Tag Archives: paranormal

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D 1954: Black Sun

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This tale is told over two issues, which I read consecutively. It’s kind of a cross between Indiana Jones and the X-Files, with Hellboy fighting Nazis who have reverse-engineered an alien craft and built a fleet of saucers which they plan to use to conquer the world and establish the 1000-year Reich.

Overall, the story was very entertaining, well-written, and the artwork was great. There were also a couple themes that were addressed that I found particularly interesting.

In the first installment, when Hellboy arrives with his field partner in the Arctic, the partner, who is black, is met with racial disdain.

Oh. Didn’t think they’d be sending a colored.

What I found most striking about this short scene is that while the U.S. was fighting against an enemy that was claiming racial superiority, people in the U.S. also had their prejudices and biases. And as proven by recent events, these prejudices are still thriving in our society.

The other part of this graphic tale that resonated with me was how myths and legends are used as symbols for aspects of human consciousness.

There are, of course, countless legends about the hollow earth, and hidden passages that connect one pole to the other. I had assumed these to be a metaphor for the hidden recesses of the human mind, but they may have been a material reality.

I am reminded of the classic Journey to the Center of the Earth. I have not read the book (yet), but watched the film numerous times as a kid, fascinated with the idea that hidden below the surface of the earth was an entirely different world, populated by dinosaurs. Now as an adult, I understand the metaphor. The center of the earth is a symbol for the center of our brains, the primordial root of our consciousness, the primal animalistic part of our psyches that exists in the amygdala within the limbic cortex. The dinosaurs symbolize our collective lizard brains, a residual that we never lost through our stages of evolution.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

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Rise of the Black Flame: Issue 1 of 5

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On a recent visit to my local comic store, I was surprised that the owner had added this comic to my folder. I inquired about it and was informed that it was a short five-issue offshoot of the Hellboy saga and he thought I would like it. I figured I would give it a try. I’m glad that I did.

The story begins with young girls in Burma being kidnapped and sacrificed as part of a ritualistic ceremony. While this trope may seem a little hackneyed, the strength of the story is in the subtle details within the text. These I found intriguing, even in this short first installment.

Many mystical and spiritual traditions assert that sound or vibration brought everything into existence. In fact, energy, which is the basis of all life and existence, is vibration. This concept is hinted at during an invocation early in the story.

<You are the origin of all things, and devourer of all things.> <Your perfect song can be heard in the void, but also in the hum deep within all living things in this breathing world.> <Though having form, you are formless. Though you are without beginning, so are you without end.>

Also in the short passage, we have hints of Taoism, of form and formlessness combined into one. Additionally, I see references to the ouroboros, the powerful occult symbol of wholeness and infinity.

Ourosboros

Racial and ethnic tensions seem to be running high these days, and this is hinted at in the story. There is a great panel where the British general expresses his racist views by asserting that it is one thing if Burmese children go missing, but British girls disappearing is unacceptable. This corresponds with the tendency in some places to show outrages at the death of a white person, but lack of concern over the death of a black person.

Yes, well, Burmese children might well wander away from home unattended. But two English girls missing is two too many.

Finally, in a nice twist, the strong lead character turns out to be a woman, which I love. We need more strong female characters. So while in the first part of the tale it appears that the lead characters are two men, it shifts and the main characters appear to be two women. I find this a nice balance of the masculine and feminine.

I want to close with one more quote from this issue, which resonated with me.

The world is a great deal stranger–and more dangerous–than most would credit, mon cher.

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Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1953: Beyond the Fences

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For me, one of the problems with reading serialized arcs is that I don’t remember the nuances of previous installments. So for this arc, I decided to wait, collect the three issues, and then read them in one sitting. That worked really well for me.

In this tale, Hellboy and two other B.P.R.D. agents go to a small town in California to investigate the disappearance of several children and the mutilation of an adult. The encounter the monster responsible, which is actually a dog that mutated after eating some mysterious material that was the byproduct of a nuclear test. There is also Cold War conspiracy and intrigue woven in to the tale, which works nicely.

What I found most interesting about this series was the use of the fence as a symbol. The fence serves as a metaphor for what divides the two realms of reality, existence, consciousness, and so forth. On one side of the fence is the archetypical 1950’s community, but on the other side, chaos and the psychological uncertainty in the post World War II nuclear age. Also, there is the division between ordinary reality and alternate dimensions. The fence symbolically separates what we perceive in our normal state of consciousness and what lies beyond the veil in the subconscious regions of our psyches, Moving beyond the fence and exploring these areas of the subconscious can be terrifying and dangerous.

The writers and artists who collaborate on this do an amazing job of drawing on occult philosophies, symbolism, and thought. But it’s not just heady mysticism—the story is very good and engaging. It is well-written with excellent dialog, and the artwork is top-notch. I highly recommend reading these three issues if you have time. I suspect you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Cheers, and keep reading cool stuff.

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Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952: Issue #5

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This issue concludes the mini-series. It is… OK. It did not suck, but it felt kind of rushed, like everything was quickly tied up in a neat little knot and really didn’t make a whole lot of sense in the larger story. It definitely felt anti-climactic for me. Probably my expectations were high, especially considering how good the initial issues were. Still, worth a read if you are a Hellboy fan. I’m curious to see how the 1953 series will be.

Not much else to say about this. Read on!

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The Truth May Still Be Out There: X-Files Reboot Possible

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So I just read an article on CNN’s website that FOX is considering rebooting The X-Files.

CNN Article

While it’s just a rumor, I can’t help feeling somewhat intrigued. I’ve loved the X-Files since it first started airing, and if you follow my blog, you know I am a fan of the current X-Files comic series also. I just hope that if they do revive it, they don’t just try to rehash old stuff and characters. There is a lot of interesting things happening in the world, and lots of new discoveries and theories in the field of science, I think that there is definite opportunity here for some creative exploration. I suppose we will have to wait and see.

What are your thoughts? Would you watch an X-Files reboot?

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Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952: Issue #1

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I happened upon this issue by chance, or maybe it was destiny. Regardless, I had been thinking about reading Hellboy comics because the one issue that I had picked up at Free Comic Day was so good. I also enjoyed the films, but since I felt I would be too far behind, I didn’t indulge myself. Then I spied this on the shelves while at the store and asked the woman there about it. She said it is a new series and a great spot to pick up, so I purchased a copy.

This new series will be comprised of a sequence of five-issue mini-series, each one covering one of the Hellboy’s early years at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), beginning in 1952.

In this issue, Hellboy is sent on his first assignment. He travels to Brazil with four other B.P.R.D. agents to investigate some mass murders believed to be committed by a “superhuman creature.” The team flies to a remote part of Brazil and gets situated in the home of an elderly woman. The village is located near an old Portuguese fort that had been converted into a prison, but was abandoned following an outbreak of illness that killed many villagers and inmates. The site is believed to be haunted.

The first installment basically is setting the stage and introducing the characters, which is great for me. The writing is good and I really like the artwork. The dark and drab color scheme evokes a sense of 1950’s noir mystery, but is then contrasted by the stark red color of Hellboy. It heightens the fact that he is not of this dimension and makes him visually stand out.

I am really looking forward to this series. I have only ever heard good things about Hellboy comics so I am eager to read more. Cheers!

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The X-Files Conspiracy: #2

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This issue concludes the six-part miniseries. While the series as a whole was a little goofy at times, overall it worked for me.

In this issue, the Lone Gunmen are reunited with Mulder and Scully as they race to prevent the spread of the genetically modified alien hybrid virus. The story works really well and concludes nicely. There is a twist at the end that draws on parallel universe theory in quantum physics, but that’s all I’ll say. You know how I feel about spoilers.

What really stood out for me in this issue, though, was the quality of the art work. It’s very good! There is one particular set of panels where Mulder is exploring a dark warehouse using a flashlight. The artist does a great job with light and shadow that evoked some of my favorite scenes from the television series. I’m no artist, but I understand that capturing the way light works is very difficult for a visual artist. Kudos to Stephen Downer and Chris Mowry for their work on this.

Reading this was welcome and refreshing, especially after reading the dismal X-Files 2014 Annual issue. I’m not sure if IDW plans to continue the Conspiracy series, but I hope so. I am, after all, a life-long X-Phile.

Links to my reviews of past X-Files Conspiracy issues:

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