that since this is a special occasion, I’d take a look at both my favourite writer and one of America’s favourite activities: Alan Moore and sex.
Sex is a big theme of Alan Moore comics, and almost everything he’s written has had some sort of sexual activity involved. The two single issues I will look at are Saga of the Swamp Thing 34 and Promethea 10.
In Saga of the Swamp Thing 34, titled “Rites of Spring”, Swamp Thing and Abby Cable admit their love for each other and decide to consummate their love. Of course, it seems impossible and somewhat gruesome imagining a woman and a plant-creature participating in the love-nookie, but Moore makes it a beautiful thing. Swamp Thing goes into the water, takes a tuber growing from his body and asks Abby to eat it.
Abby asks Swamp Thing if eating the tuber is symbolic and he replies: “Not entirely.” There is implied symbolism in it though. Following that we get fantastic pages of Abby seeing the world through the eyes of Swamp Thing (when he feels like it). The narration captures what is important about sex: “Where we touch, the fibers merge and intertangle.” Moore symbolizes through “sex” between woman and plant is that they are becoming one, not reproducing.
In an interview with the Onion AV Club, Moore said: “”With Promethea, when I was coming up with the initial titles for ABC Comics, I thought, well, I want a comic with a strong female character. I’d also like to have a comic where I can release some of the steam of my magical researches.” The latter statement is of particular interest to me.
Promethea 10, titled “Sex, Stars and Serpents”, Sophie goes to Jack Faust to learn magic and in exchange he gets to have sex with Promethea. Jack Faust says to Promethea “And it’s only symbolism puts magic and meaning into anything…” Again Moore is emphasizing the idea of symbolism behind sex, which bleeds into the earlier published Swamp Thing story as well.
Unlike Swamp Thing and Abby, Promethea and Faust are actually capable of performing the physical nasty and in doing so they ignite some kind of physical one-ness. Faust takes Promethea through the ascending chakras and relates them closely to the Kaballah that Sophie will explore in later issues.
Near the orgasm, Jack explains that Magicians (male and female) are typically male (symbolically). The male is represented by the wand, a phallic symbol representing will. The male is always seeking to penetrate the female, the cup, a symbol of compassion. Because the female is a mystery to the male, the male must know the mystery. When the man (or magician) penetrates the mystery, he becomes the mystery, or the female. They come together, become hermaphrodite, and climb towards the godhead of the Saharsana Chakra, which is located above the head.
Much like Swamp Thing and Abby, Faust and Promethea are coming together. The idea of sex is climbing towards the godhead, and man and woman do that together. Much like Abby and Swamp Thing, Promethea and Faust intertangle, becoming one with each other. The merged man and woman climbing to the godhead figures strongly into the further interpretation of the sex in these two issues, but I’m out of space for this week and I’ll pick up where I left off next week.
Posted originally: 2008-08-18 15:56:58