After a long period of waiting, June 9, 2021 finally saw the premiere of Loki, another in a line of Disney+ original TV shows that form part of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Loki, of course, continues the story of Thor’s half-brother Loki, who had been presumed dead for some time. Tom Hiddleston reprises his role of the titular anti-hero, with Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino and Tara Strong also starring. The first season of the show is going to consist of six episodes, with a second season already in development. Loki is going to be the topic of today’s article.
Loki is not based on any specific comic book. As with most MCU films and shows, they use different narrative elements from different comic books, while, at the same time, fitting the whole plot within the context of the larger cinematic universe.
In today’s article, I am going to tell you whether Loki is based on a comic book and if so, which comic book it is. Also, I am going to give you some of the best Loki-themed comic books you can read if you’re a fan of the character. Enjoy!
Is the Loki TV series based on a comic book?
Disney+’s official synopsis for Loki states the following:
“In Marvel Studios’ ‘Loki,’ the mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Kate Herron directs and Michael Waldron is head writer.”(Source)
This doesn’t reveal much about the show’s origins and inspirations, but that’s really because there is nothing much to reveal, honestly. While talking about the show and its origins, Kate Herron state that Loki wouldn’t really adopt any specific comic book storyline, opting rather for an original and “weirder” approach. Here is what she told The Hollywood Reporter during an interview:
Loki is based on any specific comic book whatsoever.
“Something I always found was we would sometimes pitch something, and it would be at a good place, but he’d always be like, ‘OK, that’s great, but push it further.’ (…) Sometimes I’d pitch stuff and be like, ‘this is too weird’ and he’d say ‘No, go weirder.’ He wants to tell the best story and I found it really helpful having his eye across everything and the fact that he does challenge everything. Tom as well, on set. He brings this amazing energy and this great A-game that causes everyone to rise to the occasion.”(Source)
What comics inspired the Loki TV series?
As I have already stated, there are no direct inspirations for the Loki TV series in terms of comic books. The writers used the established narrative continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as a basis and also different, yet compatible elements from the comic books. This is why this section is not going to be a list of inspirations, but rather a simple explanation related to some concepts presented in the show so far.
The Time Variance Authority (TVA) is one of the most important factors in the Loki TV series. The TVA is not an original creation and it also made its debut in the MCU as part of the Loki TV series. The TVS is actually an infinitely vast bureaucracy that governs a significant number of realities in the ever-growing multiverse. The TVA first appeared in Thor #371 in 1986 and has been introduced to the MCU via Loki.
Another interesting concept taken from the comics is the female version of Loki. Although Sylvie Laufeydottir is pretty much an original character in the Loki TV show, the concept of a female Loki is not new and has appeared in the comics. In fact, several iterations of a female Loki have appeared in the comics, so one could deduce that this was also, partially at least, a source for the TV series’ story.
This covers the penultimate section of the article. In the final one, I am going to reveal some good storylines you should read before beginning with the Loki TV series.
What comic books should you read before watching Loki?
Now, in order for you to properly prepare for the show, I have decided to bring you a shortlist of some Marvel comics you should read before watching Loki. They won’t really reveal much of the plot of the TV show, but they will give you a better understanding of the main character and the show’s oh-so-wonderful weirdness. Here they are:
- Thor (Vol. 1): J. Michael Straczynski wrote several Marvel stories in his career, but his 2007-2011 run on Thor is what interests us here. This volume is most relevant because it introduces Lady Loki, a female version of Loki, for the first time, which is connected to the show’s plot. This Lady Loki is quite different, though, from the one in the TV show, despite the visual cues.
- Journey Into Mystery (Vol. 1), “Fear Itself”: Journey Into Mystery was Thor’s original home before he became an important standalone character. This volume of the famous title actually contains a character-defining run featuring Kid Loki.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard: This storyline, in which Loki becomes a secret agent for Asgard in order to atone for his past misdeeds, is probably the closest you’ll get to the series’ premise, as the TVA also recruits Loki as an agent so that he can redeem himself in their eyes.
- Vote Loki: Surprisingly or not, one of the most famous Loki-themed stories also found its way on this list. Vote Loki is an amazing character study into Loki’s mind and with that, it is a perfect story to read before watching the show.