The Hero



I finished reading a comic series a few weeks ago, called The Hero, that has quickly become one of my very favorites.

The story is a retelling of the Greek hero Heracles‘ (a.k.a. Hercules) adventures. I’ve mentioned many times in different ArtDuh posts that I am a mythology nerd, and my interest in mythology probably started to take hold way back in early elementary school with stories like The Twelve Labors. The truth is though, I don’t think I’ve really read much about Heracles since that time, although I do remember his story very well. So when I heard this new comic being discussed on the 11 O’Clock Comics Podcast, well, I just really wanted to check it out… And I am so glad I did!

The work was written and illustrated by David Rubin, and published (in the States) by Dark Horse Comics. The artwork is beautiful and clean, with great color. A visual delight, with some very interesting design going on. The story does follow The Twelve Labors of Heracles pretty closely, but there are some great reinterpretations of the myth too. What Rubin does with Atlas and Prometheus stands out and makes me like the mythology even more. And Hera‘s character is great (and disturbing) as well. The world Rubin creates is awesome too. It definitely feels like classical Greece, but Rubin throws in some modern and futuristic technology as well. For instance, Heracles might be cleaning out the Augean stables while listening to his iPod, and the god Hermes drives around in a muscle car. So cool, but it doesn’t distract either.

I guess I should say that this isn’t a story for kids. It can be ultra-violent and sexual at times, but I guess the original mythology is too.

Check it out, and geek out! | The Hero: Book 1 | The Hero: Book 2





The White Lama


Although I don’t consider myself to be a Buddhist, Buddhism will always hold a significant place in my life. I don’t consider myself to be anything really because I don’t feel like my spirit needs a label or definition, but it was Buddhism that revived my interest in anything spiritual. Actually, it was a very personally significant dream visit from the Buddha (or more accurately a dream conversation with his urn and ashes) when I was 25 or so that began to change my worldview and started me down a new path. Before then, I was stuck in the rational scientific materialist trap, I guess. Not that I don’t appreciate science or rationality, but that definitely isn’t the whole picture.

Anyway, I meant to talk about The White Lama

Tibetan Buddhism is especially interesting, because it is a sort of blending of the native Tibetan shamanism and the Buddhist teachings that were brought from India to Tibet by Padmasambhava. Although it happens much later than that initial introduction, that is the background for The White Lama, which takes place in late 19th century Tibet.

480x480bb-85The White Lama is about an orphan boy named Gabriel who is the reincarnation of the Grand Lama Mipam. Gabriel’s European explorer parents are killed very early in the story, and he is raised by Tibetan locals who train him spiritually and physically in their traditions. I don’t want to go too deeply into the story but it is all about Gabriel’s spiritual journey, his struggle to realize his destiny, an exploration of Tibetan culture, and the impact of colonialism and conquest on that culture and the people.

I really only picked up this book because it was written by Alexandro Jodorowsky, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was familiar with some of Jodorowsky’s other comic work, like The Metabarons, so I was pretty sure it’d be a good story… but its become a favorite of mine. The artwork is also impeccable, being illustrated by talented George Bess.

Again, not necessarily a horror comic recommendation for this Halloween season (although there are a whole lot of horrible things that happen), but lots ‘o supernatural goodness going on in The White Lama!

Geek Out! | The White Lama | The White Lama


The Invisibles


I’ll continue the streak and write another comic book post this week. Comictober!

invisibles1-1The Invisibles is about a small group of rebels fighting liberate humanity from the domination and psychic oppression imposed upon us by the interdemsional alien gods called the Archons of Outer Church. Multiple universes, extra dimensions, magic, conspiracy theory, alien abduction, violence, time travel, memes, consciousness-expansion… all of that stuff is here in The Invisibles, and much more! The world behind the world, the history behind the history.

51mIvr7JiNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Sounds crazy? Probably. The Invisibles isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure… but I love it. It is probably one of my favorite stories, let alone comics.

The Invisibles was created and written by Grant Morrison, who is well known for throwing some pretty strange stories and concepts out there. Morrison is very hit or miss for me. I love a whole lot of his work, and don’t like some of his work at all. But The Invisibles is, in my opinion, among his very best. The artwork is also good, overall, and a number of different artists contributed their talents to the project (click here to see who).

king-mobI read first this a long time ago but have been revisiting it again lately. Its been on my mind lately too, especially this week. Again, not necessarily a horror comic (although there is plenty of horror there), but it seems to somehow suit the Halloween season.

Geek out! | Invisibles | Invisibles




2750349-promethea_poster_1Promethea is another comic series that might suit your mood this time of year. It’s not really horror or anything, but there is plenty of supernatural in there. That’s what it is all about, and I love it!

The comic was written by Alan Moore (a favorite!), illustrated by J.H. Williams III (an amazing, amazing artist!) and inked by Mick Grey… so very much talent went into the creation of this series.

The story is about the goddess Promethea, who is a sort of personification of the imagination. Every generation or so, Promethea is reborn and takes on a new human host, usually a woman (an artist, a poet, or something like that) although one time she was a man. In this specific story Promethia is reborn and embodied as Sophie Bangs, although previous incarnations of Promethea also appear prominently in the comic as well, helping and training Sophie.

promethea23They train Sophie by teaching her about different forms of Western esoteric magic and mysticism like the tarot, Tree of Life/Kabbalah, and how to bring forth the imagination and make it real (the comic is a good introduction to these concepts too). Sophie/Promethea travel through the imagination to other dimentions, meeting gods, gaining knowledge. Of course, there are demonic beings hunting her down too, demons who want to keep the status quo and don’t want Sophie to realize her true potential and destiny. Wow! Pretty dramatic! But very well done.

*(Spioler?)* And, it is her destiny to bring about the apocalypse. But not the apocalypse we’ve always been told of in church… the original meaning of the word apocalypse was “to bring knowledge, uncover truth, a disclosure of something hidden.” Scary!

Geek out | Promethea | Promethea




Baltimore-Infernal-Train-2-coverI’d grown tired of vampire stories by the end of the 90’s or early 00’s. So much so that I started to avoid them, like a vampire might avoid the cross. I’d always liked the folklore and legends, but I came to think they were way too over-used and over-saturated in pop culture. Or maybe I just like the legend too much, sought it out, but had finally seen enough. Maybe both those reasons are true…

tumblr_mkw8hm2dYn1qka5cpo1_1280I’ve recently discovered a comic book that has revived my interest again, called Baltimore.

I really only bought this comic because Mike Mignola is involved with it and had the series on sale. Mignola is one of my very favorite comic creators, with Hellboy, B.P.R.D, and so many other great comics being written and/or illustrated by him. Mignola created this with Christopher Golden, with art by Ben Stenbeck, and it was colored by Dave Stewart. So good! Still, even though I owned a lot of it, my general aversion to vampire stuff kept me from getting around to reading Baltimore for at least a year or two. Now that I have read most of what I own, I can say it is exceptional too!

Baltimore_ChapelOfBones_2The story begins with Lord Henry Baltimore fighting in the trenches of World War 1. He and his platoon are being cut down by German soldiers and left for dead. The carnage and blood bring out ancient vampires who begin to feed. Because he fights back and even wounds one of the vampires, Baltimore unknowingly declares war on those ancients, and they proceed to destroy his life after he has returned home. This war takes Baltimore all over Europe in search of the vampire who is responsible… and beyond him too…

Such a kick-ass comic, and perfect for this Halloween-ie season! | Baltimore | Baltimore


Secret Wars


Secret-Wars-1-Marvel-Comics-All-New-Avengers-NowMarvel Comics is doing some very cool stuff in all of their books, and all of those books tie into their newest event, Secret Wars. All of their comics, all of their stories, are truly in a state of limbo right now… but that allows the creative people working on those comics try all sorts of new and interesting things.

I used to avoid the larger comic publishers for years and years, often because of their product-wide events, but when Jonathan Hickman started writing the Avengers and New Avengers a few years ago it kind of revived my interest in Marvel in general. Hickman is one of my favorite comic writers and is also the author of the main Secret Wars title. And it has been great to see how what he did in his Avengers books led directly into what he is doing now with Secret Wars, and how what he is doing now affects the future direction of Marvel Comics, their characters, and the fictional universe at large. Damn, its been so good!

I guess I should say that I will probably have spoilers from here on out.

kneel-before-doom-bf599Marvel is making some big changes and updates to their whole line of books. Its normal for comic publishers to do this from time to time because after a few years, a character’s storyline can become convoluted. The more support characters you add, and the more writers you get working on those characters, the more convoluted it can become. Then trying to merge all of these characters into one common universe that might have hundreds of creative people working on and developing each month… well, I expect that can be hard to manage. One way that writers sometimes avoid creating problems and inconsistencies in these characters is to place them into a new and alternate fictional universe. Related to the original, but slightly and intentionally different. An alternate universe where the writer can explore new ideas without having to worry about how it’ll affect everything else their comic book publisher might be putting out or the long history that has come before. Over time, this can become convoluted and confusing too. Up until Jonathan Hickman’s work on the New Avengers, Marvel had an almost infinite number of these universes. It was what came to be known as the Marvel multiverse.

In the New Avengers, Hickman began to destroy that multiverse. In New Avengers story, these different universes started to overlap and sort of phase together until they destroyed one another. There were ways to save each separate universe, but not without destroying the overlapping alternate earth.

Like I said, spoilers…

With only a handful of worlds and universes left, it is discovered that a race of god-like beings called the Beyonders are responsible for the destruction of the multiverse. A number of different Marvel characters confront the Beyonders trying to stop them and, although most of them fail and are killed off, in the end the Beyonders are stopped by Doctor Strange, Molecule Man, and Doctor Doom.

secretwars2This final battle ends up destroying the multiverse, but also allows Doctor Doom to steal the Beyonders power. With that power, Doom is able to salvage and save pieces of those final alternate earths and creates a new earth out of them called Battleworld, with Doctor Doom becoming a sort of demiurge god.

The surviving pieces of these alternate earths each have different rules and rulership. Because they each come from alternate universes, you might see multiple versions of individual Marvel characters you’ve known over the years. For instance, there is a whole geographical location pieced from the Marvel Zombie universe, with its own Spider-man, Iron Man, and Hulk. The Marvel Zombies might be next to a chunk from the world Planet Hulk (a.k.a. Greenland). And the overall Battleworld is policed by the Thor Corp, an army of alternate versions of Thor. Maybe it just sounds too strange, and maybe I just think it because I grew up reading Marvel comics, but it is really cool and well done.

Very highly recommended!

This Secret Wars shake-up is only half-way through right now, but will culminate sometime in the fall. I don’t know how the Marvel universe will look once it is done, but we can already see hints in their newest marketing. One thing that is sure, the X-men and mutants in general will play a much smaller role going forward. And so will the Fantastic Four. Probably because Marvel sold their movie rights years ago and can’t get them back, so now they are downplaying them in the comics. Corporate decisions, who knows…? Like I say, I don’t know how the rest will play out, but if the last few years are any indication, it’ll still be pretty damn cool!


OriginalSecretWarsCoverThe first Secret Wars was a Marvel event that happened in the 80s when I was a kid. In that event, specific Marvel heroes were snatched up and teleported to another Battleworld created by a child Beyonder. I loved that book so much as a kid, although now it is hard to read and not nearly as enjoyable as an adult. Still, this 2015 Secret Wars event is a sort of homage to that older event, and that’s cool…

Geek out!

The Vision


I’m so far behind on my comic book reading it ain’t even funny! I have kept up with the newest comic-book related TV shows like Daredevil (excellent!), and The Flash (also excellent!) along with these great Marvel movies. I haven’t quite seen it yet, but with The Avengers just being released, along with free-comic-book day and all I guess I’d just quickly post my second favorite Avenger. Thor always tops the list but, although I cannot explain why, The Vision has always taken the second spot.

Nerdy nerdy, geek out!