Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Aleister & Adolph by Douglas Rushkoff and Michael Avon Oeming.
Aleister & Adolph is Douglas Rushkoff’s comic-book version of the “Magical Battle of Britain,” told from the perspective of a young American propaganda agent, and nested within a 1990s frame story that connects the occult phenomena of the story with twenty-first century current events. The starkly black-and-white art by Michael Avon Oeming is a little cartoonish, but never silly, and is quite effective for some necessarily impressionistic passages of the plot. The story is a fast read, and a good one. With only 77 pages to the body of the book, it can easily be digested in two sittings. Despite Hitler’s presence in the title, there is no personal focus on him comparable to the one on Crowley.
A foreword by Grant Morrison heaps praise on the book, and while I found Rushkoff’s writing refreshingly free of clinkers, Morrison’s claim of “impeccable historical research” is maybe a bit over the top. On the count of positive history, though, it’s certainly a lot better than Alan Moore’s From Hell–or Symonds’ Medusa’s Head, for that matter. Selections from the artist’s sketches appended to the book include some text by Oeming that made me glad he hadn’t been the writer, e.g., “I’m still not sure if Crowley was truly evil or just a performance artist…” as if that exhausted the possibilities.
On the whole, this graphic novel is a stylish little taste of occult history, with some genuinely chilling storytelling. [via]