Monday, November 7, 2011

Review of Kripal's Mutants and Mystics

I've just posted my review of by

Here's the link, if you want to read it there:

And here's the review, if you want to read it here:

This book was written just for me. I swear Jeffrey Kripal telepathically scanned my mind and knew all the buttons to push to make me devour this book. For someone like me who has spent years reading and writing sci-fi and weird horror in pop culture mediums – comics and games -- it's a welcome relief to see an academic take it all seriously. Well, not so serious as to make it boring and stuffy. Kripal admits that it was his remembering his love of comics as a kid that called him to take a fresh look at what comics have been telling us all these years, in light of his religious studies scholarship. That and a synchronistic X in a parking lot upon exiting an X-Men movie.

The book explores the intersection of pop culture – specifically comics and the sci-fi pulps – and the paranormal, and finds things are stranger and more uncanny than most readers, let alone sci-fi fans, are aware of. Kripal reveals the many hidden themes that all-too-often synchronistically crop up in comics and the lives of those who author them. He proposes that we are living in a Super-Story, an over-riding narrative behind the many sub-narratives we tell ourselves in pop culture. Well, we think we’re telling these stories, but we ourselves are being written. By what and by whom? That remains mysterious and rather Gnostic, but once we come to Realization we can move to Authorization and becomes “authors of the impossible” writing the stories of our own lives.

This is a good companion book to Grant Morrison’s Supergods. It covers some of the same territory, but now from a broader perspective than the experiences of just one artist (Grant Morrison); we also discover the weird and prescient lives and art of other key comic-book and pulp prophets as Alan Moore, Jack Kirby, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Ray Palmer, among others.

Next on my reading list is Kripal’s previous book, Authors of the Impossible. I’d previously read portions of his book, The Serpent’s Gift, and I plan to get back to that one soon, too. There’s a cornucopia of rich ideas and connections in Kripal’s work and I look forward to exploring them all.

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