Covert Nerd Podcast

Middle Earth Minute

June 18, 2019

Today we dive into the Tolkien universe with a Middle Earth Minute then we review 2 great comics. 

Website: covertnerd.net

Long ago when middle earth was first created, there was a demi-god or in the Tolkien universe they’re called Maia. One of those Maia was named (My Ron) Mairon, meaning "the admirable." He learned much in the ways of smithing and handiwork, becoming a great craftsman. Although he was a Maia spirit, and not as mighty as the Valar or Gods, he was arguably the most powerful Maia. 

He also had a love of order and perfection and disliked anything wasteful this would be his downfall, for in the Dark Lord Morgoth (who was an evil Valar), Mairon saw the power to help him achieve his own desires faster than if he had pursued them on his own. Morgoth wanted to control or destroy the very matter of the world itself, whereas Mairon's desire was to dominate the minds and will of its creatures. So great was his allegiance in later days, Mairon encouraged and coerced a realm of Men to worship Morgoth as the one true god. But that’s another story.   

After allying himself with MorgothMairon maintained his appearance of being faithful to the Valar, but secretly fed Morgoth information about their dealings. It was only when Morgoth established his strongholds in Middle-earth that Mairon left and openly declared his allegiance. After turning to evil the elves of Middle Earth called him Gorthaur, meaning "dread abomination" 

During this time the elves waged war on Morgoth, who had stolen the Silmarils, enchanted gems that glowed with light from the home of the Valar. In that war, Gorthaur was counted as the "greatest of [Morgoth's] servants that have names". He was soon feared as a lord of terrible phantoms and dreadful beasts--a shape-shifter, sorcerer, and cunning servant of his master. He could take on many dark forms such as a Vampire Serpent  and Werewolf, but he could also appear fair and beautiful. 

Gorthaur directed the war against the Elves. He conquered the Elvish isle of Tol Sirion, and it became known as the Isle of Werewolves and he was the Lord of the Werewolves and of Tol Sirion 

During the war an elf king and his men were captured by Gorthaur. The elf king and Gorthaur fought. During the battle only the elf king and his greatest warrior survived the other men were cast into the dark pits where werewolves devoured them. 

After the war, with the downfall of his master Morgoth and the destruction of his fortress, Gorthaur adopted a fair form and feigned repentance of his evil deeds in fear of the wrath of his enemies. He was ordered to return to Valinor to receive judgement. He was not willing to suffer such humiliation and so he fled and hid himself in Middle-earth.  

Although Gorthaur knew Men were easier to sway, he sought to bring the Elves into his service, as they were far more powerful. 1,200 years after his master's defeat, he decided the Valar had forgotten about Middle-earth and he once again turned to evil plotting. 

After lying hidden and increasing his power in secret, Gorthaur put on a fair visage, calling himself Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, he befriended the Elvish smiths in a region of Middle Earth called Eregion near Moria where Gandalf fell to the Balrog in the fellowship of the ring. Although they never realized who he truly was he was never welcomed by the elf lords Elrond, Galadriel and Gil-Galad because they did not trust him and refused to treat with him. Elsewhere he was gladly received, and the Elvish smiths learned much from him as their thirst for knowledge was great. Hunger for knowledge was the elves weakness and he knew it. 

Under Annatar's tutelage the Elven master craftsmen became more skilled than anyone else in that age. Remember in the beginning smithing was the first craft he mastered. He also counselled them in arts and magic. After many years when they reached the height of their power, the Elves began the forging of the Rings of Power, but Annatar knew all their secrets and ten years after the completion of the Rings of Power - he created The One Ring to control the bearers of the other rings. For this he invested most of his own power into the Ring as he forged it. I’m sure by now you know who I am talking about because he was also known more commonly in the high elf language Quenya as “the abhorred” or Sauron.   

Sauron has more fascinating stories, but I will save that for another time. My goal is to give you small bits of a common character from the world of Tolkien that you may not have heard before.  I hope you enjoyed it, let me know either way at covert.net and find the many ways you can contact me. 

 

 Paper Girls: 

Paper Girls is a mystery/science fiction comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by Image Comics. 

Paper Girls follows the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls (Erin, MacKenzie, KJ, and Tiffany) set in Stony Stream, a fictional suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. While out delivering papers on the morning after Halloween in 1988.  The girls are attacked by a group of teenagers; one of the teens steals a walkie-talkie from Tiffany. The girls chase the group to a house and find what appears to be a time machine. The girls learn that the teenagers are time-travelers from the distant future, who are engaged in an ongoing war with a group known as the "Old-Timers". At the center of this conflict is the question of whether or not the past can and should be changed by future time-travelers. 

If you like Stanger things you will like Paper Girls, they are very similar.  80’s flashback nostalgia with a touch of the weird and scary.  Over the last few weeks, I read the first 28 issues. Since I got back into comics a few years ago that seems to be the norm for me, binging on a series.  Anyway, I recommend checking out Papergirls if you like 80’s nostalgia and a time travel adventure.   

 

DC New Frontiers 

Another nostalgic comic I found was from DC called DC  New Frontiers. Slightly different since I primarily read comics from independents as of late. But this one caught my eye and I liked what I saw and read.  The story takes place in the 50’s and early 60’s of the DC universe.  The art the heros costumes reflect that style. I mentioned in a previous episode that golden age style has had a resurgence over the last 5 or 10 years.  It seems to have appeal to a new generation. 

DC: The New Frontier is an award-winning six-issue comic book series written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, and published in 2004.  

Set from 1945 to 1960, post-World War II sentiment and Cold War tension have pushed the Age of the Superhero into decline. However, when a threatening alien presence emerges on earth a new era of superheroes must join forces with veteran heroes and an unfriendly United States government to battle the nemesis 

The series was influenced by Kingdom Come, The Golden Age, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. Much like The Golden Age, New Frontier is set primarily in the 1950s and depicts Golden Age superheroes Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman meeting Silver Age characters The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. The story bridges the gap between the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the Silver Age in the DC Universe. The story was also adapted into an animated film, Justice League: The New Frontier, which was released on February 26, 2008. 

I had forgotten how different the DC heros looked in the 40s and 50’s, but they have a certain charm about them, I can’t put my finger on it.  The story flows well and you get to see all the classic DC characters you know and loveI wouldn’t say I’m a DC expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I recognized all the main characters in the story and knew the origins they were describing. Even if you are a novice DC fan you will like this book. You can pick up the TPB to read the entire story in one big volume. Go online or talk to your local comic shop.