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Comic Books, Heroics and Magick

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.mythology,rec.arts.comics.misc,rec.arts.frp.misc,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.misc
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Re: Comic Books, Heroics and Magick
Date: 19 Jun 1997 03:19:20 -0700

49970618 aa2 Hail Satan!  

#>most DS fans may not like my characterization, and yet if we are 
#>honest, the twin visions of HERO and MADMAN are clear to be seen.
#>it is keeping this twin vision very much in mind that I find
#>to be a valuable and perhaps 'proper' means of reading comic books
#>generally, this one in particular. (Bishop):
#Though I am not as well read in DS as yourself, I would like to
#learn more on your thoughts concerning the "twin visions of HERO and MADMAN"
#you speak of in the above quotation. 

great.  I said something about it as regards the Doctor's stories being
able to be interpreted as both the literal story of a superhero or the
experiences of a psychotic, a self-deluded megalomaniac.

#...Do you find that this concept
#can be found in any other sources whether mythical or not? 

all comic books about superheros can be seen in this way, but Strange's
is the most obvious of the older heros.  the likely genre, as you mention 
below, is the VISIONARY/WIZARD and MADMAN.  typically the Magus inspired
by the new paradigm will seem mad to those stuck in the old one, and in
some cases stories portray a variety of perspectives.  an example in
a film I saw recently is Don Quixote.  in film there are a number of
allusions to madness surrounding the central figure, sometimes not even
resolving this dualism (e.g. Gilliam's 'Brazil' or 'Baron Munchausen').

however, from the perspective of the reader/viewer, typically the hero 
is portrayed in no uncertain terms -- clear-headed, dealing with 'this'
("real") world, thinking logically, etc.  a couple where this is not
the case are 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (just saw that one recently
too, coincidentally enough) and 'Jacob's Ladder'.  the latter film is
exceedingly well-done.  another is Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse Five'.

#How do you relate
#this to the "Mad Seer" paradigm as found, for instance, within the Merlin
#as found in the History of Britian (I believe this is the correct
#title as I am not in front of my reference right now) by Geoffrey?

I think they are very close, though the Strange comics offer this experience
*from the inside*, and thus constitute a more unusual form of literature.
in fact, to accept the comics at face value is not really to discover that
'mad' perspective at all.  they portray the hero as a consistent and
contiguous (with the occasional exceptions where he faces himself, being is
driven to extremes by villains) whole, able to easily interact with everyday
objects and life (even if having some troubles interpersonally).  

one of the key clues that his is not entirely delusionary is his man-servant
(whose name is 'Hamir' if I am not mistaken).  this servant takes the self-
effacing path which Strange contrasts, functions in the capacity of his
butler and maid, appears in a few of his adventures, and remains faithful
to him despite all the queer things which happen.  of course I think he was
originally a student of the Ancient One, Strange's Master, so perhaps 
the Doctor's antics aren't really anything new to him.

Merlin and other visionaries/wizards are usually depicted from the outside
and we are left to determine through the length of the story whether they
are mad or if they have their sight fixed on the Truth.  stories like those 
of Patricia McKillip or T.H. White paint a very colorful picture, varying
in tonal quality and depth of character.  usually if there is any kind
of sustained focus on that visionary/madman he figures as the main character
(as in Mary Stewart) or a transitional character to maturity (White, or see 
the characters 'Macros the Black' in Feist's 'Magician' series, Gandalf in 
the Tolkien classic, the Demon(shunal traveller) in Asprin's Myth series, 
among any number of others).

#Thank you in advance for your time is this inquiry.

my pleasure.

blessed beast!

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