What I Thought
I got the impression that the book was going to be taking a look at comic fandom and the role that comics play in our lives. Possibly a look at comics as a replacement for the stories, myths and legends our ancestors clung to. Stories of inspiration, hope and even tragedy. I don’t know how I could have been more wrong.
What I Found
The book reads like a conspiracy theorist playing ‘Six Degrees of Alister Crowley”. Anyone of any notability in the comic industry was portrayed as some kind of 12th level inner circle skull and bones of the order of the knights Templar magician, or at least in training for that post. No wonder it’s so hard to break into the business, you have to become some sort of esoteric dark master to be an intern. To back up such imaginative synchronicity a large portion of the book deals not with comics, but with mystics, charlatans and secret societies of days gone by… way, way by.
All of that going on and there are still parts of the book that drag. Go figure.
Parts of the book do deal with comics and how they fit certain heroic types of old. There’s even a breakdown of what the types are, and which comic book characters fit into each type. If there were more if this in the book I don’t think I would have been as disappointed.
One thing about the book did not disappoint me, the illustrations. Beautiful line drawings that combine points in the book with comic book archetypes are generously scattered throughout. It’s not much of a surprise that the illustrations are so good, the illustrator is Joseph Michael Linsner.
You might enjoy this book if you’d prefer to learn more about Alister Crowley than Stan Lee. For the comic book fans, I’d recommend getting The Comic Book Makers by Joe Simon instead.