Swipe File: Doctor Fate And Promethea

Some spoilers for Doctor Fate out today.

It is fair to say that Alan Moore and Paul Levitz clashed rather, at DC Comics, though they see their respective roles in very different terms.

One of those clashes was over the ABC line that Alan Moore created for Wildstorm – before the publisher was bought by DC Comics. As publisher and president of DC, Levitz micromanaged a number of aspects of the ABC line despite promises that this would not happen. A Cobweb story was banned, an issue of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen was pulped and the publication plans of Black Dossier was interfered with. And certain issues, such as the Promethea “sex issue” were heavily monitored for editorial guidelines.

Issue 12 of Promethea was, and remains, a highlight, a history of magic, of life, of creation, through tarot cards, mixed up Scrabble tiles and a tale from Aleister Crowley, with JH Williams III double page spreads used to their full.

Narrated by the Caduceus, the staff of Hermes wielded by Promethea, with the twin snakes circling it nicknamed Mike and Mack, representing the macro and the micro. And also the double helix of DNA of all animal life.

Promethea Book Two-099

Oh and all in rhyming couplets. Let’s zoom in a little.

p2 p1The snakes of the caduceus representing life’s DNA was highlighted by Jeremy Narby in The Cosmic Serpent where he theorises that ancient shamans may have been able to access molecular level information at by consuming entheogens, specifically ayahuasca, and from which they were able to glean information about how to treat illnesses. And this is reflected in the double snake image.

Doctor-Fate-007-(2016)-(Digital-Empire)-016

But a scene in today’s Doctor Fate written by Paul Levitz, tied though it is to Egyptian mythology does seem to take inspiration from the Promethean take…

Doctor-Fate-007-(2016)-(Digital-Empire)-017The Caduceus decline to speak this time however….

In Swipe File we present two or more images that resemble each other to some degree. They may be homages, parodies, ironic appropriations, coincidences or works of the lightbox. We trust you, the reader, to make that judgment yourself? If you are unable to do so, please return your eyes to their maker before any further damage is done. The Swipe File doesn’t judge, it’s interested more in the process of creation, how work influences other work, how new work comes from old, and sometimes how the same ideas emerge simultaneously, as if their time has just come. The Swipe File was named after the advertising industry habit where writers and artist collect images and lines they admire to inspire them in their work. It was swiped from the Comic Journal who originally ran this column, as well as the now defunct Swipe Of The Week website.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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