This well-designed collected edition of Carbonneau and Ng’s webcomic about the life of occultist Jack Parsons looks like a magical grimoire the book’s subject would have been proud of. An overlooked gem that deserves more attention.
And Steven Surman, friend of “The Marvel,” has added my graphic novel to his list of top 5 independents for 2010, saying
It’s a small miracle a book like this was ever conceived, let alone written, illustrated, and printed by Cellar Door Publishing. The marvelous talent of writer Richard Carbonneau saw potential not in some fantasy he dreamed up in his head, but rather in the factual adventures of a real-life scientist and sorcerer, John “Jack” Marvel Whiteside Parsons. Without the genius of Parsons, we wouldn’t have discovered solid rocket fuel, which would have changed the history of NASA.
But Parsons was also a man steeped in the occult, so much so that he operated the American sect of his Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) organization and was so close to Aleister Crowley that he called him “father.” Writer Carbonneau plundered as much secondary research as possible, and when he didn’t find enough, he investigated himself. The resulting book is an amazing feat of graphic storytelling, capturing both Parson’s factual accomplishments and the hazy speculations about his occult knowledge. Carbonneau’s artist, Robin Simon Ng, uses a stark chiaroscuro style that is heavily lined with fine detail. This is one of the most original and courageous graphic novels I’ve read in a very long time.