The posts on my blog have in one way or another been around comics and mythology. The disclaimer on the site clearly does not lie. Both of the subject matters bear a strong connection through their mutual storytelling prowess. Both modes of expression rely on visualization, even though myth per se is more ideological, while there is no comics without said visualization. What is more, upon greater understanding of the two respective modes of storytelling, I can say that comics are quite simply saturated with myths (either directly or indirectly). This statement may not be obviously clear for most besides mythographers, but it functions on the same level as literacy and observation.
I would claim that myths are integral aspects of our psyche and our very being. Visual elements equally permeate our lives. Both concepts are so obvious that they can become invisible … just as we do not consciously think about the number of breaths we take or the amount of blinks our eyes make in a day, we take for granted that we can immediately interpret most of visual imagery that bombards our existence. In a similar way, we have long internalized the mythic imagery and symbolism that are given light from rituals, rites of passage, the heroic journey and the archetypal search for the meaning of life itself – either on the sacred or the profane level.
I can relate this to my academic years. When I was contemplating my doctoral thesis, I hit a shit-load of conundrums and bewildering realizations of grandeur of my rather (too) open-ended subject matter, such as:
“The self-reflecting paradox of this research is rooted in the immensity of the mythological lens through which the comics are analyzed. The perplexity stems from trying to uncover (not the essence but) the depth of mythology in only a few years – a task most mythographers spend their entire lives on. Thus, the choice of mythology in comics is anything but arbitrary (or even revolutionary), but an integrally natural choice that pits together our internal (mythic) features and external (visual) elements. My work echoes both the distinction and cooperation of the two systems of inquiry: the personal/instinctual level and cultural/earned mode. It is a self-reflection of humanity at its most natural level which needs to be stressed, not for it to have meaning, because the meaning is already quite evident, but because it fundamentally works on the same level of (self)exploration as does the most advanced science to date.”
Yeah, lots of hyperbole and now that I reread it almost an ego-trip … even though my goal has always been to shed light on the complexity of mythology and the pervasiveness of comics, since both are often misunderstood and downplayed. My message tries to be despite its apparent enthusiasm quite impersonal. I know, another paradox, but this one in a weird way makes quite a lot of sense once you’ve managed to burrow deep enough into the things that interest you.
The whole point of this verbal salad is that I’ll jot down some key theoretical aspects towards the study of mythology that I’ve found through my own research. I try to view them heuristically and holistically … indeed a mythological salad with rich flavor potential. I say potential because people generally tend to focus only on one aspect of myth; for example a psychological or a phenomenological take. This kind of Unitarian approach, however, leaves my salad rather tasteless, so I like to mix it up as often as I can … and add some social or anthropologic seasoning to the big mythological bowl, which makes the salad really pop.
In other words, this is a kind of tie-in post, since I’ll be explaining in future posts under the title Myth in Theory how certain disciplines go hand in hand with the study of myth or are rather part of the theoretical compendium of the study of mythology. Obviously, it will be more mythology than comics, but if I can relate stuff to comics, I definitely will. Plus, when I finish the four B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs collected editions, I want to do another How it Works, but this time a bit more condensed, since 1200+ pages of reading material can amount to a blissful headache of an analysis and a drag to read.
So, that’s what’s coming up. Cheers!
For reasons of extreme prejudice, the author of this blog wishes to remain anonymous …