Magic and art tend to share a lot of the same language. They both talk about evocation, invocation, and conjuring. If you’re trying to conjure a character, then maybe you should treat that with the respect that you would if you were trying to conjure a demon. Because if an image of a god is a god, then in some sense the image of a demon is a demon. I’m thinking of people like Malcolm Lowry, the exquisite author of Under the Volcano.There are kabbalistic demons that are lurking all the way through Under the Volcano, and I assume they were probably similar forces to the ones that eventually overwhelmed Lowry’s life, such as the drinking and the madness. When I hear alcoholics talk about having their demons, I think that they’re probably absolutely literally correct.
Thankfully, they also talk a little bit about comics as well:
Superheroes are the copyrighted property of big corporations. They are purely commercial entities; they are purely about making a buck. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some wonderful creations in the course of the history of the superhero comic, but to compare them with gods is fairly pointless. Yes, you can make obvious comparisons by saying the golden-age Flash looks a bit like Hermes, as he’s got wings on his helmet, or the golden-age Hawkman looks a bit like Horus because he’s got a hawk head. But this is just to say that comics creators through the decades have taken their inspiration where they can find it.
An exhibition of Burns‘ portraits for The Believer is running at the Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York until July 26, 2013.