01/07/2012. Contributed by Aidan Fortune
pub: Phantacea Mythos. 84 page softcover graphic novel. Price: $ 9.95 (US), $11.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-97813-423-5.
check out website: www.phantacea.com
Initially released in 1990, this collection covers the genesis of his Phantacea gods in Jim McPherson's mythological series.
In the sixties, acting as a backlash against the bible-thumping upbringing, McPherson creates a 'new' mythology loosely based on characters and events from the Old Testament. It lay unpublished in his basement for years until he decided to distribute it himself.
This book was supposed to act as a foundation for the 'Phantacea' series, to help readers get a better understanding of what McPherson was trying to achieve. However, I shudder to think what the rest of the series is like if this is the case. There is more to be gleaned from the author's foreword about the Phantacea universe than the following eighty pages.
It's all bit disjointed, flitting all over time and space with The Devil being the only constant character. Ironic that he should be the one reassuring element of the collection.
I found it difficult to read the text for the first few pages, as the font was too tight, making it hard on the eyes. In fairness, it improves after the first ten pages or so but someone new to the Phantacea universe may not be so willing to persevere with it.
Confusion and migraine-inducing text aside, the book has some merits. The art, while a bit sketchy at times, has a nice look to it and conveys a mythological atmosphere, plus the dialogue is wonderfully ridiculous with fun narrative text boxes to hammer home the plot points at various interludes.
Ultimately, while I didn't enjoy 'Forever & Forty Days', I'm actually more annoyed at myself for not doing so. What McPherson created in 'Phantacea' was ambitious and bold and deserves more credit than it probably receives here. I would be interested in trying the rest of the series but I don't think this particular collection is the best introduction to it and it may turn more people away than leave them clamouring for more.
My advice would be to try other books in the 'Phantacea' series before this one and see if it's right for you.
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