Will there be a day when someone discovers the secrets of these supernatural events, that reflection of the shadow of the soul that manifests itself between awakening and sleep, in a state of purgatory and unconsciousness?
Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Dreaming City [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Julien Blondel, Jean-Luc Cano, and Julien Telo, foreword by Jean-Pierre Dionnet, vol 4 of the Elric series.
This newly-released (in English) fourth volume completes the “first cycle” of Julien Blondel’s bandes dessinées adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories. Blondel takes a lot of liberties with the original texts–something on the level of a typical cinematic adaptation of a novel–but his choices are generally very good and have reportedly met with Moorcock’s own approval. One of the biggest changes was introduced at the end of the third volume and is central to this one. . . . . . . . [hover over to reveal spoilers] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I like the gloomy, shadow-heavy art by Telo in this book, but some of the compositions are hard to “read” in narrative terms, especially during the climactic confrontation among Elric, Cymoril, and Yrkoon. In some panels for example, I didn’t know which of the rune-swords is being shown: is that Stormbringer or Mournblade? These stumbles “work” impressionistically, reflecting Elric’s own confusion, but they are still a little frustrating for the reader.
The foreword by Jean-Pierre Dionnet (co-founder of Métal hurlant, who asks that you read his essay after The Dreaming City to which it is prefaced) is the least of these in the series, but like the others it contains some piquant autobiographical reflections and musings on international culture and the role of fantasy. It does include one amusing double-translation through French: the Moorcock novel “Here’s the Man” (i.e. Behold the Man, which is the biblical ecce homo).
The claim to have finished a cycle of the larger saga is a fair one here. Most of the story threads have been tied off, if not ruthlessly cut and burned, by this point. The issuance of these volumes has been at a pretty leisurely pace, and I hope that they continue without an even longer intermission than the ones before.
Many religions have a belief in the supernatural. This may be a belief in God or in supernatural forces. Some ask for a belief in many gods. In H+ there is only a belief in the potential of yourself and in the potential of your fellow human beings.
Edward De Bono, H+ A New Religion?
“Religion & the Decline of Magic is Keith Thomas’s classic history of the magical beliefs held by people on every level of English society in the 16th and 17th centuries and how these beliefs were a part of the religious and scientific assumptions of the time. It is not only a major historical and religious work, but a thoroughly enjoyable book filled with fascinating facts and original insights into an area of human nature that remains controversial today—the belief in the supernatural that still continues in the modern world.” — back cover
Munchen, Minnesota is a place that may be of interest to you in your travels. This upcoming series being developed by Christine Borne (who is also apparently working on a YA novel about Krampus!) and Justin Glanville is planned to debut in April 2014 and centers around a fictional town, its residents, and their outsider, esoteric, supernatural and weird stories. It’s a little early to know much more about this project, but it certainly sounds promising to me, and perhaps to you as well.
“Hello, and Welcome to Munchen, Minnesota!
Like a lot of older industrial cities in the Midwest, Munchen (pronounced ‘Munchin’) has fallen on hard economic times. As people and businesses have moved away, many of the town’s neighborhoods have emptied, leaving old houses vacant and crumbling. Crime is rampant. The public schools are in disarray.
But Munchen’s got an even more serious problem: It’s on the verge of a supernatural invasion. The threat seems to loom ever larger as the town declines. And the only people with the power to save it are a geeky teenage girl, her gay librarian father, and an ambitious city planner who didn’t have a clue what he was in for when he transferred from the East Coast.
This blog is a platform that Christine and Justin developed for launching our series about Munchen and its unlikely heroes. It is our Sunnydale, if Sunnydale were in flyover country and overcast 267 days of the year. We’re both attracted to the mystique that place holds for certain people — whether for good or ill. Munchen is as much a character in our story as any of our humans (or non-humans).”
“We’re planning to launch Munchen as a serial, though right now we’re still experimenting with format. Will it be a web comic? A series of e-books? A full-cast audio production? Surely the answer will come to us in a dream, or leap out from behind a door when we least expect it.
Meanwhile, we’re going to chatter at you about writing, weird fiction, creatures with sharp teeth, and the forgotten places at the far corners of the psyche. Oh and also TV.” [via]
This fourth collection of the Locke & Key series is clearly moving into the climax of the entire series arc. (There are two more volumes to go.) The pace is often much faster than in earlier parts of the series; chapter three (“February”) in particular barrels through a whole mess of events, often realizing a whole complicated day’s adventure in a single panel. Over the course of this collection, six new magic keys are introduced, a pace that more than doubles the rate of the earlier numbers. The graphic violence is probably more extreme than in any of the prior volumes as well.
The motivation of our prime villain Dodge becomes clearer to the reader in these stories, at the same time as his culpability starts to become evident to the Locke family. It appears that the stakes may be far higher than the well-being of the Lockes or Keyhouse. But not all the evil in these comics is supernatural. The commentary on homophobia that had been introduced earlier in the series is supplemented with some candid observations of/on racism. Some readers might find these a little preachy, but I thought they were handled artfully, and they speak to the tenor of the times.
In the first chapter of Keys to the Kingdom Hill and Rodriguez pay very overt tribute to Bill Watterson, with Bode Locke as an obvious stand-in for Calvin. And in “Casualties” (#22 of the original comic) Bode and Rufus Whedon populate another homage to earlier comics in the form of an invented Squadron Strange action adventure. The Locke & Key series has such beautiful art and rich storytelling that I’m sure it will someday be the object of such admirations and acknoweldgements from a younger generation of comics creators. [via]
The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.
Obscurum is an occult anthology by Of Blood and Oak [also] due to be published in November 2012. Of Blood and Oak describes itself as a publisher of “horror, the occult and the peculiar”. Deadline for submissions of “real life stories and experiences, well researched features, fiction, poetry, photography and high quality artwork” covering the subjects of “the supernatural, witchcraft, voodoo, druidry, nature, divination, stone circles, the afterlife” is September 30, 2012. You may be interested in checking this new journal out and consider submitting something.
“The first Of Blood and Oak anthology will be entitled Obscurum. It will be packed with tales, features, artwork and photography on the theme of the Occult.”