Evil Eye-Tems

Here’s a telling sequence from the first chapter of “Nuclear Dragons

It [Daemonicus] wasn’t in a coercive mood today. It was as furious as they were frightened.

“Nowhere in this world, nor in the other – nor in the next, be assured of that. I am a generous master yet unre­lenting in the pursuit of those who have wronged me. You will do exactly as instructed. There shall be no variations. No devi­ations. If you fear Hell coming to Earth, look no further than me.

“Eyefire-burn, Milo Mind!”

From the phantasm’s third eye came a burst of blazing fury. It engulfed Mind only briefly then dissipated. The major fell out of his chair and began to weep uncontrollably.

Longtime readers of stories featuring Jim McPherson’s PHANTACEA Mythos will recognize the speaker — though possibly not as Daemonicus. Which is how WORLD’s masterminds know him, as opposed to it. (For more on their fellow felon see here and here.)

Now consider these statements, from the Free Dictionary article on the Evil Eye (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Evil+eye):

The spreading in the belief of the evil eye towards the east is believed to have been propagated by the Empire of Alexander the Great.

In the Greco-Roman period a scientific explanation of the evil eye was common. Plutarch’s scientific explanation stated that the eyes were the chief, if not sole, source of the deadly rays that were supposed to spring up like poisoned darts from the inner recesses of a person possessing the evil eye (Quaest.Conv. 5.7.2-3=Mor.80F-81f). Plutarch treated the phenomenon of the evil eye as something seemingly inexplicable that is a source of wonder and cause of incredulity.

The phallic charm called fascinum in Latin (from the verb fascinare, “to cast a spell” — the origin of the English word “fascinate”), was used against the evil eye.

Sounds like Major Mind and the rest of WORLD’s brain trust should have exposed themselves instead of suffered the indignities Daemonicus foisted on them whenever he got pissed off.

Plutarch, in case you too were fascinated by the article, lived c. 46 – 120 AD. {Note: “KAI SU” means “and you (too)”.}

Here’s more on just how old belief in the Evil Eye. And what to do about it.

Roman-era mosaic from Antioch depicting a plethora of devices against the evil eye

Roman-era mosaic from Antioch depicting a plethora of devices against the evil eye, image taken from the Web

Additional apotropaic remedies for the Evil Eye:

The eye is pierced by a trident and sword, pecked by a raven, barked at by a dog and attacked by a centipede, scorpion, cat and a snake. A horned dwarf with a gigantic phallus crosses two sticks.

Curiously, especially for a guy for whom mythos matters, the various countermeasures described are highly reminiscent of elements found in Roman Mithraism. For example, consider the description of the Louvre’s tauroctony (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mithras_tauroctony_Louvre_Ma3441b.jpg).

It lacks a horned dwarf with a gigantic phallus but it does bring in two of Phantacea’s Cornerstone Characters, the Dual Entities. Plus, as per “Feeling Theocidal“, should mention that the bull-slayer is Chrysaor Attis, not his father Thrygragos Varuna Mithras.

Mithras slaying the bull in a cave, above which in the upper corners Sol (top left) and Luna (top right) emerge. Luna has a crescent behind her shoulders. Around Sol’s head is a crown of twelve rays, plus another that darts out in the direction of Mithras. Also in the upper left is a raven. The dog, serpent, scorpion are set at their standard positions.


Mithras slays the bull, image taken from web

Mithras slays the bull, image taken from web

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Marketing Muddle

Here’s a line from “Feeling Theocidal“, the first book in ‘The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories’ epic trilogy that ended last year with the release of “Goddess Gambit“.

5 collages prepared for the Goddess Gambit web page

A variety of collages prepared by Jim McPherson for the Goddess Gambit web page

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The speaker is Tralalorn, the demon child (at least according to Mithras, whom she’s addressing in 4376 YD). As becomes clear in “Nuclear Dragons“, she’s the one who ‘devolved’ Pandora Mannering and Augustus Nauroz in 5920 YD.

She thereby rendered them the perpetual children, Hush ‘n’ Gush (among many other names and nicknames), they still were in 19/5980 when ‘Gambit’ and the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle are set:

“Muddle the puddle, daddy, that unkind of hurt the squirt.”

Hush and Gush, art by Ian Fry ca 1989

The faerie tricksters also known as Young Life and Young Death, as sketched out by Ian Fry circa 1989

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There’s also this, from the same source:

The third eye in the Steg’s forehead bulged, whereupon it tore out of the Sari Witch and into the Master’s prison pod. Which promptly detonated, hurtling Helena onto her backside. Despite the dampness of the garden’s ground, the Master was more muddled than muddied.

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Which (finally) brings us to a link sent in by an off-blog correspondent: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/aug/27/self-publishing-showcase-tasha-harrison/print

Not sure what to make of her experiences. I for one think she’s underselling her output. All the years and all the time she put into writing her books and she’s reduced to selling them as e-books for 99p a pop.

Even if she sold 2000 of them at 35%, as she claims in the article, that doesn’t amount to much, maybe 700 pounds sterling. (Not a bad return on nothing, I suppose, if you consider writing and ancillary tasks nothing.)

She does make a couple of good points, though. As a fellow marketing muggle (pardon the reference to Harry Potter movies), I certainly appreciate this one: “Overall, finding the time to market my books and write the next one is the biggest challenge – there just aren’t enough hours in the day.”
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Yet it has to be done. Or as I say to myself over and over again as I try to figure out how best to market “Nuclear Dragons”:

‘One way or another I shall muddle through.’

Potential b/w ad for Nuclear Dragons, prepared by Jim McPherson, artwork by Ian Bateson 2013

Potential b/w ad for “Nuclear Dragons”, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013, rendered grey for b/w reproductions

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McPhersonal Appearance — Vancouver Comicon Sunday 8 Sept 13

Jim McPherson, creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, will be back at the Heritage Hall (15th & Main, Vancouver) on Sunday, 8 September 2013. Starts at 11 a.m.

Hopefully it’ll be raining by then as last one was sparsely attended in large measure due to what eventually registered as the first rainless July in Vancouver’s history: http://www.vancouvercomiccon.com/

Exact address is as on poster, just a different date:

Poster for the July 7, 2013 Vancouver Comic Con

Poster for the July 7, 2013 Vancouver Comic Con. Website is here: http://www.vancouvercomiccon.com/

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Phantacea Phree Reads

As per my ever-so-mysterious correspondent blog_me, I did miss listing a few pHree-Bees here.

At the bottom of every Phantacea Publications web page (http://www.phantacea.com/#pageUpdate), as well as at the bottom of most of the web pages making up pH-Webworld (http://www.phantacea.info/index.htm#update), there are lynx to amazon.com web pages where from you can buy the books or download the e-books on the Kindle format.

You can now click on those lynx and, once you reach where you’re going, you can look inside any of the books that say you can. (For example, here and here.)

As of today you also google up most of the Phantacea Publications books by title on, yes, Google Books and do the same. For example, the link for “The War of the Apocalyptics” is here.

Coming as soon as I get to it, I’ll put lynx to the read-for-free Google Books page for each of the Phantacea Mythos print publications currently available from Phantacea Publications on their dedicated web pages.

Of course you could go ahead and order them directly from the publisher as per here. (Certified cheques and/or money orders only, please include shipping cost listed on order form.)

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McPhersonal Appearances – May 2013

Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, as featured throughout pH-Webworld, will be at the Phantacea Publications table from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this coming Sunday at the Vancouver Comic Con (http://www.vancouvercomiccon.com/).

It’s at Heritage Hall, 15th and Main in, as one might expect, Vancouver.

VanComicon_2013-may_flyer, taken from the Web

Jim McPherson will be at the Phantacea Publications table from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday 19 May

Come by, say hello, share some stories and bring bucks. He’ll have "Phantacea Revisited #1: The Damnation Brigade", the latest graphic novel released by Phantacea Publications (www.phantacea.com) with him, along with all the usual suspects, for sale.

Should a table come available Phantacea Publications may also be at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival the following weekend: http://www.vancaf.com/

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Heliodromi in Vancouver

We’ll start this with the opening paragraphs of “Feeling Theocidal“. (Which, as per here and here, you can look inside online for free.)

E-book cover for "Feeling Theocidal", artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

E-book cover for “Feeling Theocidal”, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008; Feel Theo’s web page is here:


“Arise, Gorgon ‘Q for Quisling’ Tethys,” intoned the Mithrant praetor.


When the chained, and badly beaten, deposed governor had done so, the adjudicator began reading off his personally prepared script. “You freely admit to committing crimes of mass murder, including parricide, uxoricide, filicide and effective fratricide; this last with respect to your underlings within the Mithrant Brotherhood, who were attempting to take you into lawful custody.

“You also admit to secreting about yourself, undeclared, a number of Utopian eyeorbs, what they sometimes refer to as prison pods. Compounding your crimes in this regard, you used one of them to capture and hold onto the Master Deva intending  to invest you into the sixth rung of our brotherhood’s seven steps to exaltation, that of the Heliodromus.”

He paused to allow the crowd’s murmurings of mostly outrage die down. “Your name shall assuredly survive within the annals of infamy for you are guilty on all counts …”


Jim McPherson writes:

So here I am driving downtown to work the Phantacea Publications’ table on the Sunday (no pun intended) of this year’s Van Expo (Vancouver Fan Expo — 2013 April 20-21). What’s this? My nearest bridge is blocked by vast numbers of horribly fit-looking joggers.

Old Buggery, I think to myself, it’s the Sun Run. (Thus the unintended pun.)

I detour, find another bridge and make my way to the Convention Centre where Van Expo’s being held. All the way I’m muttering to myself: “Darn Heliodromi”. Added to my (minor) annoyance, I arrive late for re-opening of show; hence no doubt missing dozens of sales.

I’m still mumbling about Darn Heliodromi when this fellow stops at my table. “Nice costume,” I say to him. He’s wearing shorts, a number vest, a sweaty tee-shirt, sneakers, a sunhat and a Green Lantern dressing gown.

(There were plenty of fine costumes on display throughout weekend. Funnily enough, when men and women are wearing masks, or heavy makeup, they don’t seem to care what else is on display. Ask me body painters must be made of sterner stuff than those who have their bodies painted then strut about the convention floor inviting boggle-eyes and flashing cameras.)

“This isn’t a costume,” he says to me. “I’ve just come from the Sun Run.”

Darn Heliodromus didn’t buy anything either.

(Heliodromus means Sun-Runner. Its plural I’m assuming would be Heliodromi. In Phantacea I take it to mean a messenger to or from the gods a la Hermes, Thoth or Mercury. Devilish Heliodromi are referred to as Sky Magicians. However, in Roman Mithraism, a Sun Runner is the sixth rung up the ladder to enlightenment.

(Interestingly, to me anyhow, the seventh and top rung is Pater Patrum or simply the Father. When Christianity supplanted Mithraism amongst the Roman soldiery in the 4th Century AD, its headman gained that very title; hence the Pope.

(Along more than a few devilish Heliodromi have appeared during the course of chronicling the Phantacea Mythos, the Sky Magician who appears most often, at least in the printed books, is the very Master Deva referred to in the quote above: Djinn Domitian, the lion-headed Heliodromus of Mithras, aka the Masochist, of whom more is here.)

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Phantacea pHree Online

Seems over the years enterprising characters have scanned in various pages from the comic book series. These, I suppose, could be googled, though wouldn’t recommend it. A couple did contact Jim McPherson via www.phantacea.com, sought and got his permission to scan and mount not just a few pages but entire issues.

As near as I can make out only 1 is still online: http://comicattack.net/2011/12/is-36-phantacea-1-2/

Five covers from Phantacea comics or graphic novels, artwork by Ian Bateson except for pH-5 which Ian finished over Verne Andru's original black and white cover

Plenty more on the Phantacea Comic Book series and graphic novels can be found here: http://www.phantacea.com/one2six1.htm#logo

However, and please note the situation may change as the months and years pass, you can look inside “Feeling Theocidal” anytime you please. The link is here: http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Theocidal-Jim-McPherson/dp/0978134206/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366652578&sr=1-1&keywords=Feeling+Theocidal

E-book cover for "Feeling Theocidal", artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

E-book cover for “Feeling Theocidal”, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008; Feel Theo’s web page is here:


One hopes the lynx not only work but you take advantage of their availability. Once you’ve looked inside the book(s), you could, should you feel the urge, either provide your review(s) on amazon.com or else come back to this entry and add it (or them) to the comments below.

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Raven in Roman Mithraism

Should draw your attention to this article on the raven in mythology: http://www.ravenfamily.org/nascakiyetl/obs/rav1.html.

It mentions all sorts of characters and concepts that come up in the Phantacea Mythos including the Morrigan and Badb (Battle Baby) who feature in “Goddess Gambit“.

E-book cover for Goddess Gambit, artwork by Verne Andru

E-book cover for “Goddess Gambit” — ISBN 978-0-9878683-3-6

Unfortunately I didn’t realize that ravens were the choughs of the Valkyries” when I wrote “Feeling Theocidal” (but that’s only because I’d never heard the word before). As per here I did know they were connected to them, though.

E-book cover for "Feeling Theocidal", artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

E-book cover for “Feeling Theocidal”, artwork by Verne Andru, 2008

One thing the article doesn’t mention is that Corax (Raven) is the first step for initiates in Roman Mithraism. (Seen the stonework in Ostia Antica haven’t I.) More re Roman Mithraism is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_mysteries#Degrees_of_initiation

While I knew that the collective noun for crows was murder I didn’t realize it was unkindness for ravens. Then again, other than ravens are much bigger, I’m still not sure how to tell the difference.

I’d like to tell you that Phantacea’s Raven’s Head was deliberately created to connect to all these mythologies, and perhaps she was, but the name came from a Yates & Jackson, Lancaster beer mug that I still have.

Collage of images  prepared by Jim McPherson entitled Raven's Head

Raven’s Head collage prepared by Jim McPherson mostly using his own shots

Remind me to take a picture of it sometime for pHantaBlog. Ravenhead Glass may actually still exist, too. More on Raven is here: http://www.phantacea.com/deviants1.htm#secondRow.


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Mythos Mag 2006 (minutely updated for 2012 relevance)

A variation of the first PDF prepared for Phantacea Publications can now be downloaded. Click here to get a version containing updated 2012 lynx. Good luck locating the original.

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