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Outer Darkness #1 (by Jonathan Layman)-I decided to pick this up after reading a synopsis online, and having vivid and pleasant flashbacks to Morrison's Nameless. The series was described as being a science-horror series. Even in the first issue, Layman goes on and on about how that's the series he wants to read and write (naming Alien as an example even), so it's not just Image's marketing department.

This comic does not accomplish what Layman set out to do, in the least. The series is written in a very irreverent manner, the artwork is quite cartoony (which doesn't do the book any favours, but isn't the sole reason for the failure). There are some "big ideas", like the captain of the starship using a Sumerian deity as a power source. That doesn't make it "horror" though.

Maybe there is some big mind-fuck coming up in later issues, ala Morrison's Nameless. If so, I can't say I am going to be stick around to see it. This series just did not work, in the least, for me. I don't know how Layman can fall so far from what he, himself, claims he was trying to accomplish with the story.

It seems more like a comic (in the sense of the word being used as an adjective, I mean) sci-fi yarn, with overtones of fantasy, rather than being a science-horror story.

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Oh, I think Infinite Dark was the comic I wanted to read, not Outer Darkness. Good of Image to publish two series billed as "cosmic science horror" with a title about "dark" at the exact same time. That wasn't confusing. Infinite Dark is written by Ryan Cady, a writer I have never heard of, while I do know of Layman. No wonder I thought I wanted to read Outer Darkness instead.

Infinite Dark does a much better job at what it is attempting to accomplish. Not perfect, but it is "science horror", and the artwork is suitably shadowy and moody to set up the tone.

The universe has ended. A space station on the outpost of the void has led to a few humans being able to survive the end of everything. They are now trapped on this space station, amidst a sea of nothingness. I like the concept.

They are waiting for a second Big Bang, in the hope that they can survive in to the next reality and restart humanity; except, no one knows what comes next. Maybe an eternity of Nothing.

Those who travel outside of the station to investigate the void are coming back claiming that there is something that still exists out there. A lurking Entity.

It really is worth reading so far. It is creepy and has a lot of "big ideas" that feed in to the horror elements, instead of taking away from the darkness (I'm looking at Outer Darkness here).

This could really be a fitting successor comic to Morrison's Nameless, if it continues in this direction. Nothing will ever touch Nameless for sheer perfection when dealing with the concept of utter nihilism, of course.

It has elements of Lovecraft, but is not based in the work of H.P. Lovecraft in the least either. I am quite fond of this comic.

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I really, really liked The Outer Darkness! It seems Layman is taking his time to establish the main characters in the first part of the issue, giving art room to breathe with some splash pages of spaceships, etc, but towards the end of the issue the weird sci-fi/horror stuff starts coming in, offsetting the comfortable tropes we all know in these kinds of space crew stories. The simple art makes the weird stuff kind of more exciting, because you don't really expect it to go where it goes. Layman mentioning Event Horizon at the end confirmed that this is a read for me. Also, some nice dark humor where things get horrible.

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Give Infinite Dark a chance. I'm really high on Infinite Dark. It is very dark (as promised) and is deifnitely an example of science-horror done correct.

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Infinite Dark does sound interesting. The concepts of infinite unknown, are quite fitting when dealing with space adventure. I do like when they are at least wrapped in a familiar structure, somethimg to anchor the chaos and imagination - I just started re-reading The Nameless, and it's a brilliant read, just the mood, but there are occult/magical concepts in the story i feel you need to undestand just to  have a starting point, and then the narrative is non-linear, mixed with dream sequences..- i hope the re-read sheds an inch of clarity. Any theories would be interesting to hear as well. Is it supposed to be subjective and just a wild experience cobbled together from many sci-fi/horror concepts? Or does it have a linear story? Morrison's explanation at the end of the trade didn't do much to help honestly

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I think you have to have an understanding of the occult concept of the Qliphoth, or the shells underlying the Sephirot in Kabbalah, to fully grasp The Nameless.

I only own the individual comic issues, so I haven't read Morrison's writing for the Trade. So, I can't really help with what he was saying there.

Don't worry though. Infinite Dark isn't anywhere close to as involved as The Nameless. It's a straightforward narrative, without any mysticism elements. It's just a similar mood and atmosphere, dealing with concepts of nihilism.

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Morrison wrote full 5 pages of text at the end of Nameless HC- sending you off to various books, sources, real life places, mythology, Dark Side of the Tree of Life, schools of magic, "dreammachine", Enochian language, forgotten ruins, Aeonic handover- and that's just Chapter One of Six. I can post the pages somewhere if anyone's interested  in digging through this book again with a semblance of a compass. I know i will be picking at it, because it's just so beautifully done and weird.

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I've got the floppies, so I'd love a look at Grant's backmatter.

:blink:

Only if it's no trouble for you to scan & post.

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The backmatter's definitely work a look. Apart from anything else, it explains the connection between Nameless and the veiled lady, and makes clear that there's more going on in the story than just kabbalism. Jung is relevant as well.

Maritimus this is possibly a misreading rather than a spoiler

 

but I think the real hinge of the climax is the gender stuff Morrison mentions in the final notes to chapter six. Nameless is a fairly old fashioned unreconstructed sort of guy whose approach to magic is fairly masculine (being based primarily on ritual and bronze age jewish mysticism) so he's finding the switch to a more feminine approach to magic very traumatic indeed. All the stuff with him being dismantled and reconstructed in his screen memories in Xibalba could be taken as a metaphor for an alteration of his consciousness, which lets Morrison have a pun about the way feminists refer to uplifting the consciousness of us sexist pigs by tying it into the consciousness expansion that's supposed to take place during a magic ritual. Morrison loves realising metaphors as actual things that exist in his narratives, and he nests a bunch of layers into the same images here, which can make a strictly reductionist reading that it's all kabbalism unhelpfully reductive given the amount of other stuff that's referenced, but I think the gender stuff (with Nameless and the veiled lady/Sofia in opposition) is as significant as the kabballistic schmutter. All of the water imagery and how threatening most of that is suggests that Nameless has issues coming to terms with his anima, and the veiled lady's definitely playing that role, even if she is literally his sister as well. The story also notably has a threatening and corrupt father figure and nothing in the way of a mother archetype, which again is possibly connected with Nameless' rather unstable lifestyle shown early on, as absent mother figures are generally held in psychology (it's one of the holdovers from Freud that hasn't been abandoned as yet, I think) to lead to serious problems forming relationships with others in later life.

Given Nameless' disconnect from the rest of the world (excused and rationalised as a necessity for his magical stuff), the whole tale could be taken as a  forced magical reintegration, by way of the sephiroth dark side (possibly as he's travelling the tree life of backwards, from the high mystical point back into the mundane world the rest of us live in) by way of a visions mixed up from a couple of versions of Hell, and the suggestion that rather than an enlightened master of great potency, he's actually more a frightened child who's retreated from reality, and this is the therapy he needed to reconnect with the rest of the human race.

That's just my reading of Moirrison's notes, though.

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I think that the dismembering elements play in to shamanistic ritual. In shamanism, the person on the astral voyage often reports having their bodies torn apart and put back together by beings outside of known reality, leaving them more powerful afterward. Also, in the alien abduction lore, you see the same sort of motifs being reported many times, in the physical ordeals that the abductee goes through in the "examining room" by the Greys.

I did not read any feminist elements in to the text, personally. There is reference being name to the anima, but I wouldn't go any further in that direction, myself.

Also, I wasn't saying it was "all Kabbalah", I was saying that if you don't have any understanding of the Qliphoth, that I'm not sure that you could fully figure out what is meant to be happening.

Though, I think it shows a lack of understanding of the very concept of Kabbalah to say what is or is not a part of Kabbalism. You seem to be focusing a lot on the Victorian occult teachings about the Kabbalah, from figures such as Mathers and Crowley, rather than looking at the actual historical referents of Kabbalism.

While I realize that the Jewish religion was a patriarchal religion, there is the concept of Shekhinah in Kabbalah. The idea that a feminine principle is outside of this "reductionist Kabbalah" is simply false, while simultaneously relying on the simple modern-day interpretation of materialistic feminism to explain away the mystical transformation, and put it on safer politically motivated ground.

The "female divine" principle (Sophia meaning "wisdom") could just as easily be read within a Christian context, in the sense of the "Holy Spirit" (once being equated with this female divine, see once again "Shekhinah" and used interchangeably in the New Testament). In Gnosticism, the Shekhinah can be interpreted as the "hidden aspect" of God, in the context of patriarchal (re)interpretations of Judeo-Christianity (the focus on a demiurgic aspect). So, in Christianity, the believer is said to have the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit (Shekhinah), or In other words, salvation (born again/anew).

I do also think you are focusing too strongly on the personal aspects to the story, which are certainly one large part with the main character, but while ignoring the outside aspects, where Morrison deals with the philosophical concepts of nihilism. It isn't solely the main character who is in need of reintegration. Especially seeing as the ending is an allusion to the dawning of the New Aeon.

I've heard it said that the writings of Max Stirner can be read as a Rorschach test. Perhaps The Nameless can serve in a similar matter.

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21 hours ago, JasonT said:

I've got the floppies, so I'd love a look at Grant's backmatter.

:blink:

Only if it's no trouble for you to scan & post.

I would happily post it - but i'm only allowed 0.31 mb here - what do you usually do with larger files? There is a total of 18 pages of extra content, including sketches, process, design - this book got a lot of love from the creators. I can just shoot an e-mail to whoever is interested, maybe that's simpler.

 

Morrison mentions this book is supposed to work more like a poem - it would account for different interpretations i guess - the story reflecting what the reader interprets within the nightmare - and daring him/her to look for hidden clues about the hideous forces that lurk in the spheres of the universe at the same time. This book gives me a feeling a Lynch movie often gives me - just out of grasp of conscious understanding, but close enough at times that i can't get it out of my head.

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1 hour ago, Maritimus said:

I would happily post it - but i'm only allowed 0.31 mb here - what do you usually do with larger files? There is a total of 18 pages of extra content, including sketches, process, design - this book got a lot of love from the creators. I can just shoot an e-mail to whoever is interested, maybe that's simpler.

18 pages sounds like a lot of work for you.  If you've already scanned it, email would be fine by me, or a Dropbox or Google Drive link; otherwise I'd prefer not to put you to the trouble.

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Jason: might it just be simpler to just look for a torrent of the collection? If you've already bought the floppies, it's probably not that big a theft if you don't want to pay for the hardback for 18 pages of notes.

(Of course, the notes could well be the sort of added extra that's there to encourage people who already the miniseries to buy it again as a hardback: they're a lot more interesting than the couple of pages of script and a few character designs and alternative covers you usually get as backmatter. Maybe that's why they're not online anywhere already?)

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10 hours ago, JasonT said:

18 pages sounds like a lot of work for you.  If you've already scanned it, email would be fine by me, or a Dropbox or Google Drive link; otherwise I'd prefer not to put you to the trouble.

There's 5 pages of text - the rest is design process, some original pages - i was probably going to take hq pictures of them, so it's not a problem. Aah, google drive, i forgot about that. Will do

...

Here it is. Sorry for the glare but scanning would be difficult

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-5J1fCc-e_infSnizP4894Qyy78ppXKe

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4 hours ago, Maritimus said:

There's 5 pages of text - the rest is design process, some original pages - i was probably going to take hq pictures of them, so it's not a problem. Aah, google drive, i forgot about that. Will do

...

Here it is. Sorry for the glare but scanning would be difficult

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-5J1fCc-e_infSnizP4894Qyy78ppXKe

Thanks for posting that.

I think what is missed by many, those who rely on Crowley, whose fascination was affixed with Egyptian mythology and his own blind hatred for all things Christianity (due to his upbringing), is that there was a clear break between Judaism and Christianity, with the Age of Aries giving way to the Age of Pisces. Under Crowley's schemata it should all be lumped together under the Age of Osiris, even though there is a contra-distinction between the patriarchy of the Age of Aries to the Age of Pisces and also that Crowley's description of the Age of Osiris being one of the "worship of death, to fetishism of self-sacrifice, peace, and mercy" would certainly not equate to the Age of Aries. So, I find there's always some confusion there between the push and pull of trying to shoehorn elements which clearly don't fit (no differentiation between the Ages of Aries versus Pisces) with Crowley's essentialist patriarchal Age of Osiris.

Osiris was the father, while Horus was the son. Yet, Jesus was the Son, not the father.

Also see: The Holy Spirit entered in to Jesus at the time of his baptism.

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