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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, August 14 2017

A new theme park opens to celebrate one of the world's most beloved animation studios. A look at one of American Gods' versions of Jesus. And a fan film celebrates Neil Gaiman's acclaimed Sandman comic. It's Airy Monday, our segment on magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Disney may be the commercial leader in animation, but they're not the only studio that's beloved around the world. Also notable is Studio Ghibli, the Japanese studio responsible for such films as Whisper of the Heart, Spirited Away, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The studio has been on a bit of a hold for a few years since its premier director, Hayao Miyazaki, retired but that doesn't mean it has waned in popularity. Now a new theme park is opening in Japan celebrating the studio.

Many people have a special hero they hold in their heart as the embodiment of all they want to be. For some that hero is a folklore character like Robin Hood, for others a real person like Martin Luther King, Jr. For Hugo-nominated writer Charlie Jane Anders, it was Wonder Woman.

Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods gained acclaim upon its release years ago for its depiction of Old World gods finding their way in the New World. But one Old World god was notably missing from its wide cast of characters: Jesus Christ. When Starz adapted the TV series earlier this spring it changed that by adding not just one Jesus but several, each representing a different take on Christ by his worshipers. The Mary Sue takes a look at one of the more memorable depictions: Mexican-American Jesus.

When David Lynch announced he was revisiting his old TV series Twin Peaks after more than two decades no one really knew what to expect. Certainly, few imagined the show would be what it is now. In particular, many have been baffled, amused, frustrated, and entertained by the show's new version of series protagonist Dale Cooper: the hapless "Dougie Jones." But perhaps that's part of the point? The Verge's Tasha Robinson discusses the role of Cooper as a reflection of the audience.

Before he wrote The Graveyard Book, Coraline, or American Gods, Neil Gaiman made a name for himself revisiting one of DC Comics' oldest and most obscure characters, Dream of the Endless (also known as Morpheus), the personification of dreams. Recently, Warner Bros has discussed the possibility of adapting it to film. As often happens though, fans have beaten the studio to the punch in a short film that Gaiman himself approved.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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