What was the first appearance of any of the Olympic gods as character(s) in modern (1880+) SciFi or Fantasy outside of ancient greek settings?

I'm talking about them being major characters, ala Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" or Apollo-themed Star Trek episodes, not just bit appearances to be a literal Deus Ex Machina.

Start Trek Apollo is the first one I can think of but I'm sure there must have been earlier ones.

Specifics of their godhoods are irrelevant (e.g. whether they are "real" deities, or aliens who pretended to Greeks to be gods).

4 Answers 4


If not Thor, would you accept Marvel Comics' Hercules, formally introduced in Journey Into Mystery Annual #1, in 1965?

Mythologically speaking, he's more of a hero and merely a demi-god, but he's certainly a mythical figure that found its way into popular (comic) fiction two years before Star Trek's Apollo.

A second possibility, earlier but a bit less concrete, can be found in C.S. Lewis' Narnia books. The books are mostly comprised of Christian allegories, but with plenty of other mythological tidbits thrown in for good measure. One that specifically comes to mind is in Prince Caspian, way back in 1951, where a wild Bacchanalian party is thrown by, well, Bacchus himself.

One was a youth, dressed only in a fawn-skin, with vine-leaves wreathed in his curly hair. His face would have been almost too pretty for a boy's, if it had not looked, so extremely wild. [...]

"I say, Su, I know who they are." "Who?" "The boy with the wild face is Bacchus"

The reason I say "less concrete" is that he isn't really a central character, hardly a character at all. He just shouts out his "Euan, euan, eu-oi-oi-oi-oi!" and inspires a moveable feast around him, but isn't much more than background.


Thorne Smith's The Night Life of the Gods (1931) has classical Greek deities frolicking in Prohibition-era New York.

But I bet there's an earlier work ...


A few stories by Lord Dunsany had Greek gods as characters, at least “Poseidon” (1941; collected in In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales). Jean Ray had Greek gods and associated mythological figures (titans, erinyes) as characters in Malpertuis (1943; not translated into English as far as I know, but it inspired a movie). Both stories explore the theme of gods requiring belief.


Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) was the first appearance of Thor in the Marvel universe.

  • 4
    Thor was Norse mythology, not an Olympic god (Greek mythology) Commented Jun 9, 2012 at 11:16

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