“I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards. Okay, so I should revise my standards, I’m out of step. I should yield to reality. I have never yielded to reality. That’s what science fiction is all about.”
–Philip K. Dick
If you ever do find yourself being a hypersigil, my words of advice are as follows: really make sure you are in control of it. Don’t let other people control it. This should all be a tool for your own self-empowerment…but it can easily not be.
But magick in general is like this. You can wield the magick. Others can wield you with the magick. And, of course…the magick itself can wield you.
And you thought this was all just “comic book” stuff.
Well, at the end of Part One I was just at the part where I had just written The Punisher and The X-Men and the only subsequent work I was being offered was The Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake (and the caveat for those gigs was that I would write them for free as I edited the rest of the publisher’s titles; no thank you).
Why such desperate times? Well, my hypersigil was all ferkakta.
On one hand, I was branded as “too feminist” a writer. (for my Punisher one-shot)
On the other hand, I was branded as “too sexist” a writer. (for my Emma Frost one-shot)
And all I wanted to do was perhaps write a short story about The Thing or maybe even (to get that obscure edgy Grant Morrison mojo going) The Circus Of Crime.
So I didn’t get any more comic writing gigs until…well, at least 3-4 years after my last comic came out. Though I spent the bulk of the time in-between editing/writing MTV’s comic book culture website…so I was still quite involved with the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is the majority of the comic book industry (and when I say “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” of course it is in loving jest).
So how did I break my losing streak? Well, I “broke” my hypersigil.
I destroyed my hypersigil. I just stopped using it. I stopped feeding it. And, most importantly…I stopped other people from using and feeding it.
This included both a) turning down a number of “women’s anthology” comic book scripting offers (whose only real qualification for my participation was that I had a vagina), and b) turning down clones of my “Butterfly” character (whose hypersigil fucked me up in the first place).
Instead, I doubled-down on my previous passion: “conspiracy” culture. And I cold-pitched the publisher Bluewater a comic book series based on various fringe/conspiracy topics.
INTERLUDE: “BEYOND: EDWARD SNOWDEN
Art by Dan Lauer
Incredibly, Beyond: Edward Snowden—released by an indie publisher who did its own modest PR—received tons of international press including TIME, The Guardian, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, USA Today, El Mundo, The Voice of Russia, The Washington Post, and, briefly, the top of the Drudge Report.
But the comic book press barely touched the story. Why? Because they only really “knew” me from my previous hypersigil; that’s all they were interested in.
To be fair, though…where was my hypersigil?
Where was I?
On the heels of Edward Snowden, I was asked to participate in a horror comics anthology called In The Dark. I could write anything I wanted. And so:
INTERLUDE: “INSIDE YOU”
art by David James Cole
I suppose the symbolism in the story should have been obvious to me…but honestly, it went over my (conscious) head.
From there I was offered a slot for the Hellraiser: Bestiary comic anthology series. I submitted a sort of “obsessed lovers” type tale…but Clive Barker had a question for me.
Would I mind making the couple in the story two men? There was little LGBTQ representation in the series so far.
By that point, I realized I had subconsciously transferred my old hypersigil into a more masculine one (and that probably included Eddie Snowden as well). The protagonist of the resulting story, “Folie A Deux,” was so androgynous it didn’t really matter.
INTERLUDE: “FOLIE A DEUX”
Art by Vincent Nappi
This was all well and good…but, I think largely due to my own fault, I still wasn’t able to remake a potent enough hypersigil.
To be blunt: in the process of trying to settle on a “happy blend” of who I was, I alienated everyone else in my peer circle.
This was who they wanted:
I might have gotten some big press for Beyond—but even there, I wasn’t sure of my “brand,” how to present myself. You can’t have that sort of “fuzziness” and lack of definition when you are turning yourself into a hypersigil. It’s an “all in” type of procedure…and I just didn’t have the physical or mental wherewithal to pull it off at that time.
After a few more short projects, the last comic I ever scripted was going to be a self-published horror anthology called Cryptick (think Tales From The Crypt with a Charles Fort-type host). I did a few short stories with my old Beyond partner Dan Lauer…but by that point, I just felt like trying to keep up with Comics was futile. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around what my hypersigil was anymore.
INTERLUDE: “2012’s REVENGE”
Art by Dan Lauer (unlettered)
Of course…this blog ended up being my hypersigil; every post telling a little sliver of a grand, overarching story. As I refer to it in the description: “A Pop-Culture Grimoire.” Every image atop a post its own little teeny-tiny occult marker.
And while I have complained about how my own hypersigil had been manipulated…I’m a writer, and I turn other people into hypersigils all the time.
Whether I’m published here or there, whatever the format…in my own head…I’m creating stories. I’m whipping up hypersigils. All the time. I can’t help it. I know it sounds nutty…but I’m just telling you the truth.