Fleet-Foot Tales and Hero-Glyphs Part II: The Celestial Voyages Fragment

In our last piece on artist-archaeologist Josh Ln’s hero-glyphs discovery–or “Fleet-Foot Tales”–we discussed the possible interpretations and meanings behind the artifact entitled Conflict Amongst a League of Marvels. However, our work is not finished. In fact, just as we promised, we at G33kPron’s Art Historian branch are going to transliterate and analyze the next in a series of Ln’s discoveries: specifically Exhibit B or The Celestial Voyages Fragment. This was no mean accomplishment. In addition to utilizing the Mind Gem in order to understand the mental processes behind its creation as well as bolstering our own understandings of this matter, our Chief Information Officer G33kBot had to authorize the retrieval and usage of the Space Gem and the Time Gem as well. It should be also noted as with Exhibit A, we had to actually undertake the laborious tasks of repairing and restoring these Gems to fulfill their original functions.

In addition, unlike the Mind Gem and its greater … affinity with Exhibit A, Exhibit B’s unusual temporal and spatial structure–though hypothetically found in an unknown period of Earth’s history–necessitated the use of these three tools (and the Space Gem in particular) to … travel to various places and times in order to place matters in their proper context. So now that you know of some of our struggles with these “hero-glyphs,” dear readers, let us examine what we have learned about Exhibit B.

Star Trek Hero-Glyphics

As you can see, there are three central figures in this sequential narrative. On the left is what appears to be a member of a mythological Elder Race: the Sidhe or the Elves. Certainly, the very bright colours that Fae beings are told to favour seems very much a characteristic of this being: whose actual name we have not been able to pronounce as it utilizes syllables and intonations unfamiliar to human vocal cords, mouth structures, or–even with Mind Gem augmentation– our current mental capacity. However, note his very direct–almost linear–bearing and the hand-gesture that he is creating with his left hand: the left hand in some cultures signifying a receptive element. At first, we thought that perhaps he is attempting to cast some kind of incantation or spell on the right-hand figure. However, the gesture itself–while seemingly questioning–can also be interpreted as either a greeting or a farewell. It can actually be seen as both of these elements simultaneously.

Yet there is that questioning aspect to consider as well. The Elf-Lord, if his pointed ears, gaudily-coloured uniform, the half-obscured celestial arch on the right side of his chest and his straight-forward gesture–with what seems to be indicative of a culture or mentality of highly structured oaths and promises that is incapable of lies (at least upon pain of death or the unravelling of the structure that keeps them from devolving into the chaos of star-stuff from whence they came), much in the way of the ancient Fae of Celtic and Nordic folklore and fantastic literature, there is the artifact on his hip to consider. It resembles a recording device–or a weapon of some kind–or perhaps something that has different phases of usage. He seems to be both questioning and asking something of the figure on the right-hand side.

And what a strange figure the latter truly is. After some translation of the hero-glyph, we have determined that he is a human figure called something along the lines of Tiberius. It is particularly odd given that Tiberius is an ancient Latin name and though the latter have obviously had contact with Celtic culture and even Germanics, there are other details to consider here. Tiberius is a hero and has the rank of something equivalent to a Praetor: a commander or a captain acting on behalf of another force. What is even more puzzling is that he is dressing in the same Fae-like uniform–of a golden hue–and he seems to be sitting on a throne: as perhaps a representative of an empire. Perhaps he is symbolic of a changeling that the Elf-Lord has trained, or raised to influence humankind from the inside and the deference that the latter shows Tiberius is merely a formality: one that belies his true power. Yet this is ignoring the fact that despite the throne, both figures are at the same height: indicative of some kind of–dare we say–equality. And then there are the other images in this narrative to consider.

Even though Tiberius sits on his throne, behind the Elf-Lord is a strange glyph of concentric circles and cylinders that appears to be some kind of vessel. Thus both sides have a power behind them: though the Elf-Lord does appear to be reporting to Tiberius. This vessel–which appears to be hovering in mid-air as something akin to a spiritual genius or something that happened, is happening, or will happen seems to be seeking something that is beyond the edge of the narrative. It is literally floating in space. However, both the Elf-Lord and Tiberius seem more focused–at this moment–on a bronze-gold predatory bird between them. Whether this is some kind of cursed artifact, or a symbol indicative of war is unknown. Certainly, the distance between them and every other symbol in the space seems to indicative a great peace or stillness, but a distant threat of war.

On the upper-hand corner of Exhibit B are three emblems arranged horizontally next to one another. The red symbol with its curved edges seems indicative of some kind of war-like passionate Meritocracy, the blue mirrors the emblems on the two figures as something more peaceful and distant–perhaps an open-ended Union encompassing whatever it comes across–whereas the last may well be indicative of a rising Star Empire. Whether these are other governments that the Elf-Lord and Tiberius are negotiating with, or the possible parallel pasts, futures and aspects of humankind is unknown at this time.

Yet what is really striking is the third central symbol on the upper right hand side of the narrative: the depiction of what appears to be a humanoid saurian ascendant over Tiberius. There are a few elements to consider with regards to the Saurian. He is facing the exact opposite way from Tiberius and carries the weight of a rock or another entire world in one bulky arm. It could be that the Saurian with its seeming brutishness represents the countless horrors and barbarism that Tiberius and the Elf-Lord’s Union faces in the stars. On the other hand, it could also be a threat that was already faced by Tiberius himself and conquered: but never forgotten. The fact that it is a Saurian being may also represent the reptilian Id of the human psyche that Tiberius–as representative of humans that are still evolving–are attempting to control, but unlike the Elf-Lord with the lack of such an apparent symbol above him, still utilizes as some kind of grounding or tie to the Earth and where they came from. Tiberius seems to remember his terrestrial roots amid his celestial voyages. Then again, the Saurian may just symbolize its traditional fertility roots in Earth mythology: or at least with regards to Tiberius.

The linear structure of this narrative is deceptive with all of these possibilities and the story continuing over the edges of the overall image. At the same time, while many of these symbols are in doubt and it’s unknown whether the Elf-Lord or the hero Tiberius are rivals, superior and subordinate, or heroic comrades, it is clear that they symbolize a kind of hope or redemptive narrative: as possibilities that have not happened yet. Certainly it is no coincidence that the three possible images of empires–perhaps reminiscent of Heraclitus’ archetypal symbols of humanity’s hydra of eros (desire), the more orderly shape of logos (reason), or the rising lion form of thumos (courage or duty)–is right above the Elf-Lord’s head. He is always cognizant of what Tiberius is capable of: and, perhaps, what he and his own kind are capable of doing as well even as they continue to voyage further past vistas of sentient understanding.

And though this story, like Exhibit A, seems to have no end in sight thus ends this segment of Fleet-Foot Tales and Hero-Glyphs. Stay tuned next time for our next segment: in which we will discuss the third narrative found by Josh Ln known as The Beatific Agony and the Secret College of Marvels and Daimons.

Josh Ln’s original excavated work and restorations of the rest of the “Fleet-Foot Tales” can be found, without translation, in Hero-Glyphics, Proof All Those Time Travel Story Events Were Real for the curious at your perusal and at your leisure. And, as we end this segment, we would like to leave you with these words we transliterated as best we could from the hand-gesture of our Elf-Lord friend, “Live long, and prosper.”

An Interview with Bill Watterson in a Magical World

It has been seventeen years or so since Bill Watterson’s last Calvin and Hobbes strip hit the newspapers: the clipping of which still curls and yellows on my bulletin board. It was a comic strip of silliness, philosophy, introspection and–most importantly–pure exploration, adventure and imagination between an overactive child with big dreams and little taste for reality such as it is and his tiger with a penchant for eating tuna fish sandwiches that only he can talk to and play with.

In 1995, Bill Watterson ended off his Calvin and Hobbes newspaper strip series with the words, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, Ol’Buddy … Let’s go exploring.” In the intervening years, the creator of the imaginative boy and his tiger friend, answered fifteen fan questions in 2005 for Andrews McMeel Publishing and had an interview with The Plain Dealer in 2010. Bill Watterson himself rarely grants interviews: partially because of his own intensely private nature but also due to his desire to distance himself from his completed comic strip. Certainly, many potential interviewers and authors such as Nevin Martell in his Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and his Revolutionary Comic Strip had no such luck arranging a meeting with the reclusive artist: resorting to drawing material from The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book as well as talking with Watterson’s contemporaries, members of his family, and those artistically inspired by his work. Watterson has, on many occasions, claimed he said everything he had to say about his work in the Anniversary book.

Mental Floss Magazine and interviewer Jake Rossen, on the other hand, seems to have had far better luck.

The magazine gives us a brief glimpse of the email exchange between Rossen and Watterson: in which the cartoonist addresses questions such as why he thinks it is so hard for readers to “let go” of his works, what he thinks of a company such as Pixar animating the characters of his strip, the critical point in which he decided his creativity was more important than licensing and syndicate interference, where he thinks the comic strip will fit in today’s society, and other matters. The rest of the interview will be published in the print version of Mental Floss come this December.

Bill Watterson ended Calvin and Hobbes while it was still good, after saying everything he had to say, gaining sole rights to his own creation, and prohibiting any kind of merchandising aside from the sales of the books of collected strips. While I was sad to see it go, it has lived on: becoming an archetype and legendary spot of golden warmth that has inspired the aesthetics and works of future cartoonists as well as countless others over the years long after it was finished.

But those last words that Calvin speaks to Hobbes still haunt me. After the strip ended, I didn’t know how “magical” the future would be afterwards. Certainly, a lot of very unpleasant and difficult things have happened since 1995 but now–in 2013–despite all of the challenges that still exist not much else has changed. There is still that child in all of us, that Calvin that likes to daydream and that need for a friend like Hobbes to always be in our minds. And when I look at the return of Miracleman, the next Sandman comic and so many new and geeky innovations I think back to Calvin’s last words created by Watterson and Watterson now granting this new interview when everything was thought to have been said and I think to myself that perhaps, just perhaps, this is a magical world after all: one that still bears some exploration.

Calvin and Hobbes

Miracleman Returns January 2014!

Miracleman Returns Jan 2014

It was in 1994 that the last official issue of Miracleman–a superhero series creatively revised by Alan Moore in 1982 and continued on by Neil Gaiman–hit the stands. The series was not yet finished but by the time issue #24 came out its publisher, Eclipse Comics, had become defunct. There were many attempts to resurrect this series about a superhero that discovers the unpleasant grittiness of his existence and eventually uses his power to rule the world, but there were many convoluted, legal complications that not only kept new issues from being created, but also prevented the rest of the series from being reprinted as well.

It is only now, nineteen years later, that Marvel Comics has announced at the 2013 New York Comic Con that starting January 2014 it will be republishing Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman’s run of the series and publishing all new Miracleman stories by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham. According to Editor In Chief Axel Alonso, Marvel Comics and its Special Projects Team has been in the process of obtaining the original or the photo-static copies of the artwork as well restoring them to a quality of detail that is up to par with the standard of the Marvel Masterworks line. It is a truly fascinating bit of news especially when you consider that Neil Gaiman, who was given the reins to the comic after Alan Moore left it in a dubious utopia, last worked on it as a young writer and is now back into it as an experienced and best-selling author and storyteller. It is tempting to say that this journey from creation to legal controversy has come full circle for both Neil Gaiman and artist Mark Buckingham, who has since become known for his art work in Bill Willingham’s Fables series.

Above is a video posted by Bleeding Cool of Neil Gaiman talking about his love for Miracleman, Marvel’s republishing of it, and his own work in finishing what was given to him. To all the fans, old and new, I would like to leave you with this article by Julian Darius of Sequart called Why Miracleman Matters. Finally, the years of Miracleman‘s Silence will be broken once again by one word.

Kimota.

Miracleman Ascendant

Fleet-Foot Tales and Hero-Glyphs Part I: Conflict Amongst A League of Marvels

This just in: artist-archaeologist Josh Ln has uncovered what seem to be ancient, and very distinctive, hero-glyphs–or what we have colloquially termed some “Fleet-Foot Tales”–from an ancient period in Earth’s history. Whether or not the sequential narrative stele, scrolls, tablets, or frescoes come from the beginning of Egypt’s Old Kingdom period or some other preceding civilization so advanced it would seem positively anachronistic by today’s standards is unknown at this time.

However,  our branch of Art Historians here at G33kPr0n–with the oversight of our Chief Information Officer G33kBot and a judicious use of the recently uncovered Mind Gem–has managed to transliterate enough of the symbols and images depicted in these astonishingly preserved materials to give some form of passable translations and, failing that, possible interpretations of what these artifacts mean. So with our Blue Gem in tow, we will now attempt to decode these sequential narratives for you, dear readers.

First, let us look at Exhibit A: the first of what we have decoded as Conflict Amongst a League of Marvels.

Avengers Hero-Glyph

In Exhibit A, it seems that on the surface we are met by two images. On the far left is the grown figure of Icarus who–in this version of the tale–fell from the heavens after the death of his father Daedalus and used his knowledge to craft a protective aegis around his body and seal the power of the Sun that brought him down to remake his broken heart. In his hands are auras from the Sun he has chained. In this way, Icarus is combined with Prometheus who–in his hubris–plans to bring the secrets of the Sun and the gods to all mortal kind: on his own terms.

Icarus’ counterpart, facing him in opposition is Rojhaz: the embodiment of a hero archetype from the distant land of America. In the legends, it says that he is one of the few to drink the Serpent’s venom created by long-lost sorcerers and live stronger than most mortal men. Yet this is only part of the spirit of Rojhaz. In addition to his strength, the hero is garbed in reinforced chain-mail coloured with the blue of the ocean’s eroding tides, the red of the blood of his enemies and the white of the souls he was made to protect. His shield is made an indestructible metal–another lost art of sound turned into material–to ward off all evil and turn its own force back against itself.  He is a warrior and a Guardian.

Above them, on the far left is the Nordic deity of Thunder. This is strange in and of itself due to the fact that all of these figures do not seem to be in their places of origin. Thor himself is far from home: though he is depicted as maintaining his place in the sky above these relatively mortal heroes: signifying his divinity. He possesses the short-handled Hammer Mjölnir that will one day be his undoing in Ragnarok: or so the Nordic Sagas would have us believe. There is a look of what seems to be dismay on his face. Notice that all three figures possess celestial connotations: with the Icarus-figure’s circular auras of power, the small wings and the letter “A’ for–presumably–ascendance on either side of Rojhaz’s skull and the much larger wings on Thor’s helmet. Each hero here believes that they are right: that their cause is just.

There are a few ways to interpret this narrative based on the positioning of the characters. Icarus is positioned over a green fist that, according to some interpretation, could be construed as a green djinn or a sealed magical spirit attempting to free itself. This unleashed power sits between Icarus and Rojhaz: perhaps symbolizing a potentially destructive power that helped make both of them after it was split from the Earth or human clay itself. Perhaps Icarus has sympathy with this power given his wanderlust and gall, while Rojhaz is leery and seems to guard a hierarchical tablet behind them: perhaps symbolizing the current social or celestial order of things. As for Thor, he can be seen as looking down in dismay at this mortal strife or, perhaps, one of the other heroes displaced him somehow with the power of the green djinn below and between them. It seems unclear at this time.

However, there are other images in this Exhibit to consider. For instance, just as the gods of the Norse are seen as knowing their Doom–while compelled to follow through with it–Thor seems to see something beyond the clashing of Icarus and Rojhaz. He sees a black panther and what seems to be a red spider with an hourglass or a keyhole in its carapace moving on a three-hold path off of the surface of their narrative. The meaning behind this is still unknown at this time. However, there is something very disturbing in the left-hand corner of the depiction. For while Thor seems distracted with what might-be or will-happen, with a branch of a narrative that is separate and the other two heroes clash, behind Rojhaz is the edifice of a hierarchical society or cosmos: as if there is any different from human perspective.

It is important to draw attention to this structure because, above it, seems to be a horned deity with a staff. It seems to symbolize both cuckolding and fertility: of taking seducing others and holding power. This character, at first, seems to be a trickster-figure. Yet below him is a smaller counterpart that seems to rule over or have usurped an order that is used to his presence. Another figure, a depiction of a citizen or ruler, draws away in fear of this being. One possible interpretation is that the very civilization, or ideal, that Rojhaz is defending is in danger of being corrupted from an enemy they cannot see while Icarus wishes to challenge that status quo with potentially unstable power: regardless of the consequences or necessarily even aware of the Tyrant-figure sitting on the upper part of the hierarchical line. What is worse to consider however, within the context of this piece, is that the Tyrant-Trickster may well be bewitching all of these forces to either conflict with each other or become distracted with paths that may not happen while keeping them divided and ignorant of his real plans. Indeed, another interpretation is that even the God of Thunder seems more distracted or mesmerized by the orb in the Trickster-Tyrant’s staff than the Tyrant himself. Perhaps this is important in and of itself.

In the end, perhaps these heroes are–like the characters in Ragnarok–attempted to get vengeance or avenge a battle or an atrocity that has not happened yet: while their real enemy already plans it right in front of their noses.

Perhaps, in the end, this is a sequential narrative that is not over yet or finds itself “to be continued.” Stay tuned next time for our next segment: in which we will discuss the second narrative found by Josh Ln known as the Celestial Voyages Fragment.

Josh Ln’s original excavated work and restorations of the rest of the “Fleet-Foot Tales” can be found, without translation, in Hero-Glyphics, Proof All Those Time Travel Story Events Were Real for the curious at your perusal and at your leisure. As the ancient farewell goes, “Excelsior.”