The other day I was checking out the beginning of volume 3 of Alan Moore’s excellent comic series, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, entitled Century, and I was struck by quite a few things.
Century, I should add, is very frustratingly being released in three volumes over the course of the next three years. The first volume, “1910,” seen above, is awesome and fun. I can’t wait for next year’s “1969.”
Meet Janni Dakkar AKA “Jenny Diver” AKA “No One.”
If you’ve not heard of the series before, but do remember that atrocious movie “adaptation” from a few years back starring Sean Connery, then have no fear, the comics are absolutely nothing like that. But the gist of the plot is essentially the same: In a play on Phillip Jose Farmer’s World Newton family, classic characters from old British literature combine to form a sort of Justice League of Victorian England.
But who does he want her to go meet?
You’ll also remember that this resulted in a truly atrocious movie based on the graphic novel, starring Sean Connery and directed by Stephen Norrington. The less said about it, the better.
Her father, the dying Captain Nemo, of course.
One could go on forever about The League’s several volumes so far, and it’d be fascinating, especially the way the comic handles not just history, but the history of British fiction and mashes up it all up into fascinating stories of intrigue and adventure.
The beginning of the third volume, Century, shows us the vision of a group of occultists trying to raise the Moonchild, something British occultists are frequently trying to do. The characters themselves, especially Simon Iff, are right out of Aleister “the wickedest man in the world” Crowley’s novel, The Moonchild, which is about groups of good and evil magicians trying to breed and raise a magical child that would end this aeon and bring about the next one, that they would control. For a more contemporary reference, think Bree from LonelyGirl15 or Suri Cruise.
That, in turn, got me thinking about one of my favorite series of graphic novels, The Invisibles, by Grant Morrison, about a group of anarchy loving occultists who are trying to stop the Archons/Older Ones (think: Cthulhu type evil Gods) from using their own moonchild to bring about the end of the world. There moonchild is wonderfully gruesome looking, this sloppering thing of tentacles in a somewhat humanoid body that has to be kept behind this huge cloak to shield you from it’s unbelievable hideousness. Plus, there was a scene where a bunch of bad dudes were watching a porn tape of the Moonchild fucking Princess Diana to bring about another, more potent, more human looking moonchild that… well, nevermind. Princess Diana’s always had an interesting relationship with the comics medium and I realize that out of context this all sounds a little more than bizarre. Ah, but if only I could find you a nice scan… Sigh.
Regardless, most occultists are stupid little bitches, or those who can’t handle their own mediocrity, so they turn it into something “magical” and “bizarre” and use it to have a lot of group sex. Think: Your average Drama Club or Band Geeks at high school. Aleister Crowley was really no different. Though I would’ve enjoyed partying at his vacation home in Sicily, called the Occult Abbey Of Thelema. And in particular, the nightmare room…
The way it worked was: If you wanted to party with Crowley and his coven of orgiasts, that was cool with them – Crowley’s motto was “Do As You Please” after all – but there was one catch. To party with them, you had to first survive for a time in Le Chambre de Cauchmars, The Room Of Nightmares. The room was basically just a room, but with frescoes of Heaven, Earth, and especially Hell painted on the walls. The image of Hell was said to have contained some of the foulest, most depraved things ever. But still, not so bad right? Not so fast, champ. Before you began your time in the room, you had to take Papa Crowley’s special mixture of hashish and opium and acid and then trip the light fantastic as the walls of the Nightmare Room seemed to literally come alive and try to rip the flesh off of your bones.
Look at that silly dork.
Charming, right? The idea was to make your soul vulnerable to every evil spirit there was to master them, to survive a gaze into the abyss of horrible and come out stronger for it. Also, it must’ve been fun for Crowley and his fellow dungeon folk to watch people just losing their shit left and right.
Ah, to be at the whimsy of the magic man. And then there’s music: Primarily “Moonchild” by King Crimson, which I was reminded of coincidentally just a moment ago (I shit you not) when “The M62 Song” by The Doves came on, which includes portions of the song by King Crimson. What weird, small world.
But, ah, the moon. The lunar eclipse. Night and day, masculine and feminine. From an art perspective, or a crazy black magic perspective, there’s just something more infinitely interesting and mysterious about the moon, right? Something that just makes us want to put pictures of wolves howling at it on t-shirts. Apollo was a douchebag, and it’s not like you can sit there and stare up at the sun, but you can spend hours and hours and hours just staring up at the moon, letting it’s majesty wash over you and inspire you.