Tag Archives: temptation

The X-Files Season 10 Comic: Issue #10

XFiles_10-10

Wow! I just finished reading this issue and I feel like reading it again. It is excellent and embodies what I love about the X-Files.

The issue is subtitled More Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man and is comprised of a series of memories that the smoking man (C.G.B. Spender) was recalling while drafting a memoir of sorts. What these vignettes accomplish is connecting the X-Files mythos to historical events, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Vietnam War. It works perfectly, blending the boundaries between fiction and reality.

The artwork is done in black and white with a yellow hue, which adds to the dreamlike quality of memory. There is one section where some color briefly seeps in, highlighting those scenes as an intensification of the memory and the emotion associated with it.

While all this is impressive on its own, what really blew me away while reading this were the short, thought-provoking quotes that permeate this issue, and there is no shortage of these. I’ll include a couple of them here.

“They say great men aren’t born that way. It’s what they do in response to great disappointment and failure that makes them so.”

I could not agree with this more. In our lives, we all face failure and disappointment, which leaves us with the choice of dealing with our failures with stoic resolve or descending into the pit of despair and self-loathing. I’ve certainly tested both paths in my lifetime, and I prefer the first.

“You might not realize it yet, but everything around us is a construct, and one day the truth will set you free.”

I think most of us recognize that history is a construct, but I sense here that the assertion is that reality itself is a construct. Reality is based upon perception, and perception can be manipulated and altered. If you accept this idea, then it is by no means a stretch to conclude that everything around us is nothing more than a construct. I am not expert on Buddhism, but I seem to recall reading a Buddhist tenet that said something similar to this.

The issue concludes with another great quote:

“Extraordinary men are always most tempted… by the most ordinary things.”

When I think of the things that have tempted me to make mistakes and poor choices in my life, they have all been pretty common things. I have not made poor choices as the result of some noble ideal.

As I said, this issue is flawless. If you are an X-Phile, then you must read this. There are lots of other things in here that I intentionally excluded from this post so as not to spoil it for you. I promise you will not be disappointed.

The truth is in this comic.

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“Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation – Book III” by Neil Gaiman

LastTemptation_IIIAll Hallow’s Eve. Hallowe’en. The first day of the death of the year. Folk beliefs about this day go back forever. On Hallowe’en, they say, the Gates of Hell swing wide, and the dead and the damned ride out from dusk until dawn. On Hallowe’en, they say, the dark spews out all the nightmares, all the pain, all the death; and the hurt and the hate take shape and form. That’s when they can hurt you—or so they say.

Those are the opening lines from the final installment of Gaiman’s graphic novel trilogy featuring Alice Cooper. The events in this issue all take place on Halloween, which is appropriate. Young Steven returns to the Theatre of the Real to face his inner demons and the ultimate temptation: to enjoy a life of eternal youth in exchange for sacrificing his “potential,” letting go of his dreams of what may be and what he could become.

This terrified me, truly. I’ve reached the point in my life where I can look back and see the mistakes I made, where I’ve sacrificed my dreams, and where I’ve failed to reach my potential. For a long time, this tormented me. I was plagued with the thoughts of what might have been. Thankfully, I’ve reached a place of acceptance where I realize, like Steven in this tale, that it is best to just live life, that pain and shortcomings are what form you as an individual. I no longer allow my regrets to torture me. I know that everything I have been through has brought me to this place, and it’s a good place.

At one point in the story, the showman (Alice) tells Steven: “When you become the thing that scares, there’s nothing to be scared of ever again.” This really struck me. It made me think about cycles of abuse. I suspect that most abusive individuals were often abused themselves. The deep fear that they must have experienced causes them to become the scary person that previously tormented them. It’s a sad but true statement.

To sum up—I loved this entire trilogy. It is nothing short of amazing. The artwork is great; the story is riveting; there are no flaws that I can see. One could say I’m biased because I love Alice Cooper and Neil Gaiman, but the truth is, I approached this series with very high expectations, and this tale surpassed those expectations. So I’ll conclude with another quote from Book III which alludes to Shakespeare and P. T. Barnum:

The show’s the thing. The show. And the show must go on.

Click here to read my review of Book I.

Click here to read my review of Book II.

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