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The Mystical Experience: Where Human Experience Dissolves into Spirituality and Religion.  The Mystic Don't you think 'The Mystic' sounds pretty dramatic? I'm sure it might conjure up jedi-like imagery, something a bit merlin or those stigmata marks on devoted monks. What springs to my mind are those orange clad sitters who tranquilly await enlightened, but equally, there are shamanic seers, and the Islamic Sufi who can also enjoy mystic experience. Regardless of any cause, be it neurological, or even the psychological, spiritual, drug induced or even a traumatising event, they're all experienced and often called mystic.  No tradition, faith or ethnicity can claim exclusivity of this sort of thing, even though we might think otherwise. It's unique, personal . We can see for ourselves how mystical experience go by a variety of names across the globe, here are a few: moksha is Hindu meaning liberation, gnosis was secret experiential knowledge stemming from antiq

Watchmen Noir

Watchmen in Black and White... 

It's about time I wrote a little something about a graphic novel that made waves, not only in my life, but also in the entire comic book world back in the day. Obviously it's Watchmen. I built that up pointlessly didn't I? If you're not familiar with the graphic novel or the comic book genre, here's a brief overview: Watchmen was written by a wizard called Alan Moore, the legend behind swamp thing, V for Vendetta and From Hell, a beautiful read! It was illustrated by Dave Gibbons, who did Rogue Trooper and The Originals. Watchmen was originally published in 1986 and has since become iconic. 

Watchmen hardcover

When I was a child Watchmen would have been way too advanced for me. They looked the part, but I would never have considered them as 'proper superheroes' like Spiderman or Captain America. It's a pleasure to digest a mature themed comic book world. Trying to scrape some sort of enjoyment from modern comics when you reach your forties is like thumbing across into the meaty bits only to find it's all soft. You might try to convince yourself it's working, by appeals to the nostalgia of youth, but that never compensates for the intelligent stimulating goodies you need!

Art from Watchmen hardcover

Just in case you did not know, be warned, the Watchmen universe is cynical, dark, political and very gritty. The setting of a story following a group of retired group of superheroes, whose interests unite them once again to investigate the murder of one of their own! Along the way, they uncover a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the world as they know it. A great premise and it flows well.

Watchmen hardcover art

Watchmen Noir is only one of the many versions of Watchmen graphic novels on the market. 'Before Watchmen' came out, a prequel set of comics that telling the origins and backstories—the reviews weren't great. I never bothered to collect them. In general many spin-offs detract from a very well made original story. Sad. 

Watchmen hardcover showing fictional advertisement

Watchmen Noir is a lovely hardcover, black and white edition, that does retain the very noir detective feel it wants. The story was a pleasure to initially read. However, without 
colour, I got confused once or twice with minor visual references to the plot. Watchmen is a page turner, the intrigue saturates its many characters; combine that with the heavy hardcover format, it brings substance everytime you hold its hard-edged spine.

Watchmen hardcover art work

The film version closely recreates numerous iconic images and panels from the graphic novel, but it goes its own way with other areas such as its different ending, slightly different characters but the graphic novel holds it's own with that dark atmosphere and feeling of threat. 

Watchmen hardcover art work

I was so excited with the big HBO Watchmen Show they announced years ago. All the right words like 'critically acclaimed' were said so I watched it and I was totally confused. It was supposed to be a sequel to the original comic, no, I can't accept nothing but the doomsday clock as the sequal to the original comic. As always, the comic was a hundred times better! As I said: a spin-off that detracted. 

Watchmen hardcover art work of owl man

Doomsday clock was the cherry on this cake. It was great to see the Flash, Batman and Superman, part of something with the likes of Dr Manhattan, Rorschach and Ozymandias. I am biased, a fan. 

Doomsday clock comic book

If you want start enjoying graphic novels then I do – as you might have noticed – recommend reading Watchmen. It's a decent starting point, if you like it, try DC rebirth or DC Black Label. If that's not your thing, explore non-superhero stuff like Preacher, Transmetropolitan, Maus or Sandman. 

 

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