The Year Of The Mask: An Introduction

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The image acts directly on the unconscious mind, conveying whole libraries of information in a single moment, setting up connecting links with other images, other ideas. That is why, frankly, the image is not to be trusted.
–Peter Levenda, Sinister Forces 

At San Diego Comic-Con, 2012, I had my “Road To Damascus” moment. Somewhere between the piles of limited-edition collectible superheroes, comic book podcasters, How-To-Be-A-Zombie makeup tutorials, huddled masses of Twilight fans, and multiple Joker cosplayers, everything suddenly clicked into place…nothing less than a holographic, HD, stereophonic smellovision preview of both pop-culture and politics for the next four years.

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mural on bar window, San Diego Comic-Con 2012

What followed was my Revelation that Geek would indeed eat itself, ouroboros-like…and that the Year of The Mask had begun, issuing the New Aeon right on (Mayan) time. And by its end, geek culture and contemporary politics were to become hopelessly intertwined, not only on the glowing screens of computers and mobile devices everywhere, but perhaps also in a murkier, less defined—but no less powerful—realm.

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Bane vs. Batman in The Dark Knight Rises

Geek was eating itself: and the world would tremble.

I had made my living off of what has been reductively referred to as “Geek Culture,” but it was crushing me and swallowing me alive like Jon Voight in the 1997 movie Anaconda.

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Obama meets Guy Fawkes, via Shepard Fairey

What followed were a series of articles and journal entries I wrote during the Year of the Mask—2012 to 2013—touching on everything from mass-shootings to Iron Man III to Superman as Space Jesus to Zombies to Pussy Riot to Bane being invoked at the Super Bowl. Though not part of a “series” per se, they might have well have been.

For there was a curious “thread” linking all of them…one that, in sum, seemed to add up to the Rosetta Stone for our current predicament.

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Pussy Riot

In four years, everything changed. And the capes and masks (and Hollywood) were there.

I’ll be posting revised and updated versions of these posts and journal entries and crazed midnight scribbles in the weeks ahead—you will find them under the category YEAR OF THE MASK. I feel, based on everything that is happening now, that they are uncannily prescient. Sometimes, the material finally “meets” the era.