Monday, May 31, 2010

Numinous Encounters in the Dark

If you held a gun to my head and demanded that I prove my theory that pop art based in paranormal or occult themes has the power to become a form of magic itself I would ever so gently point the gun towards the floor, amble over to my bookcase and pull out my Mike Mignola Hellboy books. Mostly those drawn by Mignola himself, but also a few stories drawn by one of Mignola's inspirations, the great Richard "Gore" Corben.

But mainly the Mignola material. No one has been able to reproduce his voice, or the synergy that can only come when a single creator is riding all of the horses. Comics are a form of creative alchemy in and of themselves- a series of random hashmarks and swatches of verbiage our imaginations assemble into narrative. It's also a still-undervalued medium, even though the crippling stigma of the second half of the Twentieth Century towards comics is finally limping off to its well-deserved death.

It's not that the Hellboy stories drawn by artists like Duncan Fegredo or the BPRD spinoff drawn by Guy Davis aren't very good comics, it's that they're not magic. They still draw upon Mignola's frighteningly-encyclopedic knowledge of occult lore (which makes sense since most of the spinoffs are written by Mignola himself), but they lack that quiet certainty, or that ineffable power that proves that somewhere along the line, something very deep, dark and strange burrowed itself in Mignola's consciousness.

Very much like Mignola's literary hero, H.P. Lovecraft. But whereas Lovecraft was (more or less) content to bluff his way through occult history by inventing his own, Mignola's considerable research chops give his yarns that much more kick.

And Mignola brings the visual punch of Jack Kirby (whose series The Demon was a obvious touchstone for the Mig) and Frank Frazetta to the table, along with his own collection of murky dungeons, dead-eyed demons and candlelit temples. Lovecraft, Kirby, Frazetta, Corben- it's a very strange brew, but it works.

Hellboy is far better known in his feature and animated film incarnations but when you're talking about magic, that stuff is HINO- Hellboy in name only. The demands of the multiplex masses don't allow for the the dark, still, quiet nights in which Hellboy does his dirty business. They don't allow for the occult ephemera, conspiratorial politics and arcane sigils with which Mignola weaves his spells. In the comics, Hellboy's villains are always still, calm and quiet because they don't have to prove that they want to wipe the rest of us off the face of the planet in tribute to some dark alien demon or another. They just do.

Hellboy stories are often hilariously funny in spots, which just deepens that creep-out effect.

Maybe a lot of you out there aren't really interested in comics, or have seen the not-great movies and are turned off to the concept. If so, that's a real shame. I'd recommend Mignola-drawn Hellboy books to anyone interested in the cryptic tryst between entertainment and the esoteric even if they've never read a single comic book in their lives.

It's not that there aren't artists working in other mediums that aren't doing great work, but certainly no one can beat Mignola at summoning strange energies from the ether (and putting them on paper with a dizzingly-minimalist visual vocabulary, I might add).

Words and pictures- funny, the ancient Egyptians understood the power of that alchemical marriage, didn't they?

Bonus factoids: Mignola has done design work for Bram Stoker's Dracula, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree about Mignola. I remember the first encounter with his work during my batman phase with "Gotham by Gaslight". as with Hellboy the movies are fun, but the comics have the craft.
    Along the line of occultism entering the pop literature world, I just finished reading Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman, and laughed my ass off while immensely garnishing my own knowledge of the occult through a teenage girl protaganist who is obsessed with Crowley and the tarot. It is a young adult novel that came out last year and I love to think of its indoctrination power of the esoteric to all the youngsters that might read it.

  2. Hi Chris,

    Good actually. I enjoyed the Hellboy movies, pure entertainment as I say and humorus.

    Here are some syncs for you...

    Solomon’s Temple – H E Double L –

    The Subliminal Called HELL

    The Letter E – EL – Electricity
    The letter E is symbolic of the EYE, and relates to the name EL or ELI, the father of all gods. (El = Eli = Electricity). The full triune godhead is incomplete without symbolically including the mother and the son, so the 2nd E, mirrored, represents the opposite of the father, which is the mother. Together, the father E and the mother E produce the H which is symbolic of the sun/son god, by the name of Horus.

    EHE = EYE, the All Seeing Eye

    These 2 ELL’s, combined with the H in Horus, give us the notion of HELL and the place of torment. The name Horus is where we get the word HORIZON which is symbolic of the sun rising upon the earth.

    HORUS = ROH-US = ROSE = TO RISE = HORIZON, which corresponds to the ARC, or DOME of the RISING SUN / SON

    Horizon, is in itself, another play on words, relating to the sound of:


    This is a foundational subliminal within the luciferian agenda, suggesting the electrical ION.


  3. Mignola is the true wizard. The rest of us are/were temporary apprentices hoping to learn a little magic. Some of us can't even get the damn brooms to carry a bucket of water.

    Great post.

    Tad Stones
    Hellboy Animated

  4. I agree whole-heartedly with everything you've said here. Hellboy is one of the few modern comic books that really captured my imagination - Mignola's mastery of the comics medium, coupled with his immense knowledge of weird tales, folklore, and mythology, imbues the character with a sense of archetypal power whose source is WAY older than comic books themselves. Other than Mignola himself, Corben is the only artist who has successfully channlled that magic. (The movies, on the other hand, somehow managed to siphon off all the mythic grandeur and darkness that makes the comics so compelling.)
    Have you ever read Arthur Machen's short story The White People? Came across it online recently; its one of the closest anologues in prose to Mignola's style that I've ever encountered.

  5. This was a wonderful summation of Mignola's work, its dark power and sense of awe. I suspect you don't have to be an occultist or empath to feel the dark, quirky energy in these stories. Richard Corben is great, and Duncan Fregredo is an excellent artist as well, but neither of them approach the lonely grandeur Mignola's shadow-draped style.

    Obviously, I could go on and on about Mike Mignola, and he vies with John Romita Jr. as my favorite artist on any given day. The only other artist I can think of who evoked a sense of awesomeness, grandeur, and age to this level was Jack Kirby. Think of Galactus, or Darkseid, his 2001 A Space Odyssey, the Eternals, and the like. Kirby's work in the ancient astronaut arena is almost Shaver-esque.

  6. Those look so cool! I loved the movies. I am gonna have to check out those comics. Thanks for posting this. Hmmm! Wonder if there is a Hellboy video game?

  7. Ds888, your fear of the Luciferian agenda is an agenda in itself. With a moniker Dark Star are you of a dark nature? Lucifer means Light bringer. The profane is always fearful of the occult(hidden). To learn about ourselves one must explore all sides of the psyche. To me fundmentalist Xtians are in the dark, always fearful of their true nature. Always self righteous and hateful to their own nature. Hell, hateful to life and nature. I hope Chris and his readers seek light to dispel un-natural bias and superstition. Hail the lightbringers and Hail Isis! Dennis

  8. To me, his biggest appeal is his washed out color palette. I could stare at those colors for hours.
    Thanks for posting.

  9. Rob- Andromeda Klein, eh? Ahh, more data for the mill- I'll check it out.

    DarkStar- How exactly are those syncs? You lost me.

    Tad- Well, I loved the second HB ani, so you did something right!

    Tristan Right on- which is why I wasn't heartbroken to hear Del Toro is off the Hobbits. And I know Machen but not that story.

    Scott- Another one! Good to see we're on the same page here!

    CDH- I think there is a video game actually...

    Dennis- The whole "Luciferian" thing always throws me. Lucifer isn't even in the real Bible, so why would anyone build an agenda around him? I think it's all projection. There are enough real evildoers out there without having to invent new ones.

    Alan- Right on!

  10. My mistake Chris. I meant to refer to symbolism. Sorry..:)

    Dennis said...
    "Ds888, your fear of the Luciferian agenda is an agenda in itself. With a moniker Dark Star are you of a dark nature? Lucifer means Light bringer. The profane is always fearful of the occult(hidden). To learn about ourselves one must explore all sides of the psyche."

    Yes The prince of darkness is The angel of light!

    Lets clear-up one thing, I'm not afraid of any luciferian Agenda. I never said to fear anything. You are stating that! That's not what I stated. And...I have no fear of anything.

    "To learn about ourselves one must explore all sides of the psyche."......what does this mean?

    The luciferian agenda is based on intellect, the DUMBING DOWN PROCESS – perpetuated through religion, science & magic.

    These three are synonamous & together form the luciferian doctrine of SATANISM, which is the ENLIGHTENMENT, or manifestation of knowledge. Since there is no such thing as an actual Satan, the THOUGHT PROCESS, conjured up the LIGHT, or ENLIGHTENMENT, & every DIVISION within the 3D experience.

    Yet again, more clearly stated, Satanism is DUALITY. Satanism is luciferianism, & is the LIGHT BRINGER, & therefore is the concept of the creator God. This fabricated notion of a creator God manipulates the masses into an even deeper hypnotic state. Today, this deeper hypnotic TRANCE state has surpassed what religion & science had accomplished hypnotically through the centuries, & especially in the last few decades. The reptilian brain obsessed thinkers have conjured up the notion of marrying science & spirituality. Though the implication is constantly presented that intellectualism is somehow an advancement in wisdom, in reality, it is the process of absolute disconnection from reality & wisdom.

  11. Have to get onto the Mignola Hellboy ASAP. Neglected it entirely so far.

    Am presently perusing Forbidden Planet for sets...

  12. Haven't listened to this yet but I think it may interest The Secret Sun and its readers:

    Gnostic Media Podcast: The Mormons: Joseph Smith's Psychedelic Voyage

    "This show is titled "The Mormons: Joseph Smith's Psychedelic Voyage" and is being released on Monday, May 31, 2010. My interview with Dr. Robert Beckstead and James Warren Mooney was recorded on May 31, 2010.

    James Warren Mooney personally represents all of Oklevueha Native American Church independent branches; including Oklevueha Native American Church of; Navajo, Paiute, Cherokee, Chippewa, Lakota Sioux, Narragansett Nations (led by federally recognized card caring American Native persons) as well as 45 Utah Oklevueha Native American Church independent branches. His list of acolades is more than 10 pages long, so for today I'm going to keep it brief.

    Robert T. Beckstead, MD has practiced as a board certified emergency physician for 32 years with training in hypnosis from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and Jungian dream analysis from Pacifica Graduate Institute. His interest in the possibility that Joseph Smith used psychedelic plants, cactus, and mushrooms to facilitate visionary experience and spiritual ecstasies arises from readings in Mormon history and his emergency medicine practice. This includes training and experience in diagnosing the class of hallucinogen intoxication from its manifesting symptoms (toxidrome) and the administration of Ketamine as a powerful dissociative anesthetic for painful procedures in the emergency department. Dr. Beckstead is Affiliate Faculty, Idaho State University Portnuef Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Pocatello Idaho."

  13. Chris, my favor of light and its illumination of shadows is what I mean in my explanation of the Lucifer concept. The DS888 agenda is full of bogey creatures to enslave humanity. I simply state that light is a good thing,shadows should be explored after all it is part of our nature. The fear of enlightenment is ignorance. Dennis

  14. How come no-one though of this before, this scenario is so genial, so fearless, so incredible.
    I'm baffled conspiracy sites never came up with this.

    sinopsis: As WWII comes to an end, German scientists working in the Antarctic make a breakthrough in anti-gravity technology, build some spaceships and flee to the moon, where they spend the next few decades preparing a future invasion of Earth

  15. Holly-Wood is way too reserved when wielding their magic.

    I enjoyed the movie but it should have been much more subversive.

  16. i think your theory is absolutely brilliant! (especially since i recently discovered - much to my amazement - that iam a black woman, among many other things)

  17. I never ever watch live TV, but I did tune in to 20/20 tonight. Great job on the segment~! Too bad they couldn't give you more time. The show was actually pretty interesting considering the venue.

    Your Friendly


  18. The DS888 agenda is full of bogey creatures to enslave humanity. I simply state that light is a good thing,shadows should be explored after all it is part of our nature. The fear of enlightenment is ignorance. Dennis

    Dennis..I don't fear Enlightenment. Besides, there is no such thing. Yes humanity is ENSLAVED now...not going to be! Let's make this clear, it's not my Agenda. Why don't you read and comprehend then maker an intelligent comment. How do you know enlightenment is good? Did god tell you himself or did the same stupid experts who wrote the made up bible and science?

    For the record...Lucifer is not a good guy, so why would you want to follow him...the light as you say? And what if your thery is wrong?

    The name LUCIFER means LIGHT BRINGER, or LIGHT BEARER, and it is the fabricated god of the Old Testament, and every other religious writing, that is the light bringer, or the Shaitan, the Satan, the one who brings knowledge or enlightenment.

  19. "We serve no one by withholding information. We do not serve ourselves by refusing to investigate.

    Lack of information never assisted anyone. Accurate information allows us options; we can choose to take action based upon it or choose to ignore it, but not knowing does not assist us. So put aside your preconceived notions, your psychological defence mechanisms, and your prejudices. Take a chance on remembering what could well grant you complete economic, emotional, and spiritual freedom.

    Any “Logics” course will teach that we can have a completely logical system which reaches a logical conclusion yet it is not true because it is based upon a false premise. The mind seems not to care if it reacts from something that is untrue as long as it feels certainty. So, the best position from which to learn
    is from ‘uncertainty’ – ‘being in the question’.

    Can we afford to be so arrogant as to pretend we know something we don’t know the knowing of which
    could transform our lives" – Werner Erhard

  20. Ds888 my moniker is 87, you are on glue. Truley you are mistaken. What is you fear of enlightenment? You and your kind have no understanding of the human being spirit.Your myopic comments are lame. What the hell are you so fearfull of? A womans embrace? A child with knowledge? What is it you bring your myopic and ignorant story of the Devil? No mention of Satan in Bible(as if it is of any importance) Your blog is inane and fearfull of human potential. Dennis from Oregon.

  21. Dennis said...
    Ds888 my moniker is 87, you are on glue. Truley you are mistaken."

    Did you mean your Mother is 87 so what? So is mine, she be 87 this years. See we have one thing in common. Next I don't do glue. Don't need to. This world is an Illusuion as it is, I don't need to do crap like clue.

    No I'm not mistaken. You haven't read what I read.

    Again I'll repeat myself...I fear nothing in this world, not even death. No why, because there is no such thing as death. We don't exist so we can die.

    Here read these line. I suppose you think its just a few lines from a MOVIE. Well it's not. The writers know sometime you don't...the truth. You may think I'm on glue, but the passages from the Matrix are TRUTH...

    Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

    Neo: The Matrix.

    Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

    Neo: Yes.

    Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

    Neo: What truth?

    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

    Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

    Can we afford to be so arrogant as to pretend we know something we don’t know the knowing of which
    could transform our lives" – Werner Erhard

    "Can we afford to be so arrogant as to pretend we know something we don’t know the knowing of which
    could transform our lives" – Werner Erhard

    Guess the quote from Erhard meant nothing to you? Hmmm, tough one to crack...DarkStar thinks.

    Dennis you are blind with subliminal messages that have program you in a box, unaware of our true wisdom and reality. It seems to want to stay ignorant to the 3D illusion around us, metophorically speaking, the "Matrix".

    The proof is everywnere, but you don't see it. Come to my blogs, read ask questions and use your intelligents instead of the brain washing you have recieved your whole life.

    1) I bet you think Floride in toothpaste & is good for your teeth, it's not. It's one of the worst TOXINS known man & people mindlessly consume it. Why?

    2) How about flu you take those to? Maybe you don't know it, but the flu shot itself can kill you and or they just don't don't work. Vaccines in gereral don't work, bever did. It was published in 1920 that vacines are dangerous to human and animal alike. Want proof?


  22. 3)Ask yourself:
    - Why do you pay a cable company to watch advertisements?
    - Why do you pay a movie theater to watch advertisements before the film begins?
    - Why do you accept the upside down stars on the Republican Party’s logo?
    - Why do you accept the backwards U.S Flags on the uniforms of the army soldiers?
    - Why do you pay income tax and get nothing in return?

    These things may seem petty and insignificant, but if you think back to the first time you paid for cable & watched a commercial – or the first time you sat through a commercial before a movie came on – or the feeling you got when you first saw a backwards flag on a U.S soldier or the feeling you get when you pay income tax – or the feeling you get when you see the Republican logo…That feeling is exactly what the illuminati are measuring when they ‘shock’ you. what is your reaction?

    - disbelief
    - apathy
    - belief

    The only way to measure docilness is to create a shocking scenario and see if the people believe it or are apathetic to it.

    …invisible god anyone???

    - if backwards flags don’t shock you
    - if commercials before movies don’t shock you
    - if upside down stars on Party logos doesn’t shock you
    - if a tax that pays for nothing doesn’t shock you
    - If paying a monthly bill to watch commercials doesn’t shock you….

    Then you have PROVEN that you are mindless and DOCILE.

    Anyone who does not respond with outrage to shocking things is DOCILE BOVINE and therefore no longer a human being!

    Actually you don't have to be outraged or do anything, just be AWARE.

    Instead of judging me...ask questions, ask how or why I know these things. Read the following blogs/site. Maybe you realize there more to this 3D illusion than meets the eye.

  23. I think I first discovered Mike Mignola when I read his Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser adaptations, which were brilliant. I was turned on to that style from Jan Duursema's work at the end of the Marvel Star Wars run, which I had a hard time liking at first. Later I found Cam Kennedy, another artist with a similar style.

    I wonder who 'came first' with the style since they all seemed to be contemporaries except maybe Kennedy. Does anyone know?

    Anyway, my point for posting was actually Fritz Leiber whose writing style I felt was the perfect fit for Mignola's edgy, seemingly minimalist artwork. I wonder if there is semiotic info in Leiber's work, as well?