Now THIS looks exciting! All of my fears about Storm being a no-show are gone and I think this may be my favorite cartoon incarnation of our lovely weather goddess ever! I dunno yet, tho. Won’t know until I hear her voice actor. And how ’bout that roundhouse kick that Shadowcat shows off after phasing through some guy? Sweet! I’m a big fan of the lineup overall, although I wish there was one more female character (maybe Rogue will eventually join?). Feels like a good blend of the original five (sorry, Jean *snif*) and the All-New, All-Different crew (sorry, Banshee *cries*). It’s also nice to see Emma Frost immortalized in cartoon form as a heroine. She had a small cameo in the very first X-Men cartoon movie “Pryde of the X-Men,” but she looked pretty bad. I mean, well, everyone did. This, however, looks amazing! I am going to have to fight for a seat at San Diego to see it!
This DC Comics promotional piece has been getting a lot of buzz on the internet and if you’re a hardcore comics fan you’ve probably already seen it, but I just had to post it on my own little strand of the web.
This Sunday I’d like to share a piece of artwork drawn by Adam Hughes. It’s more of a sketch and that’s what I love about it. It’s almost a gesture drawing with some sharply defined angles. Ororo really looks likes she’s flying. So many artists aren’t able to really capture that flight of fantasy, but Hughes nails it. I think it’s partly due to how he’s positioned her arms (especially the wrists) and how Storm’s cape gives her ballast.
While perusing the Marvel Comics solicitations for September 2008 on Comic Book Resources, I came across this little gem from Black Panther #41. (A Secret Invasion tie in, natch) Needless to say it isn’t for the faint of heart . Guh-ross. Skrulls look kinda like grown up Gremlins, don’t they?
The solicitation paragraph reads:
BLACK PANTHER #41
Written by JASON AARON
Penciled by JEFTE PALO
Cover by JASON PEARSON
A SECRET INVASION TIE-IN!
“SEE WAKANDA AND DIE,” PART 3
The war for Wakanda comes to its brutal conclusion. With Storm and the Black Panther both prisoners of the Skrull invaders, is all hope lost for the people of Wakanda? Or does their king still have one last trick up his sleeve?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99
Tip: If you haven’t checked out the Jack B. Quick stories written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin Nowlan (showcased in the anthology comic Tomorrow Stories by America’s Best Comics), you’re missing out on some great stories! Check ‘em out!
One of the things I loved about reading Marvel Comics when I was growing up was how inter-connected everything was. I loved how Spider-Man got to team up with everyone, how Dr. Doom might fight The Fantastic Four in their own book and then he might show up in the Avengers. And of course, you never knew who was going to be in The Defenders comic!
In 1982, Marvel took the “reality” of their comics universe a giant step forward under the auspices of then editor Jim Shooter. He hired Mark Gruenwald to oversee an amazingly ambitious project now known as The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. This is how many characters it featured. I didn’t read these handbooks, I devoured them. They were amazingly detailed about the character’s first appearance, personal history, powers, team affiliations, and much more! I loved getting to know the intimate details of all these characters!
The coolest thing to me was the index which listed which artist drew which character. I learned about a lot of artists that I hadn’t been exposed to and I began to follow them in titles that I hadn’t explored before. It was definitely a win win situation!
One of my favorite aspects of the handbooks were the entries on teams. (Team comics are my favorite because they emphasize community. I like solo books too, but give me an ensemble cast so I can get to know as many characters as possible!) The team entries showed a head shot of each character with their name and the issue of the comic in which they officially joined that team. My favorite team entry was , of course, the X-Men but not because they were my favorite comic. I loved this entry because Alan Davis drew it.Here’s Alan’s renditions of the official X-Men team roster from the beginning: Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl, the Mimic, Changeling, Polaris, Havok, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Banshee, Storm, Sunfire, Colossus, Thunderbird, Phoenix, Shadowcat & Rogue. Aren’t they beautiful? Doesn’t he capture each character’s emotional core? Page two shows us Rachel Summers (later Rachel Grey) aka Phoenix II, Magneto, Psylocke (before she went all ninja bimbo), Longshot & Dazzler. So many characters have joined since this roster was drawn that I would love to see it updated (by Alan Davis, natch!), especially in lieu of how many spin offs there have been, are now and will be. I think it would be a helpful addition to the X-Men mythos for old and new readers alike. I mean, we can’t leave this at Dazzler, can we?
The Marvel handbooks have been revived a few times and they come out nowadays mostly as a series of one shots focused on certain families of titles (like Wolverine 2004 or Avengers 2004). They are kinda like infomercials designed to help out new readers pick up the newest crossover or event. The recently published Marvel Atlas is more in line with the spirit of the original handbooks.
“Scientists from the Imperial College of London claim to have found evidence that life on our planet did not originate from Earth itself. For the first time, the scientists say, it is confirmed that an important component of early genetic material found in meteorite fragments is of extraterrestrial origin.”
Now scroll down just one article and reread my post on Jason Louv’s “A Mutagenesis” essay from Generation Hex. DNA, baby. It’s out of this world!
“Human culture is a macrocosmic version of the insane rush of sperm for the egg. Keep this in mind next time you watch sporting events, romantic comedies, political debates, the Death Star scene in Star Wars, or anything else produced by human beings, for that matter.” Jason Louv, Generation Hex
I promised that when I finished savoring the delectable essays of Generation Hex that I would write more about this amazing collection of essays on magic edited by Jason Louv. First of all, I want to start out by saying how much I love the essays written by Jason Louv. His clear, crisp style of writing is intelligent, accessible, and loaded with information and resources. Have you ever read something that made you write down another title of a book to put on your “to read” list after you finished it? Jason’s essays are like that times twenty. Also, his endnotes are as much fun to read as his esssays. His authorial voice is informal, but educational and his tone is humorous but grounded in serious themes. I’m going to stalk him on MySpace as soon as I finish this blog post, but before I go all single white female on him, here’s some excerpts from the final essay in Generation Hex entitled “A Mutagenesis,” written by Jason Louv. They’re no substitute for reading the entirety of his eloquently presented essay, but I wanted to share just a bit of his writing with you. After name-dropping Swiss anthropologist Jeremy Narby and referencing his book, The Cosmic Serpent, which posits that the abundance of snake imagery in shamanic traditions across the world has direct ties to the double helix of DNA, Louv writes:
“Yet even dead sober, magic is a direct dialogue with the genetic coils. Take for instance, the accessing of gods and monsters, “archetypes” that Carl Jung attributed to the collective unconscious but would surely have cited as products of DNA if he had only had the language. (Which is more likely, that a collective unconscious should be found within some intangible ether, or within the genetic code that we all share?) It may be DNA that communicates to the magician in the language of synchronicities, confluences of life events, awakenings, satori, peak experiences and other occult events. DNA is implicit in the use of blood and sexual fluids in reifying wishes, by the combination of the ecstasis of orgasm or bloodshed with intent, along with our strongest magical link to our own beings, the little miscroscopic bits that contain the code for everything we are. The tarot, its twenty-two trumps a precise map of the human life cycle (and, possibly, a crude map of the twenty-three paired chromosomes of the genome itself, as the I Ching and Runes might also be)” (p. 262-3).
So, go look up Carl Jung if you need to and then check out this paragraph from page 265:
“British astronomers Sir Fred Hoyle and Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, state that life may have in fact originated elsewhere in the universe (endnote 11). The constancy of the DNA seems to bear this out. It’s easy to imagine a meteor containing some kind of cellular material landing on earth, and life taking hold, propogating itself through endless recombinations until evolving an ecosystem capable of supporting the requisite intelligence (that is, us) needed to engineer travel to other planets.
“It hides as everything.”
Endnote 11 states, “This is a more plausible version of the more widely-known theory of panspermia, which posits that DNA saturates the universe.”
Yeah, so that is amazing and a hella more scientific than you probably thought a book on magic might be, right? I mean who drops DMT and then name drops ancient Greek philosophers? More people than we think, most likely, but I digress. What I found myself ruminating about as I finished this last essay of Generation Hex is what this has to with everyone’s favorite Marvel Mutants, The Uncanny X-Men. I think the idea of mutagenesis totally applies to their story and its popularity.
If magic, as Louv posits, is really meant to be used in genetic engineering and “will produce the true mutant species,” then magic directly applies to evolution (266). Ansd if we continue to map our internal cosmos (DNA) with the same regard that we explore our outer world (earth and beyond) than both of those investigations will “have the same goal–ensuring the survival, propagation and positive mutation of the human species” (265). Our understanding and proliferation of the binary concepts of mankind and divinity will dissolve–by magic. Louv puts it best when he asks, “what is magic if not the realization of the divinity of Man?…Take any instructions for spiritual attainment and replace the words ‘God,’ ‘Allah,’ or the ‘Holy Guardian Angel’ with ‘DNA’ and you will quickly see countless methods laid out before you” (266).
So, are the X-Men representative of mankind’s future via genetic engineered divinity? Are they, like Carl Jung’s archetypes, a much deeper idea than we realized? Is the larger picture that we–and this world we live in–just one giant life form? (This suddenly reminds me of the All-New All-Different X-Men’s adventure in the legendary Giant Size X-Men #1 with Krakoa the Living Island. In the story, the original five X-Men cannot defeat an entire mutated island teaming with consciousness and it takes all of their powers to defeat its life-draining abilities. What if, instead of letting Polaris cast Krakoa into outer space, the X-Men recognized their oneness with Krakoa and understood that they were all the same life form?)
“It hides as everything.”
Perhaps we love the X-Men because they represent a future that we can intrinsically feel unfolding. We feel it in our DNA, the magic of myth and science combine to create avatars of our imminent evolution.
In closing, I have to recommend Generation Hex as a book worth reading. This post centered on just one essay and it’s given me so much to think about. That’s why I took so long reading it, because I kept reading an essay and then putting the book down to let the ideas marinate in my mind. Then I’d pick it back up again. I even read other books inbetween. Generation Hex doesn’t pontificate. These authors are living their ideas in the so-called real world. They traversing planes of existence most of us don’t even think about and they’ve shared their stories here because they are the next wave. They are mystics, magicians, shamans. They are Generation Hex. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go ask Jason Louv if he’ll add me as his MySpace friend.
It’s no secret that I really enjoyed Tom Spanbauer‘s novel The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon. It was such a great read, I was anxious for more work by the same author. A friend of mine offered to lend me Faraway Places. How could I say no? My only reticence came from wondering how another book by the same author could match the life-changing, mind-altering, spirit-feeding experience I had after reading The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon. Well, I needn’t have worried.
Faraway Places takes place in Idaho in the 1950s and is told in the first person by a young man who’s on the verge of growing up. The staccato rhythm of the narrative voice is almost brutal in its simplicity. There’s no escaping the emotional urgency of the story. Faraway Places drops you into its world immediately and doesn’t let you out until its finished. It’s 124 pages of concise, robust plot, realistic scenes and characters, and skillfully woven themes.
You can read a more plot spoilerish summary here.
Help your friends and lovers find their inner superhero!