AMBER LOVE 01-MAY-2015 I don’t need to tell you all the importance and significance of Beltaine or May Day because you’re perfectly capable of using Google and Wikipedia. It’s another heathen and pagan practice to celebrate the change in seasons. Summer is close and most of us in the northern hemisphere finally have put our shovels away. Paganism and comic book stories go hand-in-hand. Comics birthed many of our western/American mythologies.
Some of the pagan homages are obvious: Thor, a hugely popular Marvel Comics character, helms the faux-Nordic myths, but Marvel has pretty much stripped the connection to paganism from the franchise. They’ve translated heavenly realms into hard science and made Thor and his relatives more like aliens from other planets than gods.
Of course, there’s DC Comic’s Wonder Woman and her Greek inspired pantheon. Rarely do we see Diana, the Princess of Paradise Island, wearing traditional Greek garbs. She’s been dressing like a superhero for decades in her strapless bathing suit style outfit with minimal armor. The upcoming movie version returns some gladiator fashion to her and I’m pretty relieved about that. I also love the times when Diana has been shown in Grecian gowns – we got a bit of that in the animated movie which is still the best contemporary example of the character.
I confess, I have only glanced through Jim Balent’s TAROT series. I follow his colorist/model/wife Holly Golightly on social media. I absolutely love her work. However, TAROT the series isn’t really my cup o’ tea. They do a great job giving narration to pagan holidays. I love that they do special photo covers for certain issues too. You have to like Balent’s style of art which is massively huge breasts on women with tiny waists. What little costuming they have is pretty in the typical fantasy genre way with nipple pasties and loin cloths. Every reader has their own taste in material. If giant boobs are your thing and you’re interested in paganism, you’ll want to subscribe to their work. They treat their subscribers well.
In other things, I’m not sure if BPRD/HELLBOY ever got into holiday specific stories, but I’d be kind of surprised if they didn’t. The TV show SUPERNATURAL, for as entertaining as it is, constantly wrecks old pagan myths like Beltaine. They’re just awful about paganism and neo-paganism, but like I said, it’s entertaining for horror TV.
Today I read a brand new comic by Curt Pires and Chris Peterson with colors by Peter Tom called MAY DAY. It’s published by Black Mask. The thing is, the timing is great, but it hasn’t nothing to do with May Day the holiday. I suspect it’s about the call for help pilots send out. Mayday! Mayday! It’s a mature read filled with the drug culture of Hollywood celebrities. MAY DAY pokes fun at the Academy Awards while taking Terrance Gattica on a whirlwind chase of murderers on a killing spree. It’s a little odd that I didn’t find a credits page in the digital copy. The creators are listed in the press release along with plenty of endorsement quotes.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve read DC’s MADAME XANADU, which used to be a series and now the character is entangled in the awful new 52. I don’t know the plans for her after Convergence. As a series though, MADAME XANADU by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder told some heartbreaking stories with sensitivity to pagan practices. I don’t recall if Beltaine was specifically mentioned, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.
If you want to chime in with comics you know of that talk about pagan holidays, post in the comments!
BELTAINE is a fire festival. If you are fascinated by fire, you’ll want to look for fire performers in your area. Usually there are some at the annual STEAMPUNK WORLD’S FAIR in New Jersey. The come out on the Midway between the two host hotels and perform once the sun begins to set. Photographer Babette Daniels has great pictures and she’ll be the event photographer this year.