Thee Comic Column #123: Meeting Amelia Cole

Amelia_Cole_04.inddIf you read this column regularly you will no doubt have heard my mantra, born of both practicality and frustration: You can’t read everything.

You’ll also know I commonly follow that up with, “But you can try!”

That said, whenever we book a guest for Drinking with Comics whose work I am unfamiliar with I dig in and familiarize myself. This was especially true when my co-host Mike Wellman booked writer D.J. Kirkbride for this coming Monday, March 23rd. I’d read or heard about Mr. Kirkbride’s work for some time, yet up until last week had remained largely unfamiliar with it. Mike helped me out of that one.

Beneath the Panels #5: Nameless Issue Two

JAN150694Well, there I was all ready to dive into decoding a new issue of Nameless and, well, Mr. Morrison pretty much did most of the work for me.

Crap.

The enigmatic approach left behind, issue two begins with Nameless and his escorts as they arrive at Paul Darious’s Billionauts base on the dark side of the moon. Once situated we quickly get A LOT more of the Enochian language message we are introduced to in issue #1. We meet Dr. Croft, the base’s former expert on occult matters and see that something has either possessed her or sent her over the edge of sanity. The others on the base have quarantined Dr. Croft and when Burnham flashes to her we see that written on the walls of her cell in what is probably *gag* either shite or blood or a happy mixture of both, what appears to be a continuation of that Enochian message:

Thee Comic Column #122: Big Man Plans

BigManPlans-cov-01_web02A few months ago on Drinking with Comics my co-host Mike Wellman became absolutely aghast when he learned I had never read Eric Powell’s The Goon. Admittedly, since starting the show there have been quite a few books that I haven’t read that Mike has trouble understanding: Hellboy, Elephantmen (remedied now) and The Goon were big sticking points right off the bat. My defense is what it always is – you can’t read everything. There’s plenty of stuff we overlap on and probably an equal amount he’s not read that I feel is essential. It takes work to keep up, and in the interest of trying to read everything good sometimes you need a friend to point you in a particular direction you may have missed. So it was in that spirit after the shoot that night that I took Mike’s advice on where to begin The Goon and picked up the second volume of the trades.

Thee Comic Column #121: Why Spider Gwen is Important

spider-gwen-1-cover-robbi-rodriguez-109184 (1)First: there will be some who will roll their eyes at the title I chose for this piece. That’s fine. However, the fact remains that nothing is “important” until we choose to assign that value to it. Under different circumstances I might have rolled my eyes at an article bearing this title. As you read this piece you’ll see that initially I wasn’t the most receptive person for a title with a decades-deceased character re-packaged with familiar super powers. However, several things happened that changed my mind and in the process made Spider Gwen suddenly feel very important in the context of the comic book industry and Geek culture overall. It is this importance I’d like to discuss now, so whether you’re one of the folks who LOVE this new character or a skeptic, follow me down the rabbit hole and let me make my case for why I feel Spider Gwen is a watershed for much-needed change in the comic book industry.

Beneath the Panels #3: Nameless and the Tree of Life

Nameless02Way I see it, everything’s been fucked up since 2001 anyway. Since the towers came down – since the pylons fell on Trump 18 and Malkuth was gathered up into Yesod.”

Thee Comic Column #120: Re-reading Alan Moore’s Promethea

sophie 5 largeIf you have by chance encountered the new column I recently began to post here on Joup you’ll know that Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s new series Nameless has reawakened an old passion in me. The column, Beneath the Panels, is an attempt to investigate the Occult underpinnings of Nameless, and it’s really got me on my toes. Reading it you will no doubt see me illustrate how, when dealing with the Occult, it is very easy to get lost amid the hundreds of invisible wires that run between scores of disparate concepts and even seemingly conflicting ideologies. Many of these ideas end up connecting in ways that are not always obvious or even intuitive, however, getting to that point takes quite a bit of work! This is because contrary to what conventional wisdom would have you believe, the Occult is at its best a tributary of science; Magick is not sleight of hand or elaborate stage antics but an attempt to craft a unified theory of everything. This is why both in modern and medieval times Occult study draws from every world view possible – the early alchemists were as much scientists as philosophers, and the Chaos Magicians of the 80s and 90s were as influenced by Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Mathematics as they were by Austin Osman Spare or *ahem* Aleister Crowley. In diving back into this type of research – which I had taken a hiatus from for almost ten years – I found that there was no better place to go for a streamlined cram session than Alan Moore and JH Williams III’s Promethea, a comic book that not only features appearances by pretty much everybody and everything I’ve just gone on about above, but that for all intensive purposes is a primer on Magickal study and Occult theology.

Beneath the Panels #2: The Enochian Themes of Nameless

img-grant-morrison-103316726745-109308If you haven’t read the first Beneath the Panels it’s on my personal blog here. Beneath the Panels isn’t going to become a regular feature, but I will probably continue it for the duration of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Nameless. After seeing how many words it took me to cover what basically amounted to just the first page of the book in that previous installment, I figured this column would be better served on Joup. That said, the idea of moving that first installment over, with all the re-embedding, setting links and what not seemed like a waste of time. Thus, I’m leaving #1 where it is and getting on with further revealing the MANY occult influences/ideas Morrison has once again worked into the ‘code’ of his new 6-issue book. Also, I’d like to note here that a major influence on my idea to do this column has been David Uzumeri‘s amazing annotations for other Morrison works, much of which can be found at Comics Alliance and also on Funnybook Babylon.

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