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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

I Come From a Place Whither I Desire to Return

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: December 2009

A few weeks ago, my fellow columnist Eric Wedt discussed atheists, agnostics, and the details of his certain future personal hell. (Sleazus Christ Superstar: H-E-Double Hockey Sticks). Although my opinion varies slightly on the subject of atheists, (I would never be so arrogant to assume I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what lies past one’s last breath) I found his subject matter to be strangely fitting for the season. And especially so once I found Wildstorm Publishing has released a six part mini series based on the famous poem The Inferno by Dante Alighieri.

For those of you not familiar with The Inferno, shame on you. It can be tedious to read, but a worthwhile read nonetheless. Originally written in Italian in the fourteenth century, this religious allegory chronicles Dante’s journey through Hell and it’s many circles. Although Dante was attempting (in my opinion) to convey the fitting justice of God’s judgment, in these modern times where we’ve seen and heard it all before, his conceived punishments come off bordering on hilarity. For example, in the Second Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell Dante encounters the souls who in life were violent towards themselves, i.e. suicide cases. What’s the punishment for such a travesty, you might ask? Why to spend all eternity as trees of course! And I have to say, as long as I wasn’t a tree in a forest about to be clear-cut, I think I’d feel ok about spending eternity as a tree. In fact I’m sure there are hundreds of poems and short stories dedicated to how wonderful it would be to do exactly that, not to mention thousands of self-proclaimed “tree huggers”, “hippies” and “earth cookies” who would love nothing more than to share in this fate.

I also have to wonder about people who committed (in Dante’s opinion) more than one Hell-worthy offense. Let’s say for example someone betrayed their kin, (First Ring of the Ninth Circle of Hell, punished by being frozen up to their necks in a lake) but also betrayed their guests (Third Ring of the Ninth circle, punished by lying next to aforementioned lake). Would they have to switch off, spending the first few millennia submerged in the lake, then the next lying next to it? I guess that’s one of the problems with judgment, it can get convoluted and complicated pretty quickly.

Created by writer Christos Gage, (Wildcats, Avengers: The Initiative, Iron Man: Director of SHIELD), and artist Diego Latorre (Hulk: Broken Worlds) this six issue reimagining of a classic is sure to sell out as soon as it hits the shelves so get on it! Latorre is new to the scene, but his ethereal aesthetics rival heavyweights Ashley Wood and Dave McKean. If you enjoyed Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons, Arkham Asylum, or Signal To Noise, pick up issue one immediately.

Arielle Mullen