Having just done respectably
in the Eisner Awards
is one of the more intelligent
comic books currently in production. While it started out as a fairly typical
super-hero drama with the twist of an interesting
hero, it has gradually become much more.
Promethea is the story of Sophie Bangs, a college student working on her Thesis. Her topic: the character of Promethea, a name that seems to pop up in various fictional works througout history. In her research she finds that Promethea is more archetype than person, more of a societal role than an actor in herself. She finds this when she 'puts on' Promethea herself. You see, all of those people who had written about promethea had, by writing about her, by conceiving her, become her in some aspect. Sophie Bangs, through her research, had gained this ability herself.
So now she's a superhero, stepping into the shoes of Promethea, gaining all of her old enemies and problems. SO far, nothing incredibly innovative. What really gets interesting is when Promethea begins to learn Magic. You see, because Promethea is a creature of the imagination, of the mind itself, part of Sophie's orientation lies in charting and learning the structure of the imagination and the mind itself. To do this she relies both on the dead aspects of Promethea and, later, on a simple magician still alive on earth.
The really interesting and innovative part of the series comes in here for, Moore does not simply make up a realm of the imagination like so many writers. He does not conceive a simple spirit world layed on top of ours. Instead, he draws from REAL esoteric texts, from astrology and the tarot, from the writings of Crowley and others, and thus in teaching his spirit world, he teaches a little tarot, astrology, and kabbalah along with it. There's an entire comic devoting 22 of its 24 pages to the Major Arcana of the tarot, one page each, with running rhyming commentary.
A truly innovative comic.