Graphic Content – Promethea

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
26/501Title: Promethea
Creators: Alan Moore, J. H. Williams III and Mick Gray
Year: 1999-2005
Country: USA

I never realised how interesting the teachings of Kabbalah were. Not a sentence I expected to write when I started going through these comics. Then again Buddha taught me a lot about Buddhism – so I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised to encounter religion… even if it not something you would expect when starting the comic.

Promethea looks like a superhero comic. In many ways it is a superhero comic. There are heroes, villains and, of course, a central figure in Promethea herself. Yet, for two of the five collated books they decide to teach the Kabbalah Tree of Life. Very interesting and it allows for a huge variation in art styles in order to explain the different levels of consciousness. However, you would have thought that this would play into how Promethea brings about the apocalypse… it doesn’t.

Essentially the character of Promethea is a superhero whose mantle has been assumed by numerous women over the centuries. How do you summon her? Through creativity e.g. poems, novels, artwork etc. Interesting idea since she is meant to reside in the collective subconscious (known in this as the Immateria).

The present incarnation is Sophie Bangs, a college student who is studying Promethea in the role of a oddly recurring fictional character. Her role as this incarnation of Promethea is bring about the apocalypse. Of course being don’t want this to happen because, you know, people aren’t stupid.

So in the first two collections she is battling demons and a secret society known as the Temple. We also have the crazed super-villain the Painted Doll and a recurring comic known as the Weeping Gorilla who spouts maudlin phrases like ‘Why do good things happen to bad people?’


This is not a comic for someone who wants to read something easy. It goes pretty deep into Moore’s own philosophical leanings and, hell, it’s able to educate. There is so much in this on the occult and it’s links to sects of Judaism that it can be easy to crinkle your nose up at it. Well I didn’t, but hub did.

The thing that keeps it all going is the artwork. This is a stunning series of comics and some of the panels would be worthy of framing. Promethea is an oddball in it’s medium because, compared to others I have read, we are moving towards something truly intellectual.

Therefore this is not a comic for everyone. I, however, really enjoyed it.


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