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  1. #1
    Mmmm... Tasteless... niall mc cann's Avatar
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    Default I've just finished reading Promethea...

    ... that is, the fifth trade.

    My girlfriend gave me it for christmas, and i've just put it down and picked up some of the earlier volumes.

    I'd just like to start a discussion on it, really, hear what other people's thoughts are on the entire thing. There's a lot in it.

    I suppose i feel right now that it was sort of anti-climactic, a little. Armageddon didn't make it as big a dent as i'd expected...

    It was a beautiful read, though, as always.

    Anyone have any favourite moments from the series? If so, why? Which pieces stick in the mind?

    Something that's always interested me is the idea that consciousness is language, or at least takes the form of language. I run across it again and again in loads of places. I don't buy it, really.

    Anyone else have any ideas from it that stick with them?

  2. #2
    More Donald than Charlie stealthwise's Avatar
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    Consciousness is language... well, language is consciousness anyways. You can't express thought or emotion in a coherent manner without tying it to some form of language. Did that even make sense? Hell, I don't know.

    My favourite moments were almost all related to the art. The mobius strip pages, the crazy cool celestial stuff, JH Williams is the man.

    I really dug the strange chronology stuff that Moore did with a few issues, especially the one where time is overlapping throughout an entire issue. The one issue where every letter in Promethea spelt out some aspect of the universe was pretty cool. To be honest, I don't entirely remember the series as well as I should right now, but it was a great ride in tpb form.

    Kudos for that final issue as well. I felt that the last trade was a bit of anti-climax, but like most Moore books, I'm sure that I'll appreciate it more as I reread it.
    - Art is whatever makes you feel human.

    - "You are what you love, not what loves you." - Donald Kaufman

    - "Deserve's got nothing to do with it." - William Munny

    - "Acquiescence. It's not so hard, really. You. Just. Give. In." - Col. Ives

  3. #3
    Born under a wandrin Star Tobias March's Avatar
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    Yes I love the moebius strip splash page aswell, but also Sophie meeting John Kendrick Bangs. I went out and tracked down a copy of Houseboat... after I read that issue, great little book, which of course I never would have heard of without Moore's bibliophilia. Also the extraordinary photorealism of the panel in which Bill is shot by his distraught lover.

    The language as consciousness argument runs so - our conscious thoughts are structured by language, so therefore we can only be aware of thoughts that can be beheld by the language we have. The solution of Promethea is to emphasise the primacy of the imagination over the 'real world'. The joyful apocalypse we see is the moment when the human race refuses to be limited anymore by the world and allows imagination - free thought, unlimited by language/theworld/society/etc. - to determine how we live.

    It's summed up best by Faust when he and Sophie are about to have sex. You can either see us as two people rutting on a filthy mattress, or primordial gods re-enacting a never-ending dance (or something like that, I can no longer remember).

    Fantastic book.

  4. #4
    Mmmm... Tasteless... niall mc cann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthwise View Post

    My favourite moments were almost all related to the art. The mobius strip pages, the crazy cool celestial stuff, JH Williams is the man.
    Mine weren't, but the art was beautiful, from beginning to end. Williams is as versatile as any comic artist i've ever read, and better than most. It was a beautiful book. The thing that sticks with me is how much the Godhead wasn't an anticlimax. It was just a very beautiful issue. And though i just complained about the apocalypse, i have to say i thought it was very cleverly done. Casually profound, and powerful in the way it absorbed you. It seemed to me so clever that it almost looked simple. which is a credit to all concerned.

    To be honest, I don't entirely remember the series as well as I should right now, but it was a great ride in tpb form.
    i was the same, but i ran straight to the earlier trades and re-read them. they're great.

    Kudos for that final issue as well. I felt that the last trade was a bit of anti-climax, but like most Moore books, I'm sure that I'll appreciate it more as I reread it.
    I get that feeling too. But like most Moore books, the prospect of diving right back into it was too overwhelming... Moore's work is like christmas dinner; you have to give it time to digest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias March
    The language as consciousness argument runs so - our conscious thoughts are structured by language, so therefore we can only be aware of thoughts that can be beheld by the language we have.
    yeah, i understand that logic, i just don't agree with it. Different people have differing levels of proficiency with language, but it is not my experience that people with less proficiency are inherently less conscious, or in any way stupider. Just like i've encountered people who love flowery language and revel in their mastery of it, but have been more or less unimpressed with their level of thought or introspection.

    I have known certain people well enough to know that they will never (either because they will not or cannnot) express the full depths of their insight; it doesn't mean it's not there. Therefore, it seems to me that language is just a tool of expression of consciousness, and not in any way fundamental to our relative levels of awareness.

    The solution of Promethea is to emphasise the primacy of the imagination over the 'real world'.
    I'm not even sure that she's emphasising primacy of imagination; Doesn't she more than once note that matter and imagination are somehow equal partners? And that though matter is farther from the godhead, it's possible to view matter, therefore, as the ultimate "point" of existence?

    It's summed up best by Faust when he and Sophie are about to have sex. You can either see us as two people rutting on a filthy mattress, or primordial gods re-enacting a never-ending dance (or something like that, I can no longer remember).
    I really liked that, too. We're not two random people who happen to be rutting; there's only ever been one man, one woman, one bed. We were always here, always beautiful, always gods.

    I'll have to try that line sometime...:D

  5. #5
    Born under a wandrin Star Tobias March's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niall mc cann View Post
    yeah, i understand that logic, i just don't agree with it. Different people have differing levels of proficiency with language, but it is not my experience that people with less proficiency are inherently less conscious, or in any way stupider. Just like i've encountered people who love flowery language and revel in their mastery of it, but have been more or less unimpressed with their level of thought or introspection.
    Get yourself some Berkeley man. He's the cornerstone of Irish philosophy :D It's not a question of vocabulary, it's language as a system of understanding. So mathematics is a language, music is a language - different modes of thought that allow you to perceive the world.

    I loved the Zatanna series in Seven Soldiers, because it illustrated Morrison's frustrations with Moore, his competitiveness as regards 'who's the better mage'. Promethea is didactic, I'm thinking of the 'tour', of the various sephiroth, whereas Zatanna tried to be fun and consciously more accessible. Whether it achieved that or not is another question.

    I think Moore did have to lead the reader by the hand for a bit during the book. When in the finale the characters break the fourth wall and Promethea speaks to the reader directly, it seems like a natural development from the preceding story. And Faust's line about masturbating magick fanboys seems like a little snipe against the bald Scot now that I think about it :p

  6. #6
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    The first 11 issues were great. The 12th issue fealt like a lecture, but I hung in there. In the coming issues, the lecture expanded into a semester of Magick 101, taught by Professor Moore. By then, I was reading everything carefully and enjoying the beautiful artwork and intricate symbolism. And I still liked the characters enough to care about them. But when Sophie became a fugitive, I thought that the whole comic became slow and drab. The last few issues seemed too decompressed, and the final issue sold out at local stores before I knew that it was out. Sadly, I didn't even care anymore.
    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
    Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

  7. #7

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    I loved it. The tarot, the tree of life, the different Promethea's through the ages. You've got an amazing writer and a fantastic artist and it works. Every page, every panel an adventure in itself. I wish I could think of something negative to say about this book but even when it was slow or confusing I felt this bond with Sofie that she was my Promethea and it was my time in history. Uh what was the question? Oh, yeah something about language and understanding. I don't know anything about that. I don't know anything about magic or wizardry either, but it was an exciting journey.

  8. #8
    Mmmm... Tasteless... niall mc cann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias March View Post
    Get yourself some Berkeley man. He's the cornerstone of Irish philosophy :D It's not a question of vocabulary, it's language as a system of understanding. So mathematics is a language, music is a language - different modes of thought that allow you to perceive the world.
    I will look for Berkeley, but i'm struggling as it is with Jacque Lacan. He's not the cornerstone of any philosophy, because he's very dry, very difficult to read, but that's what i'm stuck reading these days, god help me...

    I understand what you're saying; that when we order our understanding, we use language to do so, or that that order becomes language. I just don't believe that that's the only sense in which we understand. Isn't there something to be said for intuition?

    I loved the Zatanna series in Seven Soldiers, because it illustrated Morrison's frustrations with Moore, his competitiveness as regards 'who's the better mage'. Promethea is didactic, I'm thinking of the 'tour', of the various sephiroth, whereas Zatanna tried to be fun and consciously more accessible. Whether it achieved that or not is another question.

    I think Moore did have to lead the reader by the hand for a bit during the book. When in the finale the characters break the fourth wall and Promethea speaks to the reader directly, it seems like a natural development from the preceding story. And Faust's line about masturbating magick fanboys seems like a little snipe against the bald Scot now that I think about it :p
    It's probably a cop out to say i love them both, but i do, so... I don't know, what do you do?:D

    Uh what was the question? Oh, yeah something about language and understanding. I don't know anything about that. I don't know anything about magic or wizardry either, but it was an exciting journey.
    I don't either. And the question was just something that stayed with me, feel free to ignore it, bring up your own fave bits.
    Last edited by niall mc cann; 01-05-2007 at 08:37 AM.

  9. #9
    Mood Indigo Indigo Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niall mc cann View Post
    I'm not even sure that she's emphasising primacy of imagination; Doesn't she more than once note that matter and imagination are somehow equal partners? And that though matter is farther from the godhead, it's possible to view matter, therefore, as the ultimate "point" of existence?
    That seemed to be a red herring introduced with the Margaret Taylor Case Promethea from World War I. She seemed tragically bitter and heartbroken about what she had seen in the trenches, and seemed very radicalized. She initially presented the idea that Promethea would lead the world to the immateria where economics and money would be meaningless and there would be no war. (That is, if I read that correctly)

    Re: Zatanna v Promethea/Morrison v Moore -- no matter how great Morrison is, he did not achieve in 4 issues of Zatanna what Moore did with 32 of Promethea. I loved the Zatanna mini but I'm honestly disinterested in it as some 'philosophical magic smackdown'.

  10. #10
    Casanovanaut Jack Destruct's Avatar
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    Whilst I too enjoyed Zatanna's parts in 7S, I thought it seemed to be more about fictional magic than 'real' magic.

    I actually thought that Miracle Man's section had more to do with 'real' magic than Zatanna's. I can't remember exactly why, and I'm not going to re-read it until the last trade is out, but if you're all still discussing this in about a months time, I'll throw in another 2c.

  11. #11
    Born under a wandrin Star Tobias March's Avatar
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    Well yeah there was a line in Zatanna suggesting that Morrison is more in favour of the 'praxis', side of magick than Moore's dusty old theory and book learning. It was in the first issue, when Misty spoke to Zatanna at the end of the meeting.

    But yes it's thoroughtly uninteresting to view either series as a throwdown between two egos. More to look at how we have two differing views on magick and what's behind that. Seeing as this thread is dedicated to Promethea, I would see Moore viewing his magickal studies as a clearing house for prejudices inherited by growing up in a judeo-christian/western culture. Which is why even an event like the Apocalypse is turned on its head, or Sophie winds up having a pleasant conversation with a satanic seeming demon in the anti-tree of life.

    Course Moore also claims to have had a similar conversation with such a demon so there you are. Though he appears to view them as some kind of superego that we are unable to perceive normally.

  12. #12
    ....ultralulu ultramandingo's Avatar
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    i asked JH Williams once if he" got " the ending , he was'nt shure. but told me if i wanted to be confused wait for " 7 soliders" . wonder if he figured that out

  13. #13
    Born under a wandrin Star Tobias March's Avatar
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    There's a discussion now on the X-board on how the Phoenix represents the Sephiroth as well. It's everywhere! Not just Promethea!

  14. #14
    Junior Member Punch's Avatar
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    I really need to re-read this series. I read the first book, but was less than enthusiastic about it. I think I was feeling Top Ten more, which I was also beginning to read at the time.

    But the point of my post is that when anyone describes Promethea, it always sounds exactly like the same ideas that were in The Invisibles. Is this true? I know already of some of the words Moore and Morrison have had for each other's work. so it's interesting to see them work out the same ideas at roughly the same time.

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    I recently got an almost complete run of this series, and I'll check it out within this month. Never read an issue, but most of its reviews are positive.

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