Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Nov 15, 2011 - History - 370 pages
In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.

But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.

A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated in full color throughout and brimming over with incredible personal stories, Mutants and Mystics is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden—and maybe even blow—your mind.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal

User Review  - Book Verdict

In this strange and complex scholarly work, Kripal (religious studies, Rice Univ.; Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred) asserts that science fiction and superhero comic book tales ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

How many freaks by party-life can be in one place at one time. That is as simple as an interview with the owners of the REDDOOR Thrift store. It happens to be suspected of a sex slave trade that is too powerful for the authorities. Last known locations; Anderson IN, Richmond VA on Grace Street. All the milk carton ads is the only grace they will ever receive. 

Contents

Origins
1
From India to the Planet Mars
31
Superman is a a Crashed Alien
70
Metaphysical Energies and Super Sexualities
121
XMen before their Time
173
Reading the Paranormal Writing Us
217
Writing the Paranormal Writing Us
254
The Visitor Corpus of Whitley Strieber
292
Toward a SoulSized Story
329
Notes
336
Index
354
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Jeffrey Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is the author of six books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.

Bibliographic information