[identity profile] arbre_rieur.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Promethea 12 was something of a watershed moment for the series. Previously, the series had been very well-written, with excellent art, but it was still "just" your standard superheroics. This issue is when we first realized that it was going to be something more.

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Basically, the issue is the history of humanity told via the major arcana of the Tarot. It begins with the big bang and the planets forming, stuff like that. Then we get to the earliest lifeforms arising on Earth. In these scans, we're picking up at the point when Homo sapiens comes into existence.

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The Scrabble tiles along the page bottom are the letters in "Promethea." On each page, they're re-arranged into a new word or phrase, including the title of the issue, "Metaphore."

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Due to the legal page limits, I obviously can't post any more, but this is the best part anyway. After this point, the whole things starts to get oddly Eurocentric for something that's purportedly a history of the human race.

Date: 2009-05-26 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
This section of PROMETHEA--which was, basically, THE CARTOON GUIDE TO KABBALAH--is my favorite, and in fact made the rest of the series feel kind of redundant. The only problem I have is that so much of it ends up still having to deal with this through character voices and thus ends up, unfortunately, at times with a contrived case of the cutes. "I think I see. So this thing I'm looking at represents this other thing." Far too much of that.

I wished that Moore could have just run free with it in a more SNAKES & LADDERS kind of way without having to force this superhero story to attach to it.

Date: 2009-05-26 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randyripoff.insanejournal.com
I dunno...to me, this was just Alan Moore being Alan Moore. He just does this sometimes--for instance, in From Hell we got an entire issue on mystical Mason beliefs, and in Miracleman we got some similar stuff about the Qys--sometimes interesting, sometimes not, but ultimately having next to nothing to do with the story.

Date: 2009-05-26 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
No, no, I wanted MORE of this kind of thing, and less of the superhero stuff, which really, once he started on this stuff, seemed tacked-on and irrelevant, like a disguise that, once abandoned, you struggle to put back on.

To me, these kinds of things are PROMETHEA's whole reason to exist. Imagine the series without the Kabbalah sections--not really that much to it but fight scenes.

Date: 2009-05-26 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] besamim.insanejournal.com
Oh, I love this issue so much. Though I'd say that the first hint that the series would be more than a standard superhero comic came in issue 10, when Jack Faust teaches Promethea the mysteries of sex magic. There we're introduced to the "staff in the cup" motif that becomes important later on, as well as the chakras and kundalini.

You're absolutely right about the Eurocentrism of the tarot issue's history. That's not surprising, because the Golden Dawn/Thelema-based mysticism and magic underlying the series is itself heavily Eurocentric despite incorporating aspects of Eastern thought and practice (with varying degrees of accuracy). Both the GD and Thelema (the religion founded by Aleister Crowley, whom we see at the bottom of each scan) were created by British people of the late Victorian era, when the "let's borrow from all this fascinating exotic Eastern stuff" colonial mindset was in full swing. (Much like the fascination with all things ancient Egyptian around the same period: "Hey, this stuff we, er, acquired from Egypt and stored safely in our museums? Bit of all right. Let's wear costumes like those in our own magic rituals.")

Date: 2009-05-26 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com
This issue was my personal fav. of the series.

Date: 2009-05-27 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
Stories like this are precisely why Alan Moore is such a legendary figure - he's never afraid to just throw himself to the winds and try stuff that is really experimental and WEIRD. I mean, look at this. How did he script this? How much time and effort must he have PUT into this single issue? The talking snake narrative, the Aliester Crowley joke at the bottom, complete with various versions of Crowley at various periods of his life, the changing background, Promethea's dialogue, the cards themselves, of course - layer upon layer upon LAYER. It's really astounding.
Also, in a mystical sense, I find his view of the universe to be quite fascinating. I still haven't quite grasped precisely what it is, but I find new facets of it every time I read more of his stuff. And what's really interesting is that he obviously BELIEVES this stuff - this isn't just him spinning a clever yarn, this is him explaining his thoughts on life, the universe and everything. (I'm not just making suppositions here; I've gleaned as much elsewhere through interviews I've read.) As someone who also thinks about these things quite a bit, 'Promethea' is truly fascinating stuff. I have GOT to get Volume 3 one of these days...

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