Sunday, December 26, 2010

Promethea by Alan Moore

Promethea: Book One (Prometea, #1)Promethea: Book One by Alan Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If Prometheus, the man who stole fire from the gods and gave it to men, figures technology, then Promethea must figure the imagination. In Alan Moore’s vision, she grew up in America, with 18th century roots in obscure colonial poetry, and only came of age in the twentieth century, in comics and pulp fiction. A riumph of wit and responsibility working together, Promethea also gives a role in the boyish field of comics to the figure as imagined by Hélène Cixous, the French feminist who mastered psychoanalysis, the better to dissect phallocentrism.

Promethea is ambitious, yet fun-loving, meta-fantasy familiar to readers of The Watchmen and League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Apparently Moore sees the Immateria as more than a metaphor for the imagination -- it’s something like a lifestyle for him now. Still, even though Wikipedia reserves a whole section of his entry on “Religion and Magic,” it’s clear that learning Kaballah and conducting ceremonies are only variations, or perhaps extensions to the art of story telling. Perhaps they are primarily more social or theatrical in nature -- Moore has the look of a wizard or some other master of secret powers, and if he were to speak spells in my area, I would pay to hear it. The political content of Moore’s work also speaks to a view of human society as populations brought together and broken asunder all by successes and failures of the imagination, a point he makes very vividly in Promethea by recalling the horror of war expressed by Wilfrid Owen. These interests in what are called “magic” and “anarchism” become, in Moore’s stories, much less like radical theories and much more like the sort common wisdom that we should be teaching our children.

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We are all wanderers along the way.