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Sunday, October 20, 2013

On Being Loki

Yours Truly
Yesterday, thanks to the good offices of my friend Mike Burr, I got to march in the Little Five Points Halloween Parade as Loki in the Box Hero Corps.  The Box Heroes are the brainchild of Steven Larkworthy, a graphic designer cum strange genius who has decided to use his powers for both good and evil, designing super-villain as well as superhero costumes entirely out of cardboard boxes.  There is something strangely convincing about these cubic characters, perhaps because their natural milieu is the two-dimensional world of the comic book.

My own costume, see picture, had a pair of magnificent curving horns and a long blond ponytail in back.  Wearing a cardboard-box costume is not as uncomfortable as you might imagine; I moved very stiffly at first, more out of fear of damaging the costume than anything else, but soon got the hang of it.  The Thing was capering all over the place, dancing, running, jumping; a degree of freedom Loki's horns would never allow.  No matter.  I felt being a Norse god required a certain degree of gravitas, and made do with a stately march.

Galactus (Manning Kent)
and Captain Marvel (Mike Burr) 
The great thing about wearing a mask, especially a cardboard one, is that it does all the work for you.  Nothing is required of the performer but to keep it on his head.  Nevertheless, I found myself snarling and grimacing, thrusting my chin forward, in what I imagined was Loki-like disdain for the mortal spectators.

I was cheered and greeted everywhere I went: "Loki!"  "Loki!"  Apparently his celebrity has recently been elevated in a major motion picture.  The other odd thing, and I suppose it has something to do with the nature of Halloween, facing our fears and all that, is that children seemed to feel a special need to greet the bad guys.  I obliged them with a stern growl and a fist bump - the box hero costumes are admirably suited for fist-bumping.  One little girl said cheerfully, "Hello, Loki, even though you're evil."

I was tempted to explain that Loki wasn't really evil, that on more than one occasion he'd saved the Norse gods' hash, that his motivations were more complex and personal than an allegiance to good or evil, but I didn't.  I offered my fist to bump, gave her a friendly growl, and marched on.

Maybe I'll see her at the Christmas parade when again I don my cardboard alter ego, and face the world as Loki.

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