Monday, September 21, 2015

Night Force: Weaponized Black Magic

Give Webster Tarpley the credit for calling out the agenda long before anyone else. He saw that the the Obama Administration - the Phoenix-like resurrection of the old Rockefeller Republicans trading under the Democrat label - had set their sights on war with Russia and China while everyone else was still speculating about Iran. 

Tarpley knew that the Obamafellers would cut a deal with Iran and go after Russia, which they are certainly doing now, using their Saudi friends to crash the oil market (which has the added benefit of crashing the economies of the Rockefellers' old enemies in the American West).

The Great Game is played no matter who is in power.  Presidents don't matter, parties don't matter, Congresses don't matter. I'm not even sure if Obama even sits in on these strategy meetings anymore. As with Reagan and W and maybe even Bubba, he seems surplus to requirements. American cities burn and Obama plays golf on Martha's Vineyard.

So welcome to Cold War II. 

I was thinking about the Cold War and the Rockefellers when I was reading a great old comic- a very strange and powerful artifact of a time when DC Comics was willing to try anything to regain the ground it lost after giving the reins to artist/editor Carmine Infantino in the late 60s. 

Simultaneously imperious and incompetent, Infantino rewarded his old friends with plumb gigs but crushed anyone who questioned his authority. Even the creators of Superman were not immune from Infantino's thirst for vengeance. 

When a group of veteran creators tried to organize to get benefits such as health insurance in the late 60s, Infantino had them all blacklisted. Some would find work at Marvel but many found themselves out of work.

After Infantino embarrassed the company with his handling of the Superman creator controversy, he was replaced by magazine industry vet Jeanette Kahn. Infantino's nemesis Dick Giordano later came in as editor in chief and the Kahn-Giordano regime set about rebuilding the shattered DC brand by repairing relations with talent. This strategy would lead to some of the best known properties in comics history such as Frank Miller's Batman: Year One and Dark Knight series and Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and Watchmen series.

As is so often the case, timing was everything. With the controversial Jim Shooter taking control at Marvel at the very same time Kahn and Giordano were looking to bolster their tired staff of aging journeymen, the new DC team found themselves with a mass exodus of top tier creators looking for new deals. One of these was Marv Wolfman.

Wolfman wrote pretty much everything for Marvel but is perhaps best remembered as the writer of Tomb of Dracula, a long-running series that took its cues from the Hammer films and expanded greatly on the themes of evil and Satanism, thanks to a loosening of the Comics Code. Wolfman and artist Gene Colan created the vampire killer Blade in Tomb, a character who spawn a series of films and a short-lived TV series.

When Wolfman moved to DC he revived the old Teen Titans concept with artist George Perez, giving the new DC its first bonafide hit. With that clout he then created a comic meant to appeal to an older readership called Night Force, which previewed in New Teen Titans #21.

Oddly enough the original inspiration for Night Force came from an unsold idea for a newspaper strip called The Unexplained, which was one of the endless parade of X-Files predecessors that drift like tulpas out there in the ether. 

The Unexplained was created with top artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, but fell victim to a newspaper strike before it could launch. Apparently, there was a great deal of interest in the property. How strange the flow of events can be.

Wolfman was tapping into strange currents with Night Force. Tomb of Dracula was famously praised by a member of the Church of Satan for presenting the satanic point of view so fairly (there was a character clearly modeled on Anton LaVey, and Dracula became head of a satanic cult in Tomb) and that seemed to make an impression on Wolfman. The only recurring character in Night Force was Baron Winter, who also seemed to be based on Anton LaVey, but seemed to portray a more ambiguous morality in place of satanic evil.

But the interesting thing is - and here's where we get back to the Rockefellers  - is that the first story arc in Night Force dealt with a Cold War battle between the US and the Soviets over one Vanessa Van Helsing (of that famous family, yes), who was herself an unwilling conduit for satanic evil. In Night Force, both the US and Russian militaries saw evil as a kind of electromagnetic force that could be harnessed and then weaponized. 

Wolfman seemed to be reading a lot of the more outre conspiracy material of the time, which was full of this stuff. But as regular readers are well aware, there was some basis in truth to all of this- Satanists on government payrolls, psychical research as a potential weapons technology. Anton LaVey was a paid informant for the SFPD, his old lieutenant Michael Aquino was running mind control experiments for the US Army and God (or Satan) knows what else.

And most tantalizingly of all, there's that story that keeps popping up again and again and again; of a time when government psychics were being used to contact "demonic forces" and experienced some terrible kind of blowback that left a lot of people dead. It's a story that keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. 

Night Force was roughly contemporaneous with Wavelength, the earliest example I can find of the theme. Which makes me think such an event may well have happened not long before.