Comic books created high-tech bows and arrows with characters such as Hawkeye and Green Arrow, but my idea for a Steampunk/Western mini-theme park got me thinking about how I could steampunk the Injuns. The feasibility of actual weapons is difficult to gauge, but there are a couple of feasible possibilities. A fireworks arrow would put on a show and that’s what my novel’s main character wants to do,
Kismet Is the town where Elias and Flora Disney met. Kismet is a Hindu equivalent to fate; it is also a comic book character. Did the creators of Superman borrow the name, El (an ancient god, who most likely became the Judeo-Christian god) when they gave Clark Kent the Kryptonian name Kal-El of the House of El.
Of course, Memphis, Florida got its name from Egypt; Memphis is where the great temple of Ptah stood. The area around Memphis, Florida became home to many dwarfs when Ringling made Sarasota his winter camp; Ptah is a dwarf; he is also associated with Apis, the Bull. Both Egyptians and Native Americans held birds in high esteem and gave them a place in their mythology. The symbiotic relationship of the Cattle Egret and the big hunk of beef upon which they often rode, may have played a role in the Egyptian fascination. It is less common to see this symbiotic relationship between birds and crocodiles (or alligators) but the danger braved by the bird makes this symbiotic behavior more mystical.
My title, to this post, comes the statue (Ptah – god with the two crocodiles) and the city named, Allapattah, (a Native American word for alligator). We know “El” in the from of El Paso, El Dorado, and etc…. “Al” is commonly seen in Arabic words and names. Did these prefixes originate from the constant reference to god in everyday superstitious speak? Odds are there isn’t a solid direct between Allapattah and Al’Ptah, but the crocodile and alligator link evoke some cry of kismet.
Ptah also wears symbols of the souls of the god Re: the Ba, in the form of two birds with human heads wearing solar disks. Florida gets its name indirectly from Flora, the goddess, not Flora Disney – but in the mythology of things the two may be one in the same, like El and Elias. Linguistics and the gods of mythology offer some crazy She-it to man – M Brace DeFreak.
Sideshow freaks made a home and found normality in Gibsonton, Florida. A freak among freaks feels normal. Laws to do away with the exploitation of sideshows also broke up the town. Good intent does not always make good result. The Penguin and Killer Croc fit the Circus freak category. Audubon and others saw Florida as a special place for birds and the Penguin has a passion for birds. South Florida is the only place in the United States crocodiles live in the wild. Placing the origin of these two Batman foes in Florida makes good sense. Plus, it would fit the symbolic logic of my book, better.
Big Bang theorists may theorize they are the center of the comic book universe. And they may be right. But Marvel movies have shown a wider audience exists. Can they expand the fandom universe? Yes, if they make compelling characters for other demographic markets. I put elements of Mami Wata (top middle) into one of my book characters and wanted to see if any comic book characters match up. Most characters connected to snakes and Voodoo act as villains and the list of black female superheroes is lacking. Zora Neale Hurston took flak for how she characterized her fellow people of Black skin. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who co-produces and writes for Glee, had his work on the comic book series Marvel Divas criticized as misogynistic. The man got a GLAAD Media Award, think about that for a moment. I’m sure it dampens the desire to create diversity. Putting muscles on women makes them look more masculine, so other feminine traits have to be exaggerated to compensate.
I write about Florida and Zora Neale Hurston is part of our history. She wrote about Hoodoo. Miguel Covarrubias’s illustration (bottom left) depicts Zora, as she lies on a snake-skin for three days, in an initiation ritual order led by a supposed nephew of the famous hoodoo priestess, Marie Leveau ( Angela Bassett, another Floridian recently played Marie Leveau in “American Horror Story: Coven.”
The bottom center image depicts the Marvel Comics villain, Calypso. a voodoo priestess. Notice, Black Mamba (bottom right from http://marvel.wikia.com/Calypso_Ezili_(Earth-616)) looks more like White Mamba; she gets her name from her dark energy superpowers. Princess Python (top right: cover art for Punisher War Journal (vol 2) #16
Art by Alex Maleev) is another snake related villain and I thought the cover art had a voodoo look to it.
The point of this post is that a Black female writer or artist will probably have to champion a Black female superhero and to make not of a couple of my allusions. I thought my research may have led to more allusions but I saw mostly dead-end.
Comic books often weave with mythology. Former comic book author Neil Gaiman did it best, then he did the same thing with novels. Gaiman’s novel, Anansi Boys, tells a tale about the sons of Anansi, the spider trickster of African mythology. Vixen, from DC Comics, also has an Anansi link; she gets her powers from this trickster god. The Black Athena version, of the Greek goddess, weaves well with this Anansi lore. Athena and Anansi share spiders and weaving, in their profiles.
I link both, Anansi and Athena, to one character in my book. I’m not very familiar with Vixen but I am a comic book fan, so I’m sure I will add an allusion to this superhero. Some Black female writers should try to enter the comic book game because the notable black super-heroines dwindle fast, after Storm from the X-Men. Vixen probably ranks number two. My next post may make clear, how few there are. Gaiman set part of the Anansi story in Florida, so I’m in the web.
Many call Martin Bernal’s, Black Athena, pseudo-history; I see a possible link. Greek myths came over with the Phoenicians, who may not have been Black, but they surely had relations. One slave girl turned king’s favorite may have begun the myth. Egyptians and Phoenicians considered themselves a different race than Black West Africans, but they did have something called harems. Who knows?
Middle image (Wikipedia) Vixen from Justice League Of America vol. 2 #4, artist J. G. Jones.
Inanna was a bad ass. The ancient goddess was the goddess of almost everything. She took a tour of the underworld, did a striptease for the guards and back up top. Inanana got the great god, Enki, drunk and stole away his most valuable possession – the Mes. She played stripper and barmaid; two reasons why I chose the comic book characters in the bottom pane. Stripperella, of course, is a stripper. Her pal, Persephone, strips in the TV show but the goddess by that name never voluntarily stripped for the underworld guardians. Stripperella is a gadget girl, so she has man tricks up her sleeve like Inanna. The goddess has much more power than Stripperella, so I chose to pair her up with the superhero known as the Celestial Madonna.
Mantis kicks ass and she also served beer. Marvel made her the Celestial Madonna, but she has more in common the other Mary (Magdalene). Mantis loves plants, she even had a baby with one (a tree person from an alien race known as the Cotati; she also has plant over plants, like the had with the tree dude’s root. Sounds as if she has all the prerequisites to act as a fertility goddess. Mantis gave birth to the Celestial Messiah, known as Sequoia.
Comic books often borrow from mythology, I see the former as modern myth and the latter as part comic book. Many literal fiction authors borrow from myth, so do I. Comic books have a simple form, but a complicated universe. Thinking in comic book terms helps simplify the appearance of my writing while complicating my universe. Inanna and the Huluppa Tree was a play originating in Miami. I write about Florida , everything fits.
Nymphs truly are in tune to the wood. Many come with berry tops, like Batman’s Poison Ivy (left). It almost seems wrong to picture them in any other way. Poison Ivy often partners with Harley Quinn, the Harlequin; did DC Comics borrow this idea from, John_Reinhard Weguelin’s, 1905 artwork, The Magic of Pan’s Flute (right). Pan like Harley Quinn is a trickster. Maybe they chose Poison Ivy’s, hair color, due to Robert Henri’s painting, Edna Smith in a Japanese Wrap; I don’t know but I do know why I used the painting as the cover for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales. The answer to this “why,” is that Poison Ivy stems from the tale, Rappaccini’s Daughter. Dryads and nymphs from mythology also played a part, but the poisonous kiss comes by way of Hawthorne’s’ retelling of a Robert Burton tale in The Anatomy of Melancholy, which came from the tale, Gesta Romanorum, which came from India’s Mudrarakshasa. Art often intertwines with history and other works of art. The practice of conditioning oneself to poison probably began with a shaman lost in history.
Pan and the very similar, Puck, most likely gave some inspiration to the Joker and Harley Quinn, but Victor Hugo’s, The Man Who Laughed, is an acknowledged source of inspiration.
The making of this post has helped me refine some physical characteristics of two of my characters. I also allude to Hawthorne, the author, in my book. Hawthorn, the plant, also has a role due to its thorny nature, as member of the Rosaceae family.
We inherit the Easter bunny from Flora, the fertility goddess. Of course, many know about the trickster association to rabbits. My center character is Veronica Lake with some Jessica Rabbit styling; it seems only fair since the Roger rabbit Diva was modeled from the sex symbol of Film noir.
I began my book with a Trickster cult, but I switched to a Fertility cult. I write about Florida so, our piece of Jessica Rabbit fits between Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Veronica Lake went to high school in the Miami area.
Orchids are the tricksters of plant world. They trick many creatures into pollinating them; they even got many humans, hooked, as seen in The Orchid Thief. In an earlier post, I suggestedEmma Watson would make a great Black Orchid, due to her love for ecology, got me thinking about how I may change the character. Giving the Orchid the ability to make quick fashion changes, similar to the Creeper, might help inspire Emma to inquire about such a role. Between the fashion and the ecology cause, you can get many female fans to the comic book movie. Adding Emma Watson’s and Neil Gaiman’s fan bases would probably turn the movie into a sure thing blockbuster. Actually using the Creeper as a character adds some jest and he already has an Eco look to him. Nicholas Cage deserves a came to allude to his role the Orchid Thief movie.
I doubt I will get a penny no matter what, but what is in my head may as well come out. My research for my book does intertwine with the mythology of such characters. I use the name Hermione, in my book, due to the similarity in name to Hermes. Tricksters often have ties to the underworld. My movie idea may draw some crazy orchid fans to the movies; they best beef up security, those flower lovers are freaking nuts.
Gisele Bundchen went au naturel for nature when she went Eco for Photo. Eating green can create some luscious and lean limbs; plus, it helps the environment. A strict vegetarian diet can cause health problems, so I think PETA should add an advisory to their guilt trips but Vegans also can get some health benefits. Cow farts hurt the environment even with grass-fed beef, but corn and grain fed animals can add extra damage due to inefficiency reasons.
I’m more interested in the symbolism in these images. I’m sure many know these looks as Cosplay favorites. You often find couples undressed as Adam and Eve at events like Fantasy Fest. The nature girl look has many fans. Poison Ivy is a Comic-Con fave. I added Harley Quinn, another fave, because she looks like someone who eats green and she is another symbolic archetype.
I did not use a fertility cult when I began my novel; I used tricksters. One important character never came together for me. I missed the obvious. I didn’t have a Poison Ivy style character. I went from a Harley Quinn cult to a Poison Ivy cult and it didn’t fully hit me. This blog helped me stay focused on my book in an indirect way. Everything springs from something else. Would you have a Poison Ivy if you didn’t have an Eve?
Those are DC collectibles framed in white. Angela Simmons stars in the PETA ad.