Showing posts with label Grant Morrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grant Morrison. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2024

The House That Agnes Built


One of the shorter tracks on Amigo the Devil's latest record Yours Until the War is Over, however, I wanted to post "Agnes" because, in listening to it a few times in a row last night, I realized I'd kind of glossed over this track on previous listens. The arranging here is subtle but fantastic. You can head over to the official Amigo the Devil website HERE to order the album.


We released a new episode of Drinking with Comics a few days ago. In this episode, Shinabargar and I discuss one of our favorite Batman stories of all time: Grant Morrison and Klaus Janson's Gothic.


Also, on the new episode of The Horror Vision that dropped today, we deep-dive into Lars Von Triers' The House That Jack Built. As has become our standard, the YouTube version of the show has a full array of visual accompaniments if you want to "hear" it there.

Here's a spoiler: I hated this film. Despite that, I found some really cool ideas in it to discuss. 


Mountain Realm - Frostfall
Duga-1 - Abyss
The Raveonettes - In and Out of Control
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Trombone Shorty - Too True
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Nell' ora blu
Dr. John - Locked Down 
Amigo the Devil - Yours Until the War is Over

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Effigies - Body Bag


Thanks to Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot's Sound Opinions podcast, I realized last night that I had completely missed the fact that Chicago Stalwart's The Effigies frontman John Kezdy passed away back in August. You can read an article about this at the Chicago Tribune HERE. While off my radar of late, The Effigies' 1989 album Remains Nonviewable was one of the records I encountered as a Junior in High School, a record that, like Fugazi's 13 Songs or Black Flag's Everything Went Black, altered my musical trajectory. Kezdy went on to become an attorney,


Here's my Pull for this week's NCBD:

I still wish the art inside had a little more 'tooth' to it - not the artist's fault, more a mis-pairing, in my opinion. That said, I still couldn't pass this one up. So far, pretty good backstory to the classic film, kind of "other stories from that day." This is the penultimate issue, and as it's the second NoTLD series from American Mythology, I'm curious if there are more on the horizon. 

To say I have been waiting for this final chapter in SiKTC's current story arc would be an understatement. Shit went so pear-shaped at the end of issue thirty-four, I can't wait to see how this resolves (please let this resolve!).

After re-reading the last few issues in a burst, I'm totally back on the What's The Furthest Place From Here train. We stand at the foot of world-building revelations, but I'm really just here for the dialogue and insane antics of this cast. 


SyFy had a good run of original programming a few years ago. Deadly Class was excellent, and a total shame it didn't go longer than one season. Another comic adaptation they actually doubled down on was Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's Happy!, about a down-and-out NY cop turned hitman whose daughter is abducted by a man in a Santa Claus suit. The daughter's imaginary friend, a cute-as-a-button blue unicorn, seeks out her father and together, the two attempt to save her.

When Happy! came to Netflix, I watched most of the first season and absolutely loved it. THIS is my definition of comedy. For some reason, I never finished the first season and completely missed or forgot there was a second. So I'm watching it again now and I have to say, this may be one of my favorite shows of all time.

This is one of the rare times when the adaptation far surpasses the source material. The book is pretty simple, but the lengths of violence and depravity that Morrison, Brian Taylor and their team put Christopher Meloni through in this show is insane and so utterly fun to watch; I find it impossible not to end an episode in a good mood.

Even if there's also some pitch-dark shit in here, too. 

This is one of those shows I would buy physically if such an item were available, but alas, it is not. 


Steve Moore - Christmas Bloody Christmas OST
Zombi - 2020
The Flesh Eaters - I Used to Be Pretty
Allegaeon - Apoptosis
Silent - Modern Hate


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• XIV - Temperance (Art)
• X - Wheel of Fortune
• Five of Pentacles (Disks)

Applying intuition and 'Art' can lead to conflict. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

Positive Bleeding: RIP Blackie Onassis

Deeply moved to hear that Blackie Onassis from Chicago's Urge Overkill passed away yesterday at the age of 57.

Ten years older than me. Damn. 

This is THE Chicago band to me, as far as those who flirted with the big time. The Jesus Lizard will always occupy the throne, but while everyone screamed their way through Smashing Pumpkins songs in the mid-to-late 90s (I did until Melancholie) Urge represented the best Chicago's indie rock scene had to offer the mainstream. They didn't compromise, and they were honest-to-goodness Rock n' Roll, two capital R's and an apostrophe. Blackie, thank you for your service.


It's 11:13 on Thursday, June 15. I just finished a nearly two-hour recording session with The Horror Vision for Elements of Horror: Cruising. Prior to doing the episode, I found this on youtube:

There are SO many reasons I love this film and I love William Friedkin as a filmmaker. A LOT of those reasons are discussed herein, but pay special attention to Friedkin's discussion of the impetus for making the film. Also to Randy Jurgensen, the undercover cop who lived a large part of what we see on screen. As usual with Friedkin, I'm stunned not only by his art, but all of the thinking that went into and around its creation.


Just a quick observation on this week's X-Men: Red #12. Man, when did this book start to resemble Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's fantasy epic Seven to Eternity? In retrospect, even the cover looks a bit like it could be a Seven for Eternity cover:

There's A LOT I'm missing here due to the fact that I've still not read a large swathe of Hickman's run after House/Powers, primarily X of Swords. I have so little background on the Arrako characters, The White Sword, Genesis and Orrako, etc. Going to have to remedy that eventually, but in the meantime, the landscape of this really reminds me of Seven to Eternity, and I wonder if Ewing is a fan of that series.

Pondering this, I stumbled on the following interview Marvel's Ryan Penagos did recently with Hickman and Grant Morrison, discussing how the two men changed so much of the status quo so successfully.


Good stuff; I haven't seen an interview with Morrison in a while, good to hear his voice. 


The Native Howl - Thrash Grass EP       
Mudvayne - Choices (single)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - Gila Monster/Dragon (pre-release singles)
The Bobby Lees - Bellevue
The Sword - Warp Riders
Spotlights - Seance EP
Locrian - Return to Annihilation
Zombi - Shape Shift     
Urge Overkill - Saturation


Keeping on with the Crowly/Harris Thoth for today's Pull:

• 4 of Swords: Truce seems a direct connection to yesterday's 7 of Swords. The Pause becomes a truce. 
• III The Empress - this card has come up a lot in conversation lately. In this instance, quoting from the Grimoire, "can point to dissipation when paired with unfortunate cards; Swords, Princes."
• 5 of Swords - The Truce will dissolve and lead to a new conflict, issue, or the like.

Not terribly encouraging, but also, isn't that life? One thing directly precedes the next. I pulled a final, clarifying card and found exactly that:

No matter what life throws at you, one journey ends, another begins.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

New Zeal and Ardor!


I was debating on even posting this, as I won't be watching/listening to anything else from the upcoming eponymous sophomore album from Zeal and Ardor, out February 11th (pre-order HERE). In the end, this is one of my favorite current bands, so there's no way I can't post it here for posterity's sake. Can't wait for this record!!!


I'm really finding myself backlogged with stuff to read these past few months. A lot of this is due to a surge in great comics. And a lot of that is my being pulled kicking and screaming (at first) back into Marvel's X-Books. I'm not reading that many of them, but here's what I'm reading and what I think about them.

I guess I'm going to talk this one to death, but that's kinda what I do with comics/movies/books/music I love. This collection of Jonathan Hickman's TOTAL conversion of the X-Books into something so "All-New, All-Different" took me by complete surprise. In my worldview, there's Claremont, there's Morrison, and now there's Hickman. The House of X/Powers of X revamp eschews zero previous continuity but finds the most bafflingly fantastic ways to give all that tired old stuff an exciting new spin. Characters I've always hated like Xavier and Magneto I'm suddenly fascinated by, and the overall schematic at work here is unlike anything you've ever seen in an X title before. 

No, seriously.

If the cover of that collection I've posted above looks extremely Sci-Fi, that's because the X-Books left the superhero genre behind on this revamp, and have moved into full-blown, epic Science Fiction, with elements of Game of Thrones, Space Opera and pretty much anything else you can think of thrown into the mix. There are very few fisticuffs here - the storylines feel heightened and intriguing because they're all about different characters and their agendas. Plotting, treachery, secret plans and manipulations - seemingly from everybody. All those annoying X-Men altruisms? Pretty much gone.

I'm not going to go into all the plot details here, but if you follow THIS there's a ten-point list that will give you the idea. The list is in descending order, from ten to one. I recommend just scrolling down to number two and starting there. It gives you what you need to know.

Also in these books, there's this running idea of Mutant Technology - not technology as we think of it, but one that consists of multiple mutants using their powers in tandem to form 'Circuits' and garner results not possible as individuals. This is the kind of thing I always complained about in crossovers - the dire straights until the eleventh hour and then, "Quick, use your power with mine and PRESTO - the apocalypse is thwarted every time. Hickman is clearly aware of this trope - who isn't - and addresses it in the same manner he addresses the constant recapitulation of the dead (see number 3 on that list linked above). 

At some point, Wolvie and Colossus' famous Fastball Special is mentioned as the earliest example of this 'technology.'

The Grant Morrison-created Stepford Cuckoos being the first advancement of this in recent years, where five mutants harmonize as one. Five is apparently an important number in this technology, and I'm curious to see how many more examples of this develop in the issues to come.

S.W.O.R.D. is all about the space opera side of this new X-landscape, and although I'm not one for that particular subgenre in prose, in a comic like this, the flavor really hits the spot. As you'll see with all these books, this one is also centered around agendas and machinations, so much so that every issue so far has had pages of classified dossiers included, as we begin to see what an altruistic (maybe) viper Abigail Brand really is. If you don't know who that is, don't worry - I didn't either when I started this book. They catch you up quick.

Also, look at the cast here - there was no way I wasn't going to dig this book, as we have a couple forgotten characters from my favorite era of X-Books included, namely Gateway and Whiz Kid, or Takashi as I last knew him when he was running around with Artie and Leech in the original Inferno.

Spinning out of Hickman's sandbox comes Gerry Duggan's helming the 'Super Hero' genre book "X-Men" that launched at the end of this past summer. The idea is, while the event books deal with the agendas of what's going on with these characters, Mutantdom handpicks a classic "rescue and response" team to help safeguard the planet - you know, since most of the mutants' concerns have gone cosmic. This small team is given a headquarters in NYC from which they can respond to the kind of standard threats we're used to seeing populate all superhero books. Except, even here the book doesn't squander the premise of the larger picture with regular ol' super villains. And besides - all the mutants now coexist on Krakoa, they're no longer fighting one another. So, if Apocalypse, Magneto, Mr. Sinister, et al are all in the family now, who does this new team of X-Men fight? 

So far? A lot of monsters. 

The books have been great, giving us a pretty gnarly planetary threat in the first couple of issues, bringing in one of my favs, the High Evolutionary in another, and setting up someone called Dr. Stasis who is being slowly introduced in a very Chris Claremont plant-the-seeds-slowly-and-make-the-readers-wonder way. 

I started buying this book just for the #1, and five issues later I'm re-reading the issues multiple times. That's true of all these titles - there's so much woven into and between them, it takes a lot of attention to piece it all together. 

When I first saw these ads for the Inferno event, I hadn't read House of X/Powers of X yet. In fact, it was reading the first issue of Inferno 2021 that prompted me to go back and read Hickman's opening salvo. So looking at these ads initially, I was irritated - they used the title of my favorite X-Event from the 80s, and then even made the propaganda modeled after those old Inferno 88 ads. 

Well, I don't know that there's any thematic connection between the two series, but I have to say, my favorite X-Event will still always be Madeline, S'ym and N'astirh's attempts to sacrifice 12 babies and open the gates of Limbo for full-blown Hell-on-Earth, this new Inferno is quickly climbing up to sit at number two on that list. Admittedly, I don't even think there would be five entries on it, as most of the crossover events afterward are lackluster at best. Still, Inferno 2021 is fantastic because it's all about more and more revelations as to just what dirty little fuckers Charles and Magneto are. 

Now, sadly, the one weak link of what I've read in these books is the current "Trial of Magneto" series. Not nearly the same caliber, and hopefully an exception and not an indicator of what is to come once Hickman makes his exit after Inferno #4.


Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night
Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun
Odonis Odonis - Spectrums
Boy Harsher - Careful
Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars

Friday, July 23, 2021

New Zeal and Ardor!

How long do we have to wait until this new Zeal and Ardor album drops? The correct answer is too f*&king long! 


This has been a strange year, because over halfway through, and I've read very few actual novels. Instead, all my reading time is spent reading comics. Not a bad thing, and this certainly isn't the first time this has happened, but between starting the A Most Horrible Library podcast, and the brief resurrection of Drinking with Comics, I've fallen back in love with the medium in a way I haven't felt in years, specifically Marvel Comics, which I thought I'd left behind me after the 2015 Secret Wars event tapped us old-timer Marvel Zombies on the shoulders and whispered, "The old continuity you cling to is gone. Rest easy, this is for a younger generation now."

I've been digging in back issue bins for the first time in at least 15 years. I've also been seeking stuff out on eBay, both in attempts to fill in long-forgotten gaps in series I'd thought I'd given up on. It's made me realize I've come to regret giving away or selling back so many comics over the years. And I've been re-reading a bunch of old-school series as I acquire these missing pieces.

I remember seeing a full-page ad for this book back when I was a kid and thinking it looked troubling. A mutant kid killing one of his friends/teammates? Wow. I only read New Mutants here and there as a kid, so a lot of the character development was lost on me when I did pick up the book, and I never quite understood how Fallen Angels fit into the overall continuity of the ongoing Mutant Books, most penned by my beloved Chris Claremont still at that time. Now I know.

Fallen Angels was a New Mutants spin-off mini-series that ran back in 1987. A couple years ago I found issues 5-8 somewhere and picked them up, but it wasn't until two weeks ago I tracked down 1-4, and now completed, I've finally been reading this weird little adventure that features Roberta DaCosta AKA Sunspot and Warlock - always a character that made me go "WTF?" when I was a kid. Like a lot of comics from this era, this is a bit over-written, however, once you adjust to the difference in style, it's pretty fun.

This is a more recent title. A five-issue series by Jason Latour, Robbie Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. Robbie and Rico are the visual team responsible for the short-lived but fantastic Vertigo series FBP, aka Collider. I fell in love with their style on that book, and when they came up with the initial design for Spider-Gwen - a character I shouldn't have really cared about at all at the time based on my reading habits - I gushed. 

I love this character's design. 

At the time of the series, and when it came out, I bought issues 1 and 2 and then stopped. Recently, I found 3-5 in the bins at The Comic Bug and started reading through it. Pretty cool alternate universe set-up, where Peter Parker is dead, Gwen was bitten by the radioactive spider, and Frank Castle is a cop! Also, MJ and Gwen play in a band called, what else? The Mary Janes, and have a hit song called "Face it, Tiger."

I don't know that I'll go back and read anything after this small series, but these five issues are bringing me great joy at the moment, so who knows?

With my recently reestablished love of Spider-Man, I've been going back in and just snatching rando issues from the three 80s series I would read off and on, and which I'm realizing I am missing so many issues I once had. In particular, I've been finding quite a few issues of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, most issues in the 130s and 140s. Here's a recent acquisition that ties together several other disparate issues I had, so I can now read a short little stint. Remember: back in the 80s and before, trade collections were next to non-existent, so the editorial edict for these books wasn't for the creators to do 5-issue arcs. What we'd get is one-offs, larger threads that played out amidst the monthly stand-alones, and, in Spidey's case, arcs that ran across all three of his titles at the time (Web, Spectacular, and of course, Amazing). 

The good news is, almost all of these books run between $2.99 and $3.99, so it's not like I'm breaking the bank. And sifting through the back issue bins has been a strangely calming routine. I can get all stressed out at work, stop by the bug and spend 30 minutes flipping through issues, and all that bad shit is gone when I walk out the door.

Also, motivated by the "Book Club" section on the latest episode of the Marvel's Pull List podcast, I decided it was finally time to re-read Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, so I dusted off the first of my three hardcovers and blew through the first arc E is for Extinction, as well as the 2001 annual that introduced Xorn. Oh, reading this is making me remember just how much I love Morrison's take on the X-Men.


Anthrax - Among the Living
Dio - Holy Diver
Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4 (single)
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
King Woman - Celestial Blues (pre-release singles)
Jethro Tull - Benefit
Ministry - Animositisomina
Godflesh - New Flesh in Dub Vol 1
Zeal and Ardor - Stranger Fruit
Mastodon - Crack the Skye 


I'm back on the journey into Shadow Play, Book Two, and for the first time since last year about this time, I am IN! The book is occupying a lot of my thoughts and time, and what's more, I finally found the voice for a new element I'm adding. Also, there is way more written than I thought, and it's way better than I remembered. So while I'm still letting a new nosleep series idea percolate, my main focus has finally shifted back to where I need it to be!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Isolation: Day 106 New Uniform

Killer track from the upcoming album Shame, out September 11th on Sacred Bones. Pre-order HERE.


Today is the day! The first three episodes of Doom Patrol Season 2 drop today, with the remaining six to follow weekly from here out. Season One was easily my favorite show of 2019, and thus I'm expecting a similar reaction to Season Two. Will the show draw more madness from Grant Morrison's infamous run? The Scissormen? Albert Hoffman's Bicycle? Mr. Nobody for President? I can't wait to find out.

Speaking of Grant Morrison, the wonderful folks over at Sequart have released Patrick Meaney's Our Sentence is Up: Seeing Grant Morrison's Invisibles. I snatched a copy on Kindle for a meager $3.99, and even after only glancing through it, I can tell you this volume is worth about ten times that much.

It's been quite some time since I last read The Invisibles, and while I have experienced an increasing pull toward re-engaging with it, at the moment, that seems like a misstep.



Various Artists - The Void OST
Powerman 5000 - Black Lipstick (pre-release single)
Alice in Chains - Eponymous
C-Building Kids - Shitting in the Urinal
Uniform - Delco (pre-release single)
The Birthday Party - Live 1981-82
Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors
Apparat - Soundtracks: Dämonen
Perez - Les vacancies continent (single)
The Knife - Deep Cuts
The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
The Knife - Silent Shout



Catharsis and the end of confusion. Globally? I doubt that. Personally, speaking from a mindful perspective at the moment,  I don't feel confused per se, unless I broaden that perspective to my place in the world in its current state. Several plates I had spinning are in limbo, leaving a vague sense of, "Well, is that still a thing?" In that regard, an epiphany of any proportion would be most welcome.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

2019: August 8th - New Jaye Jayle Track!

I've kind of come to think of this band as the American version of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In a very short period of time, Jaye Jayle have endeared themselves to me in a way few bands do. It's the 'Storyteller' aspect.


Unbelievably, after only three chapters I put Laird Barron's Black Mountain to the side. Nothing against the book, but I paused to reconsider re-reading last year's Blood Standard, the first Isaiah Coleridge novel. I tend to forget things - character's names and whatnot, and in the case of books like these, they're so f'ing pleasurable to read, why not? Anyway, while I paused to consider this maneuver, I picked up Damien Echols' High Magick, and it dovetails so perfectly with my recent rekindling of Magick Practice, that I'm going to knock it out before going back to the Barron books.

A fantastic book on Magick; probably the most approachable example I've seen since Phil Hine or Grant Morrison's old Pop Magick essay on his website, except Echols' book is even more approachable, without ever giving an impression other than he knows exactly what he's talking about. And this is great for me at the moment; there's such a sense of pragmatism, unlike any other author I've read on the subject of Magick.


Playlist from 8/07:

Shrinebuilder - Eponymous
Anthrax - Stomp 442
Algiers - The Underside of Power
The Flaming Lips - Hit to Death in the Future Head
Windhand - Grief's Infernal Flower
Waxwork Records - House of Waxwork Issue #1
Jaye Jayle - Soline (Single)


Today's spread:

Queen of Swords AGAIN! Couple this with Princess of Wands and we're looking at the Earthy Aspect of Fire - the Practical honing of Intellect - and the Watery Aspect of Fire - the Emotional temperance of that same Intellect. I'm trying to put together where my Intellect - some flexing of sharpened awareness or acumen - may have been exerted of late. Princess of Wands is a volatile card; I'm tempted to read this as a warning, that the path to those ten cups - an achievement in Earthly matters - will be rocky, but ultimately bested if I remain sharp like the Queen of Swords, who I believe I am going to take on as something of a Deity.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

2019: June 4th Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trailer!

To say I have extremely high hopes for this one is an understatement. I know, I know; that's never a good idea. That said, when was the last time GDT let us down?


Good news! Just to prove I'm not an anti-DC Comics curmudgeon, I watched the first two episodes of the DCU app's Doom Patrol last night and it is AWESOME! So happy for this. A fabulous cast, dark yet often hilarious vibe - thanks in large part to Alan Tudyk's narration - and stories ripped right from Grant Morrison and Richard Case's seminal early late 80s/early 90s run, but altered in a way that really keeps the spirit of the book's madness. Such a joy to have this. Also, watching this made me realize it's probably been 12 or 13 years since I originally read Morrison and Case's run, so I'm starting that today. More like this DCU, please!


Talking Heads - Remain in Light
Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - In the House of Strange Affairs
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult -  Confessions of a Knife
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - I See Good Spirits, I See Bad Spirits
Earth - Full Upon Her Burning Lips
Man or Astro-man? - 1000X
Man or Astro-man? - Intravenous Television Continuum
Deafheaven - New Bermuda
Dean Hurley - Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△


Card of the day:

Pure Will is what will be required from me to competently finish the novel; I've read this thing now multiple times, but it's been multiple versions as I've refined the plot. This was my first heavily plotted novel (my first novel that's going to see the light of day in a published capacity), and as such there's plot detritus hanging around my head from other versions. This final, post-Beta Reader go-through is to catch any last minute spelling or grammatical errors, neither of which should be possible at this point, as a human Beta Reader can miss something - though Missi didn't miss much - but Scrivener, Grammarly, and Vellum should not. I'm finding the first two have indeed missed a few small errors, and it's freaking me out. There's a predilection for reading absent-mindedly when you have had this much contact with something, and thus I'm requiring Pure Will to stay as focused as possible while reading. I'm roughly 40% of the way through, so I've adjusted my goal to end-of-week I order the first proof, so we'll see.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

2018: February 8th 5:45 AM

Woke up with this one in my head today, probably because I listened to the album it's on - Teenage Wrist's Dazed EP about a half a half dozen times last night. At least.

Such a big, fuzzy neon dream of an album. Thanks to Jacob again for introducing me to this great band that has an album coming out in March. You can pre-order it HERE.

Playlist from yesterday:

The Fixx - Reach the Beach
ZZ Top - Tres Hombres
Nektar - A Tab in the Ocean
Odonis Odonis - Post Plague
The Jesus Lizard - Down
Teenage Wrist - Dazed E.P.

Card of the day:

Emotional deluge, use intellect and Will to prevent being drowned. Interesting... a few words on these daily draws. Events yesterday, Wednesday the 7th lined-up directly with two repetitive pulls that culminated the Wednesday before, on January 31st. What's the grid system at work here, or is there one? Well, we'll see. That's why I've shifted this blog into this 'journaling' paradigm - looking for patterns in the grid of chaos that, even though we do all we can to refute the fact, defines our existences. Hopefully I will find some and learn a way to 'hack' the graphs and grids I make from those patterns.

Yesterday I indeed stopped to buy my comics. TWD did not disappoint, but I haven't read Papergirls yet. Why? Well, I had an abortive attempt at my daily words, and after that I didn't have much time for reading, and this was unexpected but I ended up buying my first current Batman comic since Grant Morrison's run ended in 2013 and I was super excited to dive in. Why? What could make me jump into a Batman comic? Three words:

Sean. Gordon. Murphy. Look at this cover:

It's ultra rare to impossible for art to convince me to read a book, in Murphy's case it's a combination of his art and the fact that he can spin one hell of a yarn. Punk Rock Jesus is still one of my all-time favorites. One issue into White Knight and I don't quite have the lay of the land yet, but A) it's stand alone continuity and B) it's NOT the tired iterations of Batman and Joker we're used to being regurgitated every few years, although it starts there and moves out in what I believe is virgin territory for the characters from there. Either way, I'm in for all eight issues (five are out so far).

Monday, January 29, 2018

2018: January 29th 6:40 AM

Started the day with some quiet drive time wherein I may have worked out a problem prohibiting another writing project I'm partially engaged with at the moment. Had that by the halfway point so I decided to reward myself with a little TV On the Radio:

In the interests of refining this journal as I go, I'm going to add and subtract things as I see fit. First thing I'm adding?

Tarot of the day.

The theme for this year is shaping up to be a daily one: daily words, daily playlists, and now daily card. Today's card is the Emperor. Note: I only use one deck and it's Crowley and Lady Freida Harris's Thoth.

Here's what I have in my homemade Tarot Grimoire - which is not nearly complete or even extensive at this point, more on that in a minute:

The Rules that Govern All Life. 
- Action, Decisiveness and High Energy.
- Engage obstacles/enemies
- Strength

Honestly that already feels like today, at least the action and high energy part.

It's been almost 3 years since I engaged with my deck, which I've had for close to 15. I wax and wane with activity in Tarot and Magick in general (although there is a part of me that chooses to see the way in have made writing an institution in my life as my own personal vow of Ipsissimis) and in that time I've probably done 2 pulls; this is all due to the fallout in 2015 of extended Magickal Practice surrounding Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Nameless comic, the annotations/research for which I did is still live on Joup. I don't think I ever put don't the experience I had in words, but maybe I'll do that soon. Needless to say it was a harbinger for the 'dark night of the soul' that 2015 was for me.

Playlist yesterday was non-existent; I started the day with that Eno and from there the only music I listened to was some Emily Kinney stuff K played in her car as we ran errands. Other than that the day disappeared in quiet chunks scored only by the sound of my Love's voice and the snarky complaints from our cat. We did watch Adaptation and it was just as good as I remembered it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beneath the Panels: Nameless Issue #2

The second issue of Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn's Nameless came out two weeks ago and I spent a pretty large amount of time going through it. There's not nearly as much material to "decode" in this one as Morrison comes clean with a lot, however as is always the case when researching anything with Occult ties, there are so many rabbit holes you end up falling through that, well, I think this installment of Beneath the Panels will add an extra sense of what is going on in the book. You can read it right now over on Joup.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beneath the Panels #4: Nameless and the Place of Fear

The new and final Beneath the Panels pertaining to Nameless #1 is up over on Joup. Issue #2 comes out this coming Wednesday, so this is a last minute wrap-up until we receive the next transmission from Morrison, Burnham and Fairbairn, courtesy of Image Comics.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Beneath the Panels #3: Nameless and the Tree of Life

Beneath the Panels #3 is up on Joup. It continues my attempt to interpret and catalogue the Occult underpinnings of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's new comic Nameless. For this third installment dealing with issue #1 we get into some serious Qabalah, Tarot and media-tampering. This one's a doozy and it prompted a bit of an 'episode' last night after I ate a quarter slice of a pizza made with THC oil, tripped pretty hard and met what my brain at the time chose to dress in an Enochian persona but was apparently a fairly dark aspect of my own psyche. Whewwww... glad that's over, and here's another reminder to myself NOT to eat pot.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Grant Morrison & Chris Burnham's Nameless: Beneath the Panels #1

As I said in this week's edition of Thee Comic Column over on Joup, I've read Nameless #1 twice so far. Between reads I began digging around on the internet for some of the concepts Grant Morrison builds into the code that underlies the story begun in the book, and as such I've started to piece together some of what I think may be the initial ideas at work beneath the panels, so to speak.

Nameless #1 begins with a narrated series of atrocities taking place across the globe. The paneling on these first couple of pages is unique and, I'm betting, charged with some degree of subliminal meaning. After drawing them out and pondering them as distinct images by their own right I'm left with one observation and one theory.

The images, especially the first and third, bear strong resemblances to letters from the Hebrew alphabet, which is steeped in occult science and often used in the creation of 'spells'. However, despite the resemblance, after consulting a Hebrew dictionary I found myself unable to draw any direct comparisons. Stumped I thought about this some more and eventually came to a different conclusion about the shapes:

They are part of an elaborate sigil. If you are unfamiliar with sigil Magick - a concept Morrison has talked quite at length - go here and take the author's crash course.

Okay, moving out of the design aspect and into some of the direct references Morrison makes in Nameless #1, the first glaring one is during the aforementioned narrated atrocities on the very first page, we get another sigil-like image and four words:

The image is later defined by one of the characters as "the door to the anti-verse, the Gate of Az". If you google Gate of Az the search engine makes the assumption that you're abbreviating Arizona. However, if you do not search the phrase as you enter it, allowing instead the engine to use its intuitive functions you get three things, the aforementioned Arizona result, followed to more likely possibilities:

Gate of Azeroth
Gate of Hell, Azerbaijan

Here I began with the latter result, as it was something I was unfamiliar with. In a nutshell, there is a deposit of natural gas in the country of Turkmenistan known as the "Gate of Hell".

Once you reach the end of the issue you find there is definitely a parallel to be drawn in terms of what we find out this image represents in actual, physical terms to the story in Nameless. However, that's not it. Let's go back to the other search result and explore that a bit, shall we?

At first glance I misread Azeroth as Azathoth*. That is not the case; Azeroth is a setting in the World of Warcraft game. I don't think that has anything to do with what we're dealing with here. However, because Grant Morrison is as much a utilizer of pop culture in his Magick as he is occult code, this may be the point. It is not too much of a jump to consider that WoW's Azeroth derived its name from Azathoth, a character from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu cycle. Morrison has utilized some of Lovecraft's lore before, and there is an entire area of Magickal practice that treats Lovecraft's mythos as something of an operating system for ritual. In his story The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath, Lovecraft describes him as the following:

[O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes

I have always drawn an indirect comparison between Azathoth and Choronzon, a demon that traces its origins back to Elizabethian magician/scholars John Dee and Edward Kelley. Choronzon's entry in Watkin's Dictionary of Magic is as follows, and when juxtaposed with the definition for Azathoth above fully illustrates the reasons for my theory:

In Enochian magic, the demon of chaos and guardian of the Abyss. Aleister Crowley described Choronzon as "the first and deadliest of all the powers of evil". This point notwithstanding, Crowley invoked Choronzon while experimenting with the so-called 30 Aethyrs in a magical ritual on the top of an Algerian mountain in December 1909.

There is a great visual recreation of Crowley's ritual with Victor Neuburg in Alan Moore and JH Williams, III's Promethea, specifically issue #20, where the characters are on a multiple issue long trek through the spheres of the Kabbalhistic Tree of Life and fall through Daath, the abyss. Here they encounter Choronzon and are torn to pieces. Bringing this back around to Nameless #1, the Abyss - or Daath - could be the "anti-verse" discussed in the final pages, where we learn the harbinger of this Gate of Az is an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and thus inevitably going to destroy it, or rip it to pieces, the same way Choronzon or Azathoth obliterate those who encounter them in their respective mythological contexts.

Okay, I've barely even scratched the surface of this first issue but this is proving to be a much bigger project than I originally thought it would be. I'll continue with more decoding of Nameless #1 in a few days, in the meantime here are a few links for further study of the ideas I've discussed thus far:

* Another possibility, although less likely, is Astaroth. A quick referral to The Goetia and you will find the following definition for Astaroth:

The twenty-ninth Spirit is Astaroth. He is a Mighty, Strong Duke, and appeareth in the Form of an hurtful Angel riding on an Infernal Beast like a Dragon, and carrying in his right hand a Viper. Thou must in no wise let him approach unto thee, lest he do thee damage by his Noisome Breath. Wherefore the Magician must hld the Magical Ring near his face, and that will defend him. He giveth true answers of things Past, Present and to Come, and can discover all Secrets. He will declare wittingly how the Spirits fell, if desired, and the reason of his own fall. He can make men wonderfully knowing in all Liberal Sciences. He ruleth 40 Legions of Spirits. His Seal is this, which wear thou as a Lamen before thee, or else he will not appear nor yet obey thee, etc.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Grant Morrison & Frazer Irving's Annihilator... the topic of discussion in this week's Thee Comic Column over there on Joup. Published monthly by Legendary Comics (that's the comics arm of Legendary Pictures, the fine folks who endeared themselves to me forever by releasing The Dark Knight Rises and Pacific Rim) Annihilator's first issue sets up what I'm thinking is going to be one hell of a unique tale by mind-fuck master Grant Morrison, with beautiful art by Frazer Irving, who did some of the creepiest art I've ever seen in both Morrison's Klarion the Witch Boy and the penultimate arc of his Batman and Robin series.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Annotations for Grant Morrison's Batman

image courtesy of
No, I didn't write them, but I list them and give the massive props due to those brave souls who did in this week's Thee Comic Column on Joup!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grant Morrison Grant Morrison Grant Morrison

I missed a week of my comic column because I was locked in a recording studio with Mr. Brown working on the first Schlitz Family Robinson tracks in... a really long time. So Grant Morrison's Annihilator has become well-talked about news by now. Still, hearing him describe the new creator-owned book in this video made me so excited that I devoted this week's edition of Thee Comic Column  over on Joup to talking a bit about Morrison books I read before I knew who he was, and how they subsequently added a whole new level of appreciation to his work for me when I put the pieces together later and found that even before I knew who he was, Grant Morrison was writing comics that were among my all-time favorites.

image courtesy of