TagComic Books

Ontological Terrorism for the Holidays

santa shroom

(Above: a holiday card taken from the Amanita muscaria – Holiday Cards gallery)

Christmas is always a good time of year for ontological terrorism. For example, “The psychedelic secrets of Santa Claus” by Dana Larsen from Cannabis Culture Magazine is one of my favorite links to spread around Christmas time. Larsen makes the case that though Santa Claus is now a symbol of our annual collective consumer-orgy, he may originally have been inspired by amanita muscaria mushroom eating shamans. That the very same politicians that enforce and promote the war on drugs tend to also whole heartily endorse a religious figure birthed of ancient drug culture amuses me to no end. Larsen’s idea, apparently taken from Jonathan Ott, might not pass skeptics’ muster. But most, if not all, of Christmas traditions stem from pagan practices.

saturnalia

Another of my favorite Christmas links is Patrick Farley‘s Chick tract parody about the pagan roots of Christmas. But Chick himself is all too aware of the Christianizing of pagan practices and publishes tracts warning Christians against paganism. In Are Roman Catholics Christians?, Chick portrays Roman Catholicism as a pagan religion. In The Death Cookie he compares communion with various pagan traditions, and in Fairy Tales a kid goes on a murder spree when he learns that there is no Santa.

chick tract

What you’ll never see acknowledged in the Chick tracts is that it’s not just Santa with pagan origins: the real “reason for the season” has pagan roots as well. What better holiday gift can you give your Christian loved ones this holiday season than an e-mail with a link to jesusneverexisted.com? In addition to covering the lack of historical evidence that Jesus ever existed, they take a look at pagan sources of “son of god” myths and Christ’s various predecessors such as Osiris, Apollo, Hercules, and Odin.

Alas, even the staunchest of atheists, like Dawkins and Sam Harris celebrate Christmas with their families, according to the New York Times. And despite my misgivings about consumer-binging and hazardous winter travel, I too find myself celebrating Christmas every year. Astronomer Carolyn Porco has argued in favor of creating science rituals and customs to replace religion:

Imagine a Church of Latter Day Scientists where believers could gather. Imagine congregations raising their voices in tribute to gravity, the force that binds us all to the Earth, and the Earth to the Sun, and the Sun to the Milky Way. Or others rejoicing in the nuclear force that makes possible the sunlight of our star and the starlight of distant suns. And can’t you just hear the hymns sung to the antiquity of the universe, its abiding laws, and the heaven above that ‘we’ will all one day inhabit, together, commingled, spread out like a nebula against a diamond sky?.

And in a recent Reason Magazine column Greg Beato has made the case for an increase in atheist or secular humanist merchandise, along the insane lines of Christian merchandising. Neither one of these things has much appeal to me. As Beato says, “One virtue of non-belief is that not every aspect of your life has to be yoked to some clingy deity who feels totally left out if you don’t include Him in everything you do.”

Yet, I’ve come up with an idea for a “secular humanist” celebration for December 25th, for anyone dying for something to celebrate. In Divine Horseman, Maya Deren describes the loa Ghede Nimbo as the first human who ever lived (page 38). Michael Bertiaux’s hypersyncretic Voudon Gnostic Workbook describes Baron Legbha-Nibbho as a Christ figure (page 48) and says that his death is to be recognized on Fridays. This gave me the idea of celebrating the 25th as the birth of the very first human. Not as a Voudon loa, but as a secular humanist celebration of the origin of our species.

How Comics Can Save Us From Scientific Ignorance

What’s the solution to America’s crisis in science education? More comic books. In December comes The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA, a remarkably thorough explanation of the science of genetics, from Mendel to Venter, with a strand of social urgency spliced in. “If there was ever a time that we needed a push to make science a priority, it’s now,” says Howard Zimmerman, the book’s editor and, not coincidentally, a former elementary-school science teacher. “Advances in treatments for disease cannot take place in a society that shuns science.” Zimmerman works with the New York literary publishing house Hill and Wang, which discovered Elie Weisel and has been creating a new niche for itself as one of the premiere producers of major graphic “nonfiction novels” like the war on terror primer After 9/11 and the bio-comic Ronald Reagan.

Stuff of Life is the first in a series dedicated to the hard sciences. The author is Mark Schultz, a DC Comics veteran and creator of the postapocalyptic classic Xenozoic Tales. The 160-page work, illustrated by Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon (improbably, no genetic relation), covers the regenerative processes of DNA, human migratory patterns, cloned apples, and stem cells. In a rapidly changing field, it’s as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

How Comics Can Save Us From Scientific Ignorance – Wired

Long interview with Grant Morrison on All Star Superman

This “holistic”  mode of consciousness (which Luthor experiences briefly at the end of All Star Superman) announces itself as a heartbreaking connection, a oneness, with everything that exists…but you don’t have to be Superman to know what that feeling is like. There are a ton of meditation techniques which can take you to this place. I don’t see it as anything supernatural or religious, in fact, I think it’s nothing more than a developmental level of human consciousness, like the ability to see perspective – which children of 4 cannot do but children of 6 can.

Everyone who’s familiar with this upgrade will tell you the same thing: it feels as if “alien”  or “angelic”  voices – far more intelligent, coherent and kindly than the voices you normally hear in your head – are explaining the structure of time and space and your place in it.
This identification with a timeless supermind containing and resolving within itself all possible thoughts and contradictions, is what many people, unsurprisingly, mistake for an encounter with “God.”  However, given that this totality must logically include and resolve all possible thoughts and concepts, it can also be interpreted as an actual encounter with God, so I’m not here to give anyone a hard time over interpretation.

Full Story: Newsarama

(via Arthur)

The Confessions Of Robert Crumb

From Ectoplasmosis:

The 1987 documentary on the life of Robert Crumb, underground comics pioneer, 60s icon, and the quintessential Dirty Old Man. Written by the man himself, it lacks the distance from its subject that made Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb more of a revelatory study in neuroses and emotional trauma and instead puts you squarely in the middle of Crumb’s gonzo world of misogyny and self-loathing and in that sense it is a much better illustration of Crumb the Artist as opposed to Crumb the Man.

Alan Moore interview at LA Times

The usual shit talking about Hollywood plus an update on his current projects, including:

There’s also a huge sort of reference book of magic that he is toiling on with contributions from notable artists and writing peers. It delves into Kabbalah, astral projection, seance, tarot, practical applications of magic and deep research into the origins of magic history, such as the true beginnings of the Faust tales. Talking about the book, the skeptical shaman of comics sounded positively giddy, especially for a parchment wizard trapped in a crass digital age.

“Magic is a state of mind. It is often portrayed as very black and gothic and that is because certain practitioners played that up for a sense of power and prestige. That is a disservice. Magic is very colorful. Of this, I am sure.”

Full Story: LA Times

(via Tomorrow Museum)

Jack Parsons online bio comic

jack parsons comic

Richard Carbonneau is serializing an online bio comic about Jack Parsons. Looks great.

The Marvel: a biography of Jack Parsons

(via Popjellyfish)

Grant Morrison web site update

grant morrison

Grant Morrison’s web site has been updated for the first time in years.

grantmorrison.com

There’s also a new column he’s running there (you’re supposed to register to be able to see it, but direct links there seem to work fine):

The mental, magical immersion in the DC Universe of superheroes that’s consumed all my time these five years past is finally, and quite literally, drawing to its apocalyptic conclusion and I can’t concentrate on much else until the dust settles.

[…]

What else? It’s been hectic but I’m having a good time doing these ?Final’ storylines for Superman, Batman and the DC Universe itself. I want to end on a couple of big, definitive stories before I take a break from superheroes for a little while and I’m really happy with the way all of these are turning out.

Full Story: grantmorrison.com

I hope this means new creator-owned work in the next year or so.

(Thanks Brenden!)

Alan Moore interview

alan moore

It’s like when you’ve got people like Angela Carter who, in her book The Sadeian Women, she admitted that there was the possibility she could imagine a form of pornography that was benign, that was imaginative, was beautiful, and which didn’t have the problems that she saw in a lot of other pornography. I think even Andrea Dworkin said the same thing. She said it a bit more grudgingly, but she said that conceivably there was, there could be, a benign form of pornography but she didn’t personally believe that it would ever happen. So that’s what we’ve tried to do. We’ve tried to say, yes, good pornography can exist, and I think that possibly the fact that we called it pornography wrong-footed a lot of the people who, if we’d have come out and said, ‘well, this is a work of art,’ they would have probably all said, ‘no it’s not, it’s pornography.’ So because we’re saying, ‘this is pornography,’ they’re saying, ‘no it’s not, it’s art,’ and people don’t realise quite what they’ve said.

Interview Part 1 Interview Part 2 (Probably not safe for work)

(via Tomorrow Museum)

Grant Morrison interview from 1996

Older interview by Arthur’s Jay Babcock:

“Although we have a core group of characters, anyone can belong to or oppose the Invisibles,”; Morrison explained in an introductory outline of the series. “Various ordinary and extraordinary folks [will be] drawn into a web of conspiracy that extends from the back streets of your hometown to the dark blue-green planet circling Alpha Centauri and beyond, out past the horizon of the spacetime supersphere itself, giving me the opportunity to tell stories ranging across time and genre, stories that will eventually come together and be revealed as one large-scale, shimmering holographic tapestry. This is the comic I’ve wanted to write all my life-a comic about everything: action, philosophy, paranoia, sex, magic, biography, travel, drugs,religion, UFOs … you can make your own list. And when it reaches its conclusion, somewhere down the line, I promise to reveal who runs the world, why our lives are the way they are and exactly what happens to us when we die.”

Full Story: Arthur Magazine

Free steampunk comic Freak Angels still running

freak angels

Warren Ellis’s free online post-apocalyptic steampunk comic is still running strong.

Freak Angels

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