Thor is an villain.
- Thor also appeared in Elementals. Not too surprising, since all the supers there have magical or mythological origins.
- This trope taken to the logical extreme.
- Parodied, along with conservative Christian views of God, in Tom the Dancing Bug's "God Man" strips.
- Given this is a Supers Trope, you know there's a Whateley Universe example, and here it is: The New Olympians may or may not be the classical Greek Gods reborn. They certainly think they are, and have appropriate powers.
- The comic series Supergod by Warren Ellis revolves around various countries' attempts to create superheroes based on their religion or mythology. The projects have mostly... not fulfilled their hopes.
- The Golden Age Marvel heroes Mercury and Venus were Exactly What It Says on the Tin. In modern continuity, Mercury was revealed to be Makkari of The Eternals, and Venus was revealed as merely a Siren.
- Asura's Wrath has all the Major deities actually be Genetically altered Cyborgs. Most of them besides Asura become the main villains.
- It should be noted, though, that there is a spiritual component to them, as they can be powered up by the prayers and souls of mortals.