My Life As A Hypersigil

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The “hypersigil” or “supersigil” develops the sigil concept beyond the static image and incorporates elements such as characterization, drama, and plot. The hypersigil is a sigil extended through the fourth dimension. My own comic book series The Invisibles was a six-year long sigil in the form of an occult adventure story which consumed and recreated my life during the period of its composition and execution. The hypersigil is an immensely powerful and sometimes dangerous method for actually altering reality in accordance with intent. Results can be remarkable and shocking.
–Grant Morrison, “POP MAGIC!”

I used to be a “character,” and I don’t think I’ve ever really explained that to you before.

I started my career in comics not as a writer, per se, but as a “character.”

This character, which I featured on a blog:

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When hired for writing jobs, the editors were usually just hiring this character. Who I actually was, what I actually felt, and what I would actually write (being given my “druthers”) were sort of irrelevant.

So here is an example of “me”—my character—appearing in a short story. That was my only contribution to the story (other than reading the script):

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here I am, at a bar

Now, from a metaphysical standpoint this was actually a little bit of a dangerous situation, one I didn’t quite understand until I was about shin-deep in shit. I had briefly read Grant Morrison’s “POP MAGIC!” before all this went down, but its relevance to my specific situation only came into focus years later.

Punisher_Max_Butterfly_pg00.jpgThe first big comic I was hired to write was a one-shot of the character the Punisher. Based on discussions with the editor, they pretty much wanted to turn (at least metaphorically) my public persona—my “character”—into a comic book. I was requested to include the following plot points for that story: that the character based on me had to be continually hunted down for the entire issue, and then eventually killed by the Punisher.

Great deal, huh?

Add to that a lot of, frankly, MKUltra-esque imagery—very specific imagery, if you follow the Internet “folklore” on this subject at all—and there you go.

My luck took a very serious negative turn after this comic, PunisherMAX: Butterfly, was published.

It is my belief that this “syncretizing” of my Self—my persona (“character”)—and this unfortunate character in the comic book was, from an esoteric standpoint, a huge disaster for my life.

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I had become what Morrison refers to in “POP MAGIC!” as some sort of “hypersigil,” in a story specifically crafted to render this “character” degraded and murdered.

X-Men_Origins_Emma_Frost_Vol_1_1And so in my next—and last—comic for Marvel, I decided to “take control,” as it were.

In X-Men Origins: Emma Frost, I decided to write a story where the protagonist actually wins, succeeds, and indeed goddamn flourishes by the end. By that point, I had finally absorbed Morrison’s “hypersigil” concept, and knew what I had to do. If you’re going to find yourself in such a goddamned weird fucking position as the one I did, you might as well “own” it and make sure it all works for you.

In discussions with the editor about the plot of the book, I insisted that Emma end up fabulously successful at the end of the story. That was not under debate.

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And indeed, in the time that followed that comic, my luck got a lot better, I was offered a lucrative job at MTV, and so on and so on. I had started to master the idea of hypersigils— if only in the broadest, and most common-sense of terms (don’t syncretize your own image with that of something of misfortune).

By the time I was done with Marvel (and Marvel was done with me) I decided to only write comic book stories where the protagonist was aligned with me—me, currently—and my goals and dreams and how I see myself. An added side-effect to this approach was not getting a lot of comic work after that.

However, the work that I did get—independent stuff, especially conspiracy/occult related—I was proud of. I had a Hellraiser short story personally reviewed and approved by Clive Barker, I had a short story in an Eisner-nominated anthology, I successfully secured Kickstarter funding for my self-published comic, and I received massive international press for my graphic novel bio of Edward Snowden.

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And there have been other work I was offered that I flat-out turned down. And sometimes that was hard.

But—

I never felt that sort of cosmic backlash again like I did in my early days of writing comics. And I credit that, in part, with simply understanding some basic magickal fundamentals. And maybe we can even take the “magick” out of that—get away from the esoteric—and simply go back to that “common sense” thing. Whatever floats your boat.

And so there you have it. My life as a hypersigil.