Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal

Overview

In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.

But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$21.35
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$29.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $15.30   
  • New (10) from $17.99   
  • Used (7) from $15.30   
Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$18.00 List Price

Overview

In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.

But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.

A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated in full color throughout and brimming over with incredible personal stories, Mutants and Mystics is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden—and maybe even blow—your mind.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Fortean Times

"The message is that we need to step backwards from our culture to see these hidden patterns, and in this endavour Kripal provides new maps of the secret world of superpowers. To access these deep strata of reality and to achieve a measure of self-realisation, we need to embrace this strangeness and not be frightened of it. . . . Kripal has a lively style and a deep love of (perhaps reverence for) his subject matter."--Fortean Times

Library Journal
In this strange and complex scholarly work, Kripal (religious studies, Rice Univ.; Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred) asserts that science fiction and superhero comic book tales are essentially part of an overarching superstory of religious imagination. These genres are, in a sense, the safe places in popular culture to explore paranormal aspects of reality not welcome in other arenas of life. In his characteristic trippy style, he identifies seven mythical literary themes that he calls "mythemes" and discusses examples of each through an impressive variety of sf and superhero works. It is clear that Kripal has thought deeply and feels passionately about the religious dimension of science fiction and wants to encourage others to join his thought experiment to that end. VERDICT Though Kripal's thesis and conclusions may seem strange and bewildering to some readers, there may be rich fodder here for scholars and devoted readers of the sf and comic book genres, as well as those who wish to explore some of the more esoteric varieties of religious experience.—Elizabeth Winter, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib., Atlanta
Fortean Times

"The message is that we need to step backwards from our culture to see these hidden patterns, and in this endeavor Kripal provides new maps of the secret world of superpowers. To access these deep strata of reality and to achieve a measure of self-realisation, we need to embrace this strangeness and not be frightened of it. . . . Kripal has a lively style and a deep love of (perhaps reverence for) his subject matter."
Barry Windsor-Smith
"An invigorating read, and a cross-cultural bonanza you never saw coming. Boldly embracing the enigmatic Id, Jeffrey Kripal has gathered the silver threads of grand mythologies, sacred texts, and mystical creeds, binding them to the visionary Super-Ego at the heart of modern literature’s bastard sons--comic books and science fiction."
Whitley Strieber

"Mutants and Mystics chronicles the emergence of a complex and startlingly dangerous energy in our world.  Because we don't know what it is, we identify it as paranormal. But perhaps what it should really be called is 'abnormally powerful,' for, as Jeff Kripal reveals with satisfying skill in this book, it has come to define the very essence of the popular imagination. Instead of fairies and sylphs and gorgons, our rationalist world is defied by a folklore of superheroes, supervillains, and dangerous strangers, and, as I know all too well, can be shattered by them in some very real ways. Mutants and Mystics is the first book that shines the light of reason and insight into this swarming forest. As a wanderer here, I found the light that poured from these pages as blessed as it is breathtaking."
Roy Thomas
"For most of the history of popular culture, the creators and the academics--the storytellers and the scholars--have sat in different rooms, in different houses, virtually on different worlds, having virtually no contact with each other. Even when the professors began to discover the secret, inner meanings and contexts of B-movies and comic books and science-fiction pulps, there was little contact between the classroom and the creators.  Now, however, Jeffrey J. Kripal has come along--both analyst and aficionado, examiner and enthusiast. He bridges the gap between spirituality and its sometimes seedy outcroppings in pop culture, and forges—or rather, reveals--a synthesis that was really there all along, if so many guys with PhD’s hadn't had a vested interest in not recognizing it. More power to him, I say! Or rather--more super-power!"
Doug Moench
"Jeffrey Kripal is not only serious about some very strange stuff in Mutants and Mystics, he is seriously smart and singularly thought-provoking about it. Trust me, I've been there and this book is an excellent guide, maybe even a new map of mysterious terrain first charted in antiquity. Always scholarly yet never stuffy, always fun but never superficial, Mutants and Mystics makes a solid case for contemplating ancient myth as secret (if garbled) history and demonstrates how that myth/history is perpetuated in pop culture, whether today's creators are fully aware of what they're doing or not."
Times Literary Supplement

"Intriguing."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226453835
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 723,343
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is the author of six books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

MUTANTS & MYSTICS

SCIENCE FICTION, SUPERHERO COMICS, AND THE PARANORMAL
By JEFFREY J. KRIPAL

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS

Copyright © 2011 Jeffrey J. Kripal
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-226-45383-5


Chapter One

ORIENTATION

FROM INDIA TO THE PLANET MARS

JANMAUSHADHIMANTRATAPAHSAMADHIJAH SIDDHAYAH. PARANORMAL POWERS ARISE FROM BIRTH AND FAMILY, PSYCHOTROPIC PLANTS, THE RECITING OF MAGICAL FORMULAS, ASCETIC PRACTICE, AND YOGIC UNION. YOGA-SUTRAS 4.1 (FIFTH TO FIRST CENTURY BCE, INDIA)

The notion of an Orientation is a somewhat paradoxical concept, witnessing at once to a sense of place or perspective and to a sense of lack, loss, or need. Every place, after all, needs a Somewhere Else, an Other in relation to (or, alas, more often, against which) one can define oneself and one's community. It is a sad truth, but the true believer needs the unbeliever. The righteous patriot needs the foreign enemy.

That Other, however, is not simply alien, foreign, and scary, but is also, by definition, what one is not. Hence, if the seeker or hero is spiritually mature (that is, neither a true believer nor a righteous patriot), the Other can also complete one, function as the source of new knowledge or wisdom, even offer a kind of real transcendence from one's own, always relative and limited lifeworld. This is why "the truth is out there," as The X-Files had it in the 1990s, and why the truth—like the sacred itself—can be so terrifying and so alluring at the same time. The key for now, though, is that the awe-full truth of things is almost always out there somewhere else.

SIX WAYS TO BE SOMEWHERE ELSE

To be clear, there have been innumerable Somewhere Elses in the Western imagination. For the sake of conciseness, we might briefly explore six: (1) worlds above; (2) worlds below; (3) speculative prehistoric worlds or lost lands; (4) geographically distant civilizations and tribal cultures; and, most recently, (5) outer space. This latter strategy quickly brought a sixth to the fore: (6) future worlds or, what often amounts to the same thing, other dimensions or parallel universes.

In this latter sci-fi motif of multiple dimensions, which we will encounter over and over again, the Somewhere Else intriguingly also becomes a Somewhen Else ... or, paradoxically, a right here, right now. The pilgrim, spiritual seeker, or adventuring hero comes back home.

WORLDS ABOVE. The gods, of course, have long come from the sky, "from the heavens," as we say in an English phrase that neatly captures the way that the human religious imagination has almost universally equated the sacred with the sky, sun, and stars. The original heroes of Western civilization were connected to this world of the gods above. In the ancient world of Greek religion, for example, a hero might be a mortal man who was immortalized after death and worshipped as such. He might also be a divine-human hybrid, the product of a sexual union between a horny deity and a human being. The very archetype of the Western hero, Herakles or Hercules, for example, was the son of the god Zeus and the human woman Alcmene (and Zeus's wife, Hera, was not at all happy about this).

Later, this notion of the Greek hero or divine-human hybrid would be taken up by Christianity and transformed into something quite different. Now the pagan hero and his labors became the Christian saint endowed with miraculous powers and a message that conformed to the teachings of the Church, or, in Eastern Orthodoxy, the Christian mystic rendered immortal through the divine energies of grace and a transformative process called "divinization," literally a "god-making" (theosis). And, of course, whether in the Latin West or the Greek East, the ultimate and singular Christian hybrid-hero was the god-man himself, the Christ, the Son of God who had descended from the world above to take on human flesh in Jesus of Nazareth through a virginal divine-human conception.

WORLDS BELOW. The depths of the earth, of course, have long been a central feature of the Western religious imagination as well, where they have often functioned as the place of a darkly and mistily conceived afterlife, as in the Hebrew Sheol or the Greek Hades, or as a place of torture and punishment, as in the medieval Christian Hell. Such notions were given a new life in the fantasy life of the modern West after the rise of modern science through some most unusual occult tropes. These included the hollow earth, the polar holes, and, much later, the notion of underground alien bases. Since such ideas have played a major role in the fantasy materials that we will encounter below, it is worth digging in a bit here, as it were.

Although there were certainly precedents to the notion of a hollow earth, it was the English astronomer Edmund Halley (the man we know through his predicted comet) who got the ball rolling in 1691, and in three lectures to the Royal Society of London no less, by suggesting that the inner earth consisted of a series of three concentric spheres magnetically spinning about in a sort of life-giving luminosity. Oddly, Halley was not so far from the geological truth of things as we know it today, since, as David Standish points out in his wonderful history of the hollow earth, the planet does consist of "separate spheres of sort: the outer crust; the mantle, which accounts for two-thirds of the planet's mass; a dense liquid layer of magma consisting chiefly of molten iron that's about half the earth's radius in extent; and a solid inner core inside that. The layer of molten metal is circulating—like Halley's internal Sphere—which creates electrical currents, which in turn create magnetic fields. The earth can be thought of as a great electromagnet." The earth as a "great electromagnet." Hold on to that idea. It will come back to us.

The man, though, who did the most to promote the idea of the hollow earth was an American eccentric and army captain named John Cleves Symmes. On April 10, 1818, Symmes self-published and distributed what has come to be called Circular 1. It partly reads thus:

TO ALL THE WORLD:

I DECLARE THE EARTH IS HOLLOW AND HABITABLE WITHIN; CONTAINING A NUMBER OF SOLID CONCENTRIC SPHERES, ONE WITHIN THE OTHER, AND THAT IT IS OPEN AT THE POLES TWELVE OR SIXTEEN DEGREES. I PLEDGE MY LIFE IN SUPPORT OF THIS TRUTH, AND AM READY TO EXPLORE THE HOLLOW, IF THE WORLD WILL SUPPORT AND AID ME IN THIS UNDERTAKING.

JNO. CLEVES SYMMES OF OHIO, LATE CAPTAIN OF INFANTRY

No one knows where Symmes got such a fantastic idea (I suspect some sort of visionary experience), but he clearly believed it. The circular goes on to ask for "one hundred brave companions, well equipped, to start from Siberia, in the fall season, with reindeer and sleighs, on the ice of the frozen sea." He promised that they would find "a warm and rich land, stocked with thrifty vegetables and animals, if not men," and that they would return in the spring.

Symmes spent the rest of his life trying to get to what came to be called, appropriately enough, Symmes's Holes. He never got to them. He did, however, manage to write, under a pseudonym, one of the first American utopian novels, entitled Symzonia: Voyage of Discovery (1820). Symzonia (so named "out of gratitude to Capt. Symmes for his sublime theory") established what would become the standard structure of such adventure stories and much of later science fiction. Standish sums up that structure this way: "the trip to the pole, discovery of a land and people/creatures inside, adventures and revelations while there, and a return home, usually to ridicule and disbelief." A memorial statue to Captain Symmes and his hollow globe, erected by his son Americus, can still be seen in a public park in Hamilton, Ohio.

The advances of geology and polar exploration made the captain's holes look increasingly dubious, however. Undeterred, fiction writers continued to play with what was basically an irresistible idea. Edgar Allen Poe, for example, was a fan of Symmes through the lectures and writings of J. N. Reynolds (who, among other things, heard a story about a monstrous white whale off the coast of Chile that reached, via a magazine article he wrote entitled "Mocha Dick; or, the White Whale of the Pacific," a certain Mr. Melville). Poe wrote his only book-length novel based on Symmes's idea, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, which ends with the protagonist and his long-suffering crew being sucked down a huge polar chasm, in essence, a Symmes Hole, where they finally encounter "a shrouded human figure, very far larger in its proportions than any dweller among men. And the hue of the skin of the figure was of the perfect whiteness of snow." In a weird and slightly eerie twist, Poe's last words on his poisoned deathbed—"Reynolds ... Reynolds ... Reynolds"—remain completely unexplained. Perhaps, like the crew of his only novel, he was being sucked into another kind of polar hole toward a different kind of human figure, this one of the spirit.

Through the translations of the French poet Charles Baudelaire, another Frenchman came to know of Captain Symmes's polar holes: Jules Verne. With Verne's classic Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), the hidden underground regions, now reachable through an ancient Icelandic volcano crater, hit the big time and in the process began to take on new meanings, mostly of a Darwinian and paleontological sort. As Verne's scientific team ventures further and further into the earth, it encounters more and more ancient creatures, including the first dinosaur fight in literature, this one between a plesiosaur and an ichthyosaurus in the Central Sea.

Then there was the enigmatic figure of Cyrus Teed. In October of 1869, at the age of thirty, Teed was working in his "electro-alchemical" laboratory near Utica, New York. He was seeking what he called a "victory over death ... the key of which I knew to be in the mystic hand of the alchemico-vietist." Standish, whose lively account I am relying on here, jokes about Teed's big "nine-dollar words," but he probably translates Teed's "alchemico-vietist" just right: "an alchemist working on the mysteries of the life force." Put a bit differently, Teed was after immortality, and probably physical immortality through some kind of spiritual chemistry.

But there was more. It seems Cyrus was also trying to materialize a magical female being, his "highest ideal of creative beauty" or "creative principle." There are vague sexual connotations and gender-bending complexities here, like the fact that Teed describes "her" as constituting "the environing form of the masculinity and Fatherhood of Being." And then there was all that magnetic and spiritual ecstasy, which Teed rather remarkably linked, like a modern neuroscientist, to the anatomy of the brain:

I BENT MYSELF TO THE TASK OF PROJECTING INTO TANGIBILITY THE CREATIVE PRINCIPLE. SUDDENLY, I EXPERIENCED A RELAXATION AT THE OCCIPUT OR BACK PART OF THE BRAIN, AND A PECULIAR BUZZING TENSION AT THE FOREHEAD OR SINCIPUT; SUCCEEDING THIS WAS A SENSATION AS OF A FARADIC BATTERY OF THE SOFTEST TENSION, ABOUT THE ORGANS OF THE BRAIN CALLED THE LYRA, CRURA PINEALIS, AND CONARIUM. THERE GRADUALLY SPREAD FROM THE CENTER OF MY BRAIN TO THE EXTREMITIES OF MY BODY, AND APPARENTLY TO ME, INTO THE AURIC SPHERE OF MY BEING, MILES OUTSIDE OF MY BODY, A VIBRATION SO GENTLE, SOFT, AND DULCIFEROUS THAT I WAS IMPRESSED TO LAY MYSELF UPON THE BOSOM OF THIS GENTLY OSCILLATING OCEAN OF MAGNETIC AND SPIRITUAL ECSTASY.

This "vibratory sea" that extended miles outside his physical body was his "newly-found delight." Standish glosses it as "this ocean of electro-magneto-spiritual energy," but we might just as well read it as Teed's discovery of a larger body, a cosmic human form, as it were. In any case, we will see such language return with our mytheme of Radiation, of which Teed is a textbook protoexample.

A voice, channeled through his own, then reveals to Mr. Teed that "the Mother" has nurtured him through "countless embodiments" or reincarnations. She appears to him as a woman of exquisite beauty holding a caduceus staff and describes herself as "thy Mother and Bride" (more of that sexual complexity again, and oh so oedipal). She tells him that through Teed's (again, vaguely sexual) "quickening," "the Sons of God shall spring into visible creation." She also reveals to him "the law of transmutation," that is, "the correlation of force and matter ... that matter and energy are two qualities or states of the same substance, and that they are each transposable to the other." Standish does not look away from the obvious here. It is, after all, 1899 looking back to an occult encounter of 1869: "What's eerie about this is that through the most occult, electro-alchemical path, Teed has arrived at an idea—matter is energy, energy matter, simply different forms of the same thing—that would shortly became an essential scientific truth." Einstein's famous papers would begin to appear in 1905.

Teed's full illumination and religious message, which he came to call Koreshanity (Koresh is Hebrew for Cyrus), is not so scientific, though, for much of it revolves around the notion that the universe is a single cell or hollow globe, and all life lives on its inner concave surface. The sky we see, in other words, is actually inside this cosmic womb, and we live on its inner surface. Teed called this his "cellular cosmology."

The hollow-earth theme would play a major role in subsequent fantasy writing. The inexhaustible Edgar Rice Burroughs, for example, staged many a novel, including some of his Tarzan stories, "at the earth's core." Similarly, the very first feature-length Superman film, Superman and the Mole Men (1951), starring George Reeves, returned to the hollow-earth theme again, as did the opening salvo of Marvel Comics' superhero renaissance in Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961). Indeed, the cover of the latter classic features an immense mole monster attacking New York City from below, and the story itself is pure hollow-earth stuff.

SPECULATIVE PREHISTORIC WORLDS OR LOST LANDS. Then there were all those lost lands of myth and speculative prehistory. Greek mythology, for example, knew a land called Hyperborea, the earthly paradise of perpetual sunshine and warmth in the Far North, beyond (hyper-) the North Wind (Boreas), which was thought to be the primordial home of humanity. But, as Joscelyn Godwin has demonstrated, the Far North and the legend of the shifting poles have birthed many a myth, mystical movement, and spiritual center, including the Asian subterranean land of Agarttha, which was invented in the nineteenth century by European occultists.

Agarttha appears to have been created by Saint-Yves d'Alveydre (1842-1909), who had a mysterious Sanskrit tutor by the name of Hardjji Scharipf, who went by the title of "Guru Pandit of the Great Agartthian School." According to Saint-Yves, Agarttha is a subterranean kingdom of millions of beings and advanced technology located somewhere in the East, protected by the "Master of the Universe" and ruled by an Ethiopian pontiff. This school and underground kingdom, which Saint-Yves claimed to have visited through astral travel, is allegedly still in existence and in possession of the original human language and its twenty-two-lettered alphabet, called Vattan or Vattanian. Remember that too. It will come back to us soon enough.

Then there is the Tibetan spiritual utopia of Shambhala. This is a very different sort of story. This hidden realm, after all, has long been considered a "pure land," a place of favored rebirth in the Kalachakra Tantra (literally, "the Teaching of the Wheel of Time"), a major initiatory text and transmission tradition within Tibetan Buddhism that is still very much alive. The key point here is that the status of Shambhala cannot be slotted into any simplistic Western categories of "real" or "imaginary." Joscelyn Godwin is well worth quoting on this subtle idea, as his observations bear directly on some of our later figures, including Superman and Batman writer Alvin Schwartz, who has engaged these very same Tibetan materials:

THE MEDITATOR MAY SUMMON UP SUCH PLACES IN ALL THEIR DETAIL, AND ENDOW THEM WITH A SENSE OF REALITY THAT MAY EVEN BECOME PALPABLE TO OTHERS. THE KALACHAKRA TANTRA IS A VERY COMPLEX MEDITATION OF THIS KIND. BUT THE PRACTITIONER ALSO KNOWS THAT, HOWEVER REALISTIC THE VISIONARY EXPERIENCE, IT IS NOT ULTIMATELY REAL. IF SUCCESS IS REACHED IN THE MEDITATIVE CREATION OF CITIES AND LANDSCAPES, GODS AND DEMONS, THEN THE PRACTITIONER GAINS THE CORRESPONDING CAPACITY FOR THE "DE-CREATION" OF THE MATERIAL, EVERYDAY WORLD, THAT IS, FOR THE AWARENESS THAT EARTHLY CITIES, LIKE SHAMBHALA, ARE MIND-CREATED ILLUSIONS.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from MUTANTS & MYSTICS by JEFFREY J. KRIPAL Copyright © 2011 by Jeffrey J. Kripal. Excerpted by permission of THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

THE IMAGES: AUTHORING (AND DRAWING) THE IMPOSSIBLE....................VIII ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................XIV
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS....................XVIII
ORIGINS....................1
1 ORIENTATION: FROM INDIA TO THE PLANET MARS....................31
2 ALIENATION: SUPERMAN IS A CRASHED ALIEN....................70
3 RADIATION: METAPHYSICAL ENERGIES AND SUPER SEXUALITIES....................121
4 MUTATION: X-MEN BEFORE THEIR TIME....................173
5 REALIZATION: READING THE PARANORMAL WRITING US....................217
6 AUTHORIZATION: WRITING THE PARANORMAL WRITING US....................254
7 THE THIRD KIND: THE VISITOR CORPUS OF WHITLEY STRIEBER....................292
TOWARD A SOUL-SIZED STORY....................329
NOTES....................336
INDEX....................354
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    An interesting take on the mystical side of pop culture.

    Mutants & Mystics argues that a major if overlooked influence on superhero pop culture in America is a strain of paranormal thinking often introduced into comics & pulps by writers & editors who had a genuine belief in occult & paranormal phenomenon. The author is himself a judicious believer in many of these things himself, but manages to inject enough skepticism to keep his points clear. Even a reader who does not share the author's occult inclinations will be interested in the many examples of how mystical, fringe and occult ideas were worked into many of the most popular and widely read comics & pulps. This work should be of particular interest to those curious about the ideas and world views that inform examples of pop culture that are often dismissed as adolescent & trivial.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)