2] Oppenheimer actually said "I am become death, destroyer of worlds"
after the first detonation. The quotation is from the Bhagavad-Gita,
a Hindu holy book, and I've seen translations of "shatterer" and "destroyer."
[CE] To summarize from James Gleick's Genius (pp154-6), his biography
of Richard Feynman: "The atom bomb test was carried out at Jornada del
Muerto (trans. Journey of death) on 16/7/45. As far as Oppenheimer's
comment goes: "The jubilation, the shouting, the dancing, the triumph
of that day have been duly recorded. On the road back another physicist
thought Feynman was going to float through the roof of the bus. The
bomb makers rejoiced and got drunk... Later they remembered having doubts.
Oppenheimer, urbane and self-torturing aficionado of Eastern mysticism,
said... (while Feynman was thinking "Clouds")... he had thought of a
passage from the Bhagavad Gita, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer
of worlds". The test director... supposedly told him "We are all sons
of bitches now"... In the actuality of the event, relief and excitement
drowned out most such thoughts. Feynman remembered only one man 'moping'-his
own recruiter to the Manhattan project, Robert Wilson (!). Wilson surprised
Feynman by saying 'It's a terrible thing that we made.' For most the
second thoughts did not come until later." [JBU]
2,3,6-9] According to an interview, Morrison culled the dialogue
for these pages from actual conversations he and friends taped while
using LSD on a mesa. [CE]
3] Ganesha is the Hindu god, destroyer of obstacles. He has an elephant
5] [panel 4] I recall hearing that Austin and Emilio are actual
friends of Grant he just put in for the hell of it. [RD]
6] [panel 1] "If it wasn't for bats [=Batman], insects [=criminals]
would take over the world." More evidence of Mason-Bruce Wayne similarity.
7] [panel 1] "The first atomic bomb..." If you consider the 4th
of July to be the "birthday" of the United States, you can also say
that America is a cancer. [RM] panel 5-6: "That's called Barbelith,
that is. Don't you remember?" Dane assumes that he and Mason share this
knowledge because they've both been abducted by aliens (or whatever
they are). [RM]
8] [panel 5] KM flashes forward to page 20, panel 1. Easy to miss
with all the babbling going on. [RD] "Driving the porcelain bus" is
a British euphemism for throwing up after a night on the piss. [JBU]
But in this case it probably refers to the Porcelaine train carrying
the pure-information alien. [L] The background could be the Nazca lines
made by ancient shamen floating around by remote viewing. (In Mexico?)
This issue has the invisibles doing some astral peeping themselves.
9] [panel 3] "It is always the day of nine dogs", eh? See 1.13-15
for Fanny's take on this. [RD] [panel 6] Is that a bat symbol I see
reflected in KM's shades? [DN]
10] [panel 2] All the activist cells of the Invisibles are organized
according to elemental symbolism. Every member represents an element
that defines his role inside the group. Roles changed at the beginning
of volume II. [Character] [Volume I] [Volume II] King Mob: Air : Earth
Ragged Robin: Fire : Air Boy: Earth : Spirit (???) Fanny: Water : Fire
(???) Jack: Spirit : Water [PV] According to Edith in volume 1, Spirit
has a mind of its own, so probably Boy is Spirit (see 2.10). [RL] Boy's
holding a white slip of paper, which would definitely imply spirit more
than fire. [CG] Note that the weight of leadership has already settled
on Robin: her hair no longer floats around from this point on. [RD]
22] [panel 5] "The implants were in our polio immunizations": A
reference to The X-Files. [PV]
23] [panel 3] The White Flame technique, which will be explained
in 2.03, pages 12-13. [RD]
to the second volume of THE INVISIBLES - a bit of radical posturing
which talks about anarchy and insurrection while being published by
a multinational corporation bent on enslaving the world. Which side
are you on?
Welcome, as we boldly fly in the teeth of the comics recession and relaunch
the only comic that dares to tell you, the reader, the Secret of the
Universe! Readers of Volume 1, I'm glad you're back! New readers, pull
up a sofa, hang on tight and let's hear what you think.
Remember at the start of '96, I mentioned that Terence McKenna's theoretical
Timewave graph showed a massive spike toward the zero axis of ultimate
chaos/ultimate novelty during this year? If the theory holds water,
then we should have witnessed an increase in turbulence and rapid change
in the world. So far this year we've seen the creation of the world's
smallest engine, cybernetic chips to cure blindness and the announcement
of the discovery of life on Mars! Add to this the almost viruslike spread
of the "Communion" alien head icon and other images of alien cultures
impacting on our own. Sprinkle in the personal turmoil practically everyone
I know has been involved in over the last few months, top it all with
the rumors that it's not over yet and that NASA has a "major announcement"
to make before the end of the year and you have one hell of a weird
cake on your plate. This may be spontaneous eruption of millennial archetypes,
my lunatic interpretation of a series of random events or something
genuinely unusual. I'd be interested to know if anyone else out there
has been experiencing what I can only call "turbulence." As far as I
can see, it's hitting the vulnerable and unstable areas of people's
lives, the areas most inclined to register increased change; for some
it's manifesting in sudden financial problems, for others it's been
health collapse or the unexpected capsizing of seemingly stable relationships.
You may even have noticed an increased tendency for your shoelaces to
And while you're thinking about that, hi! Woo! Rock 'n' Roll! to all
the groovy people I met at the San Diego Con and my apologies to anyone
I didn't get much of a chance to talk to in all the conclusion of the
weekend (the charming girl who asked me about that mysterious man in
Mary Shelley's coach from volume I, issue #7 springs vividly to mind).
Sorry, but I kept getting dragged away to panels or signings or interviews
every time we were about to have a conversation. Write me a letter.
Same goes for anyone else who wanted a chat but couldn't get through.
"Invisible Ink" is only as good as its contributors, so please get writing
and may the Lord have mercy upon us all!
Finally, thanks to everyone who's been writing through the hiatus between
volumes. I can't print them all, but I have read every one several times
and... here are some of them...
JOHN EGAN: "Grant, The Last Temptation of Jack was one of
my favorite characters in this story so far. I liked the first half
hecause it reminded me of a Nick Fury comic. I liked the second half
because I was just as fooled as Jack was. Yes, I too seek nirvana. A
worthy goal, to be sure, but like most people, ifyou wave a carrot right
in front of me, common sense and even the instinct for preservation
be darned, I'll jump up and down and bark like a little dog.
"If I were asked to sum up THE INVISIBLES in three words, I suppose
that 'It's All Bullshit' would be close enough. In a world where 98%
of religious teaching consists of fantasy and lies and 2% might be true
for you (I'm talking Christian, occult, whatever) this could be the
safest approach, but how safe is too safe? You practice magic, so you've
taken a leap, shown some faith. At times in my life, I've been pulled
in a variety ofdirections (picture a 14-year-old suburban kid reading
Anton La Vey's Satanic Bible thinking, 'This is it!' That lasted about
a day and a half. At 16 it was the Bhagavad Gita.) But deep down I have
so little faith in my fellow man and myself that I've never found the
resolve to actually take steps. What book do I read, what discipline
do I follow? Traditional therapy is turning me into a chain wreck, so
maybe some of that Reichian treatment would pave the road, but was he
a brave visionary (as played by Donald Sutherland) or just a nut? Both?
Oh, that's a help.
"By now you're probably afraid that I've mistaken you for Ann Landers
and am looking for some sort of advice. No way. Just letting you know
I'm out here, reading and reacting. I'll stop now, as you're surely
all worn out after ringing heaven's doorbell and running away. I was
worried about you for a while, but as my cat, Topaz, is staying overnight
at the vet, I've only got enough worry to go around right now. Besides,
I suspect that neither God nor the Devil needs the hassle, eh?
You get to open Volume 2, John, thanks for the letter. Healthwise,
I'm out of the woods and onto the tarmac waving a flag and I hope Topaz
is fine too. Now, I'm no Ann Landers, but... Traditional therapy is
based on talking and, in my experience. talking about problems often
only serves to dig them in deeper. I regard the orthodox psychiatric
methods, for all their useful insights, to be highly inefficient and
self-indulgent, leading to reinforeement of negative personality traits
(which is why so many people spend years in therapy and are still as
neurotic as when they started). Reich's methods don't allow you to hide
behind endless ego-derived speeches about how wrong you are or how bad
you feel. The techniques are directly physical and effective. In Reichian
therapy, you don't talk, you scream and howl and sob and actually relive
and discharge trauma as opposed to farting away years just talking about
yourself and your imagined problems. My general rule of thumb in murky
areas of "magic" and personality engineering is that if a technique
produces results for you when you try it, then it's a good technique.
If it doesn't produce results, move on. So, it doesn't matter to me
whether or not Reich was a genius, a nut, or Donald Sutherland being
taken away in a black car; the bottom line is that I found his methods
to be practical and effective and would recommend them without hesitation
to anyone who's not afraid to shake hands with their own inner demons.
WALTON: "Grant, I've only just
learned the extent of your recent illness through your letter column.
I sincerely hope that by the time this letter reaches you, you will
have made a full and blithe recovery. I've been writing you the occasional
sycophantic letter since issue one of THE INVISIBLES, and at the risk
of playing flatterer yet again, I'd like to say that yours would be
a loss this industry could not sustain. I really don't know how to express
my regard without sounding toady, so I'll leave it to you to filter
out the true sentiment from my words. I wish you only the best of health.
"With regard to THE INVISIBLES, I just recently sat down and reread
the series in one go and I'm sorry to say that it all makes perfect
sense. So much as we know. Waiting in the wings are several mysteries
yet to be clarified, among them the tale of John-A-Dreams, who is the
man whose name we never catch (could Lucifer.Satan be the original lnvisible?-I
am reminded of God's words to the Satan in the Book of Job: "Where have
you been?" "I have been roaming All over the earth," the Adversary replied),
and what is Division X?
"For those readers who feel confused, I offer these words of comfort:
relax, you're reading a beautifully-constructed and thoughtful novel.
What appears to be a mystery to you in chapter one will surely be explained
in chapter eight, if not by the book's conclusion. The name of Mr. Six
was first dropped by King Mob very early in the series, but it wasn't
until issue #21 that we learned who he was. The important point being
we learned who he was. This is a work in which the author is in full
control, a serialized novel not unlike any published by Dickens in the
last century (a self-publisher, I might add). By the end of Great Expectations
we learned who had given Pip his inheritance, and by the end of this
work we shall know if the Invisibles were successful in creating a world
in which everyone is happy, even the enemy.
"THE INVISIBLES is an ambitious, groundbreaking work for the comics
industry, far more complex in its subtleties than any work before it.
This is a comic truly written for "mature" readers and the very first
to justify Vertigo's claim of publishing comics for people who 'read'."
You're too kind, Rob. Nice to hear from you again. I'll be starting
to explain a lot more about the background to THE INVISIBLES now (as
we find out more about Ragged Robin, for instance, a great many things
will at last become clear), but anyone who wants to find out just who
"The Invisibles" are and how the Universe works will have to sign on
for the long haul. Only four years to go!
PAUL HOUSTON: "I just finished reading INVISIBLES #24 and
the "Invisible Ink" column and I have a few questions and comments.
I'm so glad that you didn't pass away, by the way. The comics world
would he very lacking without you. Anyways, mainly I want to talk about
your sick hallucinations, that one about Jesus or whoever in particular.
I'm a big, oh...nut, I guess, about the apocalypse and weird shit like
that. Now, what you said about you being part of an oncoming apocalypse,
does that mean that you are to play a big part, a bit part, or you don't
know? Hey, I couldn't think of a better person besides myself to play
a role in some kind of apocalypse. I'd love to know more about that
hallucination. Do you think it was just your sick mind or do you think
it was more? And, like, what kind of emotions and feelings were you
experiencing and receiving? And also, do you know what caused you to
get sick? Was it just sudden?
"Well, enough about that, now about issue #24. I thought it didn't
have the same punch and edge-of-the-seat effect as the previous issues
had. Maybe it was just because you were sick. Not to say it was bad,
though! INVISIBLES is the one comic I pick up before any others. It's
the one comic I must read. I also think "Invisible Ink"is one of the
best letters columns in comics."
And now you're in it!
Based on my own experiences, Paul, I'm expecting some kind of unprecedented,
radical transformation of society and culture within the next fifteen
years. Whether it's a classical Apocalypse scenario, just the End of
the World as We Know It, or nothing at all, remains to be seen. My own
ideas about What's Going Down are contained in the ongoing INVISIBLES
stories. As for my part in it, I don't think I'll be any more of a major
player than anyone else, except in the sense that I have a forum to
discuss these ideas and promote them in this comic book. THE INVISIBLES
is simply my attempt to send out a signal, which will hopefully inspire
others in the way that I've been inspired over the years by people like
Robert Anton Wilson, Phil Hine, J. G. Ballard, the Sex Pistols, Terence
McKenna, William Burroughs or whoever. The comics field< is a small
and silly one but I love it, and doing this bollocks has provided me
with one useful way of reaching out into the world and making connections
with people whose heads are as fucked as mine own. My fondest wish is
that some proportion of my readership will be moved enough by what I'm
doing to go out and start their own comics, or bands, or Internet sites
or whatever and not only spread the "message" further but feed it back
to me in a new and mutated form.
Anyway...looks like a space crisis again so I'll wave goodbye. Next
month we'll do "meet the creators" but for now I remain your, like,
Humble Narrator and look forward to your comments on this "bold new
beginning" - The Artist Currently Known As "Prince."